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Sauron's attack on Osgiliath

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"Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?" - Tom Bombadil
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.
The name Battle of Osgiliath refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Battle of Osgiliath (disambiguation).
Sauron's attack on Osgiliath
Conflict: War of the Ring
Date: 20 June T.A. 3018
Place: The ruins of Osgiliath and its last bridge
Outcome: Victory for Sauron, fall of the eastern half of Osgiliath, allowing the Nazgûl to hunt for the Ring




John Howe - Icon Mordor 1 small.pngSauron


Unknown, Gondorians

Unknown, forces of Mordor, Easterlings, Haradwaith




War of the Ring
Osgiliath (1) · Fords of Isen · Isengard · Hornburg · Osgiliath (2) · Dale · Siege of Gondor · Pelennor Fields · Black Gate · Dol Guldur · Bywater

Sauron's attack on Osgiliath occurred on 20 June, T.A. 3018[1], and was later recognized as the beginning of the War of the Ring, for Sauron had two purposes in making this assault: First, Sauron wished to test the strength and preparedness of Denethor (which was found to be greater than he hoped). Second, Sauron's other and greater purpose was to make the appearance of the Nazgûl seem to be only part of his war policy against Gondor, in order to conceal from the Wise their mission to hunt for the One Ring.[2]

At the Council of Elrond, Boromir recounted this battle as a sudden attack in which the men of Gondor were outnumbered by the forces of Mordor with their allies, the Easterlings and Haradrim. However, he attributed Gondor's defeat to a power that had not been felt before, issuing from a great black horseman. Only a remnant of Gondor's eastern force survived. The last bridge across the Anduin was defended by a company led by Boromir and Faramir until the structure was destroyed. Only the two brothers and two others survived by swimming.[3]

After the eastern portion of Osgiliath was taken and the bridge broken, Sauron broke off the assault, ordering the Nazgûl to begin their search for the Ring.[2]

Portayal in adaptations

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (extended edition):

In the extended edition, Faramir has a flashback of himself and his brother in Osgiliath successfully fending off Sauron's forces. It was then when Denethor II brought up the matter of the One Ring and sent Boromir to Rivendell, expressing his trust and preference to him rather than Faramir. This scene seems to explain Faramir's treatment of Frodo in the movie, as he intends to deliver the Ring to Denethor hoping to be seen in a better light.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"