Tolkien Gateway


(Redirected from Kings of Cardolan)
General information
LocationSouthern Eriador; south of the East Road between the Brandywine and Greyflood
Major townsTharbad
LanguageWestron, Sindarin, Hobbitish
GovernanceKing of Cardolan
Preceded byArnor
Dissolution of ArnorT.A. 861
AbandonedT.A. 1636

Cardolan was a breakaway realm of the Dúnedain kingdom of Arnor. After the death of Arnor's King Eärendur, his sons divided the realm into the kingdoms of Arthedain, Rhudaur and Cardolan.


[edit] Description

The southeastern border of Cardolan followed the Gwathló and the Mitheithel to the Last Bridge. From there its boundary followed the Great East Road westward to the Brandywine Bridge, and then down the Baranduin to the Sea and thence to the mouth of the Gwathló. However, Cardolan also claimed the land between Bree and the Weather Hills.[1] Notable features within Cardolan were the Old Forest, the Barrow-downs, the South Downs, and the Greenway.[2]

[edit] History

In T.A. 861 Arnor's tenth King, Eärendur, died.[3] Due to dissensions between his sons the realm was split into Arthedain, Rhudaur and Cardolan. While the line of Isildur continued in Arthedain, in both Rhudaur and Cardolan the line soon failed. The three kingdoms was led to strife because Arthedain held Weathertop and possessed its Palantír as well as two others.[1]

In 1050 the Harfoots came into Eriador and in 1150 they were joined by the Fallohides.[3] It is likely that some of these Hobbits settled in Cardolan.

[edit] War with Angmar

Around 1272[4] Orcs began to trouble the region[5] and around T.A. 1300, the Witch-king founded the kingdom of Angmar north of the Ettenmoors. This event caused many Hobbits to move to Bree.[3]

No descendants of Isildur remained in Cardolan and Rhudaur and Argeleb I of Arthedain claimed lordship over all of former Arnor. Rhudaur resisted this claim and made league with Angmar.[1] Argeleb I fell in battle with Rhudaur in 1356.[3] Cardolan, and Lindon, assisted his son, Arveleg I, to avenge his father by pushing the enemy from the Weather Hills. For many years Arthedain and Cardolan held a frontier along the Hills, the East Road and the lower Hoarwell.[1]

However, in T.A. 1409 a great host issued from Angmar and invaded Cardolan and took Weathertop. A remnant of the Dúnedain of Cardolan held out in the Barrow-downs and the Old Forest. The last prince of Cardolan was interred in the Barrow-downs that year (some say that it was the tomb where Frodo Baggins was trapped during the War of the Ring, and it's likely that Merry saw his last memories in dreams, for he mentioned the "men of Carn Dûm").[1][6]

In T.A. 1636 those people who remained in the Barrow-downs died from the Great Plague. Angmar then sent Barrow-wights to infest and haunt the downs. In T.A. 1851 King of Arthedain Araval[7] attempted to re-occupy Cardolan, but the "evil wights" terrified anyone who attempted to dwell there and Cardolan was soon lost again.[1]

[edit] Legacy

The region remained unpopulated even after the final fall of Arnor and destruction of Angmar (1974[3]).

On 22 September 3018 the Black Riders entered Cardolan from the south.[3] While hunting for the One Ring their chief established himself in Andrath on the Greenway and then visited the Barrow-downs. He stayed there for some days in order to rouse the Barrow-wights.[8]

Presumably the area remained deserted until the reestablishment of the northern kingdom under king Elessar at the end of the Third Age.

[edit] Etymology

It is not known if Tolkien ever explained the name Cardolan. The most common suggestion is that Cardolan likely is Sindarin for "red hill country". In that case, the name could be analyzed as carn ("red") + dol ("hill, mount") + an(n) ("land").[9][10]

An alternative etymology has been suggested by Roger Clewley: Cardolan deriving from Noldorin car ("house"), dolen ("hidden) ("secret"), and the toponymical ending -and, thus meaning "place/land of hidden houses" (a reference to the "dead entombed there").[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Realms in Exile", "The Northern Line: Heirs of Isildur"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VII. The Heirs of Elendil"
  6. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", pp. 144-5
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VII. The Heirs of Elendil", pp. 195, 209-210
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring", "(ii) Other Versions of the Story"
  9. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 690
  10. 10.0 10.1 Roger Clewley, "On the Name Cardolan (#36363)" dated 7 September 2012, Elfling (mailing list) (accessed 11 September 2012)