The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
On the river Isen, in the centre of the Gap of Rohan
Originally guarded by the Gondorians, but latterly by the Rohirrim
Guarded by two forts built on the western bank of the river
Isen is pronounced 'i'sen'
Isen means 'iron'
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 27 April 2011
  • This entry is complete

Crossings of Isen

The Fords across the River Isen

Map of the Crossings of Isen

The main crossing-point of the River Isen, better known as the Fords of Isen, from which the North-South Road led through the Gap of Rohan and on into the North. At the Crossings, the river split into two fordable streams, forming a river-island between them.

As the only point for many miles where an army could cross the river, the Crossings were a focus of Rohan's defence, and forts were built there in case of attack from the west. In the event, an attack came not from the west, but from the north, when Saruman sent forces down both sides of the Isen to attack the Crossings. There followed the two Battles of the Fords of Isen (in which Théodred son of Théoden was slain) marking the beginning of Saruman's invasion of Rohan.

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