To celebrate the announcement of the Riders of Rohan expansion, I have been reading up on the lore of Rohan and its peoples. Page references are in parentheses. (parentheses) in quotes refer to original parentheses in the text. [square brackets] refer to my notes.
1: The people of Rohan originally dwelt in “The Vales of Anduin between the Carrock and the Gladden Fields, for the most part on the west side of the river.” For those rusty on the geography of Middle-Earth, this area is roughly 200 miles NORTH of Lorien, near the eaves of Mirkwood. (Unfinished tales, pp 373)
2: They were a remnant of the Northmen, who had “formerly been are numerous and powerful confederation of peoples living in the wide plains [similar to today's Rohan] between Mirkwood and the River Running, great breeders of horses and riders renowned for their skill and endurance.” (Unfinished tales, pp 373) Appendix A of the Lord of the Rings suggests they were also related to the Beornings.
3: The area now known as Rohan was previously part of the Kingdom of Gondor. This continued until the battles of Parth Celebrant (LotRO’s Great River region) in the year T.A. 2510. Gondor was in peril. “Defeated in the Wold and cut off from the south, Gondor’s armies had been driven across the Limlight, and was then suddenly assailed by the Orc-host [presumably from the ever-growing power of Dol Guldur] that pressed it towards the Anduin. All hope was lost when, unlooked for, the Riders came out from the north and broke upon the rear of the enemy. Then the fortunes of battle were reversed, and the enemy was driven with slaughter over Limlight. Eorl led his men in pursuit, and so great was the fear that went before the horseman of north that the invaders of the Wold were also thrown into panic, and the Riders hunted them over thge plains of Calenardhon [Rohan]” Yay for the Riders! (The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A)
4: Thus began the friendship between Eorl and Cirion, the ruling Steward of Gondor at the time. In reward for his aid, Cirion granted Eorl the land now known as Rohan, which they named the Mark of the Riders, and they named themselves the Eorlingas (known in Gondor as the Rohirrim.) In return, Eorl, who had now become the first King of the Mark, swore to come to Gondor’s aid whenever required [the lighting of the beacons on the White Mountains] (The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A)
5: King Theoden is the 17th King of the Mark of Rohan, and the last of the Second line. Line simply refers to a line of direct descendants. The first line came to an end in the year 2759, after the death of Haleth and Hama, the sons of the 9th king, Helm Hammerhand in the Long [5 month] Winter. As Theoden’s only son, Theodred, falls in the battles of the Ford of Isen, Eomer is the first king of the 3rd Line (The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A)
6: “Marshal of the Mark (or Riddermark) was the highest military rank and the title of the King’s lieutenants (originally three), commanders of the royal forces of fully equipped and trained Riders. The First Marshal’s [at the time of the Lord of the Rings, there is no First Marshal, and this post is occupied by the King of the Mark] ward was the capital, Edoras, and the adjacent King’s Lands (including Harrowdale). [...] The Second and Third Marshals were assigned commands according to the needs of the time. In the beginning of the year 3019 the threat from Saruman was the most urgent, and the Second Marshal, the King’s son Theodred, had commant over the West-mark [military term for westfold] with his base at Helm’s Deep. The Third Marshal, the King’s nephew Eomer, had as his ward the East-mark [eastfold] with his base at his home, Aldburg in the Folde.” (Unfinished Tales, page 475)
7: The name Rohan, is a simplification of Rochand, the sindarin name for Éothéod (Rohirric for Rohan.) Roch is a Sindarin translation of ‘éo’, which in itself, is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘horse.’ the ‘and’ ending is a common Sindarin ending for a land or country. The ending ‘théod’ derives from the saxon for the same word.
As ‘theod’ also means people, the word for the Rohirric peoples (Rohirrim) in Rohan is also Éotheod. The common (Sindarin) word derives from ‘Roch’, ‘hîr’, meaning ‘lord’, or ‘master’, and ‘rim’, meaning ‘host’. This ending is commonly seen, Galadhrim, Malledhrim, Eledhrim (meaning all elf-folk), and Onodrim (ent-folk.) (Unfinished Tales, pp 412)
That’s all I can find for now of interest. If you can find any more, which is easily possibly, as I’m yet to read the History of Middle-Earth series, then leave a comment. I hope you found something here that you didn’t know, or found interesting.
Thanks for reading!