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Mearas by Jef Murray

The Mearas is the name the Rohirrim gave in their language for a race of horses. According to their traditions, the ancestors of the Mearas were brought from the West by Béma.

The Mearas were strong, wild, intelligent and could live for 80 years[1]. They were beautiful and usually grey or white.

Léod of the Éothéod captured and tried to tame the first of them, only to be killed when he tried to mount it. His son, Eorl however was the first who managed to ride it and named it Felaróf. Eorl came with this horse south to Rohan and the Mearas were his descendants.[2]

The Mearas traditionally would only allow themselves to be ridden by the King or prince of Rohan. Shadowfax was the only exception, as he was tamed by Gandalf.


The word Mearas comes from an Old English word meaning simply "horses". Its singular form would be mearh or marh. Robert Foster in his The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, incorrectly displays the singular as Meara.

The root marh can be seen in the names of the Northmen Marhwini and Marhari (which are actually Gothic) as well as Marcho.


  1. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl"