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Rohan, or the Riddermark (Rohirric), was a great kingdom of Men located in the land once known as Calenardhon, situated in the great vale between the Misty Mountains and the White Mountains. The land of Rohan extended from the banks of the river Isen in the west, up to the East wall of Rohan and shores of the river Anduin in the east. The forest of Fangorn lay on its border, and the Elven forest of Lothlórien lay north of the river Limlight.
The land of Rohan was originally part of Gondor, but gained independence from it. The land was first known as "Rohan" to the Men of Gondor, and its people the Rohirrim, meaning 'the Horse-lords', but the people of Rohan called themselves the Eorlingas, sons of Eorl the Young, first King of Rohan, as the land of Calenardhon was given in gift to Eorl and his people by Cirion, Steward of Gondor, in thanks for their service to Gondor in battle against the Balchoth. Eorl swore an oath of friendship, and of aid when summoned, to the Lords of Gondor, and thus the Rohirrim became the greatest ally of the Men of Gondor throughout the Third Age and beyond. They were known for their cavalry and horse mastery, which was crucial in battles such as the Battle of the Hornburg and on the Pelennor Fields.
- 1 History
- 2 Description
- 3 Politics
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 Notable Rohirrim
- 6 Portrayal in adaptations
- 7 See also
- 8 Translations
Descent from the Northmen
In the 13th century of the Third Age, the Kings of Gondor made alliances with the Northmen of Rhovanion, a people thought to be distantly descended from the Edain, those peoples of Men who crossed into Beleriand in the First Age and later settled in Númenor. The Men who would become the Rohirrim were in fact more closely akin to the Beornings and the Men of Dale, and are accounted as Middle Men, who, while not directly descended from the Men of Númenor, never served the will of Sauron. In The Two Towers, Aragorn describes the Rohirrim:
- "They are proud and wilful, but they are true-hearted, generous in thought and in deed; bold but not cruel; wise but unlearned, writing no books but singing many songs, after the manner of the children of Men before the Dark Years [...]. It was in forgotten years long ago that Eorl the Young brought them out of the North, and their kinship is rather with the Bardings of Dale, and with the Beornings of the Wood, among whom may still be seen many men tall and fair, as are the Riders of Rohan."
- —The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter 2, p. 41
Early in the Third Age, such men occupied a part of Rhovanion, the lands east of Greenwood the Great, west of the inland Sea of Rhûn, and south of the Celduin. While never united under one single king, the Men of Rhovanion nonetheless were allies of Gondor, and many of the great Princes of Rhovanion and their kin served in the armies of Gondor. In this way was the ruling House of Gondor mingled with the Northmen during the reign of King Eldacar, and the Northmen intermarried with the Dúnedain of the South and were eventually reckoned Men of Gondor.
In the late 19th century of the Third Age, one such population of Northmen, dwelling in the eaves of Mirkwood, became a separate people under the lordship of Marhari, a descendant of Vidugavia, one of the most powerful princes of Rhovanion. Fighting alongside King Narmacil II of Gondor, his people were defeated by the Wainriders, invaders from the east, and the Northmen were either scattered or enslaved. Marhwini, son of Marhari, took up the lordship of his father and, retreating west and north with a remnant of his people, became the first Lord of the Éothéod the people who would become the Rohirrim. Settling first in the vales of Anduin between the Carrock and Gladden Fields, his people began to slowly recover their strength, and became known as the Éothéod, the horse peoples. Marhwini, and later his son Forthwini, continued their alliance with Gondor, fighting the Wainriders and other eastern invaders alongside Kings Calimehtar and Ondoher. Although the Éothéod won a victory over their Wainrider foes while allied to Gondor, their settlements remained near the Anduin.
In the 1970's of the Third Age, after the downfall of the Witch-king and his Kingdom of Angmar, their need for larger lands and the growing menace of Dol Guldur, forced Frumgar (called Frungor in some texts), Lord of the Éothéod, to lead his people north along the eastern banks of Anduin. They settled near the sources of Anduin, south of the Grey Mountains. Their chief settlement became Framsburg, which lay in a vale between the rivers Limlight and Greylin. During their time in the far north, the Éothéod and their horses multiplied, and they drove the remaining Hill-men and Orcs of Angmar out of their lands. Fram, son of Frumgar, slew the dragon Scatha, last of the Great Worms of the Grey Mountains save for Smaug; thus he won great wealth from the horde of Scatha, as well as renown for the deed. He also earned the hatred of the Dwarves of that region, for they claimed the treasure of Scatha. Fram infuriated the Dwarves by sending them the teeth of Scatha, strung as a necklace, and denying them the rest of the hoard. Some say that for this insult the Dwarves slew Fram, for whom the settlement of Framsburg was named; for that reason there was no great love between the Rohirrim and Dwarves.
Five centuries of relative prosperity followed for the Éothéod in the north, and they became a numerous people with many farms and horses. In 2501, their chieftain Léod captured a white foal in the wilds; this foal would grow to great stature, but remain wild, and was not tamed by any man. When Léod decided to mount the horse, it bore him away from his stables and eventually threw him, whereupon Léod's head struck a rock, killing him. Eorl, son of Léod, took up the lordship of the Éothéod at sixteen years of age, and was resolved to find this white horse. Upon a time, Eorl found and confronted the stallion, but rather than slay him, Eorl commanded that the horse give up his freedom as a weregild for the killing of Léod. This horse understood the speech of men, and submitted to Eorl, and was named anew Felaróf.
The Gift of Calenardhon and the Oath of Eorl
In the year TA 2509, Eorl received summons from Cirion, Steward of Gondor. The Steward pleaded for help from Gondor's old allies; as a large army of Easterling Balchoth had invaded the province of Calenardhon and threatened to overrun it. Therefore, Eorl surprised even the errand-rider of Gondor by agreeing to come to the aid of Cirion. Though young, Eorl wisely perceived that if Gondor should fall, all the lesser realms of men west of Anduin would eventually fall. He gathered all the Men of the Éothéod that could possibly be spared, some 7000, and, leaving his land at risk of invasion itself, rode south to the aid of Gondor. Despite a prejudice against the Elves that would continue up until the time of the War of the Ring, a protective mist seemed to come out of Lothlórien as the Éothéod journeyed south, rejuvenating horse and rider and shielding their approach from their enemies. Believing that there would be no time for the Éothéod to help his armies, Cirion nonetheless met them in battle on the field of Celebrant, though Gondor's legions were worsted. All hope seemed lost when an army of Orcs came upon the flank of the army of Gondor, but at that moment Eorl and his cavalry thundered out of the north unlooked for and, smashing into the rear of the Balchoth, completely reversed the fortunes of battle. Gondor's army was saved, and the riders of the Éothéod drove the Balchoth into the Anduin.
Cirion committed the guardianship of Calenardhon to Eorl and his men for three months, during which time the Steward took counsel to determine what reward he could present to the Éothéod for their heroic arrival on the Field of Celebrant. At the end of the three months, he rode north with his son Hallas and his counsellors, and led Eorl and some of his guard to the hidden tomb of Elendil upon Amon Anwar (Hill of Awe), which was later renamed Halifirien (the Holy Mountain) in Rohirric. Cirion realised that the Éothéod as a people needed more room to flourish, and that they would make for a strong ally to Gondor against the growing threat of Sauron and the continued harassment of the Easterlings. Therefore, upon Amon Anwar he told Eorl that in reward for their aid in battle, he would grant the land of Calenardhon to the Éothéod to dwell in. Eorl was so impressed and grateful for Cirion's gift that he swore to the Steward the Oath of Eorl, of everlasting friendship to Gondor, and aid to the South Kingdom in war. Eorl thus became the first King of Rohan, and his army sent north for their wives and kin. Coming into the land of Calenardhon the Éothéod were named anew the Rohirrim in Gondor, and named their new realm the Mark of the Riders, and themselves the Eorlingas.
The Kingdom of Rohan
Eorl was succeeded upon his death by his son Brego. It was Brego who completed the great hall of Meduseld, which became the home of the Kings of Rohan thereafter. Brego's first son Baldor made a vow to tread the Paths of the Dead at the celebration to commemorate the completion of Meduseld, but was lost in the caverns beneath Dwimorberg. Brego was grieved at the loss of his son and died soon afterward, leaving rule of Rohan to his younger son Aldor. Aldor was called 'the Old', for, coming young to the throne, he ruled the Mark for 75 years.
Of the Kings between Aldor and the 7th king Déor, little is known, but during the time of Déor, the Dunlendings, lesser Men who once dwelt in the mountains and vales but whom the Rohirrim drove west over the Isen upon entering Calenardhon, began again to raid the western borders of the Mark. In 2710, the Dunlendings captured the mostly-deserted fortress of Isengard, and held it in defiance of the Rohirrim.
The Dunlendings continued their harassment of Rohan through the time of Helm Hammerhand, 9th king of Rohan. Helm was a man of great stature and strength, and a strong king who wished to again subdue the Dunlendings. One particularly troublesome Dunlending was named Freca; though he claimed descent from the fifth king Fréawine, Freca was mostly of Dunlendish blood. Nonetheless, he held a good amount of land by the Adorn river, and had there made himself a stronghold where he largely ignored the rule of Helm. On a time, Freca came to Helm's council at Edoras, and there suggested that the King allow his daughter to wed with Wulf, son of Freca. Helm, seeing this as nothing but a ploy to bring Freca's heir close to the royal house and thus increase the potential for Rohan to fall into Dunlending hands, mocked Freca. Freca then insulted the king, and Helm took him to a field outside Edoras where he smote Freca a blow with his fist, killing him. Then Helm sent his men west to drive away Wulf and his followers, declaring them enemies of Rohan.
By ill chance, these events were followed by an attack upon Gondor by the Corsairs and a long and terrible winter. Seeing the opportunity to attack Rohan while its allies were beset by other foes, Wulf, in alliance with the Easterlings, led a strong force of the Dunlendings out of Isengard and defeated Helm's army, driving the king and many of his people to the fortress of Súthburg, which was later known as Helm's Deep. Wulf captured Meduseld, and Helm's son Haleth was slain in its defense. Wulf sat upon the throne and called himself king and the Long Winter began, during which many of the people of Rohan perished from sickness and hunger and battle with the Dunlendings. Helm, besieged inside the Hornburg, became gaunt and grim, and eventually began to venture from the fort at night, stalking the camps of the Dunlendings and killing men with his bare hands. Before he would come forth in the dark, Helm would blow a blast upon his great horn, which struck fear into his enemies, and they fled upon hearing it (this was the Horn of Helm's Deep in the Lord of the Rings). In this way, Helm won renown, and was much feared for many generations after by the Dunlendings, but one night he froze to death outside the walls of the fortress, later renamed the Hornburg in his honour.
With the onset of spring, Helm's nephew Fréaláf Hildeson led a small army down from Dunharrow, where another remnant of the Rohirrim had lasted out the winter. Coming upon Edoras unawares, they slew Wulf and reclaimed Meduseld. Helm's body was brought back from the Hornburg and buried in the last mound of the first line of the Kings of Rohan, and the white Simbelmynë grew so thick upon his mound that it appeared snow-capped. Fréaláf successfully drove out the remaining Dunlendings before the year was ended, finally receiving aid from Gondor, which had defeated the Corsairs, and Fréaláf became King. To his crowning came Saruman the White, bearing gifts and praising the Rohirrim for their courage. He took up his abode at Isengard in 2759 a gift from Beren, Steward of Gondor. Fréaláf was content to have such a strong ally in the west against the Dunlendings as Saruman, for the Rohirrim had suffered great loss of men and horses during the hard winter. Eventually, though, as is explained elsewhere, Saruman became an enemy of Rohan and deigned to rule from Isengard as a lord of Men.
Fréaláf's son was Brytta Léofa, a beloved king. In his time, however, Orcs fleeing the Misty Mountains after the Battle of Azanulbizar in TA 2799 began to take refuge in the foothills of the White Mountains. Brytta's son Walda reigned for just nine years before he was killed by a group of Orcs. Folca, son of Walda, was a great hunter, and took a vow upon becoming king that he would not hunt beasts again until every Orc had been driven out of Rohan. After destroying the last Orc-hold in Rohan in TA 2864, he journeyed to the Firien wood, to kill the Great Boar that lived there. He slew the boar, but died of the wounds he received in the act of killing it. The reign of Folcwine, son of Folca, saw a return to prosperity for Rohan, as he subdued the West-March, and drove out the Dunlendings. In his reign, the Rohirrim finally recovered from their losses in the war against Wulf. He also came to the aid of Gondor when a great army of the Haradrim came up against the South Kingdom. Persuaded not to go to battle himself, Folcwine sent instead his twin sons, Folcred and Fastred. Although the combined armies of Rohan and Gondor won a great victory at the Battle of the Crossings of Poros on the banks of the river Poros in South Ithilien, the sons of King Folcwine fell side by side in battle. Steward Túrin II of Gondor therefore paid a rich weregild of gold to Folcwine for his sacrifice.
Folcwine's third son, Fengel, is not remembered with honor. He did little to further strengthen Rohan, and was at odds with both his Marshals and his kin. His only son, Thengel, therefore spent much time in Gondor, and won praise through his service to Steward Turgon. He married Morwen Steelsheen ofLossarnach, and began to raise a family in Gondor. Eventually, when Fengel died, Thengel reluctantly returned to Rohan to take up the kingship. While Thengel was wise and restored dignity to the House of Eorl, he did create some discord by encouraging the use of the language of Gondor in Edoras. At the time of Thengel's return to Rohan in TA 2953, Saruman first began to trouble the Rohirrim, and he declared himself Lord of Isengard. Also during Thengel's reign, the captain Thorongil (later revealed to be Aragorn II Elessar) first appeared in Rohan, and entered the service of the king, and won great renown. Thengel died in TA 2980 and was succeeded by his son, Théoden the Renowned.
The War of the Ring
Théoden Ednew had the makings of a great king for, in his youth, he proved valiant in battle, and he possessed both wisdom and a gentle heart away from war. Yet by TA 3014, Saruman had begun to invade the king's mind, using spells and his servant Gríma Wormtongue to bewitch Théoden. As the king slipped into indifference, Saruman began to probe the borders of Rohan with his armies. He had taken into his service Orcs and Uruk-hai, and would eventually recruit the hillmen of Dunland to again assail their neighbors in Rohan. Théodred, son of Théoden, along with his cousin Éomer (who was of the royal line by both parents; his father was descended from Éofor, third son of Brego, and his mother Théodwyn was Théoden's sister), took charge of the Mark and its defenses against the growing threat of Isengard. Saruman, through Gríma, constantly forestalled Théodred and the other Marshals of the Mark, and, by the bewitchment of Théoden, thwarted Rohan's attempts to muster any great force of arms in opposition. He even blinded the king to Gandalf's warnings that Rohan was in peril upon his return from Orthanc, and Gandalf was forced to take Shadowfax and ride to Rivendell in hopes of meeting up with Frodo.
As the Fellowship of the Ring took the One Ring east from Rivendell, Saruman's forces increased their attacks upon Rohan, in addition to his intensified hunt for the Ring. Aragorn and his companions chanced to meet up with Éomer and his Éored upon the plains of Rohan near Fangorn Forest, and there revealed himself to be the heir of Isildur, and asked for news and aid from Éomer. The Rohirrim were returning from battle with a legion of Uruk-hai that had captured Merry and Pippin, and Éomer gave what tidings he could of his doings and the condition of Rohan to Aragorn. Lending the companions a pair of horses, Éomer then led his men to continue their task of gathering Eastemnet's herd folk to safety. Upon his return to Edoras, Gríma had Éomer imprisoned for defying Saruman's orders spoken through Theoden.
Théodred had led what riders he could gather to the Fords of Isen in an attempt to halt Saruman's assault upon Rohan, and there he fought the advance troops of Saruman's army, sent to kill him and breach Rohan's defences. The dismounted riders formed a great shield-wall along the fords, but were eventually beaten back with great loss. Saruman unleashed a legion of Orc-men armed with axes upon the Rohirrim with the specific intent to kill Théodred, who was known to be present at the battle. The forces of Isengard were successful in this task, mortally wounding the king's son. They would have likely taken Théodred as a prize were it not for the valor of Grimbold, who stood over the prince's body and fought until reinforcements led by Elfhelm arrived. Later in the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen the Rohirrim were forced to retreat towards the Hornburg, and there hold with whatever strength was left in hope of defending that great fortress.
While the battles at the Fords of Isen was being fought, Gandalf journeyed towards Edoras with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. Upon his arrival, the members of the Fellowship managed to enter Théoden's hall and there confront Grimá. Gandalf, in a display of his new power after returning from death in Moria, broke Saruman's hold on the king's mind, and spoke to Théoden concerning the true happenings of the past weeks, when Saruman advanced upon his lands unbeknownst to the king. Théoden freed Éomer at Gandalf's urging, and banished Grimá, who was revealed at last to the king as an agent of Saruman. Summoning all men able to bear arms, Théoden hastily set out for the Hornburg, where he thought to make a stand against Saruman's army. Gandalf, meanwhile, left both his companions of the Fellowship and Théoden and rode urgently to meet up with Treebeard, who led the Ents against Isengard and coordinated the attack of the Huorns upon Saruman's forces at Helm's Deep.
The Rohirrim under Théoden arrived at the Hornburg just before the main force of Saruman's army, and through the night, a battle raged for possession of the Hornburg, the fortress that no opposing army had ever taken. Strengthened by what men had retreated from the Fords of Isen and led by Aragorn and Éomer, the Rohirrim managed to repel the hosts of Isengard for most of the night, but as dawn approached, Saruman's secret weapon, a blasting fire, was revealed, and a great breach was torn in the Deeping Wall and main gate. Desiring to make a final stand, Théoden rode down out of the Hornburg with the knights of his household, with Aragorn beside him, and they hewed a path through Saruman's forces to the walls of the fortress. There, they beheld an amazing sight; a forest that had literally appeared overnight - the Huorns. Adding to the dismay of Saruman's army at the sudden onset of the king and his men, as well as the Huorns, Gandalf reappeared, having found Erkenbrand, Lord of Westfold, and a thousand more warriors who had survived the battles at the Fords of Isen. With all three allies descending upon the Orcs and Dunlendings, Saruman's forces surrendered or were killed, and Rohan gained a hard-fought victory.
Gandalf then led Théoden, along with what remained of the Fellowship and also Éomer, with picked Riders of the Mark, to Isengard, which now lay in ruins after the attack of the Ents. There, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli were reunited with Merry and Pippin, and Gandalf introduced Théoden to Treebeard. The group also confronted Saruman, who refused to alter his ways. Gandalf broke Saruman's staff and cast him from the White Council as well as the Order of the Istari. Gríma attempted to throw Saruman's palantír at Gandalf, but missed, and in this way was a vital connection made clear between Saruman and Sauron. Pippin later looked into the palantír, which encouraged Sauron to send his Nazgûl over the river Anduin, and the assault he had long planned against the west began to take shape. Théoden and his men rode back to Helm's Deep with the remnant of the Fellowship, while Gandalf set out for Minas Tirith with Pippin. While on their way to the Hornburg, Théoden's party met up with the Grey Company under Halbarad and the sons of Elrond, and eventually Aragorn would set out with his kinsmen to pass the Paths of the Dead. Théoden and Éomer rode on mountain paths to Harrowdale, where the great muster of Rohan was already underway. Once at Dunharrow, an errand-rider from Gondor came to the King, begging for help on behalf of Gondor and the Steward Denethor, presenting Théoden with the Red Arrow. Théoden fulfilled the Oath of Eorl, telling the rider that he would bring six thousand warriors to defend the Mundburg, leaving four thousand men behind to guard his kingdom.
On the road to Minas Tirith, Théoden's army received help from Ghân-buri-Ghân, chieftain of the Drúedain, and came to Rammas Echor at dawn of March 15 of the year 3019. That day he led the Rohirrim onto the Pelennor Fields, and the host of Rohan at first overwhelmed the Orc-legions of Sauron. Théoden then led his knights against the cavalry of the Haradrim as well, personally slaying their chieftain, and hewing his banner. Yet in that moment of great victory for the king, the Lord of the Nazgûl descended upon Théoden and mortally wounded him. Éowyn, sister of Éomer, had ridden to war with the Rohirrim, unknown to any of the men of the Mark, and revealed herself in single combat with the Witch-king. With the aid of Merry, Éowyn slew the Witch-king, and thus won great renown among all the peoples of the west for her bravery. Théoden, as he lay dying, called Éomer, now his heir, King of the Mark, and bade him tell Éowyn farewell, not knowing that his niece had defended him from the Witch-king. His knights bore Théoden's body out of the battle, while Éomer led the Rohirrim in their continued assault upon the Haradrim. The forces of Mordor greatly outnumbered the armies of Gondor and Rohan, however, and defeat appeared nigh, when Aragorn, returning from the Paths of the Dead, came up from the coast in the captured ships of the Corsairs of Umbar. Leading a great many men gathered from the southern fiefs of Gondor his arrival helped to turn the tide of battle.
In the meantime a force of Orcs crossed into northern Rohan, but were scattered by the Ents on the Wold.
After the victory on the fields of Pelennor, Éomer took counsel with the Captains of the West, and it was decided that an attempt must be made to draw Sauron's eye away from his own lands, and to allow the Ringbearer time to complete his mission. Éomer led nearly three thousand of the Rohirrim to battle, leaving Elfhelm with the remainder to help defend Minas Tirith. Upon reaching the land of Mordor, Éomer and his men helped to win Frodo time, fighting in the Battle of the Black Gate until the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron was defeated. The victorious army of the West returned to Minas Tirith for the crowning of Aragorn as King Elessar Telcontar; Éowyn agreed to marry Faramir, son of Denethor, and later Aragorn renewed the Gift of Cirion, and Éomer took again the Oath of Eorl. Weeks later, Éomer returned to Gondor with many of the Rohirrim, and they, along with Aragorn and many Elves, rode to Meduseld, where they laid Théoden to rest in a great mound in the Barrowfield outside Edoras.
In the years that followed the War of the Ring, Éomer Éadig ruled the Rohirrim with dignity, and the kingdom prospered once again. In the coming years, whenever King Elessar went with war to subdue the last remnants of his enemies, so too went his friend King Éomer;
- "And beyond the Sea of Rhûn and on the far fields of the South, the thunder of the cavalry of the Mark was heard, and the White Horse upon Green floated in many winds until Éomer grew old"
- —pg. 438, the Appendicies of The Return of the King
Important places and the borders of Rohan
The capital of Rohan was the hill fort town of Edoras which lay on the slopes of the White Mountains. Another major settlement was Aldburg, capital of the Eastfold and original residence of Eorl the Young. Other settlements may have existed but aside from Grimslade are not named.
A known camp was Dunharrow, even deeper in the White Mountains. Additionally, one of the most significant places in Rohan was the Hornburg, a great fortress at the center of the fortifications of Helm's Deep.
The borders of Rohan were: the river Isen (in the west, bordering Saruman’s Isengard); the river Adorn (a tributary of Isen, also in the west, forming the border with the unfriendly Dunlendings); the eaves of Fangorn Forest; the White Mountains (in the south); the Mering Stream (in the southeast, the border between Rohan and Gondor); the Mouths of Entwash and East Wall of Rohan (in the east); and the Limlight (a tributary of the Anduin, the northern border).
At the time of the War of the Ring, Rohan was roughly a third the size of Gondor, whose borders had slowly been shrinking for centuries.
Climate and countryside
The countryside of Rohan is described as a land of pastures and lush tall grassland. It looks a lot like the Central Asian steppe or North American Great Plains, as does its climate. The lands of Rohan are frequently described as appearing like "seas of grass".
See separate article "Rohirric".
Rohirric was, like the languages of all Men, akin to Adûnaic, the language of the Edain. The Rohirrim called their homeland the Ridenna-mearc, the Riddermark or Éo-marc, the Horse-mark, also simply the Mark and called themselves the Eorlingas, the Sons of Eorl. In the original Rohirric the name for their land is Lôgrad, with the element "lô-"/"loh-" corresponding to Anglo-Saxon "éo", horse.
Rohirric bears a similar relationship to the Common Speech of Middle-earth as that of Old English to modern English, and so Tolkien renders Rohirric names and phrases into Old English (Anglo-Saxon), just as the Common Speech is translated into English. Examples include words such as Mearas (Old English for horses) and éored. Tolkien was a philologist, with a special interest in Germanic languages.
Many archaic Hobbit names bear similarities to Rohirric, since the ancestors of the Shire hobbits lived on the upper reaches of the Anduin, close to the ancestors of the Rohirrim, and there was apparently a good deal of linguistic cross-fertilisation. The name Hobbit itself is believed to be derived from the Rohirric Holbytlan (hole builders). These names are also translations of the original Westron Kuduk (Hobbit) and Rohirric kûd-dûkan (hole dweller).
Alliance with Gondor
The alliance between Rohan and Gondor came into existence in TA 2510 with the Battle of the Field of Celebrant. Afterwards Cirion, Steward of Gondor granted the land of Calenardhon to Rohan and Eorl swore a perpetual Oath, binding his heirs to the alliance with Gondor. Since that time Gondor aided Rohan in TA 2759 and Rohan repaid the debt in TA 2885, resulting in the deaths of King Folcwine's twin sons at the Battle of the Crossings of Poros. After the War of the Ring the Oath of Eorl was sworn again by Éomer and the gift of Cirion confirmed by King Elessar.
War with the Dunlendings
To the west of Rohan lived the Dunlendings, a native people who had been colonising the mostly abandoned Calenardhon and were driven out by the newly arrived Rohirrim. The Dunlending Wulf briefly was a usurper of the throne of Rohan during the Long Winter. The Dunlendings allied with Saruman in the War of the Ring and after their defeat at the Battle of the Hornburg they were pardoned and allowed to return home after swearing oaths not to attack Rohan again.
Rumours of tributes paid to Sauron
During the early days of the War of the Ring, rumours were spread that the Rohirrim supplied Sauron's armies with horses. Many, including Boromir of Gondor, angrily decried these rumors as false, declaring that the Rohirrim were honorable allies of Gondor and would never aid Sauron, even by way of tribute. Aragorn likewise agreed that the Rohirrim valued their horses as dearly as their own kin, and would never part with them voluntarily. Éomer explained that Sauron had offered to purchase horses from Rohan for his armies, at exorbitant prices, but the Rohirrim refused, knowing the evil uses he made of all animals. The unfortunate outcome of this refusal was that Sauron sent Orcs on raids into Rohan to steal black horses (the only kind Sauron's armies used) instead of buying them. This gave rise to the rumors that Rohan was paying tribute to Sauron, but in fact this theft only hardened their resolve to resist Mordor and honor their alliance with Gondor.
When King Théoden began to grow old, he took as an adviser Gríma, later called Wormtongue. Gríma quickly became Théoden’s chief adviser, but unknown to all he was secretly working for Saruman. Gríma played on Théoden fears to further weaken the strength of the king and all of Rohan, always advising retreat where an attack was needed. He may have also begun poisoning the king at this time. This nearly proved disastrous for Rohan, and also for Gondor, by robbing them of their strongest ally in the north. Gríma Wormtongue’s plans were not revealed until Gandalf arrived at Edoras during the War of the Ring.
The Rohirrim were famous as skilled horsemen and renowned masters of horse breeding. Among the horses of the Rohirrim were the famed Mearas, the noblest and fastest horses who ever roamed Arda; Shadowfax was the greatest of all Mearas. There were very few Mearas left in Middle-earth at this point, but there were enough that a breeding population was present. The army of Rohan was almost exclusively cavalry, divided into irregular units termed éoreds, raised at need and not maintained on a standing basis. Rohan's foot-men armies were more of a very well trained militia called upon in times of war, the militia of Rohan wielded wooden shields of all sizes and used four weapons: longswords, short bows, axes, and longspears. The actual standing infantry force was relatively small with the professional career limited to the royal bodyguard of Edoras. The King's company were those men that directly served and protected the king.
Rohan's powerful cavalry could cut through almost any infantry lines and cavalry units and turn the tide of battle. The warriors of Rohan used the same weapons as their footmen counterparts when on horseback.
It was because of this close affiliation with horses, both in war and in peace, that they received their now famous name. Rohirrim (or more properly Rochirrim) is Sindarin for "Horse-lords," and Rohan (or Rochand) meant "Land of the Horse-lords."
Behind the scenes
Rohan is derived from Sindarin rochallor - roch means 'horse', but the meaning of the second element is unspecified.
Language See main article "Rohirric".
Tolkien rendered Rohirric as Old English, but also included Scandinavian names, such as Westfold. Even words and phrases that were printed in Modern English showed a strong Anglo-Saxon influence.
Rohirric nouns were pluralized with the suffix "-as", as were Old English nouns of the strong-masculine declension.
The Rohirrim used the Old English patronymic "-ing". They called themselves the Eorlingas, and Beorn’s people were the Beorningas; Scyld's people were the Scyldingas in Norse and Anglo-Saxon mythology.
Théoden was referred to as "Théoden King", rather than "King Théoden", just as Anglo-Saxon kings had the word "cyning" ("king") added after their names, rather than before.
Many Rohirric names appear to be derived from Old English words. These include:
- Éothéod: from "eoh" ("war-horse") and "þeod" ("folk", "people", "nation")
- Gríma: possibly from "grima" ("mask", "helmet", "ghost")or from gríma, the icelandic word for mask.
- Eorl: from "eorl" ("nobleman")
- Théodred: from "þeod" ("folk", "people", "nation") and "ræd" ("counsel")
Rochann The name comes from the elvish tranlsation of horse-land into Rochand, the word later developed into Rochann.
- Eorl the Young
- Helm Hammerhand
- Gríma Wormtongue
- Elfhelm, a Marshal
- Grimbold, a captain from Grimslade
- Gamling the Old, a captain
- Háma, the Doorkeeper of Meduseld
- Dúnhere, the Lord of Harrowdale
- Erkenbrand, Lord of the Westfold
- Ceorl, a messenger
- Éothain, one of Éomer's eored riders
- Guthláf, the Flag-bearer of King Théoden
Portrayal in adaptations
In The Lord of the Rings Online Rohan is split into two major halves, Eastern Rohan added in 2012 with the Riders of Rohan expansion and Western Rohan (which includes Eastfold) added in 2013 with Helm's Deep expansion, with a smaller "Wildermore" area added in between. Other than those mentioned in Tolkien's worsk, in-game Rohan features many other towns and villages of the Rohirrim. Each of those is ruled by a hereditary Thane, who answer to regional Reeves, who in turn respond to either Aldor Harding of the Eastemnet or to King Théoden directly. Outside the borders of Rohan proper, a large fortified town of Stangard on the northern shore of river Limlight guards the approaches from the Brown Lands. At the center of each settlement is a grand mead hall, which serves as the seat of the local Thane, the place for communal gatheringы and the most defensible position in case of an attack. During the War of the Ring almost all Rohirric settlements come under attack by the enemy, with several towns completely razed and burned to the ground, while some smaller villages are completely abandoned when the inhabitants flee to nearby cities for proteciton.
In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Around 2960 Saruman started to harass Rohan and in 3001, he began using his influence to weaken the King, Théoden, as part of a campaign to invade or take over the kingdom. In 3002, he launched a full-scale invasion of Rohan, with victories; (Théoden's son, Théodred was mortally wounded during the First Battle of the Fords of Isen, and soon died) and defeat at the Battle of the Hornburg, where the Huorns came to the aid of the Rohirrim.
On the heels of this victory, Théoden rode with an army to Minas Tirith and helped break its siege in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where he was slain. Éomer, the nephew of King Théoden, then succeeded to the throne, beginning the third line. Éomer rode with the armies of Gondor to the gates of Mordor and took part in the final battle with the forces of Sauron, who was defeated when the Ruling Ring was destroyed.
The rule of the Stewards of Gondor was now over. King Éomer and the new king of Gondor, Aragorn II (Aragorn), renewed their oath of alliance, and reaffirmed Cirion's grant of Calenardhon to the Rohirrim. But though Sauron had perished Éomer often fulfilled the Oath of Eorl and went with King Elessar far into the East and South. He was known as Éomer Éadig, or "the Blessed", because during his reign Rohan recovered from the hurts of the War and became a rich and fruitful land again.
After the downfall of Sauron, Gimli led a party of the Dwarves of Erebor to Aglarond, the Glittering Caves of the White Mountains within the realm of Rohan, of which there was an entrance in Helm's Deep.
|Amon Ereb • Brethil • Dor-lómin • Estolad • Ladros • Rhûn • Harad • Eriador|
|Arnor • Dunland • Gondor • Harad • Númenor • Rhûn • Umbar|
|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|
|Kingdom of Dale • Harad • Núrn • Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor • Rohan • Rhûn • Khand • Eriador • Rhovanion • Vales of Anduin|
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||洛汗|
|Kazakh||Роһан (Cyrillic) Rohan (Latin)|
|Serbian||Рохан (Cyrillic) Rohan (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Роҳан (Cyrillic) Rohan (Latin)|
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