The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Originated millennia before the first rising of the Moon and Sun1
Aman, but a large part of the Noldor later returned to Middle-earth
Eldar who completed the Great Journey and saw the Light of the Two Trees
Vanyar, Noldor, and a part of the Teleri
The main cities of the Eldar in the West were Tirion and Alqualondë3
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 13 December 2017
  • Updates planned: 1
(All Elves)

The main branches of the Elves, with the branches that formed the Calaquendi shown in bold text. All of the Vanyar and Noldor went into the West, but only a part of the Teleri completed the journey, becoming known as the Falmari.

'Elves of the Light'; a name given to the Vanyar, the Noldor, and that part of the Teleri who travelled to Aman in the youth of the world and saw the light of the Two Trees of Valinor; Elu Thingol of Doriath is also counted among their number.



The very first of the Calaquendi were three ambassadors taken to Valinor to judge whether the Elves as whole should travel there. These ambassadors, Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë, were the first of the Elves to see the Light of the Trees, about 3,800 years before the first rising of the Sun. After their return, they persuaded many of the Elves to travel there from Middle-earth. The Great Journey that followed took centuries to complete, with the last of the companies of the Teleri finally making the crossing some five centuries later. (These dates are taken from the Annals of Aman in volume X of The History of Middle-earth, adjusted to solar years.)


All the Elves of Valinor were of the Calaquendi, but not all the Calaquendi were strictly Elves of Valinor. This is especially true of those Teleri who made the journey to Aman: they originally settled on Tol Eressëa, and later along the coastlands eastward of Valinor itself. The Light of the Two Trees shone through the Pass of Light to reach these regions, so the Elves who dwelt there were certainly Calaquendi, but they were not, properly speaking, Elves of Valinor.


Many of the Eldar in Aman occupied an area known as Eldamar or Elvenhome, and that doubtless contained more settlements than the two main cities of Tirion and Alqualondë. Other Elves occupied areas outside this range, such as Fëanor's fortress of Formenos in the north of Valinor, or the older dwellings of the Teleri on the island of Tol Eressëa.


About this entry:

  • Updated 13 December 2017
  • Updates planned: 1

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