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Fornost was deserted after its occupation by the Witch-king in III 1974; the name 'Deadmen's Dike' came into use after this time
The southern end of the North Downs, roughly one hundred miles north from Bree
Fornost was originally founded by Elendil after his escape from the Downfall of Númenor
The 'dead men' of the name are uncertain, but most likely simply a reference to the ancient people who had once lived here; a 'dike' is an earthwork or embankment
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 29 June 2017
  • This entry is complete

Deadmen’s Dike

The remnant of Fornost Erain

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Map of Deadmen's Dike

The great city of Fornost was founded in the late Second Age, and for nearly two thousand years it stood as one of the great cities of the Northern Dúnedain. After the land of Arnor dissolved into three lesser realms, it was the seat of the Kings of Arthedain, the direct Heirs of Isildur. Arthedain fought long and bitter wars against the Witch-king's domain of Angmar, and the city of Fornost finally fell in the year III 1974. Though the Witch-king was defeated and driven off in the following year, the city of Fornost was left deserted after that time.

The fall of Fornost was more than a thousand years before the end of the Third Age, and as the years passed on the city crumbled to ruin. By the time of the War of the Ring little remained but earthen mounds and ditches, and the ruined place had become known as Deadmen's Dike. The Men of those later times feared to go there, and given that the Lord of the Nazgúl had occupied the city for a time, this fear may have been more than superstition. Indeed the name 'Deadmen's Dike' might even imply that the Witch-king left evil spirits there as he had on the Barrow-downs, though it might as easily refer to the lost people of the ancient capital of Arthedain.

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