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Rohan was a mainly flat land with rich meadows and few obvious landmarks in the countryside. The northwestern parts about the river Entwash, and especially its many mouths into the Anduin, were marshland. The northeastern area of Rohan was called the Eastemnet, and the north-west the Westemnet. Its southern parts at the foot of the White Mountains were more densely populated and were divided into the Westfold from the Isen to the Snowbourne and the Eastfold, where Edoras, the capital city, was located. The barren region in the far northeast was called the Wold and was hardly populated at all.
Significant landmarks of Rohan included the Gap of Rohan, Helm’s Deep and Dunharrow. Near the Gap of Rohan stood the old fortress of Isengard with the tower of Orthanc in its middle; long empty until the Third Age when it was occupied by the wizard Saruman. , In Helm’s Deep, named after a former king of Rohan, stood a great stone fortress and the tower of the Hornburg. And at the mountain refuge of Dunharrow was the entrance to the dreaded Paths of the Dead.
The inhabitants of Rohan were the known as the Rohirrim. They named themselves Eorlingas, and named the land in their own tongue Riddermark, the Mark of the Riders; Rohan was Sindarin and meant 'horse-country'. Before the Rohirrim came there in 2510 T.A., it was a part of Gondor called Calenardhon, 'green province'. But after plagues and wars, the land had only a low population, and Gondor, under the steward Cirion, had granted the people of the Éotheod from the north, led by Eorl the Young, who had just aided them at the fields of Celebrant, to dwell there. The former inhabitants of Rohan were expelled to the west and south, among these the Dúnlendings, and many became arch enemies of the Rohirrim.
Between the lands of Gondor and Rohan a strong bond of mutual support was formed and an oath solemnly sworn. Yet when Rohan was attacked from two sides in 2758, no aid could Gondor send to Helm Hammerhand, king of the Rohirrim, who was besieged at Helm's Deep after having roused the anger of the Dúnlendings, who had grown strong again. Later, in 2885, King Folcwine sent troops to Gondor for their fight against the Haradrim; both of his sons died there.
Politically, the king of Rohan, known as the the King of the Mark, who resided in Meduseld, the Hall of Mead in Edoras, was also the first Marshal of the troops of the Rohirrim. Under him the soldiers were led by other Marshalls, each responsible for a certain region.
In the War of the Ring, Isengard attacked Rohan, with Dúnlendings and orcs on their side, and at the battles of the fords of the Isen River Théodred, son of the King Théoden of Rohan, fell. A unit of Isengarders sent east, who had captured the hobbits Merry and Pippin, was pursued into Rohan by the three hunters Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas. With Gandalf the White, they came to Edoras and roused the aging king to take up war against Isengard, culminating in huge battle at Helm's Deep. There the armies of the treacherous Saruman crumbled and Isengard destroyed them and Orthanc was besieged.
With the threat on its western flank removed, Rohan was able to send armies to Gondor for the war against the Dark Lord. Late, but not too late, the six-thousand riders and their king crashed into the Battle of the Pelennor to save the day. Théoden was slain, and his nephew Éomer succeeded him on the battlefield.
Even after the downfall of Sauron Rohan often fulfilled its renewed oath of alliance to Gondor, in wars to subdue the last remnants of the armies of the Dark Lord.
(References: LOTR, III & V passim, appendices A,B; UT III, ii, v
b. = born d. = died F.A = Fourth Age fl. = flourished
T.A. = Third Age WoR = War of the Ring S. = Sindarin C.S. = Common Speech
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