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  • Updated 13 December 2021
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Morgul-host

The army of the Witch-king in his assault on Minas Tirith

The Dark Lord Sauron prepared for the War of the Ring by assembling huge armies to fight on many fronts, with the hope of overwhelming his foes across Middle-earth. Perhaps the most important of these hosts was assembled at Minas Morgul on Mordor's western border, the nearest of its fortresses to Gondor. This Morgul-host was under the direct command of the Lord of the Nazgûl, and its primary purpose was to capture Minas Tirith, the chief city of Sauron's foes.

The Morgul-host set out from Minas Morgul on 10 March in the year III 3019. Sauron had sent out a great dark cloud from Orodruin to cover their way westward, so that even the night-sighted Orcs could fight at full strength. When preparations were complete, a burst of flame erupted from beyond the Mountains of Shadow into the darkening sky, and Minas Morgul answered this Great Signal with a storm of lightning, before the host itself set out.

The army was led by the Morgul-lord himself in the form of a crowned Black Rider. Behind him came his cavalry and seemingly endless foot-soldiers, all liveried in black. They marched out of the gate of Minas Morgul, across the bridge beneath the gate, and then on along the westward road toward Osgiliath and Minas Tirith. Unknown to any in the host, their departure was witnessed by Frodo Baggins and his companions, who hid from the army as it set out on its way to war.

At this time the forces of Sauron already controlled Anduin's eastern bank, so the host was able to march directly to Osgiliath, where the crossing of the Great River had already been prepared. Bridges were placed for the soldiers, and great siege engines were added to the force as it marched inexorably onward. The Gondorian defences on the western bank were blasted away, and the Morgul-lord led his army on towards Minas Tirith. It was on the 13 March - just four days after setting out - that the Morgul-host crossed the wall of the Rammas Echor and began to deploy on the Pelennor Fields that surrounded the City of Gondor.

The ensuing battle began well for the Morgul-host, and over the next two days they came close to victory. Indeed, at one point they had not only reached the Great Gate of Minas Tirith, but had broken it down. Events gradually began to turn against them, however, not least with the loss of their commander, the Lord of the Nazgûl. Earlier, as the Morgul-host prepared for battle, a force of Orcs from the Morannon had been placed on the North Road to prevent the Rohirrim from aiding Gondor, but the Riders of Rohan had found a way past this force and were able to reinforce the Gondorians. Meanwhile, a contingent of Corsairs, intended to bring fresh allies into the battle for the Morgul-host, instead arrived carrying Aragorn and reinforcements out of the southern fiefs, who entered the battle on the side of Gondor.

With these new forces in play, the battle turned. In the end, the immense Morgul-host was almost completely destroyed, with most of its soldiers falling in the battle itself. Others attempted to flee back eastward, but the Great River Anduin lay in their way, and most of these were drowned as they attempted to cross back into Ithilien. In the end, of the mighty host that had set out from Minas Morgul a few days beforehand, only a tiny number of survivors returned to the Dead City of the Nazgûl.


See also...

Wraith-lord

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About this entry:

  • Updated 13 December 2021
  • Updates planned: 1

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