Frequently asked Questions about Rohan and the Rohirrim
Disclaimer: Some of the answers to the questions on this page were written by
individuals like myself (Langor), others, however, were taken out of Robert Foster's
"The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth", and are marked by a ***.
TA - Third Age
FO - Fourth Age
What is Rohan and who are the Rohirrim?
Translated as 'horse-land', the Kingdom of the Rohirrim, bounded by the Ered Nimrais,
the Isen, the Misty Mountains, Fangorn, the Limlight, Anduin, the Mouths of Entwash, and
the Mering Stream. Once a province of Gondor, Calenardhon, the land was given to the Men
of Eothe'od by Cirion of Gondor in TA 2510 in return for their aid in the Battle of the
Fields of Celebrant and their swearing to the Oath of Eorl. Rohan, as the country was
then called in Gondor, was ruled by King Eorl and his descendants.
The Rohirrim farmed and raised horses on the green plains of their country and restored
ancient fortresses and refuges in the Ered Nimrais, the most important of which were
Dunharrow and Helm's Deep. The first kings built the capital of Edoras below Dunharrow,
but most of the Rohirrim dwelt in small villages or on farms. Their greatest concern was
for their horses, which were the best in the world.
In 2758 Rohan was overrun by Dunlendings led by Wulf, but the invaders were defeated
the next spring by Frealaf. After 2799, Orcs fleeing from the Battle of Nanduhirion
troubled Rohan, and they were not entirely driven out of the Ered Nimrais until 2864.
About 2960 Saruman began to trouble Rohan, and his harassments increased until the War of
the Ring, when Rohan was invaded by an enormous army of Orcs and Dunlendings. Although the
Rohirrim were defeated in the two Battles of the Fords of Isen, the invaders were crushed,
with the aid of Gandalf and the Huorns, in the Battle of the Hornburg.
Throughout its history, Rohan was closely allied with Gondor. Rohan performed its
greatest service to the Dunadan realm during the WR, when the Riders of Rohan played a
crucial role in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
Rohan was the name given the land in Gondor; the Rohirrim called their land the
Riddermark, the Mark of the Riders, or the Mark. The Orcs called it Horse-country.
('horselord people') are the inhabitants of Rohan, descended from the Eothéod. Because
of the Oath of Eorl and their natural nobility, the Rohirrim were friendly to Gondor
and deadly foes of her enemies.
The Rohirrim were tall and blond, with fair faces; they lived to be about eighty
and retained their strength even in old age. The Rohirrim loved their horses above all
else; they raised the noblest horses and were the best horsemen in all of Middle-earth.
The Rohirrim were culturally conservative, keeping even into the Fourth Age their ancient
customs and language. They wrote with a primitive mode of the Cirth.
The Rohirrim called themselves the Eorlingas (translated from Rohirric:'sons of Eorl');
Rohirrim was the name given them in Gondor. Also called the Sons of Eorl, the Horselords,
the Horse-men (by Ghan-buri-Ghan), the Horsemen of the North, Forgoil (by the Dunlendings),
the Whiteskins (by Orcs), the Riders (by synecdoche), and the North-men (in opposition
to the Haradrim).
Who was Eorl the Young?
(TA 2485-2545)Eorl was the Lord of Eothéod (2501-10) and first King of Rohan (2510-45).
In 2510, answering a summons for aid from Cirion of Gondor, Eorl and his Riders defeated an
army of Balchoth and Orcs in the Battle of the Field of Celebrant. As a reward, the Riders
were given Calenardhon, and Eorl swore the Oath of Eorl. He was slain in battle with
Easter-lings in the Wold.
Eorl was a great warrior and horse-master. His horse, Felarof, was the first of the
mearas. Eorl was known as 'the Young' because he succeeded his father Leod in his youth
and kept his yellow hair throughout his life.
What was the Eothéod?
i. Eothéod was the land near the sources of Anduin, named after the Eothéod (see ii),
who founded it in TA 1977 after the fall of Angmar, which had previously controlled the
area. In 2510 Eon Lord of Eothe'od led an army to Gondor to fight in the Battle of the Field
of Celebrant, and he and his people then settled in Rohan.
ii. The Men of the Vales of Anduin, related to the Third House of the Edain. They
originally lived between the Carrock and the Gladden, but in TA 1977, being crowded and
hearing of the fall of Angmar, they mdved to an area near the sources of Anduin. They
drove out the Orcs living there and named the land E'otheod (see i).
In 2510, under their lord Eorl, the Eothéod rode to Gondor to aid Cirion against the
Bakhoth. After winning the Battle of the Field of Celebrant, the Riders of Eothéod were
granted Calenar-dhon to live in. From this time on they called themselves the Eorlingas
and were called the Rohirrim by the men of Gondor.
Eothéod is translated Rohirric; it is Old English for 'horse-folk'.
Who was Theoden?
(TA 2948-3019)Theoden was the seventeenth King of Rohan (2980-3019). Under Saruman's
spells, worked through Theoden's evil counsellor Grima, Theoden decayed towards the end
ofhis reign, but in 3019 he was healed by Gandalf. The oden led the Rohirrim against Saruman
in the Battle of the Homburg and against Mordor in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. In
the latter battle he defeated an army of Haradrim, but was slain by the Lord of the Nazgul.
He was known as Theoden the Renowned, and, because of his decline and recovery, as
Theoden Ednew (translated from Rohirric: 're-newed fortune')
Who was Eomer?
(TA 2991-FO 63)Eomer was the eighteenth King of Rohan (TA 3019-FO 63), son of
Theodwyn and Eomund and nephew of King Theoden. Before the War of the Ring, Eomer was
the Third Marshal of Riddermark, in charge of the East-mark. He was a valiant warrior
and a discerning man, friendly to Gandalf and hating Grima. Although he fell into
Theoden's disfavour as a result of Grima's plots, his loyalty was proven, and during
the War of the Ring he fought nobly at the Homburg, the Pelennor Fields, and the Morannon
and became friendly with Aragorn. Theoden, at his death during the Battle of the Pelennor
Fields, named Eomer as his heir. After the War of the Ring Eomer became King of Rohan, and
renewed the Oath of Eorl with King Elessar. During his long reign he ruled Rohan well and
often fought beside Elessar in foreign lands.
In 3020 Eomer married Lothiriel of Dol Amroth; she bore him at least one child,
Elfwine the Fair.
Who was Eowyn?
(TA 2995-FO ?)Eowyn was the daughter of Eomund and Theodwyn and sister of Eomer.
During the WR she met and fell in love with Aragorn; when he rode the Paths of the Dead
she despaired greatly, thinking him lost. Being of a martial spirit, in her desperation
she disguised herself as a man and, calling herself Dernhelm, rode to Gondor with
Elfhelm's cored. In the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, with the aid of Merry she won
great renown by slaying the Lord of the Nazgul and his steed. The evil coming from
contact with the Nazgu-lord, amplified by the years of waiting on Theoden in his dotage
and by her hopeless love for Aragorn, caused her to succumb to severe case of the Black
Aragorn released her from the illness with athelas, and while recovering she realised
her true heart. Giving up her desire to be a free, independent shield-maiden, she married
Faramir and became Lady of Ithilien.
Eowyn was very beautiful; she was tall, slim, and graceful with golden hair. Faramir
called her the White Lady of Rohan.
What is an Eored?
According to a note on the ordering
of the Rohirrim, the éored had no precisely fixed number, but
in Rohan it was only applied to Riders, fully trained for war: men serving
for a term, or in some cases permanently, in the King's Host.
Any considerable body of such
men, riding in a unit in exercise or in service, was called an éored.
But after recovery of the Rohirrim and the reorganization of their forces
in the days of King Folcwine, a hundret years before the War of the
Ring, a full éored in battle order was reckoned to contain not
less than 120 men (including the Captain), and to be one hundredth part
of the Full Muster of the Riders of the Mark, not including those of
the King's Household.
No such host, of course, had
ever ridden all together to war beyond the Mark. But Théoden's
claim that he might, in this great peril, have led out an expedition
of ten thousand Riders was no doubt justified. The Rohirrim had increased
since the days of Folcwine, and before the attacks of Saruman a Full
Muster would probably have produced many more than twelve thousand Riders,
so that Rohan would not have been denuded entirely of trained defenders.
In the event, owing to losses in the estern war, the hastiness of the
Muster, and the threat from the North and East, Théoden only
led out a host of some six thousand spears, though this was still the
greatest riding of the Rohirrim that was recorded since the coming of
Did the Rohirrim sell horses to Sauron,
or pay him tribute?
Perhaps it is best to examine this rumour, by examining a number of quotes
from 'The Lord of the Rings'.
The rumours begin:
The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Ch.2 'The Council of Elrond'
(Gandalf is telling the story of his capture by Saruman, and escape -
here he is speaking with Gwaihir, Lord of the Eagles, who rescued him)
(Gwaihir)"They pay a tribute of horses," he answered, "and send many
yearly to Mordor, or so it is said; but they are not yet under the yoke.
But if Saruman has become evil, as you say, then their doom cannot be
The rumour is first argued:
The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Ch.2 'The Council of
Elrond', page 279.
(Here Aragorn is talking about Shadowfax, after Gandalf has finished describing the horse)
(Aragorn)"Then he must be a noble beast
indeed", said Aragorn; "and it grieves me more than many tidings that
might seem worse to learn that Sauron levies such tribute. It was not
so when last I was in the land."
"Nor is it now, I will swear," said Boromir. "It is a lie that comes
from the Enemy. I know the Men of Rohan, true and valiant, our allies,
dwelling still in the lands that we gave them long ago."
"The shadow of Mordor lies on distant lands," answered Aragorn.
"Saruman has fallen under it. Rohan is beset. Who knows what you will
find there, if ever you return?"
"Not this at least," said Boromir, "that they will buy their lives
with horses. They love their horses next to their kin. And not without
reason, for the horses of the Riddermark come from the fields of the
North, far from the Shadow, and their race, as that of their masters,
is descended from the free days of old."
The rumour takes effect:
The Two Towers, Book 1, Ch. 2 'The Riders of Rohan', page 451
(Gimli and Aragorn are speaking about the Riders of Rohan, as they
await the approach of the company of Riders led by Eomer, on the
plains of Rohan)
(Gimli)"What do you know of these horsemen, Aragorn?" he said. "Do
we sit here waiting for sudden death?"
"I have been among them," answered Aragorn. "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 but singing many
songs, after the manner of the children of Men before the Dark Years.
But I do not know what has happened here of late, nor in what mind
the Rohirrim may now be between the traitor Saruman and the threat of
Sauron. They have long been the friends of the people of Gondor,
though they are not akin to them. It was in for-gotten years long ago
that Eorl the Young brought them out of the North, and their kinship
is rather with the Bardings of Dale, and with the Beornings of the
Wood, among whom may still be seen many men tall and fair, as are the
Riders of Rohan. At least they will not love the Orcs."
"But Gandalf spoke of a rumour that they pay tribute to Mordor," said
"I believe it no more than did Boromir," answered Aragorn.
"You will soon learn the truth," said Legolas. "Already they
The rumour is answered, once and for all:
The Two Towers, Book 1, Ch. 2 'The Riders of Rohan', page 457
(Eomer, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas are speaking alone about the events
that have occured, about the group of Orcs Eomer's eored destroyed,
and about the defense of Rohan in general)
(Gimli)"Then you do not pay tribute to Sauron?" said Gimli.
"We do not and we never have," said Eomer with a flash of his eyes;
"though it comes to my ears that that lie has been told. Some years
ago the Lord of the Black Land wished to purchase horses of us at
great price, but we refused him, for he puts beasts to evil use. Then
he sent plundering Orcs, and they carry off what they can, choosing
always the black horses: few of these are now left. For that reason
our feud with the Orcs is bitter. ..."
Answer: No, the Rohirrim never paid tribute to Sauron, nor
did they ever sell their mearas to him