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Dates
Renamed Cirith Ungol after the end of the Second Age1
Location
In the high Ephel Dúath, on the western borders of Mordor
Settlements
Watched over in later years by the Tower of Cirith Ungol
Pronunciation
ki'rith doo'ath
Meaning
'Cleft of shadows'
Other names

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About this entry:

  • Updated 25 July 2017
  • Updates planned: 1

Cirith Dúath

The Pass of Shadows

Map of Cirith Dúath

The shadowy pass in the Ephel Dúath, above Minas Ithil. This was the older name of the pass that came to be known during the Third Age as Cirith Ungol.


Notes

1

We have a reference to this pass being called Cirith Dúath during the War of the Last Alliance at the end of the Second Age, and it's said there that it was only later given the name Cirith Ungol, so we can be sure that the name changed at some point in the Third Age. This dating seems strange, since Cirith Ungol ('cleft of the spider') referred to the monstrous spider Shelob, who had been lurking there since before the building of Barad-dûr, many centuries earlier. We might therefore expect the name to have changed at some point in the Second Age to reflect Shelob's arrival, rather than the Third.

The names in question were given to the pass by the Gondorians, so to make sense of this apparent discontinuity we might assume that the Dúnedain were unaware of Shelob's presence during the Second Age, and only later discovered her and thus renamed the pass. This discovery presumably happened at the time of the War of the Last Alliance, or shortly afterward (even if Shelob somehow remained concealed through the War itself, it seems hardly avoidable that she would have been found during the building of the tower that would be known as the Tower of Cirith Ungol).

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 25 July 2017
  • Updates planned: 1

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