From Tolkien Gateway
"Earendil's Ship" by John Howe
Other namesVingilótë (Q), Rothinzil (A), Foam-flower
LocationEvening or morning sky
AppearanceSilver sails and lanterns, prow shaped like a swan
CreatorEärendil, with Círdan
Havens of Sirion, Between F.A. 525 and 534
GalleryImages of Vingilot

...he built a boat of timber felled
in Nimbrethil to journey in;
her sails he wove of silver fair,
of silver were her lanterns made,
her prow was fashioned like a swan,
and light upon her banners laid.

Vingilot was the ship in which Eärendil and Elwing sailed to Aman to seek pardon and assistance from the Valar. This vessel was said to be the fairest ever fashioned – it had white timbers of birchwood from Nimbrethil, oars of gold, sails of silver,[1] and its prow was swan-shaped.[2]


After the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and the Fall of the Falas, the remnant of the Noldor and Men gathered about the Havens of Sirion where Eärendil was their lord. Eärendil sought to sail into the West to seek Tuor and Idril and to ask for pardon from the Valar for his people. For these purposes Vingilótë was built by Eärendil and Círdan the Shipwright.[note 1]

Eärendil sailed in Vingilótë while his wife Elwing waited by the mouths of Sirion. Although he had many adventures he could not make his way to the shores of Valinor. Finally, having fearful dreams concerning Elwing, he hastened back to Middle-earth. It was well that he hurried, for the sons of Fëanor, having learned that Elwing possessed a Silmaril, made a sudden attack upon the exiles and refugees of Gondolin and Doriath. Though Maedhros and Maglor won the battle they did not gain the Silmaril; Elwing cast herself into the sea with the jewel upon her breast.

Ulmo lifted Elwing from the sea and transformed her into a great white bird. In this guise she flew to Vingilótë and fell into a swoon, but in the morning regained her normal form. Eärendil and Elwing, with the mariners Falathar, Erellont, and Aerandir, turned westward and again sought Valinor. On this voyage Eärendil stood in the prow of Vingilótë with the Silmaril bound to his brow. The jewel shone ever brighter as they traveled west and by its light and power they pierced the Shadowy Seas.

The fruits of their voyage were to change the world: The Valar received Eärendil's plea, the War of Wrath was fought, and Beleriand sank beneath the waves. To Eärendil and Elwing and their sons were given their choice of kindred. The three sailing companions of Eärendil and Elwing were put into a different boat and driven east by a great wind. Lastly, Vingilótë was hallowed, made fair and marvelous,[note 2] and lifted into the sky. There Eärendil eternally sails the vessel with the Silmaril still upon his brow and he and his ship are called Gil-Estel, the Star of High Hope, and Star of Eärendil.

However Vingilótë was used for one last task for the Valar, Elves, and Men. In the War of Wrath, as his forces failed, Morgoth released the winged dragons. Led by Ancalagon the Black, the dragons began pushing back the host of the Valar. Then came Eärendil in Vingilótë with a host of great birds and they gave battle to the dragons. Finally Eärendil slew Ancalagon and the host of the Valar prevailed.[1]


Vingilótë means "Foam-flower" in Quenya, from winga ("foam, spray") + lótë ("flower").[3]

Other names

Rothinzil is its cognate in Adûnaic.[4]

In a manuscript, Tolkien considered the name Eälótë.[5]


  1. The date of Vingilótë's construction is not known. Tuor and Idril departed in F.A. 525 and Eärendil began his voyages in 534 so the ship must have been built sometime within those years.
  2. In Bilbo's poem about Eärendil he claimed that Vingilótë was remade "of mithril and of elven-glass". It made the gleam of truesilver visible to the world as the Evening and Morning Star.