The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
A mountain range running along the western and southern borders of Mordor
e'ffel doo'ath
Other names


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  • Updated 9 August 2013
  • Updates planned: 1

Ephel Dúath

The Mountains of Shadow on the borders of Mordor

Map of the Ephel Dúath

The western mountain-fence of Mordor, lying between it and its ancient enemy Gondor, in which stood the tower of Minas Morgul.



The Elvish names of mountain ranges typically contain the word ered, the plural of orod, 'mountain' (as in Ered Gorgoroth, Ered Lithui, Ered Luin, and many other examples). The ephel in Ephel Dúath literally means 'outer fence' (as opposed to the inner 'fence' of the Morgai, presumably). This use of this word for a mountain range is unique, but it does also appear with a more literal meaning in Ephel Brandir, the name of the stockade on Amon Obel in Brethil.


To confuse matters, the Ephel Dúath weren't the only Mountains of Shadow in Middle-earth. The name was also applied to the far northern range known in Elvish as the Ered Wethrin, though those northern mountains had been lost beneath the Sea at the end of the First Age.

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