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  • Updated 25 October 2018
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Great Battle

The Battle of Dagorlad and its aftermath

A name given the epic confrontation at the end of the Second Age when the forces of the Last Alliance marched against Sauron's stronghold of Mordor. The name 'Great Battle' is commonly used for the Battle of Dagorlad, the opening battle of the conflict, but at times its meaning extends to cover the entire War of the Last Alliance that followed. This conflict of the Second Age is not to be confused with the War of Wrath that brought the First Age to an end, which is itself sometimes known as the 'Great Battle'.

The first strike in the war that would lead to the Great Battle was made by Sauron, when he sent his Nazgûl through the passes of the Mountains of Shadow to capture Isildur's tower of Minas Ithil. Elendil's eldest son was forced to flee with his family, making his way into the North and to the realm of Arnor where his father ruled. Joining with Gil-galad the King of the Elves, Elendil formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. These combined armies marched southwards to confront Sauron, hoping to finally rid the world of the Dark Lord.

In the year II 3434 the host of the Last Alliance crossed the Misty Mountains and marched on the Gates of Mordor. In the plain before the Morannon, a battle was fought that would decide the fate of Middle-earth for an age to come. From that day forward, the plain before the Black Gate became known as the 'Battle Plain', Dagorlad in Elvish, and the battle itself is generally known as the Battle of Dagorlad. The name 'Great Battle' is less common, but clearly appropriate to a conflict of its immense scope.

The battle started badly for the Alliance. The Silvan Elves, poorly equipped and unused to warfare, charged the enemy before any order was given. More than a third of this force was slain, and many were driven into the Dead Marshes northwest of the Battle Plain (where their shades could still be seen thousands of years later). The battle continued with tremendous losses on both sides, but Elendil's sword Narsil and Gil-galad's spear Aeglos proved unstoppable. Ultimately, the Last Alliance emerged victorious from the Great Battle, while the survivors of Sauron's forces fled back into Mordor. Elendil and Gil-galad followed, establishing the Siege of Barad-dûr that would last for seven years.

To end the Siege, Sauron offered single combat on the slopes of Mount Doom, and in that combat Elendil and Gil-galad were both slain, but Sauron's body was also destroyed. Thus Elendil's heir Isildur was able to take the One Ring and set in motion a chain of events that would lead to the War of the Ring, three thousand years later.


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About this entry:

  • Updated 25 October 2018
  • Updates planned: 2

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