The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Location
Northern Mordor
Pronunciation
a'mon a'marth
Meaning
Literally 'hill of doom', but usually rendered 'Mount Doom'
Other names

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  • Updated 20 May 2011
  • This entry is complete

Amon Amarth

The literal translation of ‘Mount Doom

Map of Amon Amarth

The great volcano in the midst of the Plateau of Gorgoroth was most commonly known in Elvish as Orodruin, the Fire-mountain, but in the last years of the Second Age it acquired a new name among the Men of Gondor. In the year II 3429, their kingdom had been established for a little over a century, and Sauron had not been seen since the Downfall of Númenor. Orodruin had lain dormant for that time, but it now burst into new flame, and the Gondorians perceived that it meant the return of Sauron. Thus they gave the Fire-mountain a new Elvish name, Amon Amarth, meaning 'hill of doom', though almost universally translated as 'Mount Doom'.1

Their concerns proved to be well founded, as Sauron immediately sent an army over the Ephel Dúath and captured Minas Ithil. This was the beginning of the War of the Last Alliance, which would last for twelve years, and end with a hard-bought victory against Sauron.

It's unclear whether the name Amon Amarth continued in use after these events, but certainly the older Elvish name Orodruin remained much more common. In the tongues of Men, however, the translated form of Amon Amarth became widespread, so that the name for the mountain in the Common Tongue remained 'Mount Doom' throughout the Third Age.


Notes

1

The reasons for the choice of the name 'Doom' for the mountain are ambiguous. The Silmarillion implies that it was simply out of dread for the inevitable coming war against Sauron. Elsewhere, however, the name is given a more precise meaning. In his Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien indicates that 'Doom' was meant in its older sense of 'fate', and was chosen because of certain prophecies tying the mountain to the Ring in a way that was not fully understood at the time.

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