HASA Resources

Timeline Event

War of the Last Alliance: Overview

Event Type: Military/Strategic

Age: Akallabêth/Last Alliance

Years: 3430 ~ 3441

Description:

An event in the aftermath of the Fall of Minas Ithil — 2nd Age; see that entry for an overview:

Table of Contents:
The Summary
The Combatants
— Attacking Forces
— Defensive Forces
The Timeline
— Second Age
— Third Age
The Prelude
The War
— Battle of Dagorlad
— Siege of Barad-dûr
— Last Combat on Orodruin
The Aftermath
— Short Term
— Long Term
Notes

The Summary
The long war against Sauron that ended the Second Age.

The Combatants

The Combatants: Attacking Forces
Now Elendil and Gil-galad... made that League which is called the Last Alliance, and they marched east... gathering a great host of Elves and Men.... [The] host that was... assembled was fairer and more splendid in arms than any that has since been seen in Middle-earth, and none greater has been mustered since the host of the Valar went against Thangorodrim.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

[The] people of the Vales had been [Isildur's] allies....

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields

Amdír obeyed the summons of Gil-galad and brought as large a force as he could muster....

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: Amroth and Nimrodel

Oropher... assembled a great army of his now numerous people, and joining with the lesser army of [Amdír] of Lórien he led the host of the Silvan Elves to battle. The Silvan Elves were hardy and valiant, but ill-equipped with armour or weapons in comparison with the Eldar of the West; also they were independent, and not disposed to place themselves under the supreme command of Gil-galad.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix B, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves

Of the Dwarves few fought upon either side; but the kindred of Durin of Moria fought against Sauron.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

All living things were divided..., and some of every kind, even of beasts and birds, were found in either host, save the Elves only. They alone were undivided and followed Gil-galad.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

[The] might of the Elves was still great in those days, and the Númenóreans... terrible in their wrath.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

The Númenóreans... were of great stature and strength, and their fully-equipped soldiers were accustomed to bear heavy armour and weapons.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Notes, Note 7

[Arrows were] unavailing against the Númenórean armour. The great Men towered above the tallest Orcs, and their swords and spears far outreached the weapons of their enemies.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields

'[The] Spear of Gil-galad and the Sword of Elendil, Aeglos and Narsil, none could withstand.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

[Orcs] kept... out of the range of the dreaded steel-bows of Númenor....

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields


The Combatants: Defensive Forces
Sauron gathered to him great strength of his servants out of the east and the south; and among them were not a few of the high race of Númenor.... But because of the power of Gil-galad these renegades, lords both mighty and evil, for the most part took up their abodes in the southlands far away; yet two there were, Herumor and Fuinur, who rose to power among the Haradrim, a great and cruel people that dwelt in the wide lands south of Mordor....

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

Sauron... had sent out such Orc-troops... as he could spare, to do what they could to harry any forces that attempted to shorten their road by crossing the Mountains....

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Notes, Note 20

Orodruin burst once more into flame, and was named anew in Gondor Amon Amarth, Mount Doom.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Númenórean Kings


The Timeline

The Timeline: Second Age
3429
Sauron attacks Gondor, takes Minas Ithil and burns the White Tree. Isildur escapes down Anduin and goes to Elendil in the North....

[See: Fall of Minas Ithil — Second Age: Overview]
[See: Isildur brings news to Elendil of the Fall of Minas Ithil]

3430
The Last Alliance of Elves and Men is formed.

[See: Gil-galad and Elendil form the Last Alliance]

3431
Gil-galad and Elendil march east to Imladris.

[See: Gil-galad and Elendil muster the Host of the Alliance in Rivendell]
[See: Valandil, son of Isildur, born in Rivendell]

[3431 - 3434]

[See: Sauron sends Orcs north to harry the Host of the Alliance]

3434
The host of the Alliance crosses the Misty Mountains. Battle of Dagorlad and defeat of Sauron. Siege of Barad-dûr begins.

[See: Host of the Alliance crosses the Misty Mountains and marches south]

[See: Oropher and Amdír join the Host of the Alliance]
[See: Dwarves of Moria join the Host of the Alliance]

[See: Battle of Dagorlad]

[See: Oropher, King of the Elves of Greenwood, slain]
[See: Thranduil becomes King of the Elves of Greenwood]

[See: Amdír, King of Lórien, slain]
[See: Amroth becomes King of Lórien]

[See: Siege of Barad-dûr begins after the Battle of Dagorlad]
[See: Isildur sends Aratan and Ciryon to guard Minas Ithil]

3440
Anárion slain.

[See: Anárion, King of Gondor, slain]

3441
Sauron overthrown by Elendil and Gil-galad, who perish. Isildur takes the One Ring. Sauron passes away and the Ringwraiths go into the shadows. The Second Age ends.

[See: Sauron comes forth for the Last Combat on Orodruin]

[See: Gil-galad, King of the Noldor, slain by Sauron]

[See: Elendil, King of Arnor and Gondor, slain by Sauron]
[See: Isildur becomes King of Arnor and Gondor]
[See: Narsil, the sword of Elendil, breaks at his death]

[See: Isildur cuts the One Ring from Sauron's hand with a shard of Narsil]
[See: Sauron falls on Orodruin]
[See: Isildur claims the One Ring]

[See: Siege of Barad-dûr ends]
[See: Nazgûl flee to the East]

[See: Barad-dûr thrown down]

[3441 - Third Age 2]

[See: Isildur returns to Gondor to instruct Meneldil]

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Second Age


The Timeline: Third Age
[1]

[See: Thranduil's army returns to Greenwood]
[See: Isildur's army returns to Arnor]

2
Isildur... delivers the South-kingdom to Meneldil. Disaster of the Gladden Fields; Isildur and his three elder sons are slain.

[See: Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Overview]

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age


The Prelude
[The] Exiles of Númenor established their realms in Arnor and in Gondor; but... their enemy, Sauron, had also returned... to his ancient kingdom of Mordor.... He took up again the great Ring and clothed himself in power; and the malice of the Eye of Sauron few... could endure.

Now Sauron prepared war against the Eldar and the Men of Westernesse, and the fires of the Mountain were wakened again....

When... Sauron saw his time he came with great force against the new realm of Gondor, and he took Minas Ithil.... But Isildur escaped, and... he went... seeking Elendil. Meanwhile Anárion held Osgiliath...; but... knew that unless help should come his kingdom would not long stand.

Now Elendil and Gil-galad took counsel together, for they perceived that Sauron would grow too strong and would overcome all his enemies one by one, if they did not unite against him. Therefore they made that League which is called the Last Alliance, and they marched east... gathering a great host of Elves and Men; and they halted for a while at Imladris....

From Imladris they crossed the Misty Mountains... and marched down the River Anduin....

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age


The War

The War: Battle of Dagorlad
[They] came at last upon the host of Sauron on Dagorlad... before the gate of the Black Land....

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

Oropher 1 was slain in the first assault upon Mordor, rushing forward at the head of his most doughty warriors before Gil-galad had given the signal for the advance.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix B, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves

[Amdír 2] and more than half his following perished..., being cut off from the main host and driven into the Dead Marshes.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix B, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves

The host of Gil-galad and Elendil had the victory, for the might of the Elves was still great in those days, and the Númenóreans were strong and tall, and terrible in their wrath.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age


The War: Siege of Barad-dûr
Then Gil-galad and Elendil passed into Mordor and encompassed the stronghold of Sauron; and they laid siege to it for seven years, and suffered grievous loss by fire and by the darts and bolts of the Enemy, and Sauron sent many sorties against them.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age


The War: Last Combat on Orodruin
But at the last the siege was so strait that Sauron himself came forth; and he wrestled with Gil-galad and Elendil, and they both were slain, and the sword of Elendil broke under him as he fell. But Sauron also was thrown down, and with the hilt-shard of Narsil Isildur cut the Ruling Ring from the hand of Sauron and took it for his own.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age


The Aftermath

The Aftermath: Short Term
'Sauron was diminished, but not destroyed. His Ring was lost but not unmade. The Dark Tower was broken, but its foundations were not removed; for they were made with the power of the Ring, and while it remains they will endure.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

'Many Elves and many mighty Men, and many of their friends, had perished in the war....'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

Sauron... forsook his body, and his spirit fled far away...; and he took no visible shape again for many long years.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

The servants of Sauron were routed and dispersed....

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

If any... had escaped, they had fled far to the East with the Ringwraiths.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Notes, Note 20

[The Orc-troops that Sauron sent north before the War] remained alert and watchful, determined to attack any companies of Elves or Men that they outnumbered. Thranduil 3 they had let pass, for even his diminished army was far too strong for them; but they bided their time, for the most part hidden in the Forest, while others lurked along the riverbanks.... This small detachment in the North, of no account, was forgotten. Probably they thought that Sauron had been victorious.... [Author's note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Notes, Note 20

So ended the Second Age.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Númenor


The Aftermath: Long Term
[Valandil's] folk were diminished, and of the Númenóreans and of the Men of Eriador there remained now too few to people the land or to maintain all the places that Elendil had built....

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

'[Their] city of Annúminas... fell into ruin; and the heirs of Valandil removed and dwelt at Fornost.... For the folk of Arnor dwindled, and their foes devoured them, and their lordship passed, leaving only green mounds in the grassy hills.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

'In the South the realm of Gondor long endured; and for a while its splendour grew, recalling somewhat of the might of Númenor.... High towers that people built, and strong places, and havens of many ships....'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

[The Tower of Cirith Ungol] was... one of the works of Gondor..., an eastern outpost of the defences of Ithilien, made when, after the Last Alliance, Men of Westernesse kept watch on the evil land of Sauron where his creatures still lurked. But as with... the Towers of the Teeth, so here too the vigilance had failed....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 1, The Tower of Cirith Ungol

The dominion of the Númenórean kings of Gondor was reaching out northwards towards the borders of Lórien and the Greenwood.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix B, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves

The Free Men of the North... were spreading southwards: mostly east of the Greenwood, though some were establishing themselves in the eaves of the forest and the grass­lands of the Vales of Anduin.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix B, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves

[Though] many Men turned now from evil and became subject to the heirs of Elendil,... many more remembered Sauron in their hearts and hated the kingdoms of the West.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

[Ominous] were rumours from the further East: the Wild Men were restless. Former servants and worshippers of Sauron, they were released now from his tyranny, but not from the evil and darkness that he had set in their hearts. Cruel wars raged among them, from which some were withdrawing westward, with minds filled with hatred, regarding all that dwelt in the West as enemies to be slain and plundered.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix B, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves

A long peace followed in which the numbers of the Silvan Elves grew again; but they were unquiet and anxious, feeling the change of the world that the Third Age would bring.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix B, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves

'Never again shall there be any such league of Elves and Men; for Men multiply and the Firstborn decrease, and the two kindreds are estranged. And ever since that day the race of Númenor has decayed, and the span of their years has lessened.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond


Notes
1The King of the Elves of Greenwood, and grandfather of Legolas.
2The King of Lórien; he is actually called Malgalad in this passage, but named Amdír wher­ever else he is mentioned. Christopher Tolkien believes that both these names refer to the father of Amroth.
3The new King of the Elves of Greenwood; son of Oropher and father of Legolas.

Contributors:
Anglachel - 16Mar03
Lyllyn 28Dec03
Elena Tiriel 3Dec07, 10Dec07

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