Rohan is the green land just north of the White Mountains1. It was given to the Éothéod under Eorl by Cirion (Steward of Gondor) late in the Third Age of Arda. The Éothéod, later known as the Rohirrim, or Riders of the Mark for their love of horses, have their origins in the far north (they have slight resemblances to the Beornings), and it was during the wars of Gondor that Cirion called upon them to ride to his aid. This they did willingly, because they were becoming a populous people and were running out of room in their limited territories in the north.

With the help of these Northmen, Gondor was victorious, and as a reward, Cirion gave them the province of Calenardhon to dwell in; renaming it Rohan2. With this came a pact of friendship between Rohan and Gondor, one that would last into the fourth age.

The kings of Rohan dwelt in the Golden Hall of Meduseld in their chief city and capital, Edoras. They were at war often, with their sworn enemies, the Dunlendings, as well as with all servants of Sauron (specifically, Orcs in the nearby White Mountains). It was in the War of the Ring that one of their most trusted neighbors, Saruman turned against them and broke the Second Line of Kings, killing Théodred, son of Théoden.

Saruman, however, was vanquished when unforeseen powers3 came to the aid of Rohan; his forces were defeated at the Battle of the Hornburg, and the walls of Isengard were torn down. Finally, Rohan answered the Red Arrow, and, when the Lord of the Nazgûl stood at the gates of Minas Tirith, they arrived at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
"You cannot enter here," said Gandalf, and the huge shadow halted. "Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!"

The Black Rider flung back his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set. The red fires shone between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter.

"Old fool!" he said. "Old Fool! This is my hour. Do you not know death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!" And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.

Gandalf did not move. And in that very moment, away behind the same courtyard of the City, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, reckoning nothing of wizardry or war, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.

And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.
(The Return of the King)

J.R.R. Tolkien Node

1Rohan is bordered by the Entwash on the east, the Gap of Rohan on the west, the Misty Mountains and Fangorn Forest on the North, and the White Mountains in the south. The Rohirrim used the Snowbourn River to divide their land into "folds;" the lands to the west of the Snowbourn called the Westfold, and the lands to the east the Eastfold.
2Rohan is derived from the Elvish Rochand, 'horse-land' - so named for its wide fields, ideal for the raising of horses.
3See: Ents/Huorns; Mithrandir

Rohan is also the name of a noble family of Breton/French origin. They were one of the most illustrious families in pre-Revolutionary France, although they currently reside in Austria.

In 1105 Alain de Porhoët built the castle of Rohan on the Oust river in Brittany. He and his descendants became an important immediate vassal of the duke of Brittany, and later the king of France. The family produced some cadet branches, the most important of which were Guéméné, which produced the dukes of Montbazon and the princes of Soubise. Another important branch was the Fontenay, after 1646 known as Rohan-Chabot.

All the branches of this family were given the rank of foreign prince and many were dukes and peers as well.

The most famous member of this family was probably Louis-René-Edouard de Rohan-Guéméné, cardinal-archbishop of Strasbourg and Grand Almoner of France. Known as the cardinal de Rohan, it was he who was involved in the necklace affair which compromised Marie-Antoinette.

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