Rohan, originally named Rochand or Rochann, was a kingdom of Men , located in the land once called Calenardhon , situated in the great vale between the Misty Mountains and the White Mountains to the south.
The land of Rohan extends from the fords of the river Isen in the west, up to the shores of Anduin the great river in the east. The forest of Fangorn lays within the borders of Rohan, and Lorien lays to the north of the river Limlight.
The land is known as Rohan to the Men of Gondor, and its people the Rohirrim, meaning 'the Horse-lords', but the people of Rohan call themselves the Eorlingas, sons of Eorl the Young, first King of Rohan, as the land of Calenardhon was given in gift to Eorl and his people by Cirion, Steward of Gondor, in thanks for their service to Gondor in battle against the Balchoth.
Eorl, the first king, swore an oath of friendship, at need or at call, to the Lords of Gondor, and thus the Rohirrim became the greatest allies of the Men of Gondor throughout the Third Age. They are known for their cavalry and horse training, which came into use countless times in battles.
Descent from the NorthmenEdit
In the 1200s of the Third Age, the Kings of Gondor made alliances with the Northmen of Rhovanion, a people thought to be distantly descended from the Edain; those peoples of Men who crossed into Beleriand in the First Age and later settled in Númenor. The men who would become the Rohirrim were in fact more closely akin to the Beornings and the Men of Dale, and are accounted as Middle Men, who while not directly descended from the Men of Númenor, never served the will of Sauron. In "The Two Towers", Aragorn describes the Rohirrim thusly:
In the early part of the Third Age, such men occupied a territory known as Rhovanion, the lands east of Mirkwood, Greenwood the Great, west of the inland Sea of Rhûn, and south of the Celduin (the River Running). While never united under one singular king, the Men of Rhovanion nonetheless were allies of Gondor, and many of the great Princes of Rhovanion and their kin served in the armies of Gondor. In this way was the ruling House of Gondor mingled with the Northmen during the reign of King Eldacar, and the Northmen intermarried with the Dúnedain of the South and were eventually reckoned Men of Gondor. Through nearly constant conflict with the Men of Rhûn (Balchoth, Wainriders, and the like), the population of Rhovanion dwindled.
In the late 1000s of the Third Age, one such population of Northmen, dwelling in the eaves of Mirkwood, became a separate people under the lordship of Marhari, a descendant of Vidugavia, one of the most powerful princes of Rhovanion. Fighting alongside King Narmacil II of Gondor, his people were defeated by the Wainriders, invaders from the east, and the last remnants of the Northmen were scattered. Marhwini, son of Marhari, took up the lordship of his father and, retreating north with a remnant of his people, became the first chieftain of the people who would become the Rohirrim. Settling first in the vales of Anduin between the Carrock and Gladden Fields, his people began to slowly recover their strength, and became known as the Éothéod, the horse peoples. Marhwini, and later his son Forthwini, continued their alliance with Gondor, fighting the Wainriders and other eastern invaders alongside Kings Calimehtar and Ondoher. Although the Eotheod won pyrrhic victories over their foes while allied to Gondor, and reconquered the lands once held by Lords of Rhovanion, their settlements remained near the Anduin.
In the 1970s of the Third Age, after the downfall of the Witch-king and his Kingdom of Angmar, their need for larger lands and the growing menace of Dol Guldur, forced Frumagar (called Frungor in some texts), chieftain of the Éothéod, to lead his people north along the eastern banks of Anduin. They settled near the sources of Anduin, south of the Grey Mountains. Their chief city became Framsburg, which lay in a vale between the rivers Limlight and Greylin. During their time in the far north, the Éothéod and their horses multiplied, and they drove the last remnants of the Hillmen of Angmar out of their lands. Fram, son of Frumagar, slew the dragon Scatha, last of the Great Worms of the Grey Mountains, save Smaug of the Lonely Mountain; thus he won great wealth from the horde of Scatha, as well as renown for the deed. He also earned the hatred of the Dwarves of that region, for they claimed the treasure of Scatha. Fram infuriated the Dwarves by sending them the teeth of Scatha, strung as a necklace, and denying them the rest of the horde. Some say that for this reason the Dwarves slew Fram, for whom the city of Framsburg was named; for that reason there was no great love between the Rohirrim and Dwarves.
Five hundred years of relative prosperity followed for the Éothéod in the north, and they multiplied into a numerous people, with many farms and horses. In 2501, Léod, chieftain of the Éothéod, captured a white foal in the wilds; this foal would grow to great stature, but remain wild and was not tamed by any man. When Léod decided to mount the horse, it bore him away from his stables and eventually threw him, whereupon Leod's head struck a rock, killing him. Eorl, son of Léod, despite being just 16 years of age, took up the lordship of the Éothéod, and made it a mission to find the horse that had killed his father. Finally, he tracked down and confronted the stallion, but rather than slay him, Eorl commanded that the horse give up his freedom as a weregild for the killing of Léod. This horse understood the speech of men, and submitted to Eorl, and was named anew Felarof.
The Gift of Calenardhon and the Oath of EorlEdit
In the year TA 2509, Eorl received summons from Cirion, Steward of Gondor. The Steward pleaded for help from Gondor's old allies; as a combined force of Easterlings had invaded the province of Calenardhon and was nigh upon invading the rest of the South Kingdom. Therefore, Eorl surprised even the errand-rider of Gondor by agreeing to come to the aid of Cirion. Though young, Eorl wisely perceived that if Gondor should fall, all the lesser realms of men west of Anduin would eventually fall under the dominion of Sauron. He gathered all men of the Éothéod that could possibly be spared, and, leaving his land at risk of invasion itself, rode south to the aid of Gondor. Despite a prejudice against the Elves, a protective mist seemed to come out of Lothlórien as the Éothéod journeyed south, rejuvenating horse and rider and shielding their approach from their enemies. Believing that there would be no time for the Éothéod to help his armies, Cirion nonetheless met them in battle on the field of Celebrant, though Gondor's legions were worsted. All hope seemed lost when an army of Orcs came upon the flank of the army of Gondor, but at that moment Eorl and his cavalry thundered out of the north unlooked for and, smashing the rear of the orc battalions, completely reversed the fortunes of battle. Gondor's army was saved from destruction, and the riders of the Éothéod continued to pursue their enemies in a great rout across the eastern plains.
Cirion committed the guardianship of Calenardhon to Eorl and his men for three months, during which time the Steward took council to determine what reward he could present to the Éothéod for their heroic arrival on the Field of Celebrant. At the end of the three months, he rode north to Calenardhon with his son Hallas and his counsellors, and led Eorl and some of his guard to the hidden tomb of Elendil upon Amon Anwar (Hill of Awe), which was later renamed Halifirien (the Holy Mountain) in Rohirric. Cirion realised that the Éothéod as a people needed more room to flourish, and that they would make for a strong ally to Gondor against the growing threat of Sauron and the continued harassment of the Easterlings. Therefore, upon Amon Anwar he told Eorl that in reward for their aid in battle, he would grant the land of Calenardhon to the Éothéod to dwell in. Eorl was so impressed and grateful for Cirion's gift that he swore to the Steward the 'Oath of Eorl', of everlasting friendship to Gondor, and aid to the South Kingdom in war against the East. Eorl thus became the first King of Rohan, and his army sent north for their wives and kin. Coming into the land of Calenardhon the Éothéod were named anew the Rohirrim in Gondor, and named their new realm the Mark of the Riders, and themselves the Eorlingas.
The Kingdom of RohanEdit
Eorl was succeeded upon his death in battle by his son Brego. Brego it was who completed the great hall of Meduseld, which became the home of the Kings of Rohan thereafter. Brego's first son Baldor made a vow to tread the Paths of the Dead at the celebration to commemorate the completion of Meduseld, but was lost in the caverns beneath Dwimorberg. Brego was grieved at the loss of his son and died soon after, leaving rule of Rohan to his younger son Aldor. Aldor was called 'the Old', for, coming young to the throne, he ruled the Mark for 75 years.
Of the Kings between Aldor and the 7th king Déor, little is said, but during the time of Déor, the Dunlendings, lesser Men who once dwelt in the mountains and vales but whom the Rohirrim drove west over Isen upon entering Calenardhon, began again to raid the western borders of the Mark. In 2710, the Dunlendings captured the mostly-deserted fortress of Isengard, and held it in defiance of the Rohirrim.
The Dunlendings continued their harassment of Rohan through the time of Helm Hammerhand, 9th king of Rohan. Helm was a man of great stature and strength, and a strong king who wished to again subdue the Dunlendings. One particularly troublesome Dunlending was named Freca; though he claimed descent from the fifth king Fréawine, Freca was mostly of Dunlendish blood. Nonetheless, he held a good amount of land on the Adorn river, and had there made himself a stronghold where he largely ignored the rule of Helm. On a time, Freca came to Helm's counsel at Edoras, and there suggested that the King allow his daughter to wed with Wulf, son of Freca. Helm, seeing this as nothing but a ploy to bring Freca's heir close to the kingly House and thus increase the potential for Rohan to fall into Dunlending hands, mocked Freca. Freca then insulted the king, and eventually Helm smote him a blow with his fist, killing him. Then Helm sent his men west to drive away Wulf and his followers, declaring them enemies of Rohan.
By ill chance, these events were followed by an attack upon Gondor by the Corsairs. Seeing the opportunity to attack Rohan while its allies were beset by other foes, Wulf led a strong force of the Dunlendings out of Isengard and defeated Helm's army, driving the king and many of his people to the fortress of the Hornburg, which was later known as Helm's Deep. Wulf captured Meduseld, and Helm's son Haleth was slain in its defense. Wulf sat upon the throne and called himself king and the Long Winter began, during which many of the people of Rohan perished from sickness and hunger and battle with the Dunlendings. Helm, besieged inside the Hornburg, became gaunt and grim, and eventually began to venture from the fort at night, stalking the camps of the Dunlendings and killing men with his bare hands. Before he would come forth in the dark, Helm would blow a blast upon his great horn, which struck fear into his enemies, and they fled upon hearing it (this was the Horn of Helm's Deep in the Lord of the Rings). In this way, Helm won renown, and was much feared for many generations after by the Dunlendings, but one night he froze to death outside the walls of the Hornburg, and the royal house fell into shambles.
With the onset of spring, Helm's nephew Fréaláf Hildeson led a small army down from Dunharrow, where another remnant of the Rohirrim had lasted out the winter. Coming upon Edoras unawares, they slew Wulf and reclaimed Meduseld. Helm's body was brought back from the Hornburg and buried in the last mound of the first line of the Kings of Rohan, and the white Simbelmyne grew so thick upon his mound that it appeared snow-capped. Fréaláf successfully drove out the remaining Dunlendings before the year was ended, finally receiving aid from Gondor, which had defeated the Corsairs, and Fréaláf became King. To his crowning came Saruman the White, bearing gifts and praising the Rohirrim for their courage. He took up his abode at Isengard in 2759, a gift from Beren, Steward of Gondor. Fréaláf was content to have such a strong ally in the west against the Dunlendings as Saruman, as the Rohirrim had suffered great loss of men and horses during the hard winter. Eventually, though, as is explained elsewhere, Saruman became an enemy of Rohan and deigned to rule from Isengard as a lord of Men.
Fréaláf's son was Brýtta Léofa, a beloved king who stabilized Rohan once again, and the people began to prosper. In his time, however, orcs fleeing the Misty Mountains after the Battle of Azanulbizar in TA 2799 began to take refuge in the foothills of the White Mountains. Brytta's son Walda reigned for just nine years before he was killed by a group of Orcs. Folca, son of Walda, was a great hunter, and took a vow upon becoming king that he would not hunt beasts again until every orc had been driven out of Rohan. After destroying what was held to be the last orc-hold in Rohan, he journeyed to the Firien wood, to kill the Great Boar that lived there. He slew the boar, but died of the wounds he received in the act of killing it. The reign of Folcwine, son of Folca, saw a return to prosperity for Rohan, as he subdued the lands around the river Isen, and drove out the Dunlendings. In his reign, the Rohirrim recovered from their losses in the war against Wulf. He also came to the aid of Gondor when a great army of the Haradrim came up against the South Kingdom. Persuaded not to go to battle himself, Folcwine sent instead his twin sons, Folcred and Fastred. Although the combined armies of Rohan and Gondor won a great victory at the Battle of the Crossings of Poros on the banks of the River Poros in South Ithilien, the sons of King Folwine fell side by side in battle. Steward Túrin II of Gondor therefore paid a rich weregild of gold to Folcwine for his sacrifice.
Rohan in the Present TimeEdit
Fengel is the fifteenth King of Rohan.
Born in TA 2870, Fengel is the youngest child and only surviving son of Folcwine. In TA 2903, King Folcwine died having reigned for thirty-nine years, and Fengel succeeded him. Fengel's rule is both long and troubled, the successes and failures of Fengel's rule are overshadowed by the defects in his character and temperament.
Fengel's rule is, until now, characterized by recurring conflicts with his family and military commanders that stemmed from his gluttonous and avaricious nature. His son Thengel left Rohan because of disagreements with his father, and lives with his wife's family in Gondor instead of remaining in Rohan.
The alliance between Rohan and Gondor came into existence in TA 2510. In that year the Easterlings launched a massive invasion of Gondor. The army of Gondor was defeated and trapped between the Limlight and the Celebrant. Then Eorl the Young and his fierce Éothéod Riders unexpectedly took the field during the Battle of Celebrant and turned the tide in the favour of Gondor.
As a reward Cirion, the Steward of Gondor, gave Eorl the depopulated province of Calenardhon for his people to settle, while fulfilling Gondor's need for a strong ally.
The Oath of Eorl was sworn by both Cirion and Eorl. Neither nation has broken the alliance ever since. Rohan has gone through great lengths to fulfill its part of the treaty including sacrificing two of its heirs when Gondor was under threat from the Haradrim in TA 2885, when Fastred and Folcred, the twin sons of King Folcwine, were killed during the Battle of Crossings of Poros.
The Rohirrim are descendants of the Edain of the First Age. They didn't go to Beleriand like the Edain who were later rewarded with the island of Númenor by the Valar. The ancestors of the Rohirrim were known as the Éothéod and were given the province of Calenardhon by Gondor after the aforementioned Battle of the Field of Celebrant.
The Rohirrim are famous as skilled horsemen, masters, and Horse breeding among the horses of the Rohirrim are the famed Mearas, the noblest and fastest horses who have ever roamed Arda.There are very few Mearas left in Middle-earth at this point, but there were enough that a breeding population was present. The armies of Rohan are almost exclusively cavalry, divided into irregular units termed Éoreds. Rohan's foot-men armies are more of a very well trained militia called upon in times of war, the militia of Rohan wield wooden shields of all sizes and use four weapons: longswords, short bows, axes, and longspears.
The actual standing infantry army is relatively small with the professional career limited to the royal bodyguard of Edoras. Royal Guard of Rohan of Edoras are the elite soldiers of Rohan and fight on foot as well as on their horses, they have heavy plate-armour and wield large round wooden shields, their weapons are mostly the longspears which are used for thrusting or throwing at their enemies, they also carry longswords for close combat in the event that they lost their spear. Their powerful cavalry (the Rohirrim) can cut through almost any infantry lines and cavalry units and turn the tide of battle. The warriors of Rohan use the same weapons as their footmen counterparts when on horseback.
The Éoreds are spread across Rohan, protecting the major sites from enemies, when the time comes the King can call upon all the military forces, the correct term for the Rohirrim is Éoherë, or Muster of Rohan.
The full force of Rohan's army is around 20.000 Rohirrim soldiers.
Regions of RohanEdit
Rohan is divided between several regions. These are:
- Eastemnet - The easternmost land of the kingdom.
- Westemnet - The westernmost land of the kingdom.
- The Wold - The northernmost land of the kingdom.
- Folde - The centre of the kingdom.
- Undeeps - The two westward bends of the river Anduin.
Cities, Settlements and Strongholds in Rohan include: