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This article is about a fortress of Morgoth. For the roguelike game, see Angband (game).
Pete Amachree - Beren and Luthien flee Angband.jpg
"Beren and Luthien flee Angband" by Pete Amachree
General Information
LocationEred Engrin, beneath Thangorodrim
DescriptionDark underground fortress
People and History
InhabitantsMorgoth, Sauron, Balrogs, Orcs and other creatures
CreatedBefore Y.T. 1090
DestroyedF.A. 587, War of Wrath
GalleryImages of Angband

Angband was a mighty fortified citadel originally constructed by Melkor in the earliest days of the world as an outlying fortress to his northern stronghold of Utumno. Utumno was destroyed by the Valar and Melkor imprisoned in Valinor for three ages, but on his return to Middle-earth, he took Angband as the seat of his power and raised the towers of Thangorodrim above its gates.

Angband was besieged by the Noldor during the early part of the First Age, but the siege was broken at the Dagor Bragollach. It was finally destroyed by the forces of the Valar at the end of the First Age, in the War of Wrath.


[edit] History

Melkor built Angband during the Years of the Trees, originally as an outlying fortress and armoury to his great northern citadel at Utumno. It was built near the northwestern shores of the Great Sea in the range of the Iron Mountains as a first defence against any attack on Melkor's realm from the Valar in Aman. It was commanded by Sauron, his lieutenant. [1][2]

After the Battle of the Powers, the Valar captured Melkor and took him in chains back to Valinor, although beneath the ruins of Utumno and Angband lay many hidden chambers and vaults in which some of Melkor's servants escaped the Valar's assault. Sauron was one of these, as well as the Balrogs.[1]

Angband re-entered history when Melkor escaped Valinor with the stolen Silmarils: he chose the ruined fortress as his new capital, and rebuilt the Hells of Iron as a base for the dark reign he intended for the lands of Middle-earth.[3]

Soon after the Return of the Noldor to Beleriand, Melkor took Fëanor's son Maedhros by deceit and trickery, and hung him by the wrist from the towers of Thangorodrim above Angband. He was rescued by Fingon and Thorondor, but lost his right hand.[4]

The third of the great battles in the Wars of Beleriand, the Dagor Aglareb, had profound consequences for Angband. Melkor sent out hosts of Orcs in the hope of taking the Noldor by surprise, but the Noldor chased these Orcs back to the very gates of Angband, and slew them to the last creature. From then until the Dagor Bragollach in F.A. 455, a period of almost 400 years, Angband was surrounded by the Noldor; this is the time known as the Siege of Angband.[4]

[edit] Appearance and Construction

Angband by John Howe

Angband was primarily an underground fortress, at least after its initial destruction by the Valar in the Years of the Trees. Like its prototype, Utumno, it had many hidden underground chambers and vaults far beneath the earth that not even the Valar could discover.[1] Its main features above ground were the three peaks of the Thangorodrim, mighty towers of ash and slag raised above Angband's gates.

The peaks of Thangorodrim were hollow, and from them channels and chimneys ran down to the deepest pits of Angband. So, Melkor could produce poisonous clouds and vapours, as indeed he sent against the Noldor in Mithrim during the first days after their Return.

[edit] Etymology

Angband is Sindarin, and means "Iron Prison" or "Hell of Iron", from ang + band.[5]

In Quenya, Angband was called Angamando.[6]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

In Qenya, its name was Angamandu "Hell of Iron" or in plural Angamandi.[7]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

The dragon Smaug is said to have escaped the destruction of Angband at the end of the First Age.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Map of Beleriand and the Lands to the North"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", pp. 348, 350 (entries for roots ANGĀ- and BAD-)
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", band
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I, entry "Angamandi"
  8. Ruth Sochard Pitt, Jeff O'Hare, Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1994), Creatures of Middle-earth (2nd edition) (#2012)