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MIDDLE EARTH IN THE FIRST AGE

The First Age was in essence a time of myths and legends for Middle-Earth, when the Elves and
Men battled the titanic power of the Dark Lord Morgoth and his armies. Many realms rose and
fell during the long battle - some to the sheer force of enemies sent against them, others to
treachery within - but in the end Morgoth was the victor, his enemies scattered and in hiding. But
the Valar - Kings and Queens of Arda - came to the aid of the Children of Illuvatar and the Dark
Lord was defeated.
Beleriand the 'Country of Balar' was the land where most of the titanic events of the First Age
took place. Shielded by the mountains of Ered Luin in the east, fanned by cool winds from
Belegaer the 'Great Sea' in the west, and looked over by the mountains of Ered Engrim in the
north, it was here that the war between the Dark Lord Morgoth and the Noldor Elves was fought.
Originally a land of great beauty, Beleriand was
marred by the continual fighting between the
Elves and Morgoth, so that its beauty was made
less and less, as the influence of the Dark Lord
consumed more and more of the light of the land.
Within time however, after many centuries of
battles, Morgoth finally had near complete
dominion of Beleriand, and it served as the home
for his evil minions, an empty land of sadness and
mourning.

In the end, Earendil son of Tuor sailed to Valinor, and there begged for the pardon of the Noldor
and mercy for the Sindar and Men, and it was granted. In the massive War of Wrath that
followed, the land was rent apart, and Beleriand dissapeared beneath the sea.
GEOGRAPHY OF BELERIAND
Several different geographical regions can be
identified within Beleriand, and they remained
there even after the arrival of the Noldor. The
names of these regions were East Beleriand, West
Beleriand, Taur im Duinath, Ossiriand, Thargelion,
Doriath, Avernien and the Falas

East Beleriand was a wide open


plain, and in later years was home
to several of the Sons of Feanor. It
was crossed by the great Dwarf
Road, which led to Nogrod and
Belegost, and at is heart was
Estolad the 'Encampment', for that
place would later be the first
dwelling of Men in Beleriand. Also
within the boundaries of East
Beleriand was the thin land of
Arthorien, Himlad the Cool Plain,
and the starlit valley of Nan
Elmoth, where Thingol had first
met Melian, though now the
woods were sunless and only
home to the Dark Elf smith Eol.

West Beleriand was less flat


dominated at its heart by the wood
of Taur en Faroth 'Forest of
Hunters' and the high hills that
loomed above the hidden caves of
Nargothrond. In its uppermost
northern reaches were the Woods
of Nuath and the vale of Tumladen
where was fought the battle for
Nargothrond. West Beleriand itself
was crossed by both the great river
Sirion and the lesser river Narog
and at the joining of these two
mighty rivers was Nan Tathren 'Vale
of Willows'.

The mighty Sirion River cuts Beleriand in twain.


The greatest of the rivers of Beleriand, the Sirion
flowed some 850 miles from its source in the cold
highlands of the Ered Wethrin to its mighty delta
on the Bay of Balar. It was unusual in that for
some nine miles of its middle course it flowed
underground from the wide enchanted marshland
of Aelin-uial beneath the high land known as the
Andram. The Sirion was regarded as the border
between East and West Beleriand.

Taur im Duinath 'Forest Between Rivers' was planted firmly between East and West Beleriand
and to the north of it was the hills of Andram the 'Long Wall' which also divided East and West
Beleriand. Taur im Duinaith was a fey land home to few Elves or Men and only dwelt in by wild
animals.
Ossiriand 'Land of the Seven Rivers' was named so for it was flanked on its west by the river
Gelion, and was divided into five sections by the six tributaries of the Gelion, the Adurant,
Duilwen, Brilthor, Legolin, Thalos and Ascar. In later years it would be known as Lindon, and
would be the only part of Beleriand to survive and still be attached to the mainland of Middle
Earth, but during the First Age it was home only to the reclusive Laiquendi, the Green Elves of
Ossiriand, and was empty of anyone else. The wooded land climbed higher and higher until
upon its east it was bordered by Ered Luin. To the north of Ossiriand, also protected by Ered
Luin and the Gelion was the land of Thargelion, soon to be realm of Caranthir, though it was
also known as Talath Rhunen.
Avernien and the Falas both lay by the sea. The name Falas literally meant 'the coast', and it
was ruled by the Sindar lord Cirdan, and it was home to the Falathrim who dwelt in the twin
havens of Brithombar and Eglarest. Avernien was more quiet, where lay the birchwoods of
Nimbrethil, and it was beside the mighty mouths of the Sirion.
However in the northern half of Beleriand lay the great woods of Doriath, that had originally
been known as Eglador. Consisting of the four woods Neldoreth, Region, Nivrim and Brethil, it

later shrank when the Girdle of Melian was placed down, and Brethil was excluded from the
protection.

South of Beleriand lay the empty plains of


Middle Earth, though to the north lay the
Northlands, though it was protected from there
by the high mountains of Ered Gorgoroth and
the highlands of Dorthonion, the mountains of
Echoriath where lay Gondolin, Nevrast and
Hithlum, and the March of Maedhros.

Beleriand later became the home of many dwellings and realms of the Elves. Thingol reigned in
Doriath and held the title Lord of Beleriand, but his power went little beyond his marches.
Maedhros the eldest son of Feanor ruled in Himring, while Maglor his brother protected the
lands of Maglor's Gap. Celegorm and Curufin the next two sons of Feanor dwelt in Himlad, and
Caranthir the next commanded Thargelion, and the two youngest Amrod and Amras hunted in
East Beleriand. The House of Fingolfin ruled in the Northlands in Hithlum, though Turgon dwelt
in hidden Gondolin in Echoriath. Finrod, Lord of the House of Finarfin in Beleriand, ruled the
greatest realm of the Noldor, which was hidden Nargothrond, while Orodreth his brother ruled in
his stead the tower of Minas Tirith on Tol Sirion, and the two youngest Aegnor and Angrod
commanded Dorthonion. The only other free realm of the Sindar in Beleriand was the Falas,
which was ruled by Cirdan, and there still dwelt the Laiquendi in Ossiriand.

Mighty Gondolin, the


hidden city of the Elves.

NORTHLANDS
The Northlands, while geographically not part of Beleriand, were included in that country as the
years progressed.
The mighty
mountains of Ered
Engrim fenced it to
the north, and from
there rose the tall
peaks of
Thangorodrim, where
Morgoth built the
fortress of Angband.
Hithlum, a land of
mist and often cold
winters, became
home to many Noldor
and was the seat of
the High King, and it
kept watch over
Morgoth from the
west. Dorthonion,
where dwelt many
men before the battle
of Dagor Bragollach,
looked at it from the
south, and Ered Luin
rose to wall it off in
the east. Between
Thangorodrim and
these last three
boundaries was the
plain of Ard
Galen 'Green
Region', though later
it would become
Anfauglith 'Land of
Gasping Dust'.

Mighty Angbad
the fearsome seat of Morgoths power
was built behind the forbidding peaks of
Ered Engrim after Morgoths citadel of
Utumno was cast down by the Valinor
though most scholars believe Morgoths
Pits indeed lay beneath the mountains
rather than behind them. From here
Morgoth breeds his Fell creatures and
spreads his pestilence. Indeed,
it was from the Great Night Door that
Morgoths flames poured forth in the
Dagor Bragollach the War of Fire.

Aman the Undying Land cannot simply be


seen as another part of Arda for while the
same seas that reach Middle Earth wash
its shores it is indeed quite apart.

At the heart of Aman


lies Valinor,
the Land of the Valar.
It is from there that
the Valar watch of
the World and live in
peace. Dwelling with
them are the Maiar
the lesser Ainur
and other spirits and
creatures of good
along with the
Calaquendi the Elves
of Light.

Yet not all of Aman is a bastion of ageless light, for to its north lies the Wastes of Araman, and
to the south is the dark land of Avathar, where Melkor first found Ungoliant. Yet Valinor is
protected from these by the Pelori, the greatest mountains in all the world, and their faces were
sheer facing the east, though their western slopes were gentle, falling down into the meadows
and plains of Valinor. The Calacirya, the Pass of Light, was the only break in the Pelori, and at
its center was Tirion, the city of the Noldor and Vanya, which rested on the Hill of Tuna. Rising
to the south of Tirion was Taniquetil, the seat of Manwe and Varda and rising higher than even
Thangorodrim and all the mountains of Pelori. Alqualonde, the city of the Teleri, was located
outside of the Pelori north on the coasts of Valinor, and from there they sailed the seas.
However, the greatest city of Valinor was Valmar itselfs, the city of the Valar Located around it
were the dwellings of many of the Valar, though most importantly the Two Trees did rest near it,
and there was also the Ring of Doom, where the Valar would sit in council. Two other important
locations in Valinor were the Halls of Mandos, which lay in the uppermost north of the plains,
and to here the dead spirits of all Elves came. Also in the north, among the hills, was Formenos
the holdings of Feanor in exile, where the Silmarils were to be kept.

The beauty of the world captured within them, the Silmarils were forged by he who was named
Curufinwe by afterwoods known as Feanor, greatest of all the Noldor Elves is the skills of mind
and hand. The light of the Two Trees was captured and blended within them, so that even in the
greatest darkness they shone with a light of its own, and they were hallowed by Varda the
Queen of the Valar, and made sacred, beauty imperishable.
In the form of three great jewels, the Silmarils
were as the crystal of diamond, but as strong
as adamant, and that no violence within the
walls of Arda could mar or break them, crush or
rend them. But the crystal itself was as the
body is to the spirit. For the inner light of the
Two Trees and Varda burned within them. Thus
even in the uttermost night they shined like all
the stars combined into one point of light. And
so pure and sacred were they that any flesh
tained and or evil that touched them would be
horribly burnt. But the Silmarils were cursed
with their own taint, that any mortal eyes that
glimpsed them would desire them.
But after their forging, Feanor bore them openly among the Elves, and even the Valar wondered
at their radiance. But Melkor the cursed, the Dark Lord and Enemy of all Arda, lusted after them.
Still confined to Valinor in forgiveness he was, having been released from the three ages of his
captivity, though at the sight of those jewels and the secret desire that spread within him, he
once more began spreading lies and untruths.
But Feanor guarded the Silmarils with jealously,
wearing them only at the great feasts, and at all
other times he locked them deep down in the
vaults of his home-in-exile Formenos. But as
Melkor's lies increased, and Feanor soon
locked the Silmarils in the most secure vaults
and grudged their site to all but his father and
sons. And the Valar were dismayed, but they
could do nothing, but it was not long before
Melkor himself appeared at the doors of
Feanor's halls, using his cunning tongue to try
and lure the Silmarils away from Feanor. But
the Elf Lord saw the Dark One's plans, and
turned him away.

And Melkor was filled with shame of


which came anger, and fled Valinor, and
here plotted with the beastly Ungoliant
a great and evil being in the form of a
huge spider and surrounded them in a
web of darkness, they entered Valinor
and in one of the most vile acts in all the
history of Arda, slew the Two Trees,
fleeing swiftly before the Valar could
take full action.

But Manwe King of all Arda saw that the


light of the Two Trees lived still within the
Silmarils and begged Feanor to allow the
Valar to use them to create the beauty of
the Two Trees again. But filled with pride
and knoweldge that such an act would
mean the Silmarils being destroyed
Feanor refused and another doom of the
world was set. But even in that moment
Word came that Melkor had attacked
Formenos slain Feanor's father Finwe
who was also King of the Noldor and
siezed the Silmarils. Thus did the Noldor
return under Feanor to Middle Earth and
the War of the Jewels was fought.

In the end, the War of Wrath was fought and the


But the Silmarils
remained
Morgoth
for all the War, embedded into his iron crown, until
overthrow
of Morgoth
by thewith
Valar
themselves
one
was
cut
loosed
and
taken
by
Beren
Erchampion
and given to Elu Thingol, King of
was complete, and the Silmarils taken. But
Doriath, after
jeweleldest
was rescued
from
the belly of the pain-mad wolf Carcharoth who had
Maedhros
andthe
Maglor,
and only
surviving
swallowed
it.
And
that
jewel
passed
from
Thingol,
to Dior Beren's son, to Elwing Dior's
sons of the now dead Feanor, siezed them, but
daughter
last inso
the
Havens,
in the end it was taken by Earendil Bright in the ship of
so
having at
caused
much
evil, until
the two
Vingilot,
and
now
sails
the
skies.
remaining sacred jewels burnt their hands and
flesh. And Maedhros, driven by pain, threw
himself into a great chasm of fire, while Maglor
hurled his into the sea, where it remains.
Thus were the three Silmarils returned to the
elements of creation - one sailing the sky high
on Earendil's brow, one consumed by the
chasm and now rejoined with the earth, and one
resting at the bottom of the sea.

Time
Period

Year
Start

Year
End

Event

Before
Time

There was Eru, The One. Illuvatar.


Eru made the Ainur (The Holy Ones). Valar & Ainur
Illuvatar wills that the Ainur make in harmony together a Great Music.
Eru shows the Ainur the vision of the World created by their Music.
The Valar entered into Ea.
The beginning of Time, but uncounted.
The First Battle of the Valar and Melkor.
The shaping of the World.
Aule wrought two mighty lamps for the lighting of Middle-earth.
Varda filled the Lamps.
Manwe hollowed the Lamps.
Valar set the lamps on high pillars, Northmost named Illuin, Southern named
Ormal.
Yavanna seeds spring to life.
Beasts came forth.

Spring of
Arda Ends

Melkor casts down the lights of Illuin and Ormal.


The dwelling of the Valar upon Almaren is utterly destroyed.
The Valar leave Middle-earth and move to the Land of Aman.
Valinor is established by the Valar.
Valmar of the many bells, city of the Valar is created.
Yavanna brings the Two Trees of Valinor to bloom, Telperion with dark green
leaves and silver light, Laureling with light green leaves and gold light.
Thus began the Days of the Bliss of Valinor.

Time
Counted
Begins

Thus also begins the Count of Time.

Aule makes the First Seven Fathers of the Dwarves in hidden places.
Illuvatar wills that the Dwarves sleep until AFTER the firstborn awaken.
Varda creates brighter stars in the sky.
The Firstborn of Illuvatar awaken.
First Age

First Age begins

Sun and Moon Rise for 1st time

Fingolfin reaches Middle-earth and is named High-king of the Noldor.

20

Thingol grants the Noldor leave to settle and defend the unpopulated regions of
northern Beleriand, but excersises little control over the Noldo princes.

Time
Period

Year
Start

Year
End

Event

51

Finrod Felagund begins the building of Nargothrond.

52

Turgon discovers Tumladen and begins the buidling of Gondolin.

c.60

Dagor Aglareb, the Third Battle. An Orc attack on Dorthonion is repulsed by the
hosts of Fingolfin and Maedhros.

c. 100

Gondolin completed

155

An Orc attack on Hithlum is repulsed by Fingon's host.

255

Glarung emerges for the first time, but is routed in a battle on Ard-galen.The
Dragons do not appear again for a long time.

c. 306

Maeglin is born.

c. 310

The three Houses of Edain reach Belerian from the southeast.


Beor's House arrives first and is guided by Finrod to Estolad, where it settles.
The next folk, the Haladin, remain in Thargelion.
During the following year, the House of Hador arrives and migrates to Estolad.
After some wandering, Beor's folk settle in Dorthonion and allies itself with
Finrod of Nargothrond.
Hador's pepple settle in Hithlum and Ered Wethrin.
After some years, Haladin are driven out of Thargelion by Orcs.
They move to Estolad and, after some years, Haleth leads her people
westwards through Nan Dungortheb to Brethil and Talath Dirnen.
Many other Men from the three Houses remain in Estolad until Nirnaeth
Arnoediad.

c.330

Maeglin arrives in Gondolin, Eol and Aredhel die.

c.370

The Haladin settle in Brethil

c.425

Hador's House settles in Dor-lomin.

c.441

Hurin is born

c.444

Huor is born.

c.455

Dagor Bragollach, the Fourth Battle.Ard-galen is devasted by rivers of fire from


Angband.
During the winter, the March of Maedhros and Dorthonion are conquered by
Morgoth's hosts.
Fingolfin is killed by Morgoth at the gates of Angband.Fingon becomes King of
Noldor.

c.457

Sauron captures Tol Sirion and changes it to Tol-in-Gaurhoth (Isle of the


Werewolves).
Beor's tribe flee from Dorthonion to Hithlum; only Barahir's outlaws remain.

c.460

Barahir and his men die. Only Beren survives.

c.462

An Orc attack on Hithlum is repulsed.


Hurin becomes Chieftain of the House of Hador in Dor-lomin.

465

Turin is born

466

The adventures of Beren and Luthien, during which Finrod, Huan and
Carcharoth die. Sauron is expelled from Tol-in-Gaurhoth by Luthien and his
tower is destroyed. A Silmaril is wrestled from Morgoth and given to Thingol.
Beren and Luthien settle in Tol Galen.

468

Time
Period

Year
Start

Year
End

473

Event
Nirnaeth Arnodiad, the Fifth Battle/
The hosts of the Eldar and the Edain are utterly crushed by Morgoth's forces.
Hithlum is settled by the Easterlings.Tuor is born.

474
482

The Falas is ravaged by Orcs.


501

Turin's tragic adventures, well described in Narn I Hin Hurin.. They are too
extensive to be summarized here?

496

The Haladin are defated and withdraw in the forests.Nargothrond is conquered


by Glaurung and Orcs

502

Hurin dies

503

Tuor and Idril marry

505

Dwarves from Nogrod slay Thingol in Menegroth and steal the Silmaril, but are
themselves slain during their escape.The jewel is brought back to
Menegroth.Melian departs Middle-earth. A dwarven army sacks Menegroth and
captures the Silmaril. During their return march Beren kills them and recovers
the jewel, which is worn by Luthien for some years.

509

Beren and Luthien die

510

Feanor's sons attack Menegroth to capture the Silmaril. Caranthir, Celegorm,


Curufin, Dior, and Nimloth are slain, while Elwingescapes to Sirion with the
Silmaril.

511

The Sack of Gondolin.


Turgon and Maeglin die.
Tuor and Idril flee to the Mouths of the Sirion.
Ereinion Gil-galad is King of the Noldor.

c.520

eanor's four surviving sons attack the Elven settlement at the mouth ofSirion in
search of the Silmaril, but fail to capture it. Amrod and Amras fall in the fight.
Some decades later, Earendil reaches Aman and appeals to the Valar.The
Hosts of Valinor go to Middle-earth and the War of Wrath is fought.

c.540

The First Age comes to an end

End
First
Age

Additional Maps
Menegroth: Called 'The
Thousand Caves', the
stronghold and citadel of
Thingol on the banks of
the River Esgalduin in
Doriath. It was delved in
the long years before the
rising of the Moon by the
Dwarves of the Blue
Mountains.

The stronghold and realm of Finrod Felagund,


founded by him on the model of the halls of
Menegroth in Doriath.
The stronghold of Nargothrond was carved
into the rock beneath Taur-en-Faroth, and
could only be approached by a narrow path
along the high banks of the River Narog. No
bridge was built across the river until late in its
history. The citadel long lay hidden from
Morgoth, and was ruled wisely for long years
by Finrod. After he was lost in the Quest of the
Silmaril, his brother Orodreth expelled the
usurping sons of Fanor, Celegorm and
Curufin, and was lord in Nargothrond.
The lands to the north of the citadel were
considered part of its realm, and the people of
Nargothrond kept unceasing watch on the
grasslands to the north; the Talath Dirnen or
Guarded Plain.

When Trin dwelt in Nargothrond, he


persuaded the Elves who dwelt there to
change their long policy of secrecy, and
openly attack the servants of Morgoth. So the
Dark Lord discovered the city's location, and
sent out an army under Glaurung to sack and
destroy it.