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Marya Filatova - Sinda.jpg
"Sinda" by Marya Filatova
General Information
Other namesSindeldi (Q)[1]
Grey-elves, Elves of the Twilight,[2] Middle Elves
OriginsTeleri who remained in Beleriand
LocationsDoriath, the Falas, Nan Elmoth, much of Beleriand
MembersElu Thingol, Lúthien, Daeron, Mablung, Círdan, Beleg, Oropher, Legolas, Thranduil, Celeborn
Physical Description
DistinctionsGood singers, woodsmen, and shipbuilders
Average heightTall
Hair colorUsually dark, sometimes silver[1]
GalleryImages of Sindar
"Although they were Moriquendi, under the lordship of Thingol and the teaching of Melian they became the fairest and the most wise and skilful of all the Elves of Middle-earth."
Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Sindar"

Sindar (meaning "Grey People"[note 1]) or Grey Elves were Elves of Telerin descent who inhabited Beleriand. They were united under the King of Doriath Elu Thingol, and later his grandson Dior Eluchíl.

They belonged to the Teleri who did accept the invitation and set out on the Great Journey and were Eldar, although Moriquendi, never having actually set foot in Valinor, with the Calaquendi. However they still became the fairest and most wise and skillful of the elves of Middle-earth under the rule of Thingol and Melian in Doriath, and they are therefore sometimes referred to as "Elves of the Twilight".

History[edit | edit source]

Origins[edit | edit source]

The Teleri were the largest of the three hosts of the Eldar. For this reason, they had two leaders during the Great March from Cuiviénen, the brothers Elwë (later known as Elu Thingol in the Sindarin tongue) and Olwë. The two lords also had a lesser brother, Elmo. When the Teleri reached Beleriand, Elwë went wandering in the forests as was his wont. In the forest of Nan Elmoth he encountered Melian, one of the Maiar. They fell in love, and the two stood spellbound in Nan Elmoth for several years.[2]

In the meantime, Olwë and many of the Teleri could not delay longer, and departed for Aman without Elwë and his following, who preferred to stay in Beleriand to search for their king. They later became known as the Eglath (the "Forsaken"). During this time, they may have been ruled by the youngest brother Elmo, who was among their number. At long last Elwë awoke from the spell and returned to his people, founding a kingdom in the midst of Beleriand: Eglador ("Land of the Forsaken" or "Land of the Elves"). The Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost in the Blue Mountains were contracted to aid in the building of the city of Menegroth.

Just before the arrival of the Noldorin Exiles, the Dark Lord Morgoth returned to his old stronghold of Angband, and his activities increased. Thingol had Melian use her magic to create a girdle of bewilderment around Eglador, so that nobody could enter without the king's permission. Ever after it was known as Doriath ("Land of the Fence") and the Sindar who dwelt inside its borders were called Iathrim ("People of the Fence"). Thingol remained High King of the Sindar and nominal Overlord of Beleriand, although especially the Noldor following of the sons of Fëanor usually ignored his commands.

A Sindarin lady by Tuuliky

Distribution[edit | edit source]

Other than the Eglath and the Iathrim, other Teleri also stayed in Beleriand and were counted among the Sindar: these were the friends of Ossë the Maia, who had fallen in love with the shores of Middle-earth, and did not wish to depart. Their leader was Círdan, and they established cities at Eglarest and Brithombar. They were known as the Falathrim, or "Elves of the Falas".[3] They were not part of the realm of Eglador, but still took Thingol as their High King.[4]

Yet other stray bands of Sindar settled in Hithlum and in Nevrast[5] to the north of Eglador, although these did not form any realms. Those were the Elves of Mithrim. In addition Sindar from Nevrast later moved with Turgon to Gondolin.[6][7]

A last group of Teleri in Beleriand were the Laiquendi or "Green Elves"; they were not counted as Sindar, because they did not originally abandon the Great Journey in Beleriand. The Laiquendi were descended from the Nandor, a group of Teleri that had split from the Great Journey before the Misty Mountains and gone south along the Great River. A part of them, under Denethor son of Lenwë, crossed the Blue Mountains eventually, and settled in Ossiriand, or as it was later known Lindon ("Land of the Singers"). They remained a people apart for long, although many of them removed to Thingol's realm after Denethor was killed.

The Teleri of Eglador, the northlands, and the Falas were collectively known as the Sindar in later days, because they developed a civilisation all its own, which almost equalled that of the Calaquendi or Light Elves of Valinor.

Later history[edit | edit source]

In the early Second Age, after the War of Wrath, many of the Eldar who had no desire to leave Middle-earth retreated to Lindon. The Sindar mainly concentrated mostly to Harlindon, under the leadership of Celeborn. Some of them who had no desire to be merged with the other Sindar dominated by the Noldor, left Lindon. Some Sindar (along with Noldor and Green-elves) followed Celeborn and Galadriel to Eriador and for some time dwelt in the lands around Nenuial.[8]

Other came to the forest realm east of Misty Mountains[9]. They became the rulers of the Silvan Elves living there and established the Woodland Realms of Greenwood the Great (S "Eryn Galen") and Lórinand (or Laurelindórenan). The Silvan Elves shared common heritage with the Sindar as both the Silvan Elves (originally known as the Nandor) and the Sindar were of the Teleri clan. Sindar soon merged with the Silvan Elves and embraced and adopted their culture, wishing to experience a more "rustic" and "natural" way of life as was the case after their awakening in Cuiviénen.[9]

Other Sindar had founded the haven of Edhellond in the south, and they were also joined by Silvan Elves who migrated there.[10]

Language[edit | edit source]

Main article: Sindarin

The language of the Sindar evolved from common Telerin over the long ages they were sundered from their kin. Among themselves, their own language had no name, as it was the only one that they ever heard, and didn't need any [11] but in Quenya, the language was designated as Sindarin. During the First Age there were several dialects that fell under the umbrella of Sindarin: Doriathrin, Mithrimin and Falathrin. By the time the Noldor arrived in Beleriand, the languages between the two continents had become mutually unintelligible, but the Noldor were quick to learn it. Sindarin eventually replaced Quenya as the language used by the Noldor in Beleriand, even in predominantly Noldorin settlements such as Gondolin, although Quenya survived as a language of knowledge.

In the later Ages, Sindarin was the Elvish tongue used in daily speech throughout Middle-earth. It was also adopted for daily use by the Men of the House of Beor and later the Númenóreans, and remained somewhat in use in the realms-in-exile of Gondor and Arnor.

When the Sindar came to the East to rule over the Silvan Elves, their language was adopted by them who spoke a language of Nandorin origin. Sindarin soon influenced by Silvan language and this new dialect became known as Silvan Elvish (or "woodland tongue"). Names such as Lothlórien, Caras Galadhon, Amroth, Nimrodel are possibly of Silvan origin, adapted to Sindarin.[12]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The term Sindar is a Quenya name. It means "Grey-elves" or "the Grey".[13][14] It was devised by the Noldorin exiles, derived from PQ thindi. A less common Quenya name for this people was Sindeldi (sing. Sindel).[14]

Why the Sindar had been called the "grey" yielded a discussion among the loremasters. One theory suggested that it referred to Elu Thingol's, and those near akin to him, hair of silver hue (although most Sindar were dark-haired). Another theory suggested that the name was derived from the meaning of Thingol (Q. Sindikollo), "Grey-cloak" (the Northern Sindar were also said to have been clad much in grey).[14]

The name that the Sindar used for themselves was simply Edhil ("Elves", singular Edhel). The Sindar considered themselves to be Celbin, persons of Light. The Noldor on the other hand, using their own definition of what are "Light Elves", didn't consider the Sindar to be Calaquendi, which is the Quenya cognate of Celbin.[1]

In the lore of the Dúnedain the Sindar (and sometimes the Silvan Elves[15]) were also called Middle Elves, distinguishing them from the High Elves (being of their kin) and the Dark Elves, although the latter term included the Sindar sometimes, because of their ignorance of the Light of Valinor.[16]


  1. The singular term would be Sinda but it was not generally used by Tolkien


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: C. The Clan-names, with notes on other names for divisions of the Eldar", entry "Sindar", p. 384
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Thingol and Melian"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beleriand and its Realms"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Thingol and Melian"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beleriand and its Realms"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Noldor in Beleriand"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn"
  9. 9.0 9.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Amroth and Nimrodel", p. 247
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar" p.376
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of the Elves"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 117 entry Q Sindar
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar": Sindar" [also, Author's Note 11]
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", #67
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "The Atani and their Languages"
(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