Welcome back to everyone’s favorite www.isleyunruh.com Monday feature! Middle-earth being the place of enchantment and wonder that it is, each month I will use my love of fictional cartography to transport you to another time and place. So why not take a moment to fill your head full of knowledge that will have no bearing at all on the real world?
This month I discuss the long lake and the town upon its shores.
Bard had rebuilt the town in Dale and men had gathered to him from the Lake and from South and West, and all the valley had become tilled again and rich, and the desolation was now filled with birds and blossoms in spring and fruit and feasting in autumn. And Lake-town was refounded and was more prosperous than ever, and much wealth went up and down the Running River; and there was friendship in those parts between elves and dwarves and men.
At the end of the third age there were distinct groups of Northmen in the realm of Middle-earth. The Rohirrim, the Beornings, the woodmen of central and northeastern Mirkwood, the men living along the Celduin south of Esgaroth and finally the men of Dale and Esgaroth. Today we will take a closer look at the famous “long lake” and the men who dwelt in the town upon its shores.
The Long Lake was a small lake in Middle Earth terms. Half the size of Nen Hithoel, one could see its opposite shores from the short side (though not, of course, from the long side). It was fed by the Forest River to the Northwest, and the River Running (Celduin) to the North. On its far Southern end the lake emptied into the Celduin in a great waterfall. The lands about its shores were extraordinarily fertile which, along with its location next to the major waterway of the Celduin, made it a natural site for a township.
This town was called Esgaroth, though the exact date of its founding was unknown. It was originally built upon the shores of the lake, though, unfortunately for the men who settled at the long lake, the dragon Smaug soon enfolded their city within the realm of his desolation. Thus it was moved to a peaceful bay formed by a large rock outcropping near the mouth of the Forest River. Here the town was built entirely upon wooden pillars and was connected to land only by a bridge.
However, in the year 2942 the town was again destroyed. Though Bard the Bowman had pierced the heart of the Dragon Smaug with his black arrow, the dragon destroyed much of the town with his death throes. However, with Smaug slain, Lake-town was free to move back to the shores of the lake where Bard and his sons rules from henceforth.