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Probably built sometime before II 1098;1 broken III 2912
Carrying the North-South Road over the river Gwathló (Greyflood) at Tharbad
Apparently constructed by the Númenóreans2
The source of Gwathló lay directly to the northeast of the Bridge, where the rivers Mitheithel and Glanduin converged
Tharbad is pronounced 'tha'rbad'
Tharbad means 'crossway' (in an apparent reference to the Bridge)


About this entry:

  • Updated 10 July 2020
  • This entry is complete

Bridge of Tharbad

The crossing of the Greyflood

Map of the Bridge of Tharbad

In the early years of the Two Kingdoms, Arnor and Gondor were connected by a great Royal Road that ran through the wide lands of Enedwaith. On the borders of Minhiriath, the road crossed the River Gwathló, or Greyflood, at a place surrounded by fens and marshes. At the river crossing itself a Bridge was built, and a township was maintained (Tharbad, meaning 'cross-way'). Tharbad supported a garrison of soldiers and engineers to maintain the road and bridge in the treacherous landscape.

The Bridge and its roadway survived until the end of the second millennium of the Third Age. With the loss of the King of Arthedain to the north, and soon afterwards of Gondor to the south, Tharbad and its Bridge found themselves abandoned in an unruled wilderness, and soon fell into disrepair. By the end of the Third Age, the Bridge had long since collapsed to form a dangerous and difficult river-crossing: it was here that Boromir famously lost his horse as he journeyed northward in search of Rivendell.



We don't have a definite date for the construction of the Bridge of Tharbad, but we know that Aldarion of Númenor met Galadriel at Tharbad, so we can at least be sure that the town existed relatively early in the Second Age (and certainly before Aldarion's death in II 1098). The fact that it was known as Tharbad (implying a river crossing) suggests that the Bridge already existed at this time, though our earliest definite mention of a crossing at Tharbad is rather later, in II 1700.


Strictly speaking, we're not told specifically that the Bridge was built by the Númenóreans, but given that Tharbad originated as a Númenórean river port, and that the Bridge was so well constructed that it would stand for more than five thousand years, a Númenórean origin seems to be the only realistic conclusion.


About this entry:

  • Updated 10 July 2020
  • This entry is complete

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