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Timeline Event

Dagor Bragollach: 4th Battle of Beleriand

Meaning: Battle of Sudden Flame

Event Type: Military/Strategic

Age: 1st Age

Dates: January 1, 0455 ~ March 20, 0455

Description:

Table of Contents:

Summary
The Combatants
— Attacking Forces
— Defensive Forces
The Timeline
The Prelude
The Battle
The Aftermath
Etymology
Summary

The battle that ended the 395 years of the Siege of Angband. After this, "War ceased not wholly ever again in Beleriand."

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin


The Combatants

Attacking Forces

"In the front of that fire came Glaurung the golden, father of dragons, in his full might; and in his train were Balrogs, and behind them came the black armies of the Orcs in multitudes such as the Noldor had never before seen or imagined."

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin


Defensive Forces

Tolkien mentions "…the Noldor and their allies, Grey-elves and Men."

Specifically:
"The sons of Finarfin"
"the sons of Fëanor"
"Fingolfin and Fingon … and the hosts of Hithlum …"
"Bregolas lord of the house of Bëor, and a great part of the warriors of that people… Barahir the brother of Bregolas…"
"Hador the Golden-haired"

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin

The Timeline

455 Winter The Fell Year. Breaking of the Siege of Angband
455 Spring"The Battle of Sudden Flame is held to have ended with the coming of spring, when the onslaught of Morgoth grew less." 1
456 Fingolfin challenges Morgoth, and is slain 2


The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin

Note on Dates and TImes
All dates come from The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 1, The Grey Annals.

1. Since the battle is held to end with the coming of Spring, I have arbitrarily used March 20th, the first day of Spring.
2. The Grey Annals gives two different dates for this in the same version, either 455 or 456.


The Prelude

"…it being then four hundred years and five and fifty since the coming of Fingolfin, the evil befell that he had long dreaded… Morgoth had long prepared his force in secret, while ever the malice of his heart grew greater, and his hatred of the Noldor more bitter…"

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin


The Battle

"There came a time of winter, when night was dark and without moon; and the wide plain of Ard-galen stretched dim beneath the cold stars, from the hill-forts of the Noldor to the feet of Thangorodrim. The watch-fires burned low, and the guards were few; on the plain few were waking in the camps of the horsemen of Hithlum. Then suddenly Morgoth sent forth great rivers of flame that ran down swifter than Balrogs from Thangorodrim, and poured over all the plain; and the Mountains of Iron belched forth fires of many poisonous hues, and the fume of them stank upon the air, and was deadly. Thus Ard-galen perished…"

" [Morgoth's host] assaulted the fortresses of the Noldor, and broke the leaguer about Angband…"

" The sons of Finarfin bore most heavily the brunt of the assault…"

"…Finrod Felagund… was … surrounded with small company in the Fen of Serech; and he would have been slain or taken, but Barahir came up with the bravest of his men and rescued him..."

" …the hosts of Hithlum were driven back with great loss to the fortresses of Ered Wethrin, and these they hardly defended…"


"…the war had gone ill with the sons of Fëanor, and well nigh all the east marches were taken by assault. The Pass of Aglon was forced… Celegorm and Curufin being defeated fled … and coming at last to Nargothrond sought harbour with Finrod Felagund. … the great fortress upon the Hill of Himring could not be taken, and many of the most valiant that remained, both of the people of Dorthonion and of the east marches, rallied there to Maedhros; and for a while he closed once more the Pass of Aglon… And the Orcs took the fortress upon the west slopes of Mount Rerir, and ravaged all Thargelion, the land of Caranthir; and they defiled Lake Helevorn. Thence they passed over Gelion with fire and terror and came far into East Beleriand. Maglor joined Maedhros upon Himring… Upon Amon Ereb they [Caranthir, Amrod and Amras and their remaining folk] maintained a watch and some strength of war, and they had aid of the Green-elves; and the Orcs came not into Ossiriand, nor to Taur-im-Duinath and the wilds of the south."

"Fingolfin … mounted upon Rochallor his great horse and rode forth alone... for a great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like the eyes of the Valar. Thus he came alone to Angband's gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat. And Morgoth came."

"Thus died Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor…"

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin


The Aftermath

" …and the foes of Morgoth were scattered and sundered one from another. The most part of the Grey-elves fled south and forsook the northern war…"

"Morgoth went ever halt of one foot after that day, and the pain of his wounds could not be healed; and in his face was the scar that Thorondor made."

"Fingon in sorrow took the lordship of the house of Fingolfin and the kingdom of the Noldor; but his young son Ereinion (who was after named Gil-galad) he sent to the Havens."

"… Morgoth's power overshadowed the Northlands; but Barahir would not flee from Dorthonion, and remained contesting the land foot by foot with his enemies. Then Morgoth pursued his people to the death, until few remained; and all the forest of the northward slopes of that land was turned little by little into a region of such dread and dark enchantment that even the Orcs would not enter it unless need drove them…"

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin


Etymology

BEREK- * bereka: Q verka wild; EN bregol violent, sudden, cf. proper name Bregolas fierceness; breged violence, suddenness; breitho (*b'rekta-) break out suddenly.

NDAK- slay. ON ndakie to slay, pa.t. ndanke; ndagno slain (as noun), corpse; ndakro slaughter, battle. N degi to slay; daen corpse; dangen slain, cf. Haudi Ndengin; dagr, dagor battle; dagro to battle, make war.

The Lost Road and Other Writings, HoME Vol 5, Part 3, The Etymologies

Contributors:
lyllyn 18April03, reformatted, links added 14Feb05.

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