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Éothéod (People), The

Meaning: horse-people (and also horse-land)

Other Names: Riders of the North

Location(s):
Vales of Anduin (between the Carrock and the Gladden Fields)
Sources of Anduin (north of Mirkwood)
Calenardhon (Rohan)

Race/Species: Man

Type/Kind: Rohirrim

Dates: 3rd Age

Parents:
Northmen of Rhovanion

Siblings:
Beornings & Woodmen
Bardings & Men of Laketown

Children:
Rohirrim

Description:

Table of Contents:

Description
Origins
Skills
History
Language
Etymology

Description

... [a] numerous and warlike people with great wealth of horses....

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen: Appendix

They are proud and wilful, but they are true-hearted, generous in thought and deed; bold but not cruel; wise but unlearned, writing no books....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan

... tall men and fair women, valiant both alike, golden-haired, bright-eyed, and strong....'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

... they dwelt largely in scattered homesteads and villages, and if they drew together into small townships they were poorly defended, at best by dikes and wooden fences.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 2, Ch 10, Of Dwarves and Men: Relations of the Longbeard Dwarves and Men


Origins

The Northmen appear to have been most nearly akin to the third and greatest of the peoples of the Elf-friends, ruled by the House of Hador. [Author's note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 4

[See: Northmen of Rhovanion: Origins for more about the origins of the direct ancestors of the Éothéod.]

... it was after the Battle of the Plains that the Éothéod, a remnant of the Northmen, became a distinct people, dwelling in the Vales of Anduin between the Carrock and the Gladden Fields.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 8

Skills

They were tamers of beasts and had learned the mastery of horses, and many were skilled and fearless riders. These would often ride far afield as scouts and keep watch on movements of their enemies; and if the Orks dared to assemble in the open for some great raid, they would gather great force of horsed archers to surround them and destroy them.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 2, Ch 10, Of Dwarves and Men: Relations of the Longbeard Dwarves and Men

... writing no books but singing many songs....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan


History

[See: Northmen of Rhovanion: History for the First, Second, and early Third Age history of the direct ancestors of the Éothéod.]

1851
Wars with the Wainriders (1851—1944): overview
Wainriders begin their attacks on Gondor
Northmen of Rhovanion ally with Gondor against the Wainriders
... when the invasions of the Wainriders began and involved Gondor in wars that lasted for almost a hundred years, the Northmen bore the brunt of the first assaults.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Northmen and the Wainriders

1856
Battle of the Plains
Narmacil II, King of Gondor, slain
Marhari, Lord of the Northmen, slain
The escape of the army of Gondor from total destruction was in part due to the courage and loyalty of the horsemen of the Northmen under Marhari (a descendant of Vidugavia "King of Rhovanion") who acted as rearguard.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 5

Northmen enslaved by the Wainriders
Marhwini gathers the Éothéod in the Vales of Anduin
As for the Northmen, a few, it is said, fled over the Celduin (River Running) and were merged with the folk of Dale under Erebor (with whom they were akin), some took refuge in Gondor, and others were gathered by Marhwini son of Marhari.... Passing north between Mirkwood and Anduin they settled in the Vales of Anduin, where they were joined by many fugitives who came through the Forest. This was the beginning of the Éothéod.... Most of the Northmen were reduced to servitude, and all their former lands were occupied by the Wainriders.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Northmen and the Wainriders

1899
Battle against the Wainriders at Dagorlad
Northmen revolt against the Wainriders
... [Calimehtar's] horsemen ... joined with a great éored led by Marhwini assailed the Wainriders in flank and rear. The victory of Gondor was overwhelming ... the horsemen of Marhwini harried the fugitives and inflicted great loss upon them in their long rout over the plains ...

The revolt planned and assisted by Marhwini had indeed broken out; desperate outlaws coming out of the Forest had roused the slaves, and together had succeeded in burning many of the dwellings of the Wainriders.... But most of them had perished in the attempt; for they were ill-armed, and the enemy had not left their homes undefended ... Thus in the end Marhwini was obliged to retire again to his land beside the Anduin, and the Northmen of his race never again returned to their former homes.

Nonetheless the alliance of Calimehtar and Marhwini had not been in vain. ... the greatest effect of the alliance lay far in the future which none could then foresee: the two great rides of the Rohirrim [Eorl and Théoden] to the salvation of Gondor....

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Northmen and the Wainriders

circa 1900—1943
Wainriders, Haradrim, and Variags ally against Gondor
Wainriders launch raids against the Éothéod
Forthwini, son of Marhwini, indeed warned King Ondoher (who succeeded his father Calimehtar in the year 1936) that the Wainriders of Rhovanion were recovering from their weakness and fear, and that he suspected that they were receiving new strength from the East, for he was much troubled by raids into the south of his land that came both up the river and through the Narrows of the Forest.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Northmen and the Wainriders

1944
Invasion of Gondor by Wainriders and Haradrim: overview
Battle against the Wainriders at the Morannon
— — Ondoher, King of Gondor, slain
— — Ondoher's heirs slain
... men of the Éothéod fought with Ondoher ... Ondoher's second son Faramir was ordered to remain in Minas Tirith as regent.... But Faramir ... joined the Éothéod and was caught with a party of them as they retreated towards the Dead Marshes. The leader of the Éothéod ... came to their rescue, but Faramir died in his arms, and it was only when he searched his body that he found tokens that showed that he was the Prince. ... [Ondoher's second-in-command] was giving an order for a message to be taken to the Prince in Minas Tirith, who was now the King. It was then that the leader of the Éothéod gave him the news that the Prince had gone disguised to the battle, and had been slain.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Northmen and the Wainriders

1975
Battle of Fornost
But when Eärnur came to the Grey Havens there was joy and great wonder ... Most of all, the horses were praised, for many of them came from the Vales of Anduin and with them were riders tall and fair, and proud princes of Rhovanion.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion

1977
Frumgar leads the Éothéod north
... there were many men in the middle vales of Anduin in those days, and moreover the shadow of Dol Guldur was lengthening; when therefore they heard of the overthrow of the Witch-king, they sought more room in the North, and drove away the remnants of the people of Angmar on the east side of the Mountains.

Return of the King, Appendix A, The House of Eorl

After 1977
Of [Frumgar's] son, Fram, they tell that he slew Scatha, the great dragon of Ered Mithrin.... Thus Fram won great wealth, but was at feud with the Dwarves, who claimed the hoard of Scatha. Fram would not yield them a penny, and sent to them instead the teeth of Scatha made into a necklace.... Some say that the Dwarves slew Fram for this insult. There was no great love between Éothéod and the Dwarves.

Return of the King, Appendix A, The House of Eorl

2510
Invasion of Calenardhon by Balchoth and Orcs: overview
In the wide lands of Rhovanion, between Mirkwood and the River Running, a fierce people now dwelt, wholly under the shadow of Dol Guldur. Often they made raids through the forest, until the vale of Anduin south of the Gladden was largely deserted.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion

Cirion sends for aid from the Éothéod
— — Ride of Eorl
Cirion, Steward of Gondor, sent north for help; for there had been long friendship between the Men of Anduin's Vale and the people of Gondor. But in the valley of the River men were now few and scattered, and slow to render such aid as they could. At last tidings came to Eorl of the need of Gondor ... he set out with a great host of riders.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The House of Eorl

Battle of the Field of Celebrant
... the northern army of Gondor was in peril. Defeated in the Wold and cut off from the south, it had been driven across the Limlight, and was then suddenly assailed by the Orc-host that pressed it towards the Anduin. All hope was lost....

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The House of Eorl

Then out of the North there came help beyond hope, and the horns of the Rohirrim were first heard in Gondor. Eorl the Young came with his riders and swept away the enemy, and pursued the Balchoth to the death over the fields of Calenardhon.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion

Cirion and Eorl swear oaths on the Hill of Awe
— — Gift of Cirion
— — Oath of Eorl and Oath of Cirion
— — Cirion and Eorl define the boundaries of Calenardhon
Eorl becomes King of Calenardhon (Rohan)
— — Eorl leads the Éothéod to Calenardhon
Eorl and his people are given the plains of [Calenardhon] to dwell in, and that land is now called Rochann (Rohan). There the Rohirrim live as free men under their own kings, but in perpetual alliance with Minas Tirith.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 8, The Tale of Years of the Third Age

[See: Rohirrim: History for the late Third and Fourth Age history of the direct descendants of the Éothéod.]


Language

From the lands between the Gladden and the Carrock came the folk that were known in Gondor as the Rohirrim, Masters of Horses. They still spoke their ancestral tongue.... But the lords of that people used the Common Speech freely....

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix F, The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age: Of Men


Etymology

[The] words [éored and éoherë], and also Éothéod, are of course Anglo-Saxon in form, since the true language of Rohan is everywhere thus translated...: they contain as their first element eoh "horse." Éored, éorod is a recorded Anglo-Saxon word, its second element derived from rád "riding;" in éoherë the second element is herë "host, army." Éothéod has théod "people" or "land," and is used both of the Riders themselves and of their country. (Anglo-Saxon eorl in the name Eorl the Young is a wholly unrelated word.)

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 36

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 18Dec04, 20Apr05

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