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Ilmen (Q, pron. [ˈilmen]) was a part of the atmosphere that surrounded the world of Arda, the region of airs where the stars are.

The Moon passed through Ilmen on its way around the world, plunging down the Chasm of Ilmen on its way back.[1]


Christopher Tolkien has noted that Ilmen is related to such words as Ilmarë and Ilmarin[2].

In the Etymologies, Ilmen is derived from the root GIL signifying "the region above air where stars are".[3] See also -men

Other versions of the Legendarium

In the early schematic titled I Vene Kemen, the middle layer of airs was marked as Ilwe (Qenya).

In the Ambarkanta, Ilmen formed the outer layer of normal air, inside Vaiya and it was enclosed between the Mountains of Valinor and the Walls of the Sun mountains beyond the Eastern Sea. Below and inside Ilmen was the inner air, Vista.

Ilmen is the level of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars so it was also called Tinwe-malle (star-street) and Elenarda (Stellar Kingdom).[4][5]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entry ilm-
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies", entry GIL
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta", pp. 240-1, 242-3, 253
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Addenda and Corrigenda to the Etymologies — Part One" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter and Patrick H. Wynne), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 45, November 2003, p. 16
Middle-earth Cosmology
 Constellations  Anarríma · Durin's Crown · Menelmacar · Remmirath · Soronúmë · Telumendil · Valacirca · Wilwarin
Stars  Alcarinquë · Borgil · Carnil · Elemmírë · Helluin · Luinil · Lumbar · Morwinyon · Nénar · Star of Eärendil · Til 
The Airs  Aiwenórë · Fanyamar · Ilmen · Menel · Vaiya · Veil of Arda · Vista
Narsilion  Arien · Moon (Isil, Ithil, Rána) · Sun (Anar, Anor, Vása) · Tilion
See Also  Abyss · Arda · Circles of the World · · Timeless Halls · Two Lamps · Two Trees · Void