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- "Beleriand, Beleriand / borders of the faëry land."
- ― Lay of Leithian
Beleriand (S, pron. [beˈlerjand]) was the region of north-western Middle-earth during the First Age. Originally, the name belonged only to the area around the Bay of Balar, but in time the name was applied to the entire land.
To the west and south it had a long shore with the Great Sea Belegaer, to the north were the highland regions of Hithlum, Dorthonion and the hills of Himring, to the east the Ered Luin (Blue Mountains) reached nearly to the sea. The land of Nevrast in the north-west was sometimes considered part of Beleriand.
The River Sirion, the chief river of Beleriand, running north to south, divided it into West Beleriand and East Beleriand. Crossing it east to west was a series of hills and a sudden drop in elevation known as Andram, the Long Wall. (The river sank into the ground at the Fens of Sirion, and re-emerged below the Andram at the Gates of Sirion.) To the east of the Long Wall, was the River Gelion and its six tributaries draining the Ered Luin, in Ossiriand or the Land of Seven Rivers. The River Brithon and the River Nenning were the two lesser rivers of the western land of Falas.
In F.A. 583, Beleriand was mostly destroyed and submerged by the War of Wrath of the Valar against Morgoth. Only a small section of East Beleriand remained, and was known as Lindon. (There is however, some evidence[source?] that other parts of it still remained into the Second Age but were completely destroyed with the downfall of Númenor.)
In addition, fulfilling a prophecy, the graves of Túrin Turambar and Morwen survived as the island Tol Morwen. Likewise part of Dorthonion became Tol Fuin, and the Hill of Himring became the island of Himling. All of these together were known as the Western Isles.
Regions and kingdoms of Beleriand:
- Forest of Brethil
- Nan-tathren (Land of Willows)
- Talath Dirnen (Guarded Plain)
- Taur-en-Faroth (Forest of the Hunters)
- Ossiriand or Lindon
Cities of Beleriand:
Beleriand translates to "The Country of Balar" with the ending -ian(d) for places and countries. The OS form could have been *Balariande (a slid to e because of the following i). The element Beler/Balar is believed to refer to the Maia Ossë, who often dwelt at the shores of the island.
The name Beleriand originally applied only to the region around the Bay of Balar whence the name, before expanded to refer to the wider region. Properly Beleriand does not refer to the Northlands such as Anfauglith, or the eastern lands of Thargelion; Nevrast and Dorthonion are "grey areas". However the term "Beleriand" is sometimes used collectivelly in fandom to include all those submerged lands.
The map of Beleriand as has been published in the Silmarillion, shows only a portion of the region, with no common points to the better-known Third Age Westlands maps of The Lord of the Rings; the only common references were the Blue Mountains, and the information that Lindon is a part of former Ossiriand.
Karen Wynn Fonstad faced the problem when she attempted to make a world-map of Arda. She found a solution by combining an early map for the LotR and an early map for the Silmarillion, both being prototypes for the published maps by Christopher Tolkien. She aligned Tol Fuin with Taur-nu-Fuin and Himling with Himring and filled the rest of the outline with some inspiration from the only world-map by Tolkien. She brought the coast near that of Belfalas, continued the course of Gelion to the south-west, extended the south-western tip to emphasize the Bay of Balar, and assumed that area as forested, a continuation of Taur-im-Duinath.
Didier Willis made the same attempt, using also the Stephen Raw map from Unfinished Tales which shows Himling and also indicates distances, like the second map of Beleriand. Willis' interpretation shows a slightly smaller Beleriand and the Fist Age Bay of Balar closer to the Third Age Gulf of Lune.
Willis also identified Dolmed on the early map of Beleriand, with a certain mountain on the UT map, proving that Dolmed still existed in the Third Age (being way too north from the Gulf to be destroyed); and criticized Fonstad and Robert Foster who suggested the opposite.
Other versions of the legendarium
Beleriand had many different names in Tolkien's early writings, as found in The History of Middle-earth: Broseliand/Broceliand, Golodhinand, Noldórinan, Geleriand, Bladorinand, Belaurien, Arsiriand, Lassiriand, Ossiriand (the latter was later used as a name for another realm).
The early names Broceliand/Broseliand affirms that Tolkien was inspired by the legendary forest of Brocéliande.
- ↑ Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, p. 41
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "The First Map of The Lord of the Rings", "Maps I and IA", p. 302
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", "Second 'Silmarillion' Map" pp. 408-411
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta"
- ↑ Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth, p.3
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, pp. 182-185
- ↑ Mont Dolmed & cités naines — « Lhúndirien » ou le recollage du Beleriand et de l'Eriador
- ↑ Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth p.34
- ↑ Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry Dolmed
- Mark Fisher - Where in Middle-earth was Beleriand?