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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Edhil Populations


Oct 11 2013, 8:15pm

Views: 287
Edhil Populations Can't Post

Edhil Middle Earth population demographics

Having read and reread the Silmarillion along with HoME and BoLT, one of the most intriguing questions in my mind has been how large are the elven kingdoms and how many elves are living within Beleriand and later Middle Earth proper. There are several considerations which I have examined to include as evidence for the estimated populations which include standing armies, regional territories, civilization requirements, and the population decreases over the three Ages of Arda. The importance of population relates to Eldar culture and provides proper perspective and scope of the conflicts in Middle Earth against Morgoth and Sauron.

First we have references to the size proportions of the three elven kindreds which increase in direct relation to a decrease in innate power and significance. The Vanyar are smallest kindred and most like the Ainur, the Noldor are second smallest but crafty, wise, and ambitious and then the Teleri lovers of art, song, and the sea are the most populous. For relevance I have focused on dividing the population among the Noldor, the Sindar, and the Teleri though technically the Sindar are apart of the the Teleri. I consider the Sindar specifically the clan which went with Elwe and thus are Doriath culture while the Teleri include the Falathrim, Laiquendi, and Nandor respectively.

We know from the Silmarillion that the Noldor are a large clan from Tirion in Aman that have come to Beleriand under the impetus of Feanor to avenge Finwe and reclaim the silmarili. At this point in Middle Earth history the Noldor are at the largest and most diverse leading to the establishment of several city fortresses and realms ruled by the Feanorian princes and the houses of Fingolfin and Finarfin. Each of these Noldorin princes had standing armies, some measuring 10,000 strong in the case of Turgon during the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. To have armies as large as these from individual princes (kings) would require a full civilian population at least around 100,000 if we consider at least 10% to be capable of battle. Even if the Eldar are able to amass larger percentages of the populations there would be children, women, and some too frail or opposed to direct warfare. It could be supposed that the 10,000 of King Turgon represented only a regiment of his full Gondolin forces who remained behind to protect the city.

Also it is important to assess culture as the Noldor were always more warlike than the Sindar or especially the Teleri/Nandor who having lost their King Denethor they did not wish to make open war against Melkor. However, it seems unlikely they would not at least have sentinels guarding their woodlands or soldiers in times of peace. Elu Thingol's realm of Doriath was protected by Mablung and Beleg and they must have had sizable defense forces due to the dense population of the city of Menegroth and the later large scale conflicts they would engage in. It should then be expected that the Noldor whose culture promotes war, glory, and victory would have a larger percentage of the (male) population participating in standing armies.
The size of the initial populations may seem large because they are estimates based on demographics and realistic logistics. Even before arriving the Noldor receive casualties from the first kinslaying at Alqualonde and then the crossing of the Helcaraxe.

This sets a pattern which will extend to all the kindreds but will be more frequent and acute in the Noldor population of a continual decline assisted by the Second and Third Age favoring of leaving Middle Earth for Tol Erresea. Thus the Noldor are a smaller population than the Teleri and Sindar, suffer greater war casualties and leave Middle Earth in greater numbers and frequency after the War of Wrath and the Last Alliance resulting in signficant smaller total populations with each Age of Arda.

Edhil Middle Earth population demographics:

Edhil population Circa First Age

Doriath (Thingol and Melian) 1,000,000 (250,000 Infantry, 100,000 Rangers)

Nargothrond (Finrod) 100,000 (1,000 Knights, 5,000 Infantry)

Ossiriand (Denethor) 550,000 (10,000 Infantry, 20,000 Rangers)

Himlad (Celegorm and Curufin) 20,000

Thargelion (Caranthir) 30,000

Himring (Maedhros) 60,000 (2,000 Knights, 15,000 Infantry)

Estolad (Amrod and Amras) 15,000

Gondolin (Turgon) 250,000 (10,000 Knights, 50,000 Infantry)

Falas (Cirdan) 350,000

Total population: ~2,500,000

Noldor: 250,000
Sindar: 750,000
Teleri: 1,500,000

Edhil population Circa Second Age

Harlindon (Cirdan)- 5,000-7,000

Forlindon (Gil-Galad)- 10,000-15,000

Eriador (Gildor Inglorion)- 2,000-3,000

Eregion (Celembrimbor)- 6,000-8,000

Lorien (Amdir)- 3,500-5,000

Greenwood (Oropher)- 15,000-20,000

Total population: ~250,000

Noldor: 25,000
Sindar: 75,000
Teleri: 150,000

Edhil population Circa Third Age

Lindon (Cirdan)- 1600-2500 (500 Guards, 100 Knights)

Eriador (Gildor Inglorion)- 50-150 (20-30 swordsmen)

Imladris (Elrond)- 200-300 (50-100 knights)

Lorien (Galadriel & Celeborn)- 1000-1500 (300-500 Archers, 200-300 Sentinels)

Greenwood (Thranduil)- 5000-10,000 (800 Soldiers, 100 Infantry, 50 Royal Guards, 500-700 Rangers)

Total population: ~ 50,000

Noldor: 5,000
Sindar: 15,000
Teleri: 30,000

Subject User Time
Edhil Populations Mahtion Send a private message to Mahtion Oct 11 2013, 8:15pm
    Brilliant! CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 11 2013, 10:05pm
        Difficult Estimations Mahtion Send a private message to Mahtion Oct 12 2013, 5:30pm
    this question has Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Oct 12 2013, 3:35am
    well done for this ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Oct 12 2013, 11:19pm
        also to add Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Oct 12 2013, 11:56pm
            Elves Rehoused for the War of Wrath Mahtion Send a private message to Mahtion Oct 13 2013, 12:36am
                thanks! Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Oct 13 2013, 12:49am
                btw... Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Oct 13 2013, 1:39am
                    Not just any Elf Mahtion Send a private message to Mahtion Oct 13 2013, 3:08am
            In the Silmarillion it says ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Oct 13 2013, 4:15am
                Good Points Mahtion Send a private message to Mahtion Oct 13 2013, 5:11am
                    just to say Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Oct 13 2013, 5:24am
            And I just realised I misunderstood your statement ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Oct 13 2013, 4:30am
                if Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Oct 13 2013, 5:10am
    some additional references Felagund Send a private message to Felagund Oct 13 2013, 8:06pm
    Thanks for posting this Hamfast Gamgee Send a private message to Hamfast Gamgee Oct 14 2013, 10:53pm


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