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Built in II 3320 or shortly thereafter
Under the control of Sauron between II 3429 and c. II 3434
Captured by the Nazgûl and renamed Minas Morgul in III 2002
The valley later named Imlad Morgul in the western slopes of the Ephel Dúath
Built by Elendil and his sons
Other names
This entry covers the building of the Moontower (Minas Ithil) and its history up to its capture by the Nazgûl in III 2002. For its history after that date, refer to the entry for Minas Morgul.


About this entry:

  • Updated 21 June 2014
  • This entry is complete


A name for the tower of Minas Ithil

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Map of the Moontower

A colloquial term for Minas Ithil, and a direct translation of that Elvish name. In the earliest days of Gondor, this was the tower and city of Isildur, built among the westward foothills of the Ephel Dúath on the borders of Mordor. Built in the late Second Age, it survived through more than two thousand years as an outpost of Gondor, but in III 2002 it was captured by the Nazgûl and remained in their possession until the War of the Ring at the end of the Third Age.

After its capture, the name of the tower was changed to Minas Morgul, 'Tower of Dark Sorcery', but in Mannish tongues its old name seems to have been retained, at least colloquially. In particular, the name 'Moontower' was used by Gollum, but this cannot have been his own personal term. Old though Gollum was, Minas Ithil had become Minas Morgul at least four centuries before he was born, so he could not personally remember it as the Moontower; he must have picked up the name through a tradition that persisted in Mannish usage.

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