Tolkien Gateway

Cirith Ungol

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''Cirith Ungol'' is [[Sindarin]] for "Cleft of the Spider", composed of ''[[cirith]]'' and ''[[Spiders#Names|ungol]]''.<ref>{{HM|N}}, p. 767</ref>
 
''Cirith Ungol'' is [[Sindarin]] for "Cleft of the Spider", composed of ''[[cirith]]'' and ''[[Spiders#Names|ungol]]''.<ref>{{HM|N}}, p. 767</ref>
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==Other versions of the legendarium==
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In earlier drafts Cirith Ungol was called Kirith Ungol, it was located where [[Cirith Gorgor]] is located in the final version and it was guarded by Minas Morgul instead of the Tower of Cirith Ungol.<ref>{{WR|2|II}}, p. 106</ref><ref>{{WR|2|III}}, p. 124</ref>
  
 
{{References}}
 
{{References}}

Revision as of 14:10, 29 March 2021

The name Cirith Ungol refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Cirith Ungol (disambiguation).
Cirith Ungol
Pass
Rob Alexander - Cirith Ungol.jpg
"Cirith Ungol" by Rob Alexander
General Information
PronunciationS, [ˈkiriθ ˈuŋɡol]
LocationEphel Dúath
TypePass
People and History
InhabitantsMen, Orcs, Shelob
EventsQuest of the Ring
GalleryImages of Cirith Ungol

Cirith Ungol was a pass through the Ephel Dúath that led into Mordor.

Contents

History

The pass was first called Cirith Dúath ("Shadow Cleft"). This name was used during the War of the Last Alliance, when Isildur sent his sons Aratan and Ciryon to Minas Ithil to prevent the forces of Sauron from escaping through the pass.[1] After the War, the Men of Gondor built a tower, which was later called Tower of Cirith Ungol, at the eastern end of Cirith Dúath as an eastern outpost of the defences of Ithilien to keep enemies in Mordor.[2]

The pass was located in a cleft on the slope of the mountain on the left side of the Morgul Pass. It could be reached by climbing the Stairs of Cirith Ungol at the beginning of the Morgul Vale,[3] passing through a tunnel,[4] and taking a long flight of broad, shallow steps to the cleft[5] with the crown of the pass after which the road turned left and plunged steeply down to the Tower of Cirith Ungol.[2]

The pass of Cirith Ungol was probably named after the giant spider Shelob, who dwelt there.[6] It was also referred to as the "high pass".[7][8][5]

During the War of the Ring, in March T.A. 3019, Gollum led Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee up the Stairs of Cirith Ungol,[3] into Shelob's lair.[4]

Etymology

Cirith Ungol is Sindarin for "Cleft of the Spider", composed of cirith and ungol.[9]

Other versions of the legendarium

In earlier drafts Cirith Ungol was called Kirith Ungol, it was located where Cirith Gorgor is located in the final version and it was guarded by Minas Morgul instead of the Tower of Cirith Ungol.[10][11]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields", "Notes", note 11
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Shelob's Lair"
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Choices of Master Samwise"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Index", "Cirith Ungol [Pass of the Spider]"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Black Gate is Closed"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Forbidden Pool"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 767
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Two: The Ring Goes East", "II. The Passage of the Marshes", p. 106
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Two: The Ring Goes East", "III. The Black Gate is Closed", p. 124