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Place in Arda
Aliases Thousand Caves
Caves of Menegroth
Summary Palace of Thingol
Built by Thingol and Melian
Realm Doriath
Capital {{{place_capital}}}
Lord Thingol
Type Capital City
Lifespan Years of the Trees ? - First Age

Menegroth, also known as the Thousand Caves and Caves of Menegroth, was the capital city of the land of Doriath, which was home to King Thingol and Queen Melian of the Sindarin people during the First Age of the Sun.

Within it was the beautifully decorated Hall of Thingol where sat his throne and where he dispensed his judgments. It was there that Thingol was slain by the Dwarven craftsmen of Nogrod. The quest of Beren to gain a Silmaril begins at Menegroth. It is also here that Lúthien the fair was born. It was later sacked by the Sons of Fëanor in pursuit of one of the Silmarils taken from Morgoth's Iron Crown prior to the War of Wrath.


Years of the TreesEdit

In the years after the War for Sake of the Elves, the Sindar were scattered all over Beleriand in havens such as Falas or in the woodlands at Region and Neldoreth. Their leader, King Thingol, was urged to build a home for his people, so he had the Dwarves of Belegost to aid in the construction of a new fortress. It was dug into the western wall of the ravine above the River Esgalduin and had only one entrance high above the river accessible by a large stone bridge. It was named Menegroth or the Thousand Caves because of the extensive number of caverns and chambers within all hewn of stone and beautifully decorated with carvings of beech trees and birds. These were many different places including armories, treasures, smithies, and living quarters for both the Elves and Dwarves.[1]

During the Years of the Trees, Doriath received peace for a long while as Thingol prefered isolation and ordered his people not to mingle in the affairs of the Noldor, or any conflict relating to Morgoth. Only with his kin in Nargothrond  did Thingol remain in contact with. 

Sometime during mid First Age, Beren Erchamion asked Thingol's daughter, Lúthien, for her hand in marriage, but the King demanded that Beren was to go on a quest to retrieve a Silmaril from Morgoth's Iron Crown. Lúthien accompanied him on the quest to Angband and they succeeded in eventually retrieving the jewel; but the stakes were high. Carcharoth, a wolf guarding the Gates of Angband, bit off Beren's hand in which he was holding the Silmaril. The wolf ventured to Menegroth, ravaging the lands in his path, and broke through its boundaries. He was confronted by the brave Huan, the Great Hound of Valinor, on the north-east banks of Esgalduin and was killed in the brawl. The Silmaril was found in the wolf's stomach, after swallowing it in Beren's hand, and was given to King Thingol.

Sack of DoriathEdit

Years later, Hurin Thalion brought the famed Nauglamir as a gift to Thingol. Thingol contemplated a plan to set the Silmaril into the Nauglamir. He offered a reward to the Dwarven craftsmen of Nogrod if they succeeded in setting the stone into the Nauglamir. A great desire for the Silmaril possesed the Dwarves and they formed a greed to own both the jewel and the Nauglamir. They finished the work and subsequently claimed the treasure for themselves, slayed Thingol, and fled Menegroth. 

The news spread fast and the Dwarves were hunted for and then slain. Two escaped and and told a tale of lies about their betrayal and their brethren being slaughtered by the Elves. The Dwarves of Nogrod formed a great army and rose in anger at the elves and invaded the now unguarded Doriath. This led to the Battle of the Thousand Caves in which many were slain on both sides. Mablung, the leader of the guard, was slaughtered at the doors of the treasure chamber where the Nauglamir was held. The Dwarves of Nogrod were then waylaid at Sarn Athrad on their return by the Laiquendi led by Beren. Their King was slain by Beren in single combat and the remainder of their host were felled by Ents.[2]

Lay of LeithianEdit

...through corridors of carven dread

whose turns were lit by lanterns hung

or flames from torches that were flung

on dragons hewn in the cold stone

with jewelled eyes and teeth of bone.

Then sudden, deep beneath the earth

the silences with silver mirth

were shaken and the rocks were ringing,

the birds of Melian were singing;

and wide the ways of shadows spread

as into arched halls she led

Beren in wonder. There a light

like day immortal and like night

of stars unclouded, shone and gleamed.

A vault of topless trees it seemed,

whose trunks of carven stone there stood

like towers of an enchanted wood

in magic fast for ever bound,

bearing a roof whose branches wound

in endless tracery of green

lit by some leaf-imprisoned sheen

of moon and sun, and wrought of gems,

and each leaf hung on golden stems.

Lo! there amid immortal flowers

the nightingales in shining bowers

sang o'er the head of Melian,

while water for ever dripped and ran

from fountains in the rocky floor.

There Thingol sat. His crown he wore

of green and silver, and round his chair

a host in gleaming armour fair....

Lay of Leithian, lines 981-1011


  1. The Atlas of Middle-earth pg. 20
  2. The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion

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