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Calaquendi (the "Elves of the Light" or "Light-elves"), referred to those Elves who had seen the light of the Two Trees in Valinor. This group was also often called the High Elves.


The Calaquendi included the Vanyar, Noldor, and those Teleri (the Falmari) who passed over Belegaer, as well as the Sindarin King Thingol (alone of all his people). Another name for them was the Amanyar (with the exception of Thingol, who was not counted among them), "Those of Aman". Those kindreds who settled in Aman or descended from them were also referred to as High Elves, or Tareldar[1] in the lore of the Dúnedain.[2]

Those of the Elves who refused the summons of the Valar or did not complete the Great Journey to Valinor were called the Úmanyar, meaning "Not of Aman" and "Moriquendi", or Dark Elves (those who had not seen the light). King Elu Thingol of Doriath held the unique status of being both among the Calaquendi and the Úmanyar, since he originally saw the Light, being one of the three ambassadors brought to Aman by Oromë, but did not return to Aman during the Great Journey.

The High Elves returned to Middle-earth because of the Exile of the Noldor, participated in the Wars of Beleriand and other events of the Second and Third Age.

By the later Third Age, most of the High Elves resided in or had returned to Aman; only a few remained in Middle-earth, some in Rivendell. Wandering Companies of High Elves would traverse Eriador and the Shire from time to time; Frodo Baggins recognised one of those bands as being High Elves, because of chanting the name of Elbereth.[3]


The name Calaquendi consists of Quenya cala ("light"), and quendi ("elves"); thus: "Elves of Light". The singular form of the Quenya noun is Calaquendë.[4]

Cognates of the name Calaquendi in other languages are Telerin Calapendi and Sindarin Calbin.[5]

Other versions of the legendarium

In The Hobbit, Light-elves was a name given to the Vanyar.[6] This term was used just once in this application, and never again in any canonical source.[note 1]


In Norse mythology, there are the Light Elves (Ljósálfar) and the Dark Elves (Dökkálfar or Svartálfar), a tradition which was well known to J.R.R. Tolkien.[7]

See also


  1. The other two groups of Elves mentioned in this part of The Hobbit were the "Deep-elves" (referring to the Noldor) and the "Sea-elves" (referring to the Falmari).


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, pp. 349, 360
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "The Atani and their Languages"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Three is Company"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: B. Meanings and use of the various terms applied to the Elves and their varieties in Quenya, Telerin, and Sindarin", p. 373
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: A. The principal linguistic elements concerned", p. 362
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, "Appendix A: Origins of the Legend", p. 359
(Quendi · People of the Stars · Firstborn · Elder Kindred)
Three Kindreds:
(Eldar · Eldalië · Edhil)
 Vanyar (Fair-elves · Minyar) · Noldor (Deep-elves · Tatyar) · Teleri (Lindar · Nelyar)
(High-elves · Amanyar)
 Vanyar · Noldor · Falmari
Úmanyar:  Sindar (Grey-elves · Eglath · Falathrim) · Nandor (Green-elves · Silvan Elves)
 Moriquendi:  Úmanyar · Avari (Cuind · Hwenti · Kindi · Kinn-lai · Penni · Windan)
See also:  Awakening of the Elves · Sundering of the Elves · Great Journey