Brethil was a cluster of woodlands and the realm of the Haladin during the First Age of Middle-earth. The forest bordered by Dorthonion and was the northwest border of the Kingdom of Doriath, and lay between the rivers Teiglin (west) and Sirion (east). It was a dense, sparsely populated Beech forest.
Brethil was probably originally part of Doriath during most of the Years of the Trees. When the Girdle of Melian was set after the First Battle, the Forest of Brethil was not included in it and was for the most part unsettled. However, King Thingol still held lordship over it.
When Men came into the Beleriand, King Thingol gave his permission for some of their peoples to settle there so long as they defended it. It was to Brethil that the House of Haleth removed after dwelling east of the river Gelion, settling mainly on the Hill of Amon Obel where upon stood Ephel Brandir, the main feature of the forest. They defended it from the Orcs until the late fifth century of the First Age, when much of their number was lost including their Lord Handir in a raid by the enemy. Some Drúedain also dwelt there.
The Haladin came to Brethil from the lands of Caranthir by way of Estolad. They had endured much hardship upon their long journey, but began to recover and multiply in the isolated forest. There they formed an alliance with Elu Thingol, King of Doriath. At need, Thingol sent Beleg Cúthalion with great force of his Sindarin Elves west to fight alongside Halmir son of Haldan, Lord of the Haladin. The combined force destroyed a legion of Orcs, and the realm had peace for a time. Later, many of the Woodmen of Brethil joined the muster of Húrin son of Galdor, close kin of their lord Haldir, son of Halmir, and took part in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.
After the disastrous battle, the Haladin became even more reclusive. Many withdrew to Ephel Brandir, the home of their lord Brandir the Lame, upon Amon Obel. Years later, Túrin Turambar son of Húrin was brought to Ephel Brandir, and became the de facto lord of the Haladin. The tragedy of the Children of Hurin ensnared the Haladin, and the forest was eventually attacked by Glaurung, father of Dragons. He burnt a path directly towards Ephel Brandir, but Túrin managed to slay him at Cabed-en-Aras upon Teiglin with his mighty sword Gurthang. Returning towards Ephel Brandir, Túrin learned the truth about his wife Níniel, and he, Níniel and Brandir all perished. The final stroke of doom for the Haladin in Brethil came when Húrin returned to Amon Obel and sparked a civil war, which destroyed the bloodline of the House of Haldad.
Túrin Turambar came here after the destruction of Nargothrond and a visit to Dor-lómin to rest not long before his fight with Glaurung. The Forest was Túrin's burial place as well Nienor Níniel and Morwen, as well as the Haudh-en-Elleth, the mound of Finduilas. The grave of Túrin and Morwen, survived the ruin of Beleriand after the First Age, and thus did a speck of the Forest of Brethil still exist as Tol Morwen.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Kazakh||Бретил (Cyrillic) Bretïl (Latin)|
|Serbian||бретил (Cyrillic) Bretil (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Бретҳил (Cyrillic) Brethil (Latin)|
|Amon Ereb • Brethil • Dor-lómin • Estolad • Ladros • Rhûn • Harad • Eriador|
|Arnor • Dunland • Gondor • Harad • Númenor • Rhûn • Umbar • Eriador|
|Arnor (later split into Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur) • Rohan • City of Dale (later became a Kingdom) • Dunland • Lake-town (later part of the Kingdom of Dale) • Gondor • Harad • Khand • Kingdom of Rhovanion • Rhûn • Umbar • Vales of Anduin • Greenwood the Great • Eriador|
|Kingdom of Dale • Dunland • Harad • Núrn • Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor • Rohan • Rhûn • Eryn Lasgalen • Khand • Eriador • Rhovanion • Vales of Anduin|
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, The First Age, The Elder Days, "Realms-Before the Great Defeat"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, The First Age, The Elder Days, "Coming of Men"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, The First Age, The Elder Days, "Travels of Túrin and Nienor"
- The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion
- The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin names