How to Read Cirth

Five Methods:Early CirthCerthas DaeronAngerthas Daeron/Angerthas EregionAngerthas MoriaAngerthas Erebor

The Cirth (pronounced "kerth") are a semi-artificial script from J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle-Earth. They are based off of the real-world Futhark, the runes used by the Vikings. Within Middle-Earth, the Cirth were invented by the Sindar elves as a writing system for their language Sindarin. After they were introduced to the Tengwar, the Cirth eventually became obsolete, although they were still used for carved inscriptions. The Dwarves of Khazad-dum (Moria) adapted the Cirth to suit their needs and used them for their language Khuzdul. The Cirth eventually spread as far as Erebor, where the Dwarves added the capability to write in the languages of Men, to help facilitate trading.

Method 1
Early Cirth

  1. 1
    Understand what this system was used for. The Early Cirth are the earliest form of Cirth, used by the Sindar elves to write Sindarin.
  2. 2
    Image titled Early cirth.png
    Learn the forms of the runes.
    The Early Cirth were somewhat underdeveloped, with only 19 runes. This makes them easy to learn, but hard to use.

Method 2
Certhas Daeron

  1. 1
    Understand what this form was used for. The Certhas Daeron was an extension and reorganisation of the Early Cirth, by the elf Daeron. This was also used to write Sindarin.
  2. Image titled Certhas daeron.png
    Learn the forms of the runes.

Method 3
Angerthas Daeron/Angerthas Eregion

  1. 1
    Understand how this form was used. The Angerthas ("long rune rows") Daeron, also known as the Angerthas Eregion, was used for Sindarin. However, by this time, the Sindar had been introduced to the Tengwar. The Angerthas Daeron was mainly used in places where the Tengwar were inappropriate (such as carvings - the Tengwar had curved shapes, making them harder to carve).
  2. Image titled Angerthas daeron.png
    Learn the forms of the runes. The Angerthas Daeron has many more runes than the previous Cirth forms, so it may be a bit trickier to learn.

Method 4
Angerthas Moria

  1. 1
    Understand what this form was used for. The Angerthas Moria was the form used by the dwarves of Khazad-dum (Moria to the Elves). As such, it was adapted to writing the Dwarven language, Khuzdul.
  2. Image titled Moria.png
    Learn the forms of the runes.

Method 5
Angerthas Erebor

  1. 1
    Understand how this form was used. After the dwarves were driven out of Moria by the Balrog, some of them settled in the Lonely Mountain of Erebor. These dwarves would trade with the humans in the nearby towns of Dale and Esgaroth (Laketown). The Angerthas Erebor was an adaption of the Angerthas Moria that could be used to write Human languages (English) as well as Khuzdul.
  2. Image titled Angerthas erebor.png
    Learn the forms of the runes. Note that the runes in red were only used when writing English.
  3. 3
    Image titled Angerthas erebor diacritics.png
    Learn the diacritics.
    The Angerthas Erebor had two diacritics:
    • Circumflex above: turns a consonant into a long or double consonant.
    • Macron below: turns a vowel into a long or double vowel.


  • Runes does not mean Cirth! At least three non-Cirth runic systems were used in Middle-Earth at some point: the runes on Thror's map of Erebor, the runes of the high-elves of Gondolin (such as the ones on the swords Glamdring and Orcrist), and the Uruk runes used by Orcs.

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Categories: Fictional Languages