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Union of Maedhros

From Tolkien Gateway
"The Battle of Unnumbered Tears" by Alan Lee
Union of Maedhros
FoundedF.A. 468
PurposeUnite the peoples of Beleriand against Morgoth
MembersDwarves of Belegost, Easterlings, Gondolindrim, Elves of Mithrim, Elves of Nargothrond, Falathrim, Haladin, Men of Dor-lómin, and Noldor of Hithlum
LocationNorth Beleriand
DisbandedF.A. 472
Notable forEnded in the disaster known as the Nirnaeth Arnoediad

The Union of Maedhros was a short-lived alliance formed by Maedhros after the Dagor Bragollach. It sought to unite the Fëanorians with the other peoples of Beleriand, including the Noldor of Hithlum, the Dwarves, the Edain and the newly arrived Easterlings. Due to tensions with the sons of Fëanor, Nargothrond and Doriath only sent small forces. The alliance was defeated at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the Battle of Unnumbered Tears.[1]


The Union of Maedhros was divided into two armies in the east and west, led by Maedhros and High King Fingon respectively.

Eastern army

Western army


After the Dagor Bragollach, the Noldor had lost control over northern Beleriand, and were mostly reduced to enclaves in Hithlum and Nargothrond, including the hidden Gondolin.[2] When Maedhros heard of the heroic deeds of Beren and Lúthien new hope came to him. Maedhros decided to unite the peoples of Beleriand to assail Angband.

Elves, Men and Dwarves joined the alliance. The Dwarves of the Blue Mountains supplied both armed forces and forged weapons. Even to Gondolin came word of the Union and Turgon the Hidden King secretly made his own preparations. Other Elves, like Orodreth, refused to join because of the evils of Celegorm and Curufin, while Thingol had sworn never to fight alongside the Feanorians; only a few representatives came from Doriath and Nargothrond.

Maedhros' plans were to lead his army (with some assistance from the western army) to Anfauglith in order to draw out the armies of Morgoth, and then flank with the hidden forces of Fingon that would emerge from the Ered Wethrin.

Initially, the forces managed to clean of evil creatures West Beleriand and Dorthonion, and the final assault was planned for Midsummer. However, Morgoth had time to prepare his forces as Maedhros revealed himself too early, and then Uldor, who was an agent of the Enemy, delayed Maedhros' forces by giving false reports of enemy presence. A small force of Orcs managed to provoke the western army prematurely, instigated by Gwindor. As a result, the armies of the Union were themselves outflanked in the ensuing battle, which, despite Turgon's timely and unexpected arrival, would prove disastrous, and would be known as the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.[1]


  1. In The Grey Annals (§221), Thingol also sends a small force of Grey-elves with Mablung.