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Matěj Čadil - Enedwaith.jpg
"Enedwaith" by Matěj Čadil
General Information
Other namesCentral Wilderness[1]
LocationBetween the Gwathló and the Isen; south of Minhiriath and north-west of Rohan
GalleryImages of Enedwaith

Enedwaith (S, pron. [eˈnedwa͡ɪθ]), also spelled Enedhwaith (pron. [eˈneðwa͡ɪθ]), the Central Wilderness[1], originally referred to both a region of Middle-earth between Arnor and Gondor, and the men that inhabited it; the region Enedwaith retained that name even when the Enedwaith people were no more.


[edit] Geography

Enedwaith can be roughly defined as the region between Arnor (Eriador) and the northern parts of Gondor (Calenardhon), and was nominally shared by both, although it wasn't settled by the Dúnedain.[1]

The boundaries of the Enedwaith were defined in the north by the rivers Gwathló and Glanduin, to the east by the Hithaeglir, and to the west by Belegaer. The southern border was less clear, but was probably formed by the river Isen.[2]

[edit] History

During the First and early Second Age Enedwaith was deeply forested, but the arrival of the timber-hungry Númenóreans, from the seventh century of the Second Age onwards, devastated the landscape.

The Enedwaith themselves "were forest dwellers, scattered communities without central leadership." They were distantly related to the Haladin of old, but this wasn't recognized in time by Númenóreans, who were mainly descended from the First and Third Houses of the Edain, and therefore spoke a language which was not related.[3] The Enedwaith were not ranked as Middle Men, friends and distant kin of the Edain, but were ranked among the "people of darkness", enemies and aliens.

The denuded forests of Enedwaith, and much of those to the north in Eriador, were finally destroyed by the War of the Elves and Sauron around S.A. 1700, during which much of what had survived the felling was burnt. Only remote corners like Eryn Vorn survived in Eriador, and the Old Forest further north. Many surviving natives took refuge in the eastern highlands of Enedwaith, "the foothills of the Misty Mountains", which ultimately became Dunland.

After S.A. 3320, Enedwaith formed the most northern part of the new Kingdom of Gondor, at least officially. The south-east was still "in places well-wooded", but elsewhere Enedwaith was by this time "mostly grassland."

Enedwaith was said not to belong to either Arnor or Gondor, sharing an interest in that region. The hold was nominal as it wasn't settled by them, due to the hostility of the Gwathuirim. The only settlement was a fortified town and haven at Tharbad, a garrison populated by soldiers, mariners and engineers.[1][4]

Following the Great Plague in T.A. 1636 the region fell quickly into decay; and back into wild fenlands[5] however, Gondor's authority permanently lapsed throughout the region. At some point the Isen marked the western bounds of Gondor but it was of little concern other than the patrolling and upkeep of the great Royal Road.[6]

Tharbad, originally one of two ancient cities on the Gwathló and the only one to survive beyond the early Third Age, was finally abandoned following devastating floods in T.A. 2912, and thereafter, only two groups survived in Enedwaith: the Dunlendings in the far east, and a "fairly numerous but barbarous fisher-folk" wandering the coast.[4]

[edit] Etymology

Also spelled Enedhwaith. The name Enedwaith means "middle folk" or "middle region" in Sindarin from enedh meaning "middle" and gwaith which means "people" but is also used for regions.

The form "Enedwaith" appears in the General Map of Middle-earth, but J.R.R. Tolkien suggested "Enedhwaith" in his annotations to Pauline Baynes.[7]

While writing Of Dwarves and Men Tolkien typed "Enedwaith" and subsequently added h manually on the typed text, until he started typing "Enedhwaith" which he maintained in The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor. Christopher Tolkien preferred the spelling "Enedwaith" for the Unfinished Tales for agreement with the published Lord of the Rings.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", #76
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "The Atani and their Languages"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix D: The Port of Lond Daer"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
  7. Daniel Helen, "Tolkien’s annotated map of Middle-earth transcribed" dated 10 November 2015, The Tolkien Society (accessed 5 August 2018)
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", #66
Minhiriath Eriador Dunland
The Great Sea WindRose3.pngGrey Mountains
The Great Sea Gondor Rohan