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Discussing: Cair Andros

Cair Andros

I'm looking for any discription there might be of Cair Andros. Not just the geography of it being in the middle of the Anduin, but what the city itself actually looks like. Any ideas where I could look? Has anything been established? Bado na sídh. Berz.

 

 

Re: Cair Andros

Hi Berz Apart from the Cair Andros entry in the Resource library (Edit: now updated to include the additional quotes mentioned here), the only other relevant quotes about its apearance (or the surrounding countryside) that I can find are:
It was Túrin that built secret refuges for his soldiers in Ithilien, of which Henneth Annûn was the longest guarded and manned. He also fortified again the isle of Cair Andros to defend Anórien. The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion: The Stewards [Faramir speaking:] Cair Andros, the long isle in the River northward which we hold in defence The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 4, The Siege of Gondor [Denethor speaking] And the Enemy must pay dearly for the crossing of the River. That he cannot do, in force to assail the City, either north of Cair Andros because of the marshes. The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 4, The Siege of Gondor For the Field of Cormallen, where the host was now encamped was near to Henneth Annûn, and the stream that flowed from its falls could be heard in the night as it rushed down through its rocky gate, and passed through the flowery meads into the tides of Anduin by the Isle of Cair Andros The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 4, The Field of Cormallen
This is pure speculation on my part, but the first quote about Túrin fortifying the island makes me think it might have been something like The Fords of Isen at the time of the Ring War, which I think had various defensive banks and ditches built on either side, as well as an island in the middle of the river. (I can dig you out some more quotes from UT about the Fords of Isen if they would help.) Hope that helps. Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Cair Andros

This is pure speculation on my part, but the first quote about Túrin fortifying the island makes me think it might have been something like The Fords of Isen at the time of the Ring War, which I think had various defensive banks and ditches built on either side, as well as an island in the middle of the river. On the other hand, it might have been more permanently fortified like the Causeway Forts; it certainly held the same strategic importance... and they were both built by Gondorians. - Barbara

 

 

Re: Cair Andros

Hi Barbara (and Berz) On the other hand, it might have been more permanently fortified like the Causeway Forts; it certainly held the same strategic importance... and they were both built by Gondorians. I was trying to work out why it bothered me to think that Cair Andros might have big visible defences like the Causeway Forts. Of course, we don't know one way or the other, so it may well do, but I think there are some bits of evidence that suggest maybe not. One is a significant quote that I missed in my first post (sorry about that, Berz!), but it was nagging at me that I'd read this description of Cair Andros somewhere : So they came to a wide green land, and beyond it was a broad river in a silver haze, out of which rose a long wooded isle, and many ships lay by its shores. The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 4, The Field of Cormallen There's no mention of fortifications such as walls and towers here. Also, everyone at the Field of Cormallen seems to be camped out, and the field hospital where Frodo and Sam are recuperating is in the open air. I would have thought that if there was a proper "fort", at least some people would be staying in it, or the hospital would be more likely to inside the fort (where there would be easily accessible water supplies, sanitation and better heating and cooking facilities). On top of that, the island is still wooded, but people tend to chop trees down around formal fortifications to give visibility and a field of fire. It just feels like a more "rustic" form of fortification than the Rammas Echor and Causeway Forts. Finally, there's the description in The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit that the Rangers of Ithilien "crossed the Anduin secretly (how or where, [Mablung and Damrod] would not say) to harry the Orcs and other enemies". Now, Cair Andros and Osgiliath are significant crossing points only if you're trying to move large numbers of troops, so there may well be other crossing points - but we do know they use Cair Andros, and it's probably the main and quickest route, since Faramir uses it to get back to Minas Tirith. But the crossing point still seems to be "secret", suggesting the fortifications are concealed rather than open. Anyway, as I said, it's all pure speculation on my part, because Tolkien didn't tell us. *sigh* And I really do spend far too much time thinking about this stuff, don't I? Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Cair Andros

Awesome! Thanks everyone! You've saved me from making a rather large blunder. I have to go edit some stuff, now... Bado na sídh. Berz.

 

 

Re: Cair Andros

Very clear thinking, Liz, you have certainly convinced me. Would you mind adding all your lovely quotes to our (rather anemic) entry? - Barbara

 

 

Re: Cair Andros

Awesome! Thanks everyone! You're very welcome, Berz! We love hearing that it will help someone's story! - Barbara

 

 

Re: Cair Andros

Barbara wrote: Would you mind adding all your lovely quotes to our (rather anemic) entry? Not at all. I was thinking I needed to do that. And it's done. Berz wrote: Awesome! Thanks everyone! You're welcome. Thanks for drawing our attention to the fact there was more that could be included in the Cair Andros entry. And it's always nice to know when our efforts here in Resources help people with their stories. Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Cair Andros

Not at all. I was thinking I needed to do that. And it's done. Thanks, Liz! (The new-and-improved entry for Cair Andros can be found here.) - Barbara

 

 

Re: Cair Andros

There are some significant quotes pertaining to Cair Andros in UT,
...Minohtar took command. He was a man both valiant an warwise... He at once sent messengers to Adrahil of Dol Amroth, the Captain of the Left Wing,...he was to take up a defensive position between Cair Andros (which was manned) and the mountains of Ephel Dúath, where owing to the great eastward loop of the Anduin the land was at its narrowest, to cover as long as he could the approaches to Minas Tirith. Minohtar himself, to allow time for this retreat, would form a rearguard and attempt to stem the advance of the main host of the Wainriders. UT: II - CIRION AND EORL AND THE FRIENDSHIP OF GONDOR AND ROHAN: (i) The Northmen and the Wainriders
Also from the opening note on the Halifirien in Cirion and Eorl:
...In Anórien many people still dwelt and had the task of guarding the northern approaches, either out of Calenardhon or across the Anduin at Cair Andros...
and:
In the same note it is stated that "Amon Dín 'the silent hill' was perhaps the oldest, with the original function of a fortified outpost of Minas Tirith, from which its beacon could be seen, to keep watch over the passage into North Ithilien from Dagorlad and any attempt by enemies to cross the Anduin at or near Cair Andros...
If Amon Dún was a "fortified outpost of Minas Tirith" it makes sense that Cair Andros was as well. I have always read the lines that refer to a place as being "manned" as an indication that some form of fortification was in existence. In UT there are couple of quotes that refer to "lines of forts" along the Anduin:
King Ondoher had purposed to lead his host north through Ithilien and deploy it on the Dagorlad, a field of ill omen for the enemies of Gondor. (At that time the forts upon the line of the Anduin north of Sarn Gebir that had been built by Narmacil I were still in repair and manned by sufficient soldiers from Calenardhon to prevent any attempt of an enemy to cross the river at the Undeeps.) (Source: Cirion and Eorl: (i) The Northmen and the Wainriders)
And:
There were no longer sufficient men in the realm to people the northward region, nor even to maintain in force the line of forts along the Anduin that had guarded its eastward boundary. ( Source: Cirion and Eorl: (iv) The Tradition of Isildur)
While Cair Andros is not specifically named, its being closer to Minas Tirith - and to Mordor - would make it quite reasonable that some type of fortified position would be maintained there. The question still remains as to what form of fortification existed at those "lines of forts". In the same passage of The Siege of Gondor in RotK that the article quotes, there is this exchange between Imrahil and Denethor:
.''And what of Cair Andros?' said the Prince. 'That, too, must be held, if Osgiliath is defended. Let us not forget the danger on our left. The Rohirrim may come, and they may not. But Faramir has told us of great strength drawing ever to the Black Gate. More than one host may issue from it, and strike for more than one passage.' 'Much must be risked in war,' said Denethor. 'Cair Andros is manned and no more can be sent so far...'
Also, later in the same chapter:
'We are likely to see other newcomers first,' said Gandalf. 'Fugitives from Cair Andros have already reached us. The isle has fallen. Another army is come from the Black Gate, crossing from the north-east.'
From The Black Gate Opens:
'Go!' said Aragorn. 'But keep what honour you may, and do not run! And there is a task which you may attempt and so be not wholly shamed. Take your way south-west till you come to Cair Andros, and if that is still held by enemies, as I think, then re-take it, if you can; and hold it to the last in defense of Gondor and Rohan!'
Though it is not specifically stated anywhere, the inference throughout these passages in UT and LotR is that Cair Andros is a significant defensive position. If there were "lines of forts" along the Anduin, it makes perfect sense that one would be located on Cair Andros (or more - if the island is as large as the maps make it appear to be there could be one at both the northern and southern tips of the island). Whether those were major fortifications rather than simple earthworks, which seems to be a type favored by Tolkien (like those at the Fords of Isen) - and Liz's points are well taken in that respect - it seems likely that there were at least some kind of defensive positions at the time of the Ring War. My two cents, for what it's worth. ~Nessime

 

 

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