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Ithilien was a region and fiefdom of Gondor bordering Mordor in western Middle-earth.

It was the easternmost province of Gondor, and its only region between the river Anduin and the Ephel Dúath. It was subdivided by the stream of Morgulduin into North and South Ithilien.[1]


Ithilien was a fair and prosperous land during the Second Age and the first part of the Third Age, filled with many woods and gardens, when Gondor was strong and Mordor deserted. Of old its chief city was Minas Ithil, but when this was captured by Mordor in TA 2002 it was renamed Minas Morgul. After this the population gradually migrated across the Anduin to escape the looming threat of Ringwraiths from Minas Morgul.

Rangers in hiding

The Rangers of Ithilien hindering the Enemy

During the Watchful Peace (which commenced in TA 2063) Ithilien was reoccupied by hardy folk, but in TA 2475 the Watchful Peace was broken when a group of Uruks of Mordor devastated the province; and although they were driven back to the Morgul Vale by Boromir I, raids never entirely ceased after this time. Several centuries later attacks by Orcs and Haradrim intensified and in TA 2901 the raids grew so severe that the remainder of the population of Ithilien fled across the Anduin and Gondor withdrew from the province. However the Stewards of Gondor still kept scouts in Ithilien, based at secret locations such as Henneth Annûn, which were built shortly after 2901.[2] In TA 2954 Mount Doom burst into flame and those few farmers who remained fled westward over the Anduin, leaving only the Rangers behind to harry the servants of Sauron.

In the narrative of The Lord of the Rings, Gollum leads Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee through Ithilien on the way to the pass of Cirith Ungol into Mordor. The land is described in the text as "a fair country of climbing woods and swift-falling streams", with gentle slopes, "shielded from the east by the Ephel Dúath and yet not under the mountain-shadow, protected from the north by the Emyn Muil, open to the southern airs and the moist winds from the Sea". It is also stated that "a wealth of sweet-smelling herbs and shrubs" and a vast array of tree species grew in Ithilien, some of them having been planted by men in days of peace, and that despite desolation the land "kept still a disheveled dryad loveliness". Samwise leaves a cooking fire burning, and as a result the hobbits are found and taken into custody by the Rangers of Ithilien, under the command of Faramir, the son of the Steward Denethor II.

Haradrim in Ithilien

Haradrim forces marching through Ithilien

After witnessing a battle with Southrons (and an Oliphaunt) on the North Road, the hobbits are taken to Henneth Annûn by the Rangers, but are allowed to leave when Faramir is satisfied they are not agents of Sauron.

After the events of the War of the Ring, King Elessar granted to Faramir the Principality of Ithilien and the Lordship of Emyn Arnen (Faramir also maintained the office of Steward, even after he tried to surrender it to King Elessar). Emyn Arnen, being the ancestral home of the House of Húrin, became the home of the Steward Faramir and his descendants.

During the Fourth Age, the region was ruled by the Princes of Ithilien, a line that started with Faramir and Éowyn (the White Lady of Ithilien). Minas Morgul was destroyed and the Morgul Vale eventually cleansed. The Elves played a great role in the reconstruction of eastern Gondor. A colony of Mirkwood Elves settled in Ithilien led by Legolas, and "it became once again the fairest country in all the westlands",[3] until after some time all Elves had departed over the Sea.[4] The colony only lasted for about a century, because many Elves left for Valinor after Elessar's death in the year 120 of the Fourth Age.


Henneth Annûn[]

Henneth Annûn was a hidden outpost of Gondor in North Ithilien, founded (like all of Gondor's hidden refuges in Ithilien) by the command of Steward Túrin II shortly after Ithilien was made desolate by the incursions of the Orcs of Mordor around TA 2901[5] and maintained as the longest-lasting of all the refuges of Ithilien.[2]

This secret refuge (the name means Window of the Sunset in Sindarin) consisted of a cave behind a west-facing waterfall overlooking a pool, the "Window-curtain", stated to have been the "fairest of the falls of Ithilien." The cave had been excavated by the stream feeding the waterfall, which originally fell from the hole in the cliff constituting the window in the name, but that stream had since been diverted by the men of Gondor to fall from doubled height, and the tunnel had been sealed, except for a concealed entrance along the brink of a deep pool beneath the waterfall.[6]

During the War of the Ring, Faramir son of Steward Denethor II had his base of operations there, and Frodo Baggins and his companion Samwise Gamgee were taken there by his company.

Emyn Arnen[]

Emyn Arnen, a series of hills at the centre of Ithilien, south of Osgiliath, stood opposite Minas Tirith across Anduin; around it the river made a bend. Emyn Arnen means "Hills Beside the Water" in Sindarin, referring to its proximity to the Great River, Anduin.

From this place originated the line of later Stewards of Gondor. It was home to a family of Númenórean nobles, and from them came Húrin of Emyn Arnen, chosen by King Minardil of Gondor as his Steward. Later kings of Gondor chose their stewards only from among Húrin's descendants, and eventually the Stewardship of Gondor became hereditary (the stewards called themselves members of the House of Húrin).

After the War of the Ring, the lordship of the hills was granted to Faramir, Prince of Ithilien and Steward to the King Elessar. The word arnen in the name Tolkien explained[7] as having a forgotten meaning in a Pre-Númenórean language, while emyn in Sindarin means "hills".

Field of Cormallen[]

The Field of Cormallen was a large grassy field close to the River Anduin and Cair Andros. After the Battle of the Black Gate the Ring-bearers and wounded from the battle were brought to the field to recover.

The Cross-roads[]

The Cross-roads of the Fallen King were situated in central Ithilien where the Morgul-road met the North Road of Ithilien and the Harad Road. Frodo and Sam passed the Cross-roads on the way to Mordor, as did the Army of the West on its way to the Black Gate.


Ithilien is a Sindarin word meaning 'Moon-land'.

See also[]


Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ዒትሂሊአን
Arabic إيثيلين
Armenian Իտհիլիեն
Belarusian Cyrillic Іціліэн
Bengali ঈথিলিএন
Bulgarian Cyrillic Итилиен
Catalan Ithílien
Chinese (Hong Kong) 伊西利安
Danish Ithilien ("Månelandet")
French Pays de la Lune
Georgian ისილიენი
Greek Ιθίλιεν
Gujarati ઈથિલિએન
Hebrew איתיליה
Hindi ईथिलिएन
Hungarian Ithilia
Japanese イティリアン
Kannada ಇಥಲಿಯಾನ್
Kazakh Ытіліен (Cyrillic) Itilien (Latin)
Korean 이실리엔
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Итhилиэн
Lao ິີຖິລິເນ
Macedonian Cyrillic Итилиен
Marathi ईथिलिएन
Mongolian Cyrillic Итилиен
Pashto یتهیلیېن ?
Persian ایتیلین
Punjabi ਇਥਿਲਿਏਨ
Nepalese ईथिलिएन
Sanskrit ईथिलिएन्
Serbian Итилиен (Cyrillic) Itilen (Latin)
Sinhalese ඊථිලිඑන්
Spanish País de la luna
Russian Итилиэн
Tajik Cyrillic Итҳилиен
Tamil இதிலின்
Telugu ఈథిలిఎన
Thai อิธิลิเอน
Ukrainian Cyrillic Ітілієн
Urdu ایتھلین
Uzbek Итҳилиен (Cyrillic) Itilen (Latin)
Yiddish יטהיליען
Places of Middle-earth and Arda

Middle-earth Locations:


Arnor | Dunland | Ettenmoors | Forochel | Forodwaith | Gondor | Harad | Ithilien | Khand | Lindon | Minhiriath | Mordor | Rhovanion | Rhûn | Rivendell | Rohan | The Shire

Forests & Mountains:

Amon Dîn | Amon Hen | Amon Lhaw | Caradhras | Emyn Muil | Erebor | Fangorn Forest | High Pass | Iron Hills | Lórien | Mirkwood | Mount Doom | Mount Gundabad | Old Forest | Orod-na-Thôn | Tower Hills | Weathertop Hill


Angband | Barad-dûr | Bree | Caras Galadhon | Dol Guldur | Fornost Erain | Hornburg | Isengard | Minas Morgul | Minas Tirith | Last Homely House | Tower of Amon Sûl | Tower of Orthanc | Osgiliath | Umbar | Utumno


Argonath | Astulat | Buckland | Cair Andros | Dagorlad | Dead Marshes | Enedwaith | Fords of Isen | Gap of Rohan | Grey Havens

The rest of Arda:

Aman | Burnt Land of the Sun | Dark Land | Empty Lands | Neldoreth | New lands | Númenor | Tol Eressëa