Angmar was of old a kingdom in the north of Middle-earth. It was ruled by the Witch King of Angmar, who later achieved further infamy as the Lord of the Nazgûl (eventually slain in the battle of the Pelennor Fields by Éowyn, sister-daughter of Théoden and sister of Éomer). It was situated at the northern end of the Misty Mountains and its principal stronghold was Carn Dûm. It was an evil realm, standing in opposition to the Northern Númenorean realm of Arnor, which was divided into the kingdoms of Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhaudaur. Arnor's most important fortress/city was Fornost. The first appearance of Angmar in the history books of Middle-earth is the year 1349 of the Third Age (Númenorean reckoning), during the reign of Malvegil of Arthedain. "At that time the realm of Angmar arose in the North beyond the Ettenmoors. Its lands lay on both sides of the Mountains, and there were gathered many evil men, and Orcs, and other fell creatures"1. Significant dates include:
- 1409, when Angmar attacked the Dúnedain at Amon Sûl and slew Arveleg son of Malvegil. The records indicate that "The Tower of Amon Sûl was burned and razed, but the palantir was saved and carried back in retreat to Fornost"2. Arveleg's son, Araphor later defeated the hordes of Angmar at Fornost and the North Downs. With the aid of Elrond and elves from Lindon, Imladris (Rivendell), and Irmo (Lórien), Angmar was "for a time subdued".
- 1974, when Arthedain came under attack from Angmar. Fornost fell to the Witch King's forces, and the Dunedain were scattered.
The realm of Arnor was eventually dispersed, yet evil spirits from Angmar haunted the Barrowdowns (Also known as the mounds of Tyrn Gorthad in the Sindarin tongue) in Cardolan.
It is said that the mounds of Tyrn Gorthad, as the Barrowdowns were called of old, are vey ancient, and that many were built in the days of the old world of the First Age by the forefathers of the Edain, before they crossed the Blue Mountains into Beleriand, of which Lindon is now all that remains. Those hills were therefore revered by the Dúnedain after their return; and there many of their lords and kings were buried.3
During the quest of the Ringbearer, Frodo Baggins, Frodo and his party were waylaid in the Barrowdowns, and overcome by one of the Barrow wights lurking in the mounds. With the aid of Tom Bombadil, they escaped. Outside of the burial chamber, Meriadoc Brandybuck underwent a strange, albeit brief, episode:
'What in the name of wonder?' began Merry, feeling the gold circlet that had slipped over one eye. Then he stopped and a shadow came over his face. 'Of course, I remember!' he said. 'The men of Carn Dûm came on us at night, and we were worsted. 'Ah!' he said, opening his eyes. 'The spear in my heart!' He clutched at his breast. 'No! No!' he said, opening his eyes. 'What am I saying? I have been dreaming.'4
Of Amon Sûl, also called Weathertop, Aragorn Elessar, son of Arathorn, is later to have said that "'in the days of the first Kingdom, they built a great watch tower on Weathertop. Amon Sûl they called it. It was burned and broken, and nothing remains of it now but a tumbled ring, like a rough crown on on the old hill's head. Yet once it was tall and fair. It is told that Elendil stood there watching for the coming of Gil-Galad out of the West, in the days of the last Alliance.'"5
It is important to note that while Angmar managed to effect a diaspora of sorts upon the men of the North, it too dissipated after being defeated Araval of Arthedain*. As I stated above, its Lord later came into the service of the Enemy, Sauron. He was not finally defeated until the year 3019 of the Third Age, during the War of the Ring.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, 389.
- Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 196.
***I will point out here that Tolkien's work is a translation of The Red Book of Westmarch, but since there is no remaining copy of it, and there is little bibliographical information on it other than the fact that it was authored by Bilbo Baggins, I am providing Tolkien's translation as the main source.***