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Occupied by Elves after the Nirnaeth Arnoediad of I 472; abandoned I 488; used by Tuor while a lone outlaw I 491 - I 495; destroyed at the end of the First Age
Probably in the Mountains of Mithrim on the western borders of the land of Mithrim1
Primarily Elves, though Tuor, a Man, also dwelt in the caves of Androth for a time
Probably 'long caves'2


About this entry:

  • Updated 22 February 2018
  • This entry is complete


Refuge of the Grey-elves of Mithrim

Map of the caves of Androth
Conjectural (see note 1)
Conjectural (see note 1)

After the disaster of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the northern land of Dor-lómin was overrun by Easterlings in the service of Morgoth. The Grey-elves who dwelt in Mithrim took shelter in the hills, and their leader Annael brought them to the caves of Androth, where they survived in secret for many years. With them was a young Tuor, whom Annael had fostered, and he grew to the age of sixteen hiding with the Elves among the caverns.

At last, Annael determined to leave Androth, planning to lead his people into the south, to the Havens at the Mouths of Sirion. His plan was foiled when the Easterlings attacked and defeated the Elves, and took Tuor into servitude. After three years, he escaped, and fled back to his old home in the caves of Androth, which were now deserted and empty. He lived there alone as an outlaw for four more years, but at last he left the caves of Androth behind him, and set out westwards across Dor-lómin to meet his destiny.



The exact location of the caves of Androth is not established, but we have sufficient hints to show that they must have been somewhere close to the point marked on the map. We know for sure that they were associated with the land of Mithrim, and specifically with that land's surrounding hills. At the very least, then, they must have lain among the foothills of the Mountains of Shadow, or the long spur known as the Mountains of Mithrim that separated Mithrim from Dor-lómin to the west.

We have a stronger clue in the description of Tuor's final departure from the caves: '...he went westwards across Dor-lómin, and found Annon-in-Gelydh...' (Quenta Silmarillion 23, Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin). This requires that the caves be in the Mountains of Mithrim, because any other location would have involved Tuor crossing Mithrim itself before he could enter Dor-lómin. It's also clear from this description that they must have been approximately eastward of Annon-in-Gelydh, the Gate of the Noldor that led into the hidden cleft of Cirith Ninniach.

Taken together, these facts indicate a point in the Mountains of Mithrim generally eastward of Annon-in-Gelydh. The fact that an (unnamed) river rose at almost exactly this point is perhaps a further hint, since springs are often associated with caves (and in this case would also provide a useful source of fresh water for refugees hiding there) though this connection is necessarily more speculative.


The name Androth is never formally explained, but we can surely presume that the -roth ending has its usual Sindarin meaning of 'caves'. The And- element of the name usually means 'long', but in the context of a cave system its meaning is not completely clear. Perhaps the most natural inference would be that the caves ran a long way into the hills (and indeed if they were occupied by an entire group of Elves, this seems especially likely) though other interpretations are possible.


About this entry:

  • Updated 22 February 2018
  • This entry is complete

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