Changing of the World

From Tolkien Gateway
(Redirected from World Made Round)
Changing of the World
Other namesBreaking of the World
Númenórean Catastrophe[1]
LocationBetween Númenor and the West, though all of Arda was affected
DateS.A. 3319
ResultArda turned into a round world
Part ofIlúvatar's aid to the Valar
ParticipantsIlúvatar, Valar, Númenóreans
DescriptionIlúvatar's intervention in history that changed Arda from flat to round, making the West inaccessible to Men

...malle téna lende númenna
ilya sí maller raikar...


The Changing of the World was the event in which Arda was transformed from a flat world into a round planet. It occurred in S.A. 3319[2] when Ilúvatar utterly destroyed the island of Númenor due to the deeds of its people.


When the Númenórean King Ar-Pharazôn attacked Valinor, the Valar relinquished their dominion over Arda and called upon Eru for help. Ilúvatar responded by creating an enormous rift between Númenor and the Blessed Realm, into which Ar-Pharazôn's fleet and, ultimately, his land were swept. Meanwhile, the flat world bent back upon itself and met at this rift. The final result was a round planet of which Aman and Tol Eressëa were no longer a physical part. After the Changing of the World, only the Elves could find the Straight Way and reach the ancient West by ship.[3]

Other versions of the legendarium

See also: Round World version of the Silmarillion.

In Tolkien's latest writings published in the later volumes of The History of Middle-earth, Arda was a round world from its beginning, and the idea of a flat world was instead an invention of the Númenóreans. Thus, in this alternate account, the world would not need to be bent at the time of Númenor's downfall and Aman's removal from the physical world.[4]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Three. The World, its Lands, and its Inhabitants: XV. The Númenórean Catastrophe & End of "Physical" Aman"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed"