The former Gondorian territory of Calenardhon, given by Steward Cirion in TA 2510, to Eorl the Young in gratitude for military aid at the Field of Celebrant. It is a contraction of the term Mark of the Riders, or Riddermark, the name given to it by Eorl. It’s people called themselves Eorlingas. Its culture centred on the breeding, training and trading of horses for which it was much famed. In Gondor it was called Rohan and its people Rohirrim.

The Mark stretched from the Gap of Rohan and Fords of Isen in the west, to the Mouths of Entwash in the east; and from the River Limlight in the north to White Mountains in the south. The central portion was a vast area of grassy plains which provided rich grazing for horses and other livestock.

For civil and agricultural purposes the Mark was divided into lordships, under a ruling King based at the Golden Hall of Meduseld at Edoras. The Lords also served militarily under the King and two Marshals who were Lords of his closer kin. They and other Lords each commanded an Eored of fully trained and armed riders, and could also muster a larger force when required from the villages on their lands. Their position seems very similar to that of the Lords and yeoman farmers of English history who held their lands in return for military service, including the training and arming of men.

At the time of the War of the Ring the King and First Marshal of the Mark was Theoden. His son Theodred was Second Marshal and the Third Marshal was his nephew Eomer. Together they oversaw the organisation of the three military divisions; the King’s Lands the Westmark, and the Eastmark

Most settlements within the Mark lay in the cultivable area south of the River Entwash, the Eastfold and Westfold which lay either side of Edoras. It was the task of the Marshals and other lords to protect the people, herds and crops from marauding animals and foreign incursion. The Eastmark was larger, stretching far north across the Eastemnett, the Downs and the Wold, but the Westmark was more vulnerable, being open to attack by Dunlendings and Orcs from beyond the Fords of Isen.

To read more about the Mark, see the Middle-earth article called History of the Rohirrim

NOTE:The English word ‘mark’ originally meant a territory with a defined boundary. Its roots are in Old English.(Mercian) merc; (West Saxon) mearca boundary, a limit;; German. mark; Gothic. marka.

Additional information from Cirdaneth.
Encyclopedia entry originally written by Nienna-of-the-Valar