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Timeline Event

Invasion of Calenardhon by Balchoth and Orcs: Overview

Event Type: Military/Strategic

Age: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Dates: January 1, 2510 ~ April 15, 2510


Table of Contents:

The Enemy
The Timeline
The Prelude
The Invasion
The Aftermath

The Enemy

Sauron stirs up mischief, and there is a great attack on Gondor. Orcs pour out of the [Misty] Mountains ... and join with Easterlings.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Stewards of Gondor

He [Cirion] ... could do little more than defend his borders ... The Corsairs harried his coasts, but it was in the north that his chief peril lay. In the wide lands of Rhovanion, between Mirkwood and the River Running, a fierce people now dwelt, wholly under the shadow of Dol Guldur. Often they made raids through the forest, until the vale of Anduin south of the Gladden was largely deserted. These Balchoth [1] were constantly increased by others of like kind that came in from the east, whereas the people of Calenardhon had dwindled.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion

[The Balchoth] were only rudely armed, and had no great number of horses for riding, using horses mainly for draught, since they had many large wains.... But what they lacked in gear of war they made up in numbers....

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Ride of Eorl

The Timeline

... Orcs and Easterlings overrun Calenardhon. Eorl the Young wins the victory of the Field of Celebrant. The Rohirrim settle in Calenardhon.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

See the following additional entries:
January - March:
Muster of the Balchoth for the Invasion of Calenardhon
March - 15 April:
Cirion Sends for Aid from the Éothéod
Cirion Defends Calenardhon against Invasion by Balchoth and Orcs
6 - 15 April:
Ride of Eorl
15 April:
Battle of the Field of Celebrant
Cirion and Eorl Swear Oaths of Alliance on the Hill of Awe
Gift of Cirion
Oath of Eorl and Oath of Cirion
Cirion and Eorl Define the Boundaries of Calenardhon
Eorl becomes King of the Mark
September - November:
Eorl Leads the Éothéod to Calenardhon

The Prelude

The wide lands south of Mirkwood, from the Brown Lands to the Sea of Rhûn, which offered no obstacle to invaders from the East until they came to Anduin, were a chief source of concern and unease to the rulers of Gondor. But during the Watchful Peace the forts along the Anduin, especially on the west shore of the Undeeps, had been unmanned and neglected. After that time Gondor was assailed both by Orcs out of Mordor (which had long been unguarded) and by the Corsairs of Umbar, and had neither men nor opportunity for manning the line of Anduin north of the Emyn Muil.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Ride of Eorl

But during the Watchful Peace (from 2063 to 2460) the people of Calenardhon dwindled: the more vigorous, year by year, went east­ward to hold the line of the Anduin; those that remained became rustic and far removed from the concerns of Minas Tirith. The garrisons of the forts were not renewed, and were left to the care of local hereditary chieftains whose subjects were of more and more mixed blood. For the Dunlendings drifted steadily and unchecked over the Isen.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen: Appendix

The Invasion

In the two thousand five hundred and tenth year of the Third Age a new peril threatened Gondor. A great host of wild men from the North-east swept over Rhovanion and coming down out of the Brown-lands crossed the Anduin on rafts. At the same time by chance or design the Orcs (who at that time before their war with the Dwarves were in great strength) made a descent from the Mountains. The invaders overran Calenardhon, and Cirion, Steward of Gondor, sent north for help; for there had been long friendship between the Men of Anduin's Vale and the people of Gondor. But in the valley of the River men were now few and scattered, and slow to render such aid as they could. At last tidings came to Eorl of the need of Gondor, and late though it seemed, he set out with a great host of riders.

'Thus he came to the battle of the Field of Celebrant, for that was the name of the green land that lay between Silverlode and Limlight. There the northern army of Gondor was in peril. Defeated in the Wold and cut off from the south, it had been driven across the Limlight, and was then suddenly assailed by the Orc-host that pressed it towards the Anduin. All hope was lost when, unlooked for, the Riders came out of the North and broke upon the rear of the enemy. Then the fortunes of battle were reversed, and the enemy was driven with slaughter over Limlight. Eorl led his men in pursuit, and so great was the fear that went before horsemen of the North that the invaders of the Wold were also thrown into panic, and the Riders hunted them over the plains of Calenardhon.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The House of Eorl

The Aftermath

The people of that region had become few since the Plague, and most of those that remained had been slaughtered by the savage Easterlings. Cirion, therefore, in reward for his aid, gave Calenardhon between Anduin and Isen to Eorl and his people; and they sent north for their wives and children and their goods and settled in that land. They named it anew the Mark of the Riders, and they called themselves the Eorlingas; but in Gondor their land was called Rohan, and its people the Rohirrim (that is, the Horse-lords). Thus Eorl became the first King of the Mark, and he chose for his dwelling a green hill before the feet of the White Mountains that were the south-wall of his land. There the Rohirrim lived afterwards as free men under their own kings and laws, but in perpetual alliance with Gondor.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The House of Eorl

[Said Faramir,] "These are the Rohirrim, as we name them, masters of horses, and we ceded to them the fields of Calenardhon that are since called Rohan; for that province had long been sparsely settled. And they became our allies, and have ever proved true to us, aiding us at need, and guarding our northern marches and the Gap of Rohan."

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West


So these people were then called in Gondor: a mixed word of popular speech, from Westron balc "horrible" and Sindarin hoth "horde," applied to such peoples as the Orcs. [Author's note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 24

[Note: the dates are set arbitrarily to include the Muster of the Balchoth for the Invasion of Calenardhon through the Battle of the Field of Celebrant.]

Elena Tiriel 15Jun04; added tidbits: ET 22Jun04; added quotes & reorganized: ET 22Jul04; added Prelude: ET 28Jul04

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