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The title dated back at least as far as the foundation of Rohan in III 2510;1 it was claimed by Saruman between III 2953 and 3 March III 3019
Isengard, in the valley of Nan Curunír, in the southern feet of the Misty Mountains
The earlier holders of the title were Men, but Saruman was originally one of the Ainur
Dúnedain and (in Saruman's case) Maiar
Saruman belonged to the Order of Wizards
Isengard is pronounced 'ise'ngard' (with 'i' pronounced as modern English 'eye')
Isengard means 'iron enclosure'
Title of
Originally given to the hereditary Gondorian commanders of Isengard, and later claimed by the Wizard Saruman


About this entry:

  • Updated 20 March 2024
  • This entry is complete

Lord of Isengard

Ruler of the Circle surrounding Orthanc

Early in the history of Gondor, its people established the Tower of Orthanc within the Ring of Isengard - or Angrenost as it was known in those days - as a watchtower to guard the western borders of their realm. Standing far from the centres of Gondorian power, it hosted a small people of its own, ruled over by a leader owing formal allegiance to the rulers of Gondor.

After the Rohirrim settled in Rohan, Gondor still maintained its claim on Orthanc and Isengard, though they lay within the lands of the new realm. At this time Orthanc was closed and its Key taken to Minas Tirith to be kept by the Stewards, but the people living within the Ring of Isengard remained there under their leader (who would have essentially been a petty lord, though that title was not formally used). Eventually the line of these chieftains failed. Isengard then came into the power of a people who were friendly to the Dunlendings and admitted them into the Ring, so creating a threat on the borders of Rohan. There they remained, with the Rohirrim powerless to remove them, until the Long Winter drove them to surrender themselves in III 2759.

The Wizard Saruman chose this moment to offer to take charge of Isengard and repair the damage done by the Dunlendings. At this time Saruman was still a friend to both the Gondorians and the Rohirrim, and so Steward Beren agreed to give him the Key of Orthanc. Saruman thus established himself in Isengard, holding it at first with the blessing of the Stewards of Gondor and the Kings of Rohan. After nearly two centuries, however, Saruman's attitude changed, and he laid claim to Isengard and Orthanc in his own name, thus becoming the de facto Lord of Isengard.

Influenced by Sauron through the Orthanc-stone, the Wizard built an army of Orcs and Dunlending allies, and during the War of the Ring he openly assaulted Rohan. After defeating the Rohirrim at the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen, he committed his forces to the Battle of the Hornburg, trusting his own safety to the considerable defences of Isengard. He had reckoned without the Ents of neighbouring Fangorn Forest, who came against Isengard and threw down its walls, imprisoning its former Lord within the Tower of Orthanc at its centre. All told, Saruman dwelt in Isengard for one hundred and sixty years, and ruled as its Lord for sixty-six of those, before the Ents released him from the Tower to wander in the wilds of Middle-earth.



There were certainly commanders in Isengard before the founding of Rohan, but though the command was hereditary, these do not seem to have actually been in considered 'lords' in a formal sense. The historical use of the title 'Lord of Isengard' is not completely clear, but it is presented as if used informally by the Rohirrim of their neighbours to the north, rather than a formal title recognised by the Gondorians themselves.

See also...

Robbers of the North


About this entry:

  • Updated 20 March 2024
  • This entry is complete

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