HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Bay of Belfalas

Type: Seas, Oceans, Bays

Region: Gondor

Location: An immense gulf of the Great Sea, extending from the cape of Andrast in the north to Harad in the south.

Description:
Table of Contents:

Description
Geography
History
Etymology
Notes

Description
An enormous bay of the Sundering Sea, stretching from the cape of Andrast in the north to Harad, several hundred miles southwest of Umbar, in the south. The rivers of Gondor that empty into the Bay of Belfalas are: Lefnui, Morthond (with tributary Ringló), Serni (with tributaries Ciril and Gilrain), and Anduin; and the Harnen empties into it from Harad.

Geography
Map of the Bay of Belfalas.
The great Bay of Belfalas and its environs.
[The] great promontory between Isen and Lefnui... formed the north arm of the Bay of Belfalas [Ras Morthil 1 or Andrast]....

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix D, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Port of Lond Daer

[Aldarion]... began to explore the coasts southwards [of Mithlond], past the mouths of Baranduin and Gwathló and Angren, and he rounded the dark cape of Ras Morthil and beheld the great Bay of Belfalas, and the mountains of the country of Amroth where the Nandor Elves still dwell.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 2, Aldarion and Erendis

'We have descended from the uprising of the Morthond, the long chill river that flows at last to the sea that washes the walls of Dol Amroth.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 2, The Passing of the Grey Company

[The Morthond flows] into the sea in the bay north of Dol Amroth, which is named Cobas Haven.

The Treason of Isengard, HoME Vol 7, Ch 15, The First Map of the Lord of the Rings

[The] Gilrain [read: Serni 2], a river of Lebennin in Gondor... flowed into the Bay of Belfalas west of Ethir Anduin....

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

[The] Great River, Anduin,... flows out of Wilderland and finds the Western Sea in the Bay of Belfalas.

The Treason of Isengard, HoME Vol 7, Ch 7, The Council of Elrond (2)

[The] elven-boat... bore [Boromir's body]... past the many mouths of Anduin....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 1, The Departure of Boromir

[In] later times ships approaching Anduin and making for Pelargir went by the eastern side of Tol Falas and took the sea-way passage made by the Númenóreans in the midst of the Delta of Anduin.

"Serni" entry, Unfinished Tales, Index

[The Haradrim] contested the designs of Gondor to occupy the coast-lands beyond R. Harnen; they therefore tried to take Umbar, where Gondor maintained a great fort and haven.

The Peoples of Middle-earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil


History
Second Age

In the days of the earlier settlements of Númenor... [the] shores of the Bay of Belfalas were still mainly desolate, except for a haven and small settlement of Elves at the mouth of the confluence of Morthond and Ringló.

The Peoples of Middle-earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 2, Ch 10, Of Dwarves and Men: The Atani and their Languages

End of Second Age

[The shores of Middle-earth] were much changed in the tumult of the winds and seas that followed the Downfall; for in some places the sea rode in upon the land, and in others it piled up new coasts.... [The] Bay of Belfalas was much filled at the east and south, so that Pelargir which had been only a few miles from the sea was left far inland, and Anduin carved a new path by many mouths to the Bay. But the Isle of Tolfalas was almost destroyed, and was left at last like a barren and lonely mountain in the water not far from the issue of the River.

The Peoples of Middle-earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 6, The Tale of Years of the Second Age

1981 Third Age

And when the wind is in the South the voice of Amroth comes up from the sea; for Nimrodel flows into Silverlode, that Elves call Celebrant, and Celebrant into Anduin the Great, and Anduin flows into the Bay of Belfalas whence the Elves of Lórien set sail.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 6, Lothlórien


Etymology
falas  'shore, line of surf' (Quenya falassë) in Falas, Belfalas; also Anfalas in Gondor. Cf. Falathar, Falathrim. Another derivative from the root was Quenya falma '(crested) wave', Falmari, Mar-nu-Falmar.

The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names


Notes
1Ras Morthil, a name not otherwise found, must be the great headland at the end of the northern arm of the Bay of Belfalas, which was also called Andrast (Long Cape).

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 2, Aldarion and Erendis: Notes, Note 6

2Later, Tolkien decided that the Gilrain/Serni confluence, where it flowed into the Bay of Belfalas, was to be called Serni:

Though Serni was the shorter river its name was continued to the sea after its confluence with Gilrain.

"Serni" entry, Unfinished Tales, Index

Contributors:
Lyllyn 9May04
Elena Tiriel 4Sep11

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