Orcs of Mordor

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Orcs of Mordor
John Howe - Orcs of the Red Eye
General Information
Other namesMordor-orcs
OriginsA mix of Orcs bred by Sauron and Orcs of Morgoth who fled the War of Wrath
LocationsMordor, Minas Morgul
RivalriesNúmenóreans, Noldor, Gondorians
LanguagesOrcish dialects
MembersGrishnákh, Snaga, Lagduf, Muzgash, Radbug

The Orcs of Mordor or Mordor-orcs were the orc footsoldiers of Sauron within the Black Land of Mordor. They made up the bulk of his hosts in the wars he waged to suborn the Free Peoples throughout the Second and Third Ages


Second Age

After Sauron established himself in Mordor around S.A. 1000,[1] he took under his command countless Orcs that continued to battle with Elves and Men over many centuries. The Orcs of Mordor were not simply gathered from the remnants of Morgoth's armies, but were also bred anew by Sauron.

When Sauron learned of the Last Alliance, he sent many Orcs from Mordor to ambush the Allied forces who would cross the Misty Mountains, but they were too strong and the Orcs hid themselves. That small detachment was eventually forgotten[2] and it's possible they mingled with the Orcs of the Misty Mountains.

Third Age

There were many types in the service of the Red Eye, but the largest and fiercest were the Uruks of Mordor, black Orcs of tremendous strength and ferocity first seen out of Mordor around T.A. 2475, assaulting Ithilien. Ithilien was re-taken by Steward Boromir, but years later Ithilien was infested again by Mordor-orcs driving most of the people west of the Anduin.[3]

During the rule of the Steward Egalmoth, Orc-wars broke out.[4][note 1]

It seems that Sauron could breed armies of Orcs with enormous speed when they were needed. According to Aragorn, for instance, it had taken just a few years for the Orcs to multiply in Mordor to the vast hordes seen in the War of the Ring.

Few years before the War of the Ring the Orcs began multiplying again and disrupted the transportation from Rhovanion to Osgiliath along the Anduin.[5]

In February of T.A. 3019 a group of Mordor-orcs under Grishnákh joined forces of the Orcs of Isengard on the plains of Rohan during the War of the Ring. Those raided and captured Merry and Pippin. Those Orcs then attempted to head east, but returned when they noticed Rohirrim approaching. Eventually they were wiped out by them.[6]

Orcs made up the backbone of the Eastern hordes during this War, supplemented by Easterlings, Haradrim, and monstrous creatures of Sauron.

Following Sauron's final defeat at the end of the Third Age, Western forces cleared the Black Gate and surrounding hills of Orcs easily without their master to guide them, though it is suggested many escaped into the vast wastes and steppes of Mordor's eastern lands.


  1. The nature of those wars and if they were related to the Orcs of Mordor is not clear. In the Unfinished Tales it is said that Egalmoth was unable to support Rohan in T.A. 2710; although the reason is not explained, it could be the Orc-wars. On the other hand, Christopher Tolkien connects the Orc-wars to the Orc invansions of Eriador 3 decades later (T.A. 2740).