The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
The wide ocean between Aman and Middle-earth
'great dread'1
Bays and Gulfs
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 13 March 2014
  • Updates planned: 1


The Great Sea

Map of northern Belegaer
The northern parts of Belegaer (somewhat conjectural)2

The Great Sea; the mighty ocean that lay between Middle-earth in the east and Aman in the west, in the midst of which the island kingdom of Númenor lay during the Second Age.



The Elves chose the word gaer ('awe' or 'dread') to describe their fear of the Great Sea when they first encountered it at the end of the Great Journey.


The map shown here is based on sketch maps reproduced in volume 4 of The History of Middle-earth. These belong to an early phase of Tolkien's mythology, and aren't perfectly consistent with the more familiar geography of his world, but they do show Belegaer in its entirety. The better known regions of northwestern Middle-earth would appear along the Great Sea's northeastern shores, in approximately the region labelled 'Beleriand' on this map.

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