Sauron ~ Sauron in the First Age ~ Sauron in the Second Age ~ Sauron in the Third Age ~ Important Dates ~ Names and Titles
The History of Sauron Stretches into the Far Past!
Originally a Maia of Aulë’s people, Sauron was early corrupted by Melkor and became his most trusted lieutenant.
In the Wars of Beleriand, Sauron was the most feared of Morgoth’s servants, but after the War of Wrath and the expulsion of the first Dark Lord, Sauron rose to become the greatest enemy of Elves and Men in the Second and Third Ages.
Sauron’s History in the Third Age:
Isildur did not destroy the Ring, but instead claimed it for himself.
In the year 2 of the Third Age, Isildur was slain by Orcs in the Gladden Fields and the Ring was lost in the waters.
Since the Ring that held much of Sauron’s power survived, Sauron’s spirit endured. He rebuilt his physical form in the shape of a man of great stature, though it took him longer to do so this time than before.
Sauron hid for about 1,000 years in the wastelands. Barad-dûr had been destroyed and Mordor was guarded, so around the year 1050 of the Third Age, Sauron built a new stronghold called Dol Guldur in Greenwood the Great. A shadow fell over the forest and it became known as Mirkwood. At first no one knew that Sauron had returned and they called the evil presence in Dol Guldur the Necromancer. During the second millennium of the Third Age, evil things began to multiply in Middle-earth. Orcs infested the Misty Mountains and beneath the roots of the mountains a Balrog awoke. Gondor and Arnor were beset by enemies and disease. In time it became apparent that a single will was behind it all.
In the north, the Lord of the Nazgûl established the realm of Angmar around 1300 and his forces assaulted the Dunedain of Arnor over the course of the next several centuries. After the Battle of Fornost in 1975, the Lord of the Nazgûl was driven from the north, but by that time the Dunedain had been so weakened that the North-kingdom ended and they became a wandering people.
In the south, the Great Plague came on winds out of the east and killed the King of Gondor and many of his subjects in 1636. As the population dwindled, the guard on Mordor began to relax. The Plague was most likely the work of Sauron, sent for this very purpose. The Plague spread to Eriador and contributed to the decline of the Dunedain of the North as well.In 1851, Sauron’s emissaries incited a group of Men from Rhûn known as the Wainriders to attack Gondor. King Narmacil II of Gondor was slain in battle. Gondor lost much of its territory east of the Anduin as the borders were withdrawn to the river and the Emyn Muil. Narmacil’s son Calimehtar defeated the Wainriders in battle in 1899, but the Wainriders made alliances with the Men of Khand and Near Harad in the south and attacked again in great force in 1944. King Ondoher was slain and Gondor nearly came to ruin, but Earnil, the Captain of the Southern Army, vanquished the Wainriders in the Battle of the Camp.
The Lord of the Nazgûl returned to Mordor in 1980 and gathered the others to begin preparing for Sauron’s return. The Nazgul captured Minas Ithil in 2002 and it was renamed Minas Morgul. From Minas Ithil, the Nazgûl obtained the palantir called the Ithil-stone, which was later transferred to Barad-dûr for Sauron’s use.
In 2050, King Earnur of Gondor went to Minas Morgul in response to a challenge from the Lord of the Nazgûl and was never seen again. From that time on, the Stewards ruled Gondor in the absence of a King.Sauron remained in Dol Guldur for the time being, and his power grew. The Wizard Gandalf the Grey began to suspect that the Necromancer of Dol Guldur was in fact Sauron returned. Gandalf went to Dol Guldur in 2063 to investigate, but Sauron fled into the east and remained there for several centuries. For a time there was a Watchful Peace which ended when Sauron returned to Dol Guldur with even greater strength in 2460.
To regain his full power, Sauron needed to find the One Ring, which had been lost in the waters of the Gladden Fields where Isildur had perished. Sauron learned of this and sought for it in vain, for in 2463 the Ring was found by a person of Hobbit-kind named Déagol. Déagol was murdered for the Ring by his friend Sméagol, who became the creature called Gollum. Gollum took the Ring deep under the Misty Mountains where it remained hidden for nearly 500 years.
The Orc population continued to increase. Orcs blocked the passes of the Misty Mountains and began to populate Moria along with other evil creatures. In Mordor, a new breed of Black Uruks of great strength appeared. In 2475, the Uruks attacked Ithilien and though they were driven back, Osgiliath was deserted.
Sauron also had power over a group of Men called the Balchoth who lived east of Mirkwood. The Balchoth along with Orcs from the Misty Mountains attacked Calenardhon in northwestern Gondor in 2510.
At the Battle of the Field of Celebrant, Eorl the Young came to the aid of Gondor and defeated the enemy forces. Eorl and his people were given the land of Calenardhon, which was renamed Rohan. In 2758, Rohan and Gondor were attacked simultaneously but the enemy forces were ultimately repelled.
In 2845, Sauron captured Thrain II, the King of Durin’s Line, and took the last of the Seven Rings of the Dwarves from him. Gandalf returned to Dol Guldur in disguise in 2850 and found Thrain dying. Gandalf learned that the Necromancer was indeed Sauron and that he was seeking the One Ring as well as news of Isildur’s Heir. At a White Council meeting in 2851, Gandalf urged an attack on Dol Guldur, but he was overruled by Saruman, the head of the Council. Saruman wanted to find the One Ring for himself and hoped that Sauron’s presence near the Gladden Fields would cause the Ring to reveal itself.
Sauron’s emissaries provoked the Haradrim to attack Gondor from the south in 2885. They invaded Ithilien but were driven back by the combined forces of Gondor and Rohan. Ithilien continued to be raided by Uruks from Mordor over the years and eventually all the inhabitants fled.
In 2941, Gandalf again advised the White Council to attack Dol Guldur, and this time Saruman agreed because he had learned that Sauron was searching the Gladden Fields for the One Ring too. Sauron was prepared for the attack and he abandoned Dol Guldur and returned in secret to Mordor the next year.
Unknown to both Sauron and the Council, the One Ring had been found in 2941. The Ring had abandoned Gollum in order to seek its Master, but instead it was picked up by a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, who took it back to the Shire. Gandalf was aware that Bilbo had found a magic ring, but at the time he did not know that it was the One Ring. Bilbo passed the Ring on to his heir Frodo Baggins in 3001.
Sauron openly declared himself in Mordor in 2951 and three years later Mount Doom burst into flame once more. Sauron began to rebuild his stronghold of Barad-dûr and to amass armies of war. He had numerous Orcs and Trolls, including a special type of Troll that he had bred called the Olog-hai. The Olog-hai were subject to the evil will of Sauron and they were strong and agile and cunning and could endure the Sun. Sauron also began to gather armies of Men to him – Easterlings and Haradrim from the lands that were subject to him. Khamul and one or two other Nazgûl were sent to occupy Dol Guldur.
Sauron now had the Ithil-stone in Barad-dûr. Using it, he came into contact with the two other usable palantiri that remained in Middle-earth. Via Orthanc-stone, Sauron ensnared Saruman, bending the Wizard to his stronger will and making him act in his service. Saruman had plans to conquer Rohan, and this fit in with Sauron’s designs by distracting Gondor’s chief ally. Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, had the Anor-stone. Sauron could not break Denethor’s will, but he showed him images of the might of Mordor that would soon come down upon Gondor.
In 3017, Gollum was captured on the outskirts of Mordor and was brought to Barad-dûr for questioning. From Gollum, Sauron learned the names Baggins and Shire. Sauron allowed Gollum to escape in hopes that the creature would lead him to the Ring.
The War of the Ring:
On June 20, 3018, Sauron sent the Nazgûl forth from Mordor. They led an attack on Osgiliath, where Gondor had an outpost to defend against the crossing of the Anduin. Sauron’s purpose was two-fold: He wanted to test Gondor’s defenses and he wanted to provide cover for the Nazgûl’s real mission, which was to seek the Shire and the Ring.
The Nazgûl found the Shire in September of 3018 and discovered that the Ring-bearer was Frodo Baggins. But Frodo eluded them and escaped to Rivendell and the Nazgûl were swept away in a flood in the River Bruinen created by Elrond. At Rivendell, the Council of Elrond was held on October 25. It was decided that the only way to defeat Sauron was to destroy the One Ring. Speaking of this decision, Gandalf later said: “If it is destroyed, then he will fall; and his fall will be so low that none can foresee his arising ever again. For he will lose the best part of the strength that was native to him in his beginning, and all that was made or begun with that power will crumble, and he will be maimed for ever, becoming a mere spirit of malice that gnaws itself in the shadows, but cannot again grow or take shape. And so a great evil of this world will be removed.”
The Return of the King: “The Last Debate,” p. 155 Frodo volunteered to undertake the quest, and eight companions were chosen to accompany him. The Fellowship of the Ring left Rivendell on December 25.
The Nazgûl had been forced to retreat to Mordor, where Sauron gave them new mounts – terrible winged creatures called Fell Beasts. Sauron did not let the Winged Nazgûl cross the Anduin at first, but he maintained patrols on the eastern bank. One of the Fell Beasts was shot by Legolas of the Fellowship on February 23, 3019.On February 26, Frodo sat on the Seat of Seeing on Amon Hen and put on the Ring. Frodo felt the Eye of Sauron seeking him and he felt compelled to reveal himself. Far away, Gandalf became aware of Frodo’s peril and he vied in thought with Sauron until Frodo was able to master himself and take off the Ring. Then the Eye of Sauron passed over Amon Hen and could not find Frodo.
A company of Orcs from Mordor led by Grishnakh crossed the river to Amon Hen. There they encountered a group of Uruk-hai from Isengard who had captured two Hobbits – Frodo’s companions Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took. Grishnakh sent a message to Mordor and followed the Uruk-hai, but all the Orcs were slain by the Riders of Rohan and Merry and Pippin escaped.
Sauron knew that two Hobbits had been taken toward Isengard but he didn’t know what had become of them. When Pippin Took looked into the Orthanc-stone on March 5, Sauron saw him and mistook him for the Ring-bearer. At first, Sauron thought this meant that Saruman had the Ring, and he proclaimed his intention to retrieve it. But the next morning, Aragorn confronted Sauron in the Orthanc-stone and revealed that he was Isildur’s Heir. Aragorn showed Sauron that the sword that had cut the Ring from his hand had been reforged. Then Aragorn was able to wrench control of the palantir away from Sauron and direct it to his own will.
Sauron was filled with doubt and he feared that Aragorn might come forth against him wielding the One Ring. Sauron thought that others might vie with Aragorn for control of the Ring, but it never occurred to him that anyone would try to destroy the Ring. Thus while Frodo approached Mordor on the quest to cast the Ring into the fires of Mount Doom, Sauron’s attention was directed toward Gondor.
Sauron unleashed his forces for a preemptive strike on Gondor on March 10, the Dawnless Day. On that day Sauron sent a dark cloud out over Gondor and Rohan to cause fear and uncertainty among his adversaries. An army from the Black Gate captured the island of Cair Andros in the Anduin and crossed the river into Anorien in northern Gondor. That night, Sauron sent a flash of red light as a signal to the Lord of the Nazgûl, who led a great host forth from Minas Morgul.
On March 12, the defenders of Gondor were driven back to the Rammas Echor – the outer-wall surrounding the Pelennor Fields and Minas Tirith. The wall was breached on March 13 and the Pelennor Fields were overrun. Sauron’s forces laid siege to Minas Tirith.
That night Denethor looked into the Anor-stone and Sauron showed him a fleet of Corsairs’ ships that were poised to strike Minas Tirith from the south, causing Denethor to despair. But in fact, the Corsairs’ fleet had been captured by Aragorn with the help of the King of the Dead. Aragorn commandeered the ships and set sail for Minas Tirith with reinforcements.
On March 15, the Riders of Rohan came to the aid of Gondor in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. As the Rohirrim charged onto the battlefield, dawn broke and the Darkness sent by Sauron dissipated before he had intended it to. Eowyn of Rohan and Merry Brandybuck vanquished the Lord of the Nazgûl, and the command of Sauron’s forces passed to Gothmog. Sauron’s army had the upper hand for a time, but after Aragorn arrived they were defeated. The Enemy forces were all slain or driven into the river.
The forces that Sauron lost at the Pelennor Fields were only a small part of his entire army. Despite this fact, the commanders of the West decided to march to the Black Gate and force Sauron’s hand. It was hoped that Sauron would suspect that one of them was wielding the One Ring and that he would concentrate all his power at the Black Gate, giving Frodo time to complete his quest.
Frodo had been captured by Orcs on March 13 and was taken to the Tower of Cirith Ungol where he was questioned and stripped of his possessions. But Frodo did not have the Ring, for Sam Gamgee had taken it believing Frodo to be dead. Sam rescued Frodo from the Tower, but the Orc-captain Shagrat brought Frodo’s mithril shirt and Elven cloak and Sam’s Sword of Westernesse to Barad-dûr on March 17.
Sauron did not know what to make of the presence of a Hobbit in his land. It still had not entered his thoughts that anyone would try to destroy the Ring, and besides, the Hobbit had not had the Ring with him. Although the Hobbit was still at large, Sauron thought that he might be able to make use of his possessions. They were given to Sauron’s emissary, the Mouth of Sauron, who was told to show them to
When Gandalf and the Host of the West came to the Black Gate on March 25, the Mouth of Sauron brought forth the tokens and claimed that the one who had borne them would endure years of torment in Barad-dûr unless they surrendered. The Mouth of Sauron then presented Sauron’s terms: That all lands east of the Anduin would be Sauron’s realm and that Gondor and Rohan would be subject to the rule of Mordor.
Gandalf utterly rejected Sauron’s terms and the Battle of the Morannon began. The odds were overwhelming: Sauron’s army was more than ten times greater than that of the Host of the West. Sauron seemed assured of victory.
But then Frodo reached Mount Doom, and there – unable to resist the will of the Ring any longer – he claimed it for himself. Sauron was immediately aware of him. In that moment he realized the extent of his own folly and he was consumed with fear. The Nazgûl were sent racing to Mount Doom, but it was too late. Gollum bit the Ring from Frodo’s hand and fell into the Cracks of Doom and the Ring was destroyed. Mount Doom erupted as the Ring was consumed in its core, and the Nazgûl were engulfed in flame. Bereft of Sauron’s governing will, his Orcs and Trolls scattered mindlessly or slew themselves in despair, and the Men fled or surrendered. Barad-dûr and the Black Gate and the Towers of Teeth collapsed into ruin. Sauron’s physical form was destroyed, never to be rebuilt, and his spirit dissipated, houseless and powerless.
And as the Captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor, it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky. Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it, and it was all blown away, and passed; and then a hush fell.
With the greater part of his power destroyed with the Ring, Sauron was utterly vanquished, and although other evils troubled the world in the Ages to come, Sauron never