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Mordor was fortified by Sauron from c. II 1000, but fell under Gondorian control II 3441 - c. III 1980; Sauron was finally ejected in III 3019
At the southeastern extent of the valley of Udûn in Mordor, where it met the Plateau of Gorgoroth
Under the control of Sauron, a Maia, and his followers, primarily Orcs
eye'senmouthe ('eye' as in the English word 'eye'; the final '-the' is probably pronounced as in the word 'lathe')1
'Iron jaws'2
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 18 September 2017
  • This entry is complete


The iron jaws to the south of Udûn

Map of the Isenmouthe

The Mannish name for the narrow pass in northwestern Mordor called Carach Angren in Elvish. Both names have the same meaning: the Iron Jaws. The Isenmouthe lay some thirty miles southeast of the Morannon, and led from the valley of Udûn into the wide and desolate lands of the Plateau of Gorgoroth. This pass formed part of the inner defences of Mordor, and Sauron had built a rampart and a ditch across the opening to repel any invaders who might breach the Black Gate of his land.



The pronunciation of the final syllable of this word is not absolutely certain, but following the origins of '-mouthe' in Old English múð, with an 'eth' character following a long vowel, a voiced 'th' sound is implied. In other words, the ending of '-mouthe' would have the same consonantal ending as words like 'lathe' or 'bathe' rather than 'lath' or 'bath'. This is the same sound represented by the combination 'dh' in Elvish words, though Isenmouthe is Old English rather than Elvish in origin.


Tolkien gives 'iron jaws' as a direct interpretation of 'Isenmouthe', but strictly that would be a more literally accurate interpretation of the Elvish version of the name, Carach Angren. 'Isenmouthe' comes from Old English ísen múða, literally 'iron mouth', but múða can also carry the meaning of an opening or gateway that is clearly relevant here. The element ísen, 'iron' does not imply any kind of connection to Isengard or the river Isen, which share etymological origins (as indeed do certain Hobbit-names like Isengrim) but are otherwise completely unrelated.

See also...

Carach Angren, Durthang, Udûn


About this entry:

  • Updated 18 September 2017
  • This entry is complete

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