1

Before it sank, Beleriand was the land of Elven-kind, then later on home to Men as well. Beleriand was the Northwestern part of Middle-earth in which the Silmarillion takes place for the First Age.

Was the land area of Beleriand of greater size than that of the known regions of Middle-earth in the 2nd and 3rd Age?

  • 4
    Beleriand wasn't connected to Middle-Earth; it was part of Middle-Earth. – Daniel Roseman Jul 23 '16 at 10:02
9

From the following map, which was made by combining Tolkien's map of Beleriand with that of the western part of Middle-earth as it was in the Third Age, we can see that Beleriand was vast - roughly similar in size to the part of Middle-earth that we are familiar with (Eriador, Rhovanion and the regions that would later be known as Gondor and Mordor). The mountain range in the centre of the map is the Ered Luin, or Blue Mountains, which gives us a way to fit both maps together. The cataclysm at the end of the First Age must have been terrifying. It resulted in the loss of most of the landmass of Beleriand (except the small easternmost part which became Lindon and several isolated highland areas which became islands) and countless lives besides. It must also have had a great effect on the regional climate.

It is important to remember though, that Middle-earth stretched much further to the east. Tolkien never drew any maps to show the eastern extent of Middle-earth, save for a very early rough sketch that was not to scale.

enter image description here

  • Although your analysis is accurate for the map is accurate based on your image, it's quite a late depiction of Tolkien's views of Middle Earth. The map shown below is a much earlier depiction of his world, and show the world as he foresaw it early on. Furthermore, after the First Age, Eru bent the world, and so you have a flat depiction of Beleriand mapped onto a flat depiction of a round world for the more westerly parts, which may skew the sizes. I however am of the opinion that Beleriand was possibly the same size as eastern middle Earth but only slightly larger than Eriador. – Edlothiad Jul 29 '16 at 10:16
  • @Edlothiad which one is the one "below"? The order of answers changers. – OrangeDog May 15 '18 at 11:54
  • @OrangeDog up until 21 minutes ago the order of answers hadn't changed. Although since you asked so kindly, I was talking about Maksim's answer, also the only canonical map below. – Edlothiad May 15 '18 at 12:05
  • @Edlothiad while the Atlas may be an excellent resource, the maps drawn by Tolkien and published with LotR/Silmarillion surely take precedence. – OrangeDog May 15 '18 at 12:11
  • As I outlined in my earlier comment, they don't always reflect the writings they're meant to represent and the time they were written. – Edlothiad May 15 '18 at 12:13
3

I believe the answer is no, Beleriand was not as large as the other areas of Middle-earth. As @maksim shows in his answer, the illustration from Karen Wynn Fonstad's Atlas of Middle Earth, published in 1981, gives a pretty accurate relative sizing of the two areas. I believe the common approach these days is to combine the maps based on the two common items in the maps, Tol Fuin (the remains of Taur-nu-Fuin) and Tol Himling (the remains of the Hill of Himring) to establish a common scale. That results in an image that puts Beleriand at a smaller size than the currently accepted answer.

However, as @Edlothiad points out the difficulty in combining the maps is that one is a flat Earth and one is spherical, and there's really not much we can do about that. I created an iOS app that combined the two and wrapped them around a spherical world. This is the mercator representation of that.

Middle Earth in the First Age

Also, it's important to remember that areas to the north, south and east of the maps in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion as shown in this illustration are non-canon.

1

Beleriand certainly wasn't bigger than the Second/Third Age Middle-Earth, as it was the land that extended west from Ered Luin (the Blue Mountains). The exact relative size depends on which map you're looking at, but for me the "Atlas of Middle-Earth" provides the most well-researched result: http://corecanvas.s3.amazonaws.com/theonering-0188db0e/gallery/original/first_age_of_arda.gif

enter image description here

I'd say Beleriand was comparable in size with Eriador (the land between Ered Luin and the Misty Mountains), maybe slightly bigger.

  • Note that "Atlas of Middle-Earth" is not a canonical source, and many disagree with it. – OrangeDog May 15 '18 at 11:55
  • @OrangeDog I'm going to ask you to source your claim that "many disagree with it". I've only ever heard positive praise for Karen's work. "The Atlas of Middle-earth" is an excellent resource and can be considered to be an accurate depiction of Tolkien's world. – Edlothiad May 15 '18 at 12:06
  • There is information here concerning where it deviates or conflicts with canonical sources. – OrangeDog May 15 '18 at 12:09
0

The proportions are off. I used Dorthonion (Taur-nu-Fuin) for reference, which is described as being 60 leagues (approximately 180 miles) east-west. Using the map of Eriador, which has a scale, I measured distances between various landmarks to find one that is 180 miles. One of these is the length of the Gulf of Lhune (mouth of the Gulf to Grey Havens), another is the the distance from the beginning of the small river that flows east from Ered Luin to the beginning of the river that flows West from Hills of Evendium (both rivers connect to River Lhun) and another is the distance from Rivendell to the edge of Mirkwood east of the Old Ford. The originally posted map has Dorthonion roughly 3/4 the size of Eriador, which would make it roughly 500 miles wide rather than 180. Beleriand was very roughly the size of Eriador.

  • Could you edit in your sources/evidence to back up your answer if possible? – TheLethalCarrot Nov 11 '18 at 16:11

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