The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Destroyed at the end of the First Age
North of the Bay of Balar, between Cape Balar and the Mouths of Sirion


About this entry:

  • Updated 9 December 2008
  • Updates planned: 1


The coastlands north of the Bay of Balar

Encyclopedia of Arda Timeline
Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond
"Eärendil was a mariner
that tarried in Arvernien..."
The first lines of Bilbo's Song of Eärendil
The Fellowship of the Ring II 1
Many Meetings

The northern coastlands of the Bay of Balar, lying between Cape Balar to the west and the Mouths of Sirion to the east. The inland part of this region was famed for the white birchwoods of Nimbrethil.

Arvernien was the most southerly habitable part of the mainland of Beleriand, and thus the furthest from Morgoth's influence. This became important late in the First Age, when refugees from Doriath and Gondolin gathered there, especially in the east at the Mouths of Sirion. Eärendil became the lord of these people, and it was from the birchwoods of Arvernien that he gathered the timbers to make his ship Vingilot.



The -vernien element of this land's name is almost certainly a reference to the forests it contained (though The Etymologies in volume 5 of The History of Middle-earth translates ferni as 'beeches', the Elves seem to have also used the word for the closely related birch tree). So, -vernien can be read as '(land) of birches', which is surely a reference to the birchwoods of Nimbrethil. The ar- element is less certain: it may imply that the birches of this region were particularly maginificent, or it may imply 'outside' (so Arvernien would be the 'land outside Nimbrethil').

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1998, 2001, 2007-2008. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.