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The Silmarillion chapters
  1. Ainulindalë
  2. Valaquenta
  3. Quenta Silmarillion
    1. Of the Beginning of Days
    2. Of Aulë and Yavanna
    3. Of the Coming of the Elves
    4. Of Thingol and Melian
    5. Of Eldamar
    6. Of Fëanor
    7. Of the Silmarils
    8. Of the Darkening of Valinor
    9. Of the Flight of the Ñoldor
    10. Of the Sindar
    11. Of the Sun and Moon
    12. Of Men
    13. Of the Return of the Ñoldor
    14. Of Beleriand and its Realms
    15. Of the Ñoldor in Beleriand
    16. Of Maeglin
    17. Of the Coming of Men into the West
    18. Of the Ruin of Beleriand
    19. Of Beren and Lúthien
    20. Of the Fifth Battle
    21. Of Túrin Turambar
    22. Of the Ruin of Doriath
    23. Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin
    24. Of the Voyage of Eärendil
  4. Akallabêth
  5. Of the Rings of Power

The Akallabêth is the fourth part of The Silmarillion, and the primary account of the downfall of Númenor. It is relatively short, consisting of about thirty pages.

The story is written in the voice of Pengolodh, and is one of the more significant stories associated with Ælfwine.


Akallabêth (The Downfallen in Adûnaic; Quenya is Atalantë; Mar-nu-Falmar as another Quenya name.) is the story of the destruction of the Kingdom of Númenor, as written by Elendil. At the end of the First Age (described in detail in the Quenta Silmarillion), those Men who had been helping the Elves in their fight against Morgoth were given a new home, free from the evil and sadness of Middle-earth. This was called Elenna or Númenor, an island located in the middle of the Great Ocean, between the western shores of Middle-earth, and the eastern shores of Aman, where the Valar dwelt.

As they entered Númenor, the Númenóreans were forbidden to set sail towards Aman, they gladly agreed to this because they regarded mortality as a gift and did not envy the Valar and Elves who could not die. For one and a half thousand years Númenor grew in might; Númenórean ships sailed the seas and established a number of colonies in Middle-earth. During that time the Elves of Middle-earth were engaged in a bitter fight with Morgoth's former servant Sauron, who had turned into a Dark Lord himself. The Elves asked for the help of the Númenóreans and they agreed, triumphing over the Dark Lord in the War of the Elves and Sauron. But in the following centuries, the Númenóreans began to desire immortality and rebelled against the Valar and the Elves. Their penultimate king, Tar-Palantir, tried to amend the evil but it was too late. During this time, Númenor grew even more wealthy and powerful, but the bliss of the people steadily diminished.

The last king, Ar-Pharazôn, wanted control of Middle-earth, and so he attacked Sauron. Sauron's armies became afraid of the might of Númenor, and deserted him, so he was captured and brought imprisoned to the Númenórean king. However, Sauron exploited his power to corrupt the king to his will. Soon he became his adviser, and much of Númenor obeyed his will and worshipped Morgoth. Sauron convinced Ar-Pharazôn to try to assail Aman for immortality, desiring to destroy Númenor with the wrath of the Valar. However when the Great Armament arrived, the Valar appealed to Eru Ilúvatar. Eru destroyed the Númenórean host, by crushing it under stones, imprisoning Ar-Pharazôn and his men in the Caves of the Forgotten. He also caused the whole of Númenor to sink into the ocean, overwhelmed by a great wave. Just a few families of Númenóreans, descendants of a party called "The Faithful" because they were uncorrupted by Sauron, had fled Númenor by ship earlier with their most treasured possessions and heirlooms. They were led by Elendil the Tall (4 ships), and his two sons: Isildur (3 ships) and Anárion (2 ships).

They were blown to Middle-earth, where the followers of Elendil established two kingdoms, which were founded as Realms in Exile: Gondor in the south and Arnor in the North. Some of the King's Men, enemies of Elendil, established other realms in exile to the south; of these Umbar was the chief. The culture of Númenor became the dominant culture in the west of Middle-earth (thus, Westron, a descendant of the Adûnaic language of Númenor became the lingua franca). The sadness and the shock from the loss of their homeland lived ever after in the hearts of those of Númenórean descent, exemplified by the tradition of the Standing Silence. Arda was made spherical, and Aman was put further beyond Middle-earth, out of the reach of mortal men. Sauron, although greatly diminished and bereft of shape, escaped Númenor and returned to Middle-earth once more, to be defeated a century later in the War of the Last Alliance.

Textual history

The story originated with The Lost Road, an abandoned time-travel novel. It was later adapted into back-story for The Lord of the Rings.


As the Quenya name makes obvious, this is a retelling of the story of the lost city of Atlantis, in the Middle-earth cadre. "Atalantë" is Quenya for "Downfallen".


Christopher Tolkien notes in The Peoples of Middle-earth that in the final version of Akallabêth, written by his father, the work is written in the voice of Pengolodh, and that the story was originally addressed to Ælfwine by him.

The authentic text began: "Of Men, Ælfwine, it is said by the Eldar that they came into the world in the time of the Shadow of Morgoth..."

Christopher then admits that this removal made the whole source lose its anchorage in Eldarin lore, and he believed he used poor judgment and excessive vigilance, which also led him to alterations of the end of the paragraph (perhaps editorial work that was not his to properly make, as he went against his father's original intent). Christopher also points out that the last paragraph of Akallabêth, as published in The Silmarillion, still contains indirect references to Ælfwine, the 'Straight Road' and other 'future mariners', which he never altered or removed.


Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic አክሊለቢ
Arabic أكالابيث
Armenian Ակալաբեթ
Belarusian Cyrillic Акаллабет
Bengali অকল্যাবেথ
Bulgarian Cyrillic Акалабет
Georgian აკალაბეთი
Greek Ακάλλαμπεθ
Gujarati અકલ્બેબેથ
Hebrew אקאלאבת
Hindi अकल्लब्ऐथ
Japanese アカルラベース
Kannada ಅಕೆಲ್ಲಬೆತ್
Korean 아칼라베스
Macedonian Cyrillic Акалабет
Malayalam അകലെബത്ത്
Marathi अकालाबेट
Mongolian Cyrillic Акаллабэт
Nepalese आकल्लबेथ
Odia ଅକାଲାବେଥ୍
Persian آکالابت
Russian Акаллабет
Serbian Акалабет (Cyrillic) Akalabet (Latin)
Sinhalese අකාල්ලබෙත්
Talik Cyrillic Акаллабет
Tamil அக்கல்லபேத்
Telugu అకాళ్లబేత్
Thai อคัลลาเบธ
Ukrainian Cyrillic Акаллабет
Uzbek Акаллабет (Cyrillic) Akallabet (Latin)
Yiddish ײַקאַללאַבעטה