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Cair Andros

Cair Andros was a large river-island in the Anduin River that resembled a ship, hence the name.

Contents

[edit] Geography

The island itself was long and narrow, like a ship, a little over ten miles in length.[1] Its northern end of sharp rocks, like a "high prow" of a ship, split the waters of the upstream Anduin in a bubbling foam , and this gave the island its name.[2] Cair Andros was covered with trees.[3]

The island was located to the east of the land of Anórien and about fifty miles[4] north of Minas Tirith.[1] Because of its location it was of strategic importance, and was one of the only practical means for an army to cross the river (the others were the bridge of Osgiliath and, until the formation of Rohan, the Undeeps). As such, the island housed Gondorian fortifications at various points of history.

[edit] History

Historians in Gondor believed that the Drúedain were the first men who crossed the Anduin in the First Age. They believed that they came from lands south of Mordor, turned north into Ithilien and probably crossed the Anduin near Cair Andros before settling in the vales of the White Mountains and the wooded lands at their northern feet.[5]

Upon the establishment of the realm of Gondor, the island grew in strategic importance. Gondor took steps to fortify the island, too. In T.A. 1248 Minalcar, regent to King Narmacil I, defeated the Easterlings and upon his return fortified the west bank of the Anduin up to the Limlight,[6] which may have included the fortification of Cair Andros.

The island was also manned at the time of King Ondoher's fall[7] in 1944.[8]

After the granting of Calenardhon to the Éothéod in T.A. 2510 (who created the realm of Rohan)[9] Cair Andros remained a vulnerable crossing-point for the Gondorians who took Cair Andros' risk seriously. Amon Dîn, the first of the Beacon-hills, was set up originally to keep watch over any attempt by enemies to cross the Anduin at or near Cair Andros and to warn the citizens of Minas Tirith with its beacon.[10]

Centuries later, Túrin II fortified the island again in about the year 2900 to protect Anórien.[11]

[edit] The War of the Ring

On the same day that the Witch-king rode from Minas Morgul with the armies that would besiege Minas Tirith, Sauron released a smaller force (more than 6,000 Orcs and Men) from the Morannon. They overwhelmed the Gondorian defenses of Cair Andros on 10 March, T.A. 3019 and used the island to cross into Anórien.[12] This force blocked the eastward progress of the Rohirrim as they rode to Gondor's aid.[13]

However the Rohirrim used the secret ride down Stonewain Valley[14] and, after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, they chased that force down and pushed them back out of Anórien.[15] Apparently the island was held by that force for some days.

On 23 March,[12] in his march on Mordor, Aragorn gave a leave to one thousand scared young men from Rohan and Lossarnach from his main army, with orders to retake the island if necessary.[16] They must have succeeded, because many ships lay by its shores, as glimpsed by Frodo from the Field of Cormallen on 8 April. After many days of camping in the Field of Cormallen the Captains of the West went aboard ship with all their men and sailed from Cair Andros down Anduin to Osgiliath.[3]

[edit] Etymology

The Sindarin name Cair Andros translates to "Ship of Long Foam".[2] Cair means "ship", and means "long", and ros means (in this context at least) "foam".[17]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Map of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", "The Stewards", entry for Steward Túrin II Footnote relating to Cair Andros
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Field of Cormallen"
  4. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, p. 79
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain", Further Notes on the Drúedain
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", entry for King Minalcar
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", (i) The Northmen and the Wainriders
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", entry for King Ondoher
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", Note 51
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", "The Stewards", entry for Steward Túrin II
  12. 12.0 12.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Siege of Gondor"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Ride of the Rohirrim"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Last Debate"
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens"
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 121