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Founded sometime between III 2510 and III 25701
Beneath the White Mountains at the northern end of Harrowdale
Founded by Eorl or his son Brego (see note 1 below)
The Courts were the seat of the Kings of Rohan, who descended from the House of Eorl
Other names


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  • Updated 6 January 2024
  • This entry is complete

The Courts

The walled city of the Kings of Rohan

Map of the Courts of Edoras
Map of the Courts of Edoras (partially conjectural)2
Map of the Courts of Edoras (partially conjectural)2
" 'Edoras those courts are called,' said Gandalf, 'and Meduseld is that golden hall.' "
The Two Towers III 6
The King of the Golden Hall

The chief city of the Rohirrim and the seat of their King was known by the people who dwelt there as Edoras, a name that translates as 'the Courts'.3 This place had been a seat of Kings since at least III 2569, when Brego the second King of Rohan raised a Golden Hall on the heights overlooking the city.4

The Courts of Edoras were built upon a green hill that stood out from the feet of the White Mountains, a hill near the mouth of the deep vale of Harrowdale. The river Snowbourn flowed out from that vale and around the feet of the hill onto the plains of Rohan. The city was protected not only by walls, but also by a thick hedge and deep dike. Outside these barriers lay a field of mounds, the Barrowfield where the Kings of Rohan had been interred since the earliest days of the land.

The Kings of Rohan ruled from their Courts in Edoras over the following centuries, but not without interruption. During the year of the Fell Winter, III 2758, a rebel named Wulf led an army of Dunlendings to invade Rohan, and succeeded in breaching the defences of the Courts. Wulf installed himself in Edoras as ruler of Rohan, but his reign was brief. The true heir, Fréaláf Hildeson, was able to surprise and slay the usurper in the following year, and the line of rightful Kings was reinstated.

After this restoration and the beginning of the Second Line, the Kings of Rohan ruled from the Courts for generations. During all that time, Edoras was never attacked again, although it came close during the War of the Ring. At that time the land was ruled by Théoden, who was descended through seven generations from Fréaláf the slayer of Wulf.

In Théoden's time, Saruman had designs on conquering Rohan, and the Wizard placed its King under his malign influence, though that influence would eventually be dispelled by Gandalf. The restored Théoden led his Riders away to war, defending Helm's Deep and then setting out to battle in Gondor. As he set out from Harrowdale he led his forces briefly to Edoras before continuing the journey to Minas Tirith. This would be the last time Théoden would look upon the Courts that had been his home for more than seventy years. He was slain in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and his body was buried in a new barrow on the Barrowfield below Edoras.



When Eorl became the first King of Rohan in III 2510, we're told in The Lord of the Rings (Appendix A II) that he chose a green hill at the feet of the White Mountains and made his dwelling there. This dwelling on the green hill is not specifically said to be the Courts of Edoras, but that would seem to be the natural assumption.

In more detailed notes in Unfinished Tales, however, it is said that Eorl's dwelling was not originally at Edoras, but at nearby Aldburg in the Folde. This does not necessarily mean that the Courts of Edoras were not also founded during Eorl's rule, but it does make the situation more complex. At the very least we can say that the Kings of Rohan were dwelling in the Courts by III 2569, because that was the year that Eorl's son Brego raised the Golden Hall of Meduseld within the Courts.


No detailed map of Edoras exists, but we can extract a certain amount of information about its geography from textual descriptions. We can place it on the Great West Road, and its western entrance and the adjoining Barrowfield are well described. Given this arrangement, we might perhaps expect that there would also have been some kind of entrance opening to the northeastward, too, but no such second gate is mentioned. Apart from Meduseld itself on the peak of the hill, the buildings shown here are purely illustrative.


The name derives from Old English eodor, a boundary or fence, and by extension a walled or bounded area. In part this must have referred to the walls, hedge and dike that surrounded the city, but the reason for the plural edoras, 'courts' is not explained. Perhaps the name also incorporates the inner terrace on the heights of the hill where the Golden Hall of Meduseld stood.


The early history of Edoras is somewhat vague. The Appendices to The Lord of the Rings seem to imply that it was founded by Eorl the first King, but Edoras is not specifically named there, but instead merely a green hill at the feet of the White Mountains. Sources in Unfinished Tales seem to contradict the idea that it was Eorl who founded Edoras, placing his seat instead at nearby Aldburg. Whether the Courts of Edoras were established by Eorl or by his son Brego, there is no doubt that it was Brego who raised the Golden Hall of Meduseld.


About this entry:

  • Updated 6 January 2024
  • This entry is complete

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