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Dates
Fought in the First Age, after the return of Morgoth to Angband, but before the first rising of the Moon and Sun1
Location
Across Beleriand, but especially on the plains east and west of Doriath
Race
Fought between Elves and Orcs
Division
The Elves were chiefly Sindar, but reinforced by Nandorin Green-elves
Meaning
The first of the great battles of the Wars of Beleriand
Other names
None2
Note
This battle is not to be confused with the First Battle of the Fords of Isen, an entirely different conflict fought thousands of years later; for that battle see the entry for First Battle of the Fords of Isen

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About this entry:

  • Updated 29 April 2018
  • This entry is complete

First Battle

The first great battle in the Wars of Beleriand

Map of the First Battle

The First Battle was fought when Morgoth sent two armies of Orcs down into Beleriand, one in the west and one in the east, in a time before the Return of the Noldor.

(1) The eastern army pushes southwards and defeats the Laiquendi at Amon Ereb, slaying their leader Denethor.
(2) Thingol's forces out of Doriath meet the eastern Orcs in the rear.
(3) The eastern Orcs are finally defeated north of the Andram, and flee back towards the North.
(4) The fleeing remnant of the eastern army of Orcs is set upon by Dwarves out of the Blue Mountains, and almost completely destroyed.
(5) The western army of Orcs is almost unopposed. Driving Círdan into his Havens, elsewhere they roam freely through West Beleriand.

The First Battle was fought when Morgoth sent two armies of Orcs down into Beleriand, one in the west and one in the east, in a time before the Return of the Noldor.

(1) The eastern army pushes southwards and defeats the Laiquendi at Amon Ereb, slaying their leader Denethor.
(2) Thingol's forces out of Doriath meet the eastern Orcs in the rear.
(3) The eastern Orcs are finally defeated north of the Andram, and flee back towards the North.
(4) The fleeing remnant of the eastern army of Orcs is set upon by Dwarves out of the Blue Mountains, and almost completely destroyed.
(5) The western army of Orcs is almost unopposed. Driving Círdan into his Havens, elsewhere they roam freely through West Beleriand.

Battles of the Wars of Beleriand

The first of the great battles in the Wars of Beleriand, fought soon after the destruction of the Two Trees of Valinor, and before the Return of the Noldor to Middle-earth. After his own return to Middle-earth, Melkor loosed legions of Orcs upon Thingol and Círdan, at that time the two greatest lords of Beleriand. Though the Elves managed to save both their kingdoms of Doriath and the Falas, the Orcs roamed Beleriand freely after this battle until the coming of the Noldor.


Notes

1

The text of The Silmarillion is not specific about the date of the First Battle, but the Grey Annals (in volume 11 of The History of Middle-earth gives us a definite date. That date is Valian Year 1497, which translates to about 29 (solar) years before the first rising of the Moon and Sun. To put this into perspective, Morgoth had returned to Angband about twenty years beforehand, and the Noldor would follow him into Middle-earth about seven years after the First Battle. (Valian Years were rather longer than solar years, so all the figures given here are necessarily approximate conversions.)

2

The lack of any alternative name for the First Battle is notable, because it breaks an otherwise regular pattern: from the Second Battle onwards each of the numbered battles of the Wars of Beleriand carried its own distinctive title. So, the Second Battle was the Dagor-nuin-Giliath, the Battle-under-Stars; the Third was the Dagor Aglareb, the Glorious Battle, and so on.

The reason for the missing name seems to relate to Tolkien's development of this idea over time. In the original scheme, the numbered battles started with Dagor-nuin-Giliath as the First Battle, not the Second. This scheme was later expanded to include Morgoth's invasion of Beleriand before the Return of the Noldor, which was now explicitly the First Battle of the Wars of Beleriand, but this new inclusion never received its own independent name.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 29 April 2018
  • This entry is complete

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