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Okay, perhaps "hide" is the incorrect word here: but during the War of the Last Alliance, when his armies were shattered and the defences of his kingdom destroyed, why didn't Sauron at some stage attempt to ferry the ring of power to safe and/or secret location, perhaps to the south or the east (where friendly-ish countries lay).

Instead, Barad-dûr lays under siege for seven years, and he eventually fights his last battle, in person, on the slopes of Mount Doom (notably the only location where the Ring was in serious jeopardy of being unmade). While he almost certainly would have lost considerable power being separated from the Ring, it seems that the writing was on the wall: there was no way he was escaping Mordor with his body intact. Why, then, leave his soul in the hands of his enemies?

After all, he couldn't guarantee that, if defeated, the ring wouldn't simply fall into the hands of someone strong willed enough to simply destroy it.

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    Because he thought he could win, he also didn't think anyone could ever have the strength to destroy it (hence no guards at the Sammath Naur). – Edlothiad Mar 6 '17 at 14:46
  • @Edlothiad was there any evidence to suggest that he could, without any significant forces left at his command? Also, I'd say most of the leaders of his enemies would be considerably stronger than any under his own command. – Stumbler Mar 6 '17 at 14:47
  • One doesn't conquer the world by running and hiding when things start to look bad. (As it turns out, One doesn't conquer the world anyway, but you get my point.) – Steve-O Mar 6 '17 at 14:48
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    He doesn't retreat when he is the Necromancer (necessarily), he moves back into Mordor. As Steve-O says, he didn't retreat because he planned on taking over the world. – Edlothiad Mar 6 '17 at 14:55
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    @CearonO'Flynn It's war, there's no cheating... Isildur just pulled the RKO outta nowhere – Edlothiad Mar 6 '17 at 16:32
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Thanks to ssell for providing the inspiration for this answer, as well as one of the citations.

Not only did Sauron not expect anyone to try to destroy the Ring…

“He is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wielding the Ring, and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and take his place.That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind. That we should try to destroy the Ring itself has not yet entered into his darkest dream.

—Gandalf in The Two Towers, "The White Rider"

… he was unable to conceive the possibility.

“But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.”

—Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"

Given that Sauron was unable to consider even the possibility that someone would try to destroy the Ring, it would have made no sense for him to try to hide it; as you've already said in your question, being separated from it would have meant losing a considerable amount of power.

  • Even if this is the right answer you cannot just copy – Christopher Mar 7 '17 at 11:06
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    @ChristopherPeart I already modified my answer before I read you comment, so consider that solved. My original answer wasn't a 1-to-1 copy, though; I only borrowed the opening phrase and the Two Towers quote. – user2428118 Mar 7 '17 at 11:21
  • OK thanks for the edit – Christopher Mar 7 '17 at 11:23
  • @ChristopherPeart Copying is OK provided you cite the original source and only use the relevant parts. – Rand al'Thor Mar 7 '17 at 11:59
  • @Randal OK I thought it was a pure copy at first – Christopher Mar 7 '17 at 13:22

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