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In the fictional world of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Éothéod were a group of Northmen who became the ancestors of the Rohirrim. The word, meaning "horse people", is a compound of the Old English words éoh ("horse" or "war horse") and théod ("people", "race"); it is cognate with Old Norse jóþjóð ("horse people"). Tolkien used the word to refer also to the land they occupied in the Vales of Anduin.

Also known asEorlingas, Rohirrim, Horse-lords
Created dateThird Age
Created by fictional beingFrumgar
Home worldMiddle-earth
CapitalFramsburg, then Edoras
Base of operationsUpper Anduin, then Rohan


Unfinished Tales tells[1] how the Éothéod arose following the Battle of the Plain fought by Gondor and the Northmen against the Easterlings in the plains south of Mirkwood in T.A. 1856.[2] Narmacil II of Gondor and Marhari, a chieftain of the Northmen, were killed in the battle. Marhari's son Marwhini withdrew with some survivors to the lower Vales of Anduin between the Carrock and the Gladden Fields. They were joined over time by other refugees from several groups of Northmen, and formed a coherent organisation with Marwhini as its leader.

Some hundred years later, in T.A. 1977,[2] Frumgar led the Éothéod northward to the upper Vales of Anduin to seek more room, displacing the remnants of Angmar after its fall.[3] The Éothéod occupied land north of Mirkwood, from the Misty Mountains as far as the Forest River.[4] Their chief town ("their only fortified burg") was built where the Great River Anduin forms at the confluence of the rivers Langwell and Greylin,[4] and was called Framsburg for Frumgar's son Fram.[5]

Fram slew Scatha the Worm in the Grey Mountains, and according to some accounts was himself killed in dissension between the Éothéod and the Dwarves arising from the distribution of Scatha's hoard; as a result, Tolkien writes, "There was no great love between Éothéod and the Dwarves."[3] A silver horn from the hoard became the heirloom of Fram's descendants.

The Ride of EorlEdit

Several hundred years later, Fram's descendant Léod was killed in an attempt to tame the horse Felaróf, first of the Mearas of Rohan. His son Eorl the Young tamed the horse, taking it into service as weregild for his father's death. Eorl became the leader of the Éothéod.[3]

Not long afterward, in the reign of Cirion, Steward of Gondor, Gondor was beset by the Balchoth. Cirion sent messengers to the Éothéod asking for help, and, foreseeing that the survival of Gondor was critical to the survival of the West, Eorl led the full force of the Éothéod to the relief of Gondor, leaving only the very old and very young behind to protect his people. The Riders arrived just in time to help the army of Gondor at the Battle of the Field of Celebrant.[4][6]

After the defeat of the Balchoth, Cirion gave the depopulated land of Calenardhon, then part of Gondor, as a gift to Eorl and his people. Eorl and Cirion exchanged solemn oaths of eternal friendship at Elendil's tomb on Halifirien. Messengers were sent north, and the Éothéod removed en masse to the plains of Calenardhon.[7] The Éothéod renamed themselves Eorlingas ("followers of Eorl"), but in Sindarin they became known as the Rohirrim, or Horse-lords, and their country became known as Rohan, the Riddermark. Eorl, as "Lord of the Éothéod",[4] became the first King of Rohan.

The name Éothéod is a translation into Old English of the original Rohirric Lohtûr, Rohirric "loho-" or "lô-" corresponding to the Anglo-Saxon "éo-", meaning "horse".[citation needed]


  1. ^ Tolkien, Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl", (i) "The Northmen and the Wainriders", pp 288–295.
  2. ^ a b Tolkien, The Return of the King, Appendix B.
  3. ^ a b c Tolkien, The Return of the King, Appendix A, II "The House of Eorl".
  4. ^ a b c d Tolkien, Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl", (ii) "The Ride of Eorl", pp 295–300.
  5. ^ The name Framsburg appears on the map of Middle-earth drawn by Pauline Baynes in consultation with Tolkien, but nowhere in Tolkien's own writing.
  6. ^ Tolkien, The Return of the King, Appendix A, I "The Númenórean Kings", (iv) "Gondor and the heirs of Anárion" — "The Stewards".
  7. ^ Tolkien, Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl", (iii) "Cirion and Eorl", pp 300–308.


  • Tolkien, J. R. R. (1955), The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), Appendix, ISBN 0-395-08256-0
  • Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan, ISBN 0-395-29917-9

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