Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
As recounted in The Silmarillion, the Vala Ulmo, the Lord of Waters, revealed the location of the Vale of Tumladen to the Ñoldorin Lord Turgon in a dream. Under this divine guidance, Turgon travelled from his kingdom in Nevrast and found the vale. Within the Echoriath, the Encircling Mountains, just west of Dorthonion and east of the River Sirion, lay a round level plain with sheer walls on all sides and a ravine and tunnel leading out to the southwest known as the Hidden Way. In the middle of the vale there was a steep hill which was called Amon Gwareth, the "Hill of Watching". There Turgon decided to found a great city that would be protected by the mountains and hidden from the Dark Lord Morgoth.
Turgon and his people built Gondolin in secret. After it was completed, he took with him to dwell in the hidden city his entire people in Nevrast — almost a third of the Ñoldor — as well as nearly three quarters of the northern Sindar. He originally named the city Ondolindë, which is Quenya for "The Rock of the Music of Water" after the springs of Amon Gwareth. The name was later changed to its Sindarin form.
The Hidden Way was protected by seven gates, all constantly guarded; the first of wood, then stone, bronze, iron, silver, gold, and steel. The city stood for nearly 400 years until it was betrayed to Morgoth by Maeglin, Turgon's nephew, and sacked by the army of Morgoth the Dark Lord.
As well as Orcs and dragons, that army included iron machines powered by "internal fires" used as personnel carriers and to surmount difficult geography and fortifications and to break down fortifications: that is one of various suspicions that Morgoth knew modern technology and industrialized. That army attacked Gondolin over the northern mountains and not through the Hidden Way.
Gondolin was divided into twelve Houses, all of which had their own leaders. At the time of the Fall of Gondolin, these were:
- The Folk of The White Wing, under Tuor
This was the bodyguard of Tuor, and the smallest house. Their emblem was a swan-wing upon a blue background.
- The Folk of the Mole, under Maeglin
This house was comprised of miners loyal to Maeglin. They wore sable attire, and their emblem was a mole upon black.
- The Folk of the Swallow, under Duilin
This folk had the best archers of Gondolin. Their emblem was a fan of purple feathers.
- The Folk of the Heavenly Arch, under Egalmoth
This was a folk of great riches; they comprised the other half of the archers of Gondolin.
- The Twin Folk of the Pillar and the Tower of Snow, under Pengolodh
Not much is told about this folk. Their commander was slain during the Fall of Gondolin; he was a great writer of the Eldar.
- The Folk of the Tree, under Galdor
This house wielded clubs and slings; their emblem was a tree upon green.
- The House of the Golden Flower, under Glorfindel
This house's emblem was a golden flower upon a field of green.
- The People of the Fountain, under Ecthelion
This house was the guard of the fountains, primarily that of the king. Also, warriors of this house defended the seventh gate of Gondolin. These folk loved silver and diamond, and marched into battle to the playing of flutes.
- The Folk of the Harp, under Salgant
This was a house of musicians, and their emblem was a silver harp upon a black background. However, their leader was a coward.
- The Hammer of Wrath, under Rôg
This was the largest and most valiant house. They were comprised of those blacksmiths that were not under Maeglin, as well as escaped thralls of Morgoth. They perished to the last elf during the Fall of GOndolin. Their symbol was a black anvil with a hammer upon a red background.
- The House of the King, under King Turgon
The house of the King was comprised of his family and bodyguard. Their symbol was a star, the moon, and the red heart of Finwë Nöleme.
The seven gates of Gondolin were those of Wood, Stone, Bronze, Writhen Iron, Silver, Gold, and the Great Gate of Steel. Each had its own guard and captain.
The seven names of Gondolin are told to Tuor: "Gondobar am I called and Gondothlimbar, City of Stone and City of the Dwellers in Stone; Gondolin the Stone of Song and Gwarestrin am I named, the Tower of the Guard, Gar Thurion or the Secret Place."
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