The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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  • Updated 18 December 2011
  • Updates planned: 2

Oxen of the East

The great cattle of Rhûn

Huge wild oxen that roamed the lands of Rhûn, also called the Kine of Araw (Araw was the Sindarin form of Oromë, the Huntsman of the Valar said by legend to have brought the great beasts to Middle-earth). Steward Vorondil of Gondor famously hunted these oxen, and bore a hunting horn taken from one of them. That horn was passed down as an heirloom to Vorondil's descendants, and was the very horn carried by Boromir of the Company of the Ring.

It's hard to ignore the similarity between the wild Kine of Araw and the aurochs, a real wild animal from which modern cattle are derived, that was widely hunted (and is now extinct). A bull aurochs was as tall as a man at the shoulder, which gives us some idea of the likely size of the great oxen of Rhûn.

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