Doriath (Sindarin IPA: [ˈdorjaθ]) was an Elven realm, the land of the Sindar that existed during the latter-half of the Years of the Trees and most of the First Age of the Sun. For thousands of years it was separate from the outside world under the rule of King Thingol and the protection of his wife Melian the Maia, until it was drawn into the war against Morgoth and the doom that lay on the Ñoldor, because of the Oath of Fëanor.
Artanor, its prior name, meant ‘The Land Beyond’. It was renamed Doriath when Thingol established his realm there.
Doriath was located in the middle of Beleriand, between Ered Gorgoroth (Mountains of Terror) from the north and the Andram from south, and Talath Dirnen from the west, and Estolad from the east. It was a realm of forests about the great river Sirion; within it were the forests Neldoreth(also Taur-na-Neldor, the northern beech forest), Nivrim (also West-march, an oak forest), and Region (pronounced 'Reh-gi-on', the main forest). Additionally, the forests of Brethil and Nan Elmoth were considered under the influence of Thingol, though not under his direct rule, and were outside the Girdle of Melian. Eöl the Dark Elf leased Nan Elmoth from Thingol, having paid with the sword Anglachel. The Edain People of Haleth, or the Haladin, lived in Brethil with the permission of Thingol. They governed themselves, but cooperated with the marchwardens of Doriath. Elu Thingol, King of Doriath, saw all of Beleriand as his realm, from the Gelion to the Belegaer (the Sea).
Years of the Trees
The Vanyar and Ñoldor had passed by Doriath on the Great Journey, and had been ferried across on Tol Eressëa by the time the Teleri arrived. Then their lord Elwë was lost in Nan Elmoth, and when Ulmo returned for them, a part remained behind searching for him. They became known as the Sindar or Grey Elves, and when Thingol returned he became their king, ruling from Doriath.
The forests of Neldoreth and Region were located in the center of Beleriand, and were the abode of King Thingol and Melian. All the Elves of Beleriand, from the shipbuilders under Círdan in the Falas, to the Laiquendi of Ossiriand, held Thingol as their lord. During the First and Second Ages of the Chaining of Melkor, Beleriand was peaceful. However, by the end of the First Age, Melian forebode that evil was to come, and Thingol called on the aid of the Dwarves of Belegost to aid in constructing a city-fortress for the protection of his people. They also helped make for them a store of stronger and better weapons that were better able to deal with the Orcs of the north. This was built under ground along the southern side of the River Esgalduin, and was called Menegroth, which became Thingol's capital.
For the most part, the Elves lived in scattered bands throughout Beleriand, only gathering in larger numbers in Neldoreth and Region (together called Eglador), and in the Havens of the Falas. During the Third Age of the Chaining of Melkor, Thingol continued to arm his people with the aid of the Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost against the continued foreboding of Melian.
After Melkor's release, his attack on the Two Trees with Ungoliant, and flight to Middle-earth, the situation for Beleriand suddenly worsened. Ungoliant fled south from the Balrogs after her confrontation with Melkor, now Morgoth, and was only checked by the power of Melian. Some time after, the forces of Morgoth left the freshly restored Angband and assaulted Beleriand from east and west in the First Battle of Beleriand. In the east, King Thingol lead the forces of Beleriand, with the aid of Denethor and his Nandor and Green Elves from Ossiriand, and completely defeated the Orcs of the eastern army. Denethor was killed on Amon Ereb, and some of his people merged themselves to the Sindarin Elves under King Thingol. Upon returning to Menegroth, Thingol learned that the western army of Morgoth had overrun the Falas. Thingol recalled as many of his people he could into Neldoreth and Region, and Melian put forth her power, ringing the region in a girdle of enchantment called the Girdle of Melian. Thus, the region formerly called Eglador came to be known as Doriath, the Guarded Kingdom.
The First Battle was the only time King Thingol led his forces into battle outside of his realm in the entirety of the First Age of the Sun. Afterwards, the Elves of Doriath fought defensively, guarding their borders and the important river crossings nearby.
Years of the Sun
When the Ñoldor returned to Middle-earth at the turn of the Years of the Trees and Sun, Thingol refused to allow them in Doriath, with the exception of the children of Finarfin, who were related to him by his brother Olwë.
When later Men arrived in Beleriand, they were also refused entry, but at Finrod's request Thingol gave his permission for the People of Haleth to dwell in Brethil, they then allied themselves with Doriath and aided in its defense.
Throughout the rest of the First Age, while the Ñoldor fought their wars with Morgoth, Doriath stood inviolate and generally aloof, refusing to take part in the wars. Ultimately, however, King Thingol was pulled into the doom surrounding the Ñoldor as was told in the Lay of Leithian, when Beren, son of Barahir and lord of the First House of Men, passed through the Girdle as Melian had foretold, and arrived in Neldoreth.
Realizing that his beloved daughter Lúthien had fallen in love with Beren, King Thingol decreed that he would not allow them to marry unless Beren would undertake a quest to recover a Silmaril from the Dark Lord Morgoth, and so began the Quest for the Silmaril. During the Quest, the Wolf Carcharoth also breached the Girdle, but Thingol, Beren, and Thingol's captains Beleg and Mablung hunted and killed the beast.
At the end of this, Thingol ended up in possession of one of the Silmarils. Beren and Lúthien, wedded together by fate and returning from the dead, left Doriath to live in Ossiriand. After the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, only three elven kingdoms remained: Nargothrond, Gondolin, and Doriath. Nargothrond fell soon after, as told in the Narn i Chîn Húrin (Tale of the Children of Hurin).
Fearing that the cruel Easterlings would enthral her only son, Túrin of Hithlum, Morwen sent him to Doriath where he would be safe until he came of age, when he fled from the land. Later Morwen and his sister Niënor lived there, until they were lost.
Húrin, captured at the Nírnaeth Arnoediad and released from Angband after the death of his son Túrin, recovered the Nauglamír from the ruin of Nargothrond. Traveling to Doriath, he threw it at the feet of Thingol in spite. Melian rebuked him, and Húrin, cured of the madness of Morgoth by Melian, presented the Nauglamír to Thingol before leaving Doriath, and vanishing from history.
Sack of Doriath
Thingol, now in possession of the greatest work of the Elves (a Silmaril of Fëanor) and Dwarves (the Nauglamír) decided to merge the two. He convinced a large company of smiths from Nogrod to attempt to remake the Nauglamír to incorporate the Silmaril, which they succeed in doing. Once the work was completed, and the joint works of Elves and Dwarves sat glittering before Thingol, he moved to take it and put it on. The Dwarves stopped him, demanding it in payment. Thingol rebuked them with haughty words, at which the Dwarves slew him. The Dwarves attempted to escape Doriath, but most were killed and the Nauglamír recovered. After Thingol's death, Melian departed Doriath in grief and withdrew her power from Doriath, resulting in the protective Girdle ending. After telling Mablung to send word to Beren, she left Middle-earth and returned to Valinor. Doriath now lay undefended.
Two Dwarves returned from Doriath and told a twisted version of the events to their king in Nogrod. The Dwarves of Nogrod then raised an army and assaulted Doriath in retaliation. The slaughter was great on both sides, but the Dwarves ended up victorious. Menegroth was ransacked, many of its people killed, and the Dwarves began the long trek for home laden with the spoils of war, including the Nauglamír. At the Battle of Sarn Athrad, they were ambushed by a force of Green Elves led by Beren who, with the aid of the Ents of Ossiriand, annihilated the Dwarven force and recovered the Silmaril.
Dior Eluchîl, son of Beren and Lúthien and heir to Thingol, returned to Doriath with his wife Nimloth, their two sons Eluréd and Elurín, and their daughter Elwing. He began to rebuild the fortunes of the kingdom and it was briefly restored. Beren took the Nauglamír to Lúthien, who wore it, enriching their home on Tol Galen. However, Beren and Lúthien soon died for the second time, leaving the world forever. The Nauglamír and its Silmaril were then brought to Dior.
Soon after, the Sons of Fëanor, following the Oath of Fëanor, demanded the return of the Silmaril. Dior refused, and the Sons of Fëanor invaded Doriath, at which point the Second Kinslaying occurred. Celegorm, Curufin, and Caranthir were killed, as were Dior, Nimloth, and Eluréd and Elurín. The people of Doriath were either killed or scattered, with Elwing taking the Nauglamír and fleeing with a remnant of the people of Doriath to the Havens of Sirion.
In Sindarin, Doriath means "Land of the Fence", from dôr ("land") and iâth ("fence"). Its previous name Eglador either means "Land of the Forsaken" or "Land of the Elves", because the inhabitants called themselves "Eglath". The High Elves called Doriath the "Land of the Cave", from the Ñoldorin gath or gatta ("cavern")
Garthúrian was name ascribed to the land of Doriath in earlier versions of the accounts of the First Age (specifically in The War of the Jewels).
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||多瑞亞斯|
|Hebrew||(Eglador) אגלאדור (Doriath) דוריאת|
|Kazakh||Доріат (Cyrillic) Doriat (Latin)|
|Serbian||Доријат (Cyrillic) Dorijat (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Дориат (Cyrillic) Doriat (Latin)|
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. X: Morgoth's Ring, The Annals of Aman
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. V: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Two: "Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI: The War of the Jewels, V. The Tale of Years
- Beren and Lúthien
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, The First Age, The Elder Days, "Beleriand and the Lands to the North"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter X: "Of the Sindar"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IV: "Of Thingol and Melian"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XVII: "Of the Coming of Men into the West"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIX: "Of Beren and Lúthien"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XX: "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXI: "Of Túrin Turambar"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXII: "Of the Ruin of Doriath"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIV: "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: Part 3, "The Etymologies"