According to The Atlas of Middle-earth, Eriador was about six-hundred miles (approximately 965.5 kilometers) from east to west. It was mostly lowlands. Hilled areas were the Hills of Evendim and North Downs in the centre of the region and to the east in Rhudaur in the foothills of the Misty Mountains. The North of Eriador and the south in Minhiriath were flat wide plains. A plateau area existed in the area where Rivendell and the Trollshaws were located. Eriador was largely made up of scattered woodlands with scrublands in the north and northeastern parts. The rest were short grasslands mainly in the center of the region.
The climate was mainly humid with relatively mild to cold winters with a constantly warm and moist prevailing wind blowing over the Blue Mountains. In the northern part, cold and dry prevailing winds blow down from the polar north influencing the climate as well.
The boundaries of Eriador were:
- To the east: the Misty Mountains. On the further (i.e. eastern) side of these mountains lay the region of Rhovanion (Wilderland).
- To the north: the Northern Waste (Forodwaith) and—after the War of Wrath and ensuing floods which ended the First Age—the Ice-bay of Forochel.
- To the west: the mountains of Ered Lindon (also known as Ered Luin or Blue Mountains). On the far (i.e. western) side of these mountains lay the region of Lindon, which was virtually the only part of Beleriand that had survived the First Age. The Grey Havens were located in a gap in the Ered Luin, and it's not clear whether these havens (and the adjacent lands west of the Tower Hills) were part of Lindon or Eriador.
- To the south: the rivers Glanduin and Greyflood (forming the border with the land of Enedwaith) and the shores of Belegaer west of Lond Daer.
Eriador extended for some 600 miles (960 km) north-south and 700 miles (1120 km) west-east. It was traversed by two main routes:
- the East-West Road running from the Misty Mountains' High Pass (near Rivendell) to the Grey Havens
- the Greenway (formerly the North-South Road connecting the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor).
Major settlements included:
- Annúminas, former capital of Arnor, ruined.
- Fornost Erain, former capital of Arthedain, ruined.
- Grey Havens
- Michel Delving
- Tharbad, ruined
- Ost-in-Edhil, former capital of Eregion, ruined.
- Carn Dûm, former capital of Angmar, ruined.
In the Second Age, and possibly much earlier, it was largely forested, but Men cleared the land for farming and the massive old forests never recovered. Much of it was encompassed in the early Third Age by the kingdom of Arnor, which later split into the rival kingdoms of Rhudaur, Arthedain and Cardolan. The Shire occupied a small part of the former Kingdom of Arthedain, while Bree and its neighbouring villages lie on the border with the former Cardolan. The Barrow-wights dwelt within ancient burial mounds constructed in the First Age by the Edain as they journeyed to Beleriand on the Barrow-downs. Other important places in Eriador were Rivendell and the abandoned kingdoms of Eregion and Angmar.
At the beginning of the Second Age, large populations of both regular Men and Dúnedain inhabited the region. There was also a group of Noldorin exiles living in Eregion, near Moria and also located in the western most region of Eriador (and also in Middle-earth) was the High Elven Kingdom of Lindon, once the greatest and mightiest kingdom of Middle earth. Sauron's assault on the Elves of Eregion laid waste to that land, with Eriador bearing the brunt of the War of the Elves and Sauron.
In SA 3319 Elendil landed in Middle Earth and founded the Kingdom of Arnor in Eriador the following year. In the War of the Last Alliance many Elves were killed and a majority of Lindon's inhabitants sailed over the sea, bringing the Elven kingdom (although not their presence) to an end. Having also taken heavy losses in the war, Arnor was depopulated as well. In the early Third Age it encompassed a large part of Eriador, although it soon split into three warring successor kingdoms, Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur
Even after his fall, Sauron's evil spirit acted through his agents, such as the Witch-king of Angmar, and he also concocted virulent plagues which swept over the land. Between warfare against the surviving Dúnedain kingdoms, the Great Plague, and the general lawlessness sweeping over the land, the population dropped considerably. The Angmar war turned Eriador into a beautiful, but mostly wild and untamed land, by the time of the War of the Ring the remaining population centres were: The Elves, either in the valley of Rivendell or Lindon. The Dúnedain of Arnor in the Angle or dispersed, Middle Men in Bree, Hobbits in the Shire, Dwarves in the Blue Mountains and Orcs in the Misty Mountains.
Eriador is a Sindarin word that meant 'Lonely land' or 'Lone-lands'.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||伊利雅德|
|Kazakh||Еріадор (Cyrillic) Eriador (Latin)|
|Serbian||Ериадор (Cyrillic) Eriador (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Ериадор (Cyrillic) Eriador (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, "Introduction"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Second Age, "Introduction"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, Thematic Maps, "Landforms"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, Thematic Maps, "Vegetation"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, Thematic Maps, "Climate"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, Thematic Maps, "Population"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, Thematic Maps, "Languages"
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, I, (iii) pg. 319