The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Created by Vorondil, who served as Steward from III 1998 to III 2029; broken 26 February III 3019
Origins
Made by Vorondil the Hunter from the horn of one of the Kine of Araw
Race
Division
Culture
Family
Settlements

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 16 January 2020
  • This entry is complete

Great Horn

Heirloom of the Stewards

A hunting horn created by Vorondil, father of Mardil the first Ruling Steward of Gondor. It was made from the horn of one of the great Kine of Araw1 that grazed the fields of Rhûn, bound and tipped with silver and engraved with writing in an ancient tongue. After Vorondil's time, it became tradition for the eldest son of the Ruling Steward to carry the Great Horn, down to the time of Boromir, heir to Denethor II. At that time the horn would have been about a thousand years old, and passed down through some twenty-seven2 generations.

Tradition said that if the Great Horn was blown within the ancient boundaries of Gondor, it would summon aid, but no aid came to Boromir when he winded the horn. He was just within the far northern boundaries of old Gondor when he was attacked by Orcs at Parth Galen. The horn's sound could be heard far and wide, drowning out the roaring of the great waterfall of Rauros and even being faintly heard by Boromir's brother Faramir, far to the south. However, none of the Boromir's companions were able to reach him before he was fatally wounded, and the horn that had lasted a thousand years was broken in two by the Orcs. Eventually, the Great Horn found its way back to Minas Tirith: the halves had been laid on Boromir's funeral boat, and they were recovered from Anduin and returned to his father Denethor.


Notes

1

Beyond the description 'great', we're not given many clues to the dimensions of the horn. Assuming that the Kine of Araw were comparable to the real ancient aurochs, the horn would have been about 80cm (or about 30") long and up to 20cm (about 8") across at the bell. (It's not clear how direct a comparison we can make between the Oxen of the East and the aurochs, but this gives some idea of the horn's likely size.)

2

Assuming that Mardil son of Vorondil was the first to carry the Great Horn, and that each successive Steward passed it to his heir, Boromir would have been its twenty-seventh bearer. However, it is not established for certain that Mardil began the practice, and there were two childless Stewards, so the exact number of bearers of the horn is impossible to calculate.

See also...

Steward of Gondor

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 16 January 2020
  • This entry is complete

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 2012, 2020. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Website services kindly sponsored by Discus from Axiom Software Ltd.
Discus offers full translations of the entire software into selected languages with even more to come.
The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda
Menu
Homepage Search Latest Entries and Updates Random Entry