Dagor Bragollach

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Dagor Bragollach
Alan Lee - Battle of Sudden Flame.jpg
Conflict: Wars of Beleriand
Date: F.A. 455[1]
Place: The north of Beleriand
Outcome: Decisive victory for Morgoth
Combatants

The leaguer of the Eldar
Elves of Nargothrond

Forces of Morgoth

Commanders

Fingolfin
Maedhros
Finrod
Fingon
Angrod
Aegnor
Celegorm
Curufin
Maglor
Caranthir
Bregolas
Hador
Barahir

Morgoth
Glaurung
Gothmog

Strength

Unknown, presumably full strength of the leaguer which included the Noldor, Grey-elves and Edain
A reinforcing army of Elves of Nargothrond

Unknown, but force has "multitudes" of Orcs
Force of Balrogs

Casualties

Severe for both Elves and Men, including the virtual destruction of the House of Bëor

Unknown

The Dagor Bragollach (Sindarin for "Battle of Sudden Flame") was the fourth great battle of the Wars of Beleriand, fought between the forces of Morgoth and the leaguer of the Noldor.

Background[edit]

See also: Dagor Aglareb

After the Dagor Aglareb, where Morgoth was defeated by the Noldor, the Siege of Angband was established.[2] For about four hundred years there was relative peace in Beleriand. The Elves built their cities and strongholds across the land and they were strengthened by the coming of Men to Beleriand.[3]

History[edit]

Prelude[edit]

In F.A. 422[4] Fingolfin considered a new assault upon Angband, as Morgoth had been contained rather than wholly defeated, and the threat of new dangers devised by him was present in Fingolfin's mind. Angrod and Aegnor were like-minded, but most of the Noldor, especially the Sons of Fëanor, were content with the present peaceful state of affairs and were reluctant to pay the deadly cost such an attack would incur. Thus, no attack was made, and Morgoth was left alone to continue secretly building his strength until his preparations were completed in F.A. 455.[5]

Battle[edit]

On a winter's night, Morgoth sent out rivers of flame from Thangorodrim, and the Mountains of Iron spewed fires and deadly fumes. The flames consumed the plain of Ard-galen, which was renamed Anfauglith. Many Elves perished as they tried to escape the fire, and the confusion caused by the flame and smoke hindered the defenders that watched Angband. Then Morgoth sent forth his armies, led by Glaurung, first of the Urulóki. Behind Glaurung came Balrogs and multitudes of Orcs, and they slaughtered anyone they came across.[5]

Dagor Bragollach by Elena Kukanova

The highlands of Dorthonion bore much of the assault and were overrun. Angrod and Aegnor were slain, and many of Bëor's folk fell, including their lord Bregolas. King Finrod Felagund came north from Nargothrond with an army, but Finrod with a small company was surrounded at the Fen of Serech and cut off from his people. Finrod would have been killed or captured, but was saved by a sortie led by Barahir, brother of Bregolas, who was fighting in western Dorthonion near the Pass of Sirion. They managed to cut through with great loss and Finrod and his folk came back to Nargothrond, while Barahir continued defending Dorthonion. It was this deed that later earned Barahir the ring of Finrod, which would become known as the Ring of Barahir, along with a vow of abiding friendship.[5]

In the north-west Fingolfin and Fingon marched with their host to aid the sons of Finarfin, but they were driven back to the fortresses in the mountains. Hador, the lord of Dor-lómin, and his younger son Gundor were slain defending the rearguard of Fingolfin. In the mountain fortresses there was a fierce battle between Morgoth's forces and the Elves and Men of the North. Hithlum was successfully defended against the Orcs and Balrogs, but Fingolfin became separated from his people during the battle.[5]

The March of Maedhros was assaulted heavily by the armies of Morgoth. With great loss, the hosts of Morgoth forced the Pass of Aglon, and Celegorm and Curufin fled with their people to Nargothrond. Maedhros was later able to reclose the Pass, but the horsemen of the people of Fëanor were overwhelmed on the plain of Lothlann and Maglor's Gap was taken. Glaurung came there and burned the land between the arms of Gelion. With the gap taken, the Orcs moved south and captured Caranthir's fortress in Mount Rerir. Thargelion was ravaged and Lake Helevorn defiled. The Orcs then crossed over Gelion into East Beleriand. Maglor fled to join Maedhros at Himring while Caranthir fled south with Amrod and Amras to Amon Ereb, which they defended with the help of the Green-elves, and the Orcs did not come into Taur-im-Duinath or Ossiriand. Maedhros fought valiantly against the Orcs with the help of Maglor and the people of Dorthonion and the east marches, preventing Morgoth from taking the fortress on Himring.[5]

War did not completely cease in Beleriand afterwards, but the Battle was considered to have ended with the lessening of Morgoth's onslaught at the coming of spring.[5]

Aftermath[edit]

Thus the Siege of Angband was broken, and the forces of Morgoth were able to roam at will throughout the north. His enemies were decimated, and most of the Grey-elves fled south to Doriath, Nargothrond, Falas and Ossiriand. However, Morgoth could not completely destroy his foes as they scattered and hid in secret places, and he had himself been wounded.[5]

Morgoth's power extended over the Northlands, but a few folk of Barahir remained, fighting determinedly for their lands and refusing to retreat from the attacking forces. Morgoth relentlessly sought to kill them until very few remained. So great was his wrath against them that Dorthonion was turned into a twisted land of dread, renamed Taur-nu-Fuin, and it was filled with such dark enchantment that even Orcs would not enter it unless need drove them. The women and children of Barahir's folk at last fled to Brethil, some joining the Haladin there, and others continuing to Dor-lómin and joining the people of Galdor. The remaining men lived as outlaws in Dorthonion, until all were slain save Beren.[5]

The sons of Fëanor were scattered and driven from their lands, except for Maedhros, who still held Himring. Celegorm and Curufin travelled to Nargothrond after being defeated in the Pass of Aglon. For a time, the Noldor defended the Pass of Sirion and Minas Tirith, but after the fall of Fingolfin, Sauron came and took Minas Tirith for Morgoth, turning it into a place of evil known as Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Using this pass, the servants of Morgoth came farther into Beleriand and surrounded Doriath. Yet Nargothrond and Gondolin remained hidden from Morgoth, and as the Elves began to recover their losses, southern Beleriand had peace for a time.[5]

The fall of Fingolfin[edit]

Main article: Fall of Fingolfin
Fingolfin's Wrath by Kimberly

After a year of fighting,[6] when Fingolfin, the High King of the Noldor, saw what he believed to be the utter ruin of the Noldor, he rode in anger across the dust of Anfauglith and challenged Morgoth to single combat. At the doors of Angband itself they fought a great duel. Fingolfin's sword, Ringil, wounded Morgoth seven times. Yet he was felled by Morgoth's hammer, Grond, and crushed by Morgoth's mighty foot. Fingolfin's body was saved by Thorondor King of Eagles and brought into the mountaintops north of Gondolin. There Turgon his son built a cairn over his body.[5]

Etymology[edit]

Dagor Bragollach is Sindarin for "Battle of Sudden Flame".[7] It contains the elements dagor ("battle") + bragol ("quick, sudden") + lach ("flame").

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

The earliest concept of the battle appears in the unfinished poem The Lay of Leithian. Although the account is brief, some elements of it remain in later writings such as Barahir saving Felagund and the deaths of Angrod and Egnor (Aegnor).[8] In the Sketch of the Mythology where Tolkien started to piece together the legends, the battle appears briefly once more. However, Christopher commented that the new material that appears in later writings may have already been in the mind of his father when he wrote the Sketch.[9]

In the Quenta Noldorinwa there is a huge expansion of material in this version compared to the Sketch, of which many elements appear in The Silmarillion.[10] It was originally labelled as the second battle, but was later changed to the third battle in the Wars of Beleriand, partly due to the inclusion of the Dagor Aglareb as the second battle.[11]

The naming of the battle went through many revisions in the writing. The battle was not named in early writings until the Quenta Noldorinwa, where it is called the Battle of Sudden Flame.[10]. It was later changed to Battle of Sudden Fire[12] and for the first time given an Elvish name, Dagor Hurbreged,[13] then changed to Dagor Húr-Breged.[14] The battle was referred to as Dagor Vreged-úr in the Quenta Silmarillion[15]. In the latest versions it takes its final form Dagor Bragollach, Battle of Sudden Flame.[1][16]

See also[edit]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §145
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §133
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §155
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, "III. The Lay of Leithian: Canto VI (Beren in Nargothrond)"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "II. The Earliest 'Silmarillion': Commentary on the 'Sketch of the Mythology'"
  10. 10.0 10.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "III. The Quenta: [Section] 9"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "III. The Quenta: Commentary on the Quenta, [Section] 9"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "VII. The Earliest Annals of Beleriand: [The first version of The Earliest Annals of Beleriand (Text AB I)]"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "VII. The Earliest Annals of Beleriand: Notes [to text AB I]"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, III. The Later Annals of Beleriand"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion"
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Two. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin (Chapter 15)"


Wars of Beleriand
First Battle · Dagor-nuin-Giliath · Dagor Aglareb · Dagor Bragollach · Nirnaeth Arnoediad · War of Wrath