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Battle of the Thousand Caves

"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.
This article is about the battle between Elves and Dwarves. For the battle between Dior and the Sons of Feanor, see Second Kinslaying.
Battle of the Thousand Caves
Steamey - Death of Thingol.jpg
Date: F.A. 503
Place: The Elven city of Menegroth
Outcome: Dwarven Victory


Dwarves of Nogrod



The Battle of the Thousand Caves[1] was a battle between the Dwarves of Nogrod and the Elves of Menegroth.


[edit] Background

The Silmaril that was rescued by Beren and Lúthien remained in the treasury of Thingol of Doriath who desired to have it always at hand. In the last years of Húrin's life he brought to him the famed Nauglamir, the Necklace of the Dwarves, from Nargothrond.

Having the two great treasures, he decided to unite them by fastening the Silmaril into the Dwarven necklace. The Dwarves that made that work desired the Silmaril from the beginning, and when the work ended they refused to give it to him. In the conflict Thingol was killed. The rest of the Dwarves were hunted down and slain as they fled home, and Nauglamir was taken from them.

After the death of Thingol Melian returned to Valinor. Her magical control upon the woods of Doriath waned after her.

[edit] Prelude

Two Dwarves survived the slaughter, and made it to their home of Nogrod in the Blue Mountains. They lied saying that Thingol killed the Dwarves that made the Nauglamir, refusing to pay them for their work. Their kinsmen became enraged and decided to avenge their fallen brethren. Although the Dwarves of Belegost refused to aid them, they formed a great host. They entered Beleriand, and, crossing Aros, marched west towards Doriath. Nothing could stop them, as the Girdle of Melian waned after Melian departed.

The Sindarin captains were intimidated by the Dwarven host, and they scattered without hope.

[edit] The Battle

The Dwarves found resistance only by the Sindar inside Menegroth. The losses were heavy on the both sides during the grievous battle. Mablung was defending the treasury where the Nauglamir lay, and there he was killed before its doors, and the Silmaril was taken. After they plundered its treasures, they made their way home to Nogrod.

[edit] Aftermath and Repercussions

Before leaving, Melian had told Mablung to warn Beren about the evil deed of the Dwarves. Indeed, with the help of Green-elves and Ents he ambushed the Dwarves near Sarn Athrad. During the battle the host was destroyed and the treasure of Menegroth fell in Ascar, except for the Nauglamir, which Beren brought to Lúthien.[2]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Doriath": "For there was battle in the Thousand Caves"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Doriath"