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The Istari came to Middle-earth c. III 1000. Saruman was slain in III 3019 and Gandalf left Middle-earth in III 3021; the fates of the other Istari are unknown
Saruman settled in Isengard, and Radagast in Rhosgobel for a time, while Gandalf had no permanent home
Literally 'wise one', but usually rendered 'Wizard'
Title of
Any of the Five Wizards
Istar is the singular form; the correct plural is Istari


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  • Updated 13 February 2009
  • This entry is complete



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A Quenya word meaning 'Wise One', equivalent to Sindarin Ithron. This name was given to the members of an order of five mysterious strangers who arrived in Middle-earth in around the year III 1000. It was later revealed to the Wise among Elves that these were Maiar, powerful beings out of the Uttermost West sent as emissaries of the Valar in the struggle against the Shadow. The Elvish name Istar (plural Istari) is translated as 'Wizard', and conversely the word 'Wizard' in Tolkien's work always refers to one of these five Istari from beyond the Great Sea.

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