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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Who is a Númenórean?

Eldorion
Gondor


Feb 11, 8:30am

Post #1 of 24 (3755 views)
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Who is a Númenórean? Can't Post

Someone from Númenor. /thread Cool

In all seriousness, I think that this question is a little less straightforward than it appears at first glance. More than 3000 years after the destruction of Númenor, the term Númenórean was still in common enough usage for Bilbo to use it as the definition of "Dúnedain" when Frodo didn't recognize the latter term (FOTR, II 1). LOTR Appendix F reaffirms that the two words are synonyms, but it also makes an important note regarding the limitations of the term. Númenórean is not demonym that can be applied to any inhabitant of the Realms in Exile. Rather:


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After the Downfall of Númenor, Elendil led the survivors of the Elf-friends back to the North-western shores of Middle-earth. There many already dwelt who were in whole or part of Númenórean blood; but few of them remembered the Elvish speech. All told the Dúnedain were thus from the beginning far fewer in number than the lesser men among whom they dwelt and whom they ruled, being lords of long life and great power and wisdom. They used therefore the Common Speech in their dealing with other folk and in the government of their wide realms; but they enlarged the language and enriched it with many words drawn from elven-tongues.


The Númenóreans were a minority group within the realms they controlled, especially in Gondor, which was more populous than Arnor and grew significantly larger throughout the first millennium of the Third Age as it established a very large empire in the northwest of Middle-earth. They also at times had influence over neighboring peoples such as the Northmen and the Haradrim, but even within "Gondor proper" not all inhabitants were considered Númenóreans, especially in the early period of Gondor's history. However, the Númenórean worldview was not a static one. Faramir described the state of it at the time of the War of the Ring in the chapter "The Window on the West" (TTT, IV 5):


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For so we reckon Men in our lore, calling them the High, or Men of the West, which were Númenóreans; and the Middle Peoples, Men of the Twilight, such as are the Rohirrim and their kin that dwell still far in the North; and the Wild, the Men of Darkness.


Tolkien substantially elaborated on this in the essay "Of Dwarves and Men" (found in HoMe XII) which is really interesting, but since the discussion is focused mainly on the labels of Middle Men and Men of Darkness I'm only going to quote a few parts:


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With regard to Middle Men Faramir spoke mainly of the Rohirrim, the only people of this sort well-known in Gondor in his time, and attributed to them actual direct descent from the Folk of Hador in the First Age. This was a general belief in Gondor at that time, and was held to explain (to the comfort of Númenórean pride) the surrender of so large a part of the Kingdom to the people of Eorl.

...

Thus it came about that the Númenórean term Middle Men was confused in its application. Its chief test was friendliness towards the West (to Elves and to Númenóreans), but it was actually applied usually only to Men whose stature and looks were similar to those of the Númenóreans, although this most important distinction of 'friendliness' was not historically confined to peoples of one racial kind.... Also it must be said that 'unfriendliness' to Númenóreans and their allies was not always due to the Shadow, but in later days to the actions of the Númenóreans themselves.


The passage goes on to mention the coastal peoples of the Minhiriath (cf. UT, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, Appendix D) and their Third Age descendants, the Dunlendings, as examples of peoples who by descent should have been considered Middle Men, but became enemies of the Númenóreans due to the abuses perpetrated by the latter. We can see this in action in the expulsion of the Dunlendings from Calenardhon when it was gifted to the Rohirrim. Both the Dunlendings and the Rohirrim (then known as the Éothéod) were descended from First Age Edainic peoples, but the Rohirrim were (a) phenotypically more similar to Númenóreans and (b) important military allies, so they were given the more privileged label and the Dunlendings were not.

My hypothesis here is that the label of Númenórean itself was just as confused and politicized as the labels of Middle Men and Men of Darkness. This was not to my knowledge explicitly stated by Tolkien as in the case of "Middle Men", but I think there is enough evidence that can be gleaned from the Third Age histories, primarily found in LOTR Appendix A, to make a case here, though it must remain speculative. The nature of the Appendices' presentation in LOTR invites critical analysis of this sort because they are explicitly stated (in the Prologue) to be the product of in-universe historians, specifically drawing on sources from Rohan and Gondor. Furthermore, much of Appendix A is printed within quotation marks, indicating ostensible direct quotes from Secondary World historical texts, and Appendix B is an abridgment of The Tale of Years, which is also established as an in-universe text.

The significance of the label "Númenórean" is most famously addressed in the case of the Kin-strife, the 15th century T.A. Gondorian civil war. Valacar, the son of King Rómendacil II of Gondor, married a princess of the Northmen, an Edainic people of Rhovanion who were an important part of Gondor's defense policy, both because of their status as a buffer state between Gondor and the Easterlings, and because many Northmen were recruited directly into Gondor's armies, some of them holding high rank. The civil war began when a significant number of Gondorian nobles and lesser royalty ("the high men of Gondor" and "descendants of the kings") refused to accept Valacar's son Eldacar (birth name Vinitharya) as king. Eldacar was deposed for 10 years by Castamir the Usurper who ruled with the support of the coastal provinces, but Eldacar regained his throne with the help of his mother's people and the inland provinces of Gondor. Eldacar and his descendants were restored to the throne, but Castamir and his followers held out in Umbar which ceased to be part of the Kingdom of Gondor (LOTR, Appendix A).


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After the return of Eldacar the blood of the kingly house and other houses of the Dúnedain became more mingled with that of lesser Men. For many of the great had been slain in the Kin-strife; while Eldacar showed favour to the Northmen, by whose help he had regained the crown, and the people of Gondor were replenished by great numbers that came from Rhovanion.


So, there's a lot to unpack here. First is that the war did not result in Gondor becoming a more racially egalitarian place. The Secondary World historians whose works were the ostensible basis for Appendix A continue to bemoan the loss of pure Númenórean descent in Gondor. The line of kings came to an end after the death of Eärnur some 600 years later because "no claimant to the crown could be found who was of pure blood, or whose claim all would allow; and all feared the memory of the Kin-strife, knowing that if any such dissension arose again, then Gondor would perish." Because the Kin-strife had already established that partial Northmen descent was not a disqualifying factor, I think the conclusion here is that the nobility of Gondor had been consistently intermarrying with other ethnic groups within the empire, probably including the indigenous and/or mixed descent inhabitants of Gondor proper, but possibly also more far-flung subjects and tributary allies.

It was not until the time of the Stewards that Gondor "recruited the strength of [its] people from the sturdy folk of the sea-coast, and from the hardy mountaineers of Ered Nimrais" (TTT, IV 5). At the time of the War of the Ring the people of Lossarnach and Lebennin "were reckoned men of Gondor, yet their blood was mingled, and there were short and swarthy folk among them whose sires came more from the forgotten men who housed in the shadow of the hills in the Dark Years ere the coming of the kings" (ROTK, V 1). This is contrasted unfavorably with the "high blood" of the men of Dol Amroth, but it indicates a significant change in Gondorian policy and self-image since the days of the kings; a change based primarily on the political and military reality that Gondor no longer had enough "pure" Númenóreans under the original definition to remain a viable state. Faramir also notes this as the reason for the Rohirrim being gifted Calenardhon (TTT, IV 5) which, as noted above, also entailed with a tweaking of the Númenórean worldview.

Jumping back to the Kin-strife, it's fairly clear that pure Númenórean descent was not the only or even necessarily the primary factor motivating Castamir's faction. Appendix A states that "the high men of Gondor already looked askance at the Northmen among them; and it was a thing unheard of before that the heir of the crown, or any son of the King, should wed one of lesser and alien race." I think that both halves of this statement are of crucial importance: it was unheard for a prince of Gondor to marry a non-Númenórean, but the nobility of Gondor was already displeased with the pro-Northmen policies that Valacar's father had embraced as both regent and king in his own right. The rebellion originated in "the southern provinces", which were all coastal. Castamir "was supported by the people of the coasts and of the great havens of Pelargir and Umbar" and "cared little for the land, and thought only of the fleets, and purposed to remove the king’s seat to Pelargir." It's not hard to imagine why the people of these regions, which had been the focal point of Gondor's power during its zenith under the Ship-kings, would resent a realignment of Gondorian policy towards northern, continental matters; a realignment which gave the Northmen significant power.

(NB It behooves me to mention that some of these points first caught my interest when reading Chris Seeman's essay "Rethinking Umbar" and to a lesser extent Codex Regius' Middle-earth seen by the barbarians, although Codex Regius goes much further into the realm of revisionism and, frankly, fanfiction than I am comfortable doing and I draw a different conclusion than Mr Seeman regarding whether the Black Númenóreans were fully subsumed into the Haradrim, as I will attempt to explain later in this post.)

Rómendacil II, by birth Minalcar, was preoccupied with the threat of the Easterlings (his regnal name means "East-victor") and desired to make the Northmen more reliable allies than they had been in the past. Valacar only met his bride-to-be because his father had sent him to live among the Northmen, but he "far exceeded his father’s designs" (LOTR, Appendix A). Looking at Tolkien's drafts of the Appendices is instructive here, though to be clear as unpublished texts they must be taken with a grain of salt. In a lengthy footnote to one draft Tolkien states that Rómendacil approved the marriage because "[h]e could not forbid or refuse to recognize it without earning the enmity of Vidugavia [self-styled King of Rhovanion and father of the princess Valacar wished to marry]. Indeed all the Northmen would have been angered, and those in his service would have been no longer to be trusted" (UT, The Making of Appendix A). Intriguingly, one version of the text "The Heirs of Elendil" states that after fleeing to Umbar Castamir's descendants and other minor Gondorian royals who rebelled "married women of the Harad and had in three generations lost most of their Númenórean blood" (UT, The Heirs of Elendil). This is probably of more dubious reliability but there are a lot of interesting implications to think through here.

At the time of the War of the Ring the Haradrim were an enemy of Gondor and they had been so during the War of the Last Alliance as well. However, after their defeat by Hyarmendacil I of Gondor, Harad became a tributary region of Gondor for 400 years—until after the Kin-strife, when Gondor also lost the province of Umbar, which was directly west of Near Harad. During the tributary period "the kings of the Harad did homage to Gondor, and their sons lived as hostages in the court of its King" (LOTR, Appendix A). Here we are very much entering the realm of speculation, but I don't think it's unreasonable to suppose that the Haradrim played a role not unlike that of the later Northmen. Probably not to the same extent, as the Haradrim were not a buffer between Gondor and other enemies, but there must have been considerable movement of people between Gondor and its tributaries; not only princes but also soldiers, merchants, and laborers. We know that there was significant interaction between Near Harad and Umbar throughout much of their shared history, to the point that Damrod (one of the Rangers of Ithilien, who had personal experience fighting the Haradrim in the late Third Age) described Umbar as a "realm" of the Haradrim (TTT, IV 5). I think it is more likely than not that this exchange continued while both were under the sway of Gondor, and from Umbar some Haradrim undoubtedly made their way to the rest of Gondor as well. While it is almost certain that no non-Black Númenórean Haradrim married into the royal family, they could very well have been part of the reason for the overall decline in "pureblood" Númenóreans in Gondor, as mentioned above.

The nobility of Gondor were not the first Númenóreans whom the Haradrim had close experience with, either. For more than a thousand years before it became part of Gondor, Umbar was ruled by the Black Númenóreans: the descendants of the King's Men faction of Númenor that had been opposed to the Faithful. A footnote to Appendix A states that "[a]fter the fall of Sauron [in the War of the Last Alliance] their race swiftly dwindled or became merged with the Men of Middle-earth, but they inherited without lessening their hatred of Gondor." However, this is contradicted by other pieces of evidence. For one, the Mouth of Sauron is described as Black Númenórean, and he was born almost 3000 years into the Third Age. (The evidence does not support the theory that he was born in the Second Age and somehow survived until the War of the Ring.) Keeping in mind the ostensible Secondary World origins of The Lord of the Rings in The Red Book of Westmarch, this description indicates the opinion of either Gondorians or Hobbits working from largely Gondorian sources. In either event, it means Elf-friends recognizing the continued existence of a separate "Númenórean" people outside of the Realms in Exile thousands of years after the Downfall. We could write this off as a case of Tolkien changing his mind and an error slipping through the cracks, but I think it's more likely that the two conflicting statement reflect opposing viewpoints held by Gondorians (possibly in different eras) about the status of the Black Númenóreans and/or their descendants.

The most interesting piece of circumstantial evidence for this is the case of Queen Berúthiel. The story of her cats is fleetingly mentioned in The Lord of the Rings and elaborated on in Unfinished Tales, but it was in a 1966 interview with New Worlds magazine that Tolkien expounded on Berúthiel herself (quoted here):


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There’s one exception that puzzles me—Berúthiel. I really don’t know anything of her—you remember Aragorn’s allusion in Book I (page 325) to the cats of Queen Berúthiel, that could find their way home on a blind night? She just popped up, and obviously called for attention, but I don’t really know anything certain about her; though, oddly enough, I have a notion that she was the wife of one of the ship-kings of Pelargir. She loathed the smell of the sea, and fish, and the gulls. Rather like Skadi, the giantess, who came to the gods in Valhalla, demanding a recompense for the accidental death of her father. She wanted a husband. The gods all lined up behind a curtain, and she selected the pair of feet that appealed to her most. She thought she’d got Baldur, the beautiful god, but it turned out to be Njord, the sea-god, and after she’d married him, she got absolutely fed up with the seaside life, and the gulls kept her awake, and finally she went back to live in Jotunheim.

Well, Berúthiel went back to live in the inland city, and went to the bad (or returned to it—she was a black Númenorean in origin, I guess). She was one of these people who loathe cats, but cats will jump on them and follow them about—you know how sometimes they pursue people who hate them? I have a friend like that. I’m afraid she took to torturing them for amusement, but she kept some and used them—trained them to go on evil errands by night, to spy on her enemies or terrify them.


Unfinished Tales specifies that the Ship-king in question was Tarannon Falastur (UT, The Istari, note 7). It has been argued by both Chris Seeman (not in the piece I linked above) and Codex Regius that his quote suggests Berúthiel was from Umbar, which I think is a rather strange reading of it since Umbar was a seaport and, following Tolkien's analogy with Norse mythology, Berúthiel is implied to not have been from a coastal city. On the other hand, if we want to interpret the analogy with a giantess seeking marriage as restitution to mean that Berúthiel and Falastur's marriage was a political one arranged in an attempt to forestall further conflict (though it clearly failed), then Umbar shoots back up the list of possible origins for Berúthiel since all of Falastur's wars were "along the coasts west and south of the Mouths of Anduin" (LOTR, Appendix A; his epithet means "Lord of the Coasts"). On the other hand, because Harad is known to have consisted of multiple allied but presumably independent realms (cf. Damrod's quote and the mention of multiple kings of Harad sending their sons to the court of a singular Gondorian king), we could suppose that Berúthiel was born in a Black Númenórean realm or city-state in the interior of Harad that nonetheless sent forces to participate in one of the wars with Gondor. At this point we are fully into the realm of speculation, but I find it an interesting prospect to consider.

To attempt to draw these disparate points together, it must also be considered that the exodus of Gondorian nobility and royalty leaving for Umbar may have impacted Gondorians' perception of the Númenórean status of their southern neighbors. Appendix A relates that by the time of Eärnur's death in the 21st century of the Third Age:


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Now the descendants of the kings had become few. Their numbers had been greatly diminished in the Kin-strife; whereas since that time the kings had become jealous and watchful of those near akin. Often those on whom suspicion fell had fled to Umbar and there joined the rebels; while others had renounced their lineage and taken wives not of Númenórean blood.


I find the statement here interesting: minor Gondorian royalty joined their distant relatives in Umbar or they married non-Númenóreans (and thereby removed themselves and their descendants from consideration for the throne, though as noted above I think they must also have married non-Northmen). The implication is that those who fled to Umbar did not "renounce their lineage". Near the end of his life Tolkien responded to a letter asking if the named descendants of Castamir (Angamaitë and Sangahyando) had taken Quenya names as a way of asserting that their heritage was purer than Eldacar's or his descendants'. Tolkien replied that "there was no need to assert their royal descent, as that was clear" (Letters, no. 347). As with so many of these quotes there is room for many interpretations. Taken in a vacuum Tolkien's comment could suggest only that Angamaitë and Sangahyando had no need to impress their followers in Umbar, but taken in conjunction with the Appendix A quote I think it creates an intriguing possibility: namely, that Gondor recognized (at least at some points in history) that there was a distinct Númenórean realm outside of their own.

Also worth taking into consideration is that both the Gondorians and whoever ruled Umbar at other points in the Third Age left the monument to Ar-Pharazôn's victory over Sauron intact until after Sauron openly declared his return near the end of the Third Age (LOTR, Appendix A). I think this is a strong indication that the rulers of Umbar both before and after its time as a Gondorian province identified with the Númenórean legacy represented by the monument, and I think it is unlikely that a fully "Haradrified" population would have done so. Chris Seeman argues in "Rethinking Umbar" that the descendants of the Black Númenóreans had thoroughly merged with the Haradrim but let the monument stand because they identified with Ar-Pharazôn's adoption of Melkorism. However, I find this argument unconvincing since the monument specifically represented Ar-Pharazôn's victory over Sauron, whereas dedicated Melkorists considered Sauron a key figure in their religion and I think would have seen the conflict with him as a misguided decision made before the Númenóreans fully realized who the true enemy was, much in the same way that political extremists in the Primary World recast wars in their own historiographies.

In any event, the Black Númenóreans undoubtedly intermarried with their neighbors just as the Gondorians had done. I suspect the same arguments that Faramir gave for an expansive definition of the term "Númenórean" (that the "pureblood" population had become too small to be viable on its own, even as a political elite) would have been made within the Black Númenórean community. What we can consider with slightly more grounding in the text is why the Gondorians appear to have waffled on whether or not they recognized said Númenórean status. We are told that records of Queen Berúthiel were destroyed at the time she was expelled by Falstur (UT, The Istari, note 7) but later scribes who recorded what was remembered of her would have been left to assume that she was of Númenórean descent since, according to Gondorian historiography, no king before Valacar had married a non-Númenórean. Presumably a similar justification would have had to be made at the time the marriage occurred. If it was in fact a diplomatic marriage then mutual recognition of each other's Númenórean heritage might have been part of the bargain. Likewise, whichever author of the Red Book described the Mouth of Sauron as a Black Númenórean (perhaps Frodo but possibly Findegil or someone at Great Smials where Pippin curated a collection of material focused especially on Gondor) would have been writing in the very late Third Age or the early Fourth Age, shortly after Aragorn "made peace with the peoples of Harad" (ROTK, VI 5); a time in which Gondorian officials would presumably be more inclined to be diplomatic towards their southern neighbors.

On the other hand, the footnote in Appendix A disparaging the Black Númenóreans' lack of purity presumably represents a different, less charitable perspective, though whether it was also written in a different era of Gondorian history and was simply transcribed into the Red Book at a later date is entirely speculative. A similar argument could be made regarding the statement in "The Heirs of Elendil" about Castamir's descendants, though it is probably more parsimonious to regard that as a rejected idea since it was never published by Tolkien himself. Anyway, this post is now over 4000 words (though it's the significantly abridged version compared to the draft I started to write yesterday, so consider yourselves lucky Wink) so I really need to wrap it up here. I hope that this was of at least mild interest to people other than me. Thanks a lot if you actually read through it! I would love to hear other people's perspectives even and especially if they differ from mine.


(This post was edited by Eldorion on Feb 11, 8:44am)


Eldorion
Gondor


Feb 11, 9:28am

Post #2 of 24 (3680 views)
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Embarrassing [In reply to] Can't Post

I just realized while looking over this post that despite proofreading for spelling and grammar I completely missed a significantly worse error and have misattributed two texts to the wrong book. Blush Since the edit period has expired I'd like to note here that "The Making of Appendix A" and "The Heirs of Elendil" both appear in HoMe XII, not UT.


(This post was edited by Eldorion on Feb 11, 9:30am)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Feb 11, 3:17pm

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The Forgotten Númenóreans [In reply to] Can't Post

There is one folk who seem to be consistently forgotten as deserving to be counted as Númenóreans: those Drúedain who accompanied the Haladin to Númenor. Tolkien's essay "The Drúedain" in Unfinished Tales tells how the ancestors of the Woses and their kin were retroactively recognized as Edain by the Elves who gave them the name Drúedain. Gifted with foresight, the Drúedain had some sense of the coming disaster that would destroy Númenor and many returned to Middle-earth, presumably settling between Enedwaith and Anfalas on the Cape of Andrast and in Drúwaith Iaur (later known as Old Pukel-land).

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 11, 4:07pm

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If I might disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

What a terrible subject line, huh? Smile So let me back up by saying your post made an excellent Sunday morning read, and I appreciated all the nuanced points you made as well as juicy tidbits like that Tolkien interview about Queen Beruthiel.

My main point is that I think that there were different standards applied about who's a Numenorean and who's a Middle Man. The latter is the fuzzy category, while the former is more clear-cut, even with intermarriage. To use your example


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Both the Dunlendings and the Rohirrim (then known as the Éothéod) were descended from First Age Edainic peoples, but the Rohirrim were (a) phenotypically more similar to Númenóreans and (b) important military allies, so they were given the more privileged label and the Dunlendings were not.

I think "Men of the Twilight" is the fluid label depending on one's allegiance to Gondor, and let's not forget that the Northmen used to fight Gondor, so when they were enemies, they were probably called worse names.

For the Numenoreans, Black or Elf-friend, it seems more like they kept detailed family trees to know if they were descended from Dunedain or not, and presumably if you had enough male ancestors that were of Numenorean blood, you counted as one, even with intermarriages with "lesser women" in between. Appdx A of LOTR (your typos are forgiven, btw) says:

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After the return of Eldacar, the blood of the kingly house and other houses of the Dunedain became more mingled with that of lesser Men...The mingling did not at first hasten the waning of the Dunedain, as had been feared...

So it's not just the royal house but the nobility that are vulgarizing the precious DNA of Numenor, yet no one says "And this is when Gondor fell from the ranks of the Numenor and became a lesser folk, destined to decline." Nor is Eldacar saddled with a title like Elrond's (Half-Elven), or not that we know of: the Half-Dunedan or Half-Numenorean. And think of the implications of how that Numenorean blood gets diluted over time. He was 50% Numenorean, but let's fast-forward a few generations and assume a King of Gondor is only 12.5% Numenorean. How are they reckoned? As a Numenorean, through and through, not a Man of the Twilight. Or do we assume that Gondor lived in a self-imposed fiction of "we're still Numenorean" because the alternative was too unappealing to admit?

Since the victors wrote the history, we don't know much about Black Numenoreans' point of view, but I will speculate that they had the same view. I think the key point of calling oneself Numenorean is the pride in descent from people who had lived on Numenor, presumably traced father-to-son. Or mostly father-to-son. It does seem that Beruthiel, despite her moral deficiencies, was rated as a prize bride both for her Numenorean DNA and for whatever lands she controlled via her noble/royal status among the Black Numenoreans, so a woman's racial purity matters, of there wouldn't have been the Kin-Strife over Eldacar. But it seems to matter less. There's this part in Appdx A:


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"It was the pride and wonder of the Northern Line that, though their power departed and their people dwindled, through all the many generations the succession was unbroken from father to son."


I would conclude that there was always tension in Gondor between the notion of true racial purity and the status one held, which Denethor conveniently expresses for me in "The Pyre of Denethor" as he disparages Aragorn while aware of his lineage:


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"I will not bow to such a one, last of a ragged house long bereft of lordship and dignity."

Denethor's problem, besides of course not wanting to give up power, is that Aragorn's DNA record may be good, but he has no royal status in terms of wealth and the control of wide lands with a great population. It's not enough to have your title on a piece of paper. He doesn't dispute that he's a Numenorean of royal descent, just that this descent no longer matters. But put Aragorn's claim to the throne to a vote after he's healed people and defeated Sauron, and he's elected king by popular acclaim--he had earned special status by the time of the vote.

Faramir represents the other side of that tension: he accepted Aragorn readily as the true and rightful King even before the defeat of Sauron, and I would say it wasn't because Aragorn healed him of the Black Breath, but because he beheld his Numenorean purity and royal lineage through their psychic connection in that healing process, and that was enough for him. "My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?"

Though with everything Tolkien-related, there is complexity involved here that goes beyond "Who is a true Numenorean?" I think the Denethor/Faramir split reaction to Aragorn mirrors the Saruman/Gandalf schism in their sense of Ultimate Mission. It was the duty of the Stewards to yield to the rightful king just as it was the duty of the Istari to oppose Sauron. Faramir and Gandalf were faithful to their mission; the other two were not.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 11, 4:25pm

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One more thing to add about racial purity [In reply to] Can't Post

From the rest of that paragraph in Appdx A about Arnor:


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"though the length of the lives of the Dunedain grew ever less in Middle-earth [i.e., ALL Dunedain, whether in Arnor, Gondor, or Umbar], after the ending of their kings the waning was swifter in Gondor..."

So there is something about the kingship itself in Gondor that caused the Dunedain to live long lives, even those not on the throne. That's significant combined with the point that people expected the Dunedain to decline and lead shorter lives with the ascent of Eldacar and his half-northern blood, but it didn't happen. Instead, having a king on the throne, rather than a steward, made an existential difference in the well-being of the Numenoreans.

Tolkien being a monarchist, that made sense to him. And I wonder how immersed he was in Middle-earth he was as he wrote things like this, and if reality crept in, such as all the German blood on the throne of England: was he making the point that it didn't matter, and better a king with mingled blood than no king (or queen) at all? Yes, yes, I know all about the "Tolkien is not allegory" thing, but a writer's personal views do creep into their work, whether anyone likes it or not.


squire
Half-elven


Feb 11, 9:48pm

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Extraordinary depth [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for all that; I admit I'm rarely up for excessive speculation about Middle-earth that draws too heavily on real-world similes or examples to fill in the holes. One reason is that there are too many ways in which Middle-earth seriously differs from our world; and another is that Tolkien himself admitted to winging this kind of thing (historical back-story, geopolitics, etc.) by cribbing from Gibbon or the like, or trying out an old historical trope about imperial politics to see how it flies in the context of his story.

For an example of the first type of issue, I usually consider that 'DNA' with all its associated notions of genetic inheritance, is the wrong way to analyze Tolkien's ideas about his fictional royal lines. For whatever satisfying reason, in Middle-earth the father's genetic inheritance - oh, what the heck, let's just say "blood" - is far more important in estimating a descendant's worth than is the mother's. Thus Aragorn's multi-generational descent from Earendel and Elwing via Elros should count for almost nothing in relation to Arwen's elvish nature, yet the story says the two lines were 're-united' when they finally married.

Unless it's the other way around! Such as when all those Elvish wives marrying mortal husbands managed to bestow far more than a nominal 50% Elvishness, which ought to have declined exponentially by each mortal generation that followed, on their descendants many centuries later.

So although I agree that you can make some excellent speculations on just what Tolkien meant by "Numenorean blood" in the histories of Gondor and Arnor, because he clearly meant something by the term, the only thing I can really derive from it all is that the virtue of Numenor, being based on the Elvish connection, declined in Middle-earth as much due to the effect of being back in "mortal lands" as to the fading moral excellence of the ruling dynasties.

On another point entirely, I often see references in commentaries in this area to "Harad" as if it were some kind of kingdom - or, as you put it, a coherent federation of allied kingdoms. I think the confusion is that Harad is on the map right next to Gondor, which is an honest-to-Gosh kingdom, so Harad must be a kingdom like Gondor. But Harad just means "South" and should really be given the proper article The, as in The South. That more accurately translates it as the equivalent of real world European references to The East as a placename. Near Harad thus drops into place as the story-equivalent of The Near East. That was the generic term for the lands of the Ottoman Empire, the closest Eastern entity, in eternal conflict with Christian Europe due to sharing a border. And so Far Harad: The Far South, like The Far East, i.e. East Asia on the Pacific rim of Earth's great supercontinent. (It doesn't help that Tolkien crammed all three regions onto the bottom margins of his map, compressing the space far more than in his real-world analogies.)

Now even the Europeans of that period knew that "The East" encompassed a vast array of empires and peoples, from Syria to Egypt to Mesopotamia, the Crimea, all the Russias, Persia, India, and even the Spice Islands and distant Cathay and Japan. We ought to think of Harad that way, I believe: it's simply a catch-all term for everything to the south of Gondor, or more correctly, to the south of the lands of the Free Peoples of the Northwest of the Old World. (Rhun, of course, is the same thing: it's The East, not a kind of country called Rhun).



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Eldorion
Gondor


Feb 11, 9:50pm

Post #7 of 24 (3596 views)
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Good catch, O-s! [In reply to] Can't Post

I admit that the Drúedain were not on my mind when writing this OP. I just had a look at the original passage (note 7 to the chapter on them in UT, if anyone else wants to read the whole thing) and it mentions them beginning to leave Númenor in Aldarion's time and being completely gone by the Downfall. This is interesting since it was Aldarion's maritime adventures that largely led to the conflict between the Númenóreans and the Edainic people of the Minhiriath, and it is noted earlier in "The Drúedain" in UT that despite fleeing from the Númenóreans they:


Quote
did not cross the Isen nor take refuge in the great promonotory between Isen and Lefnui that formed the north arm of the Bay of Belfalas, because of the "Púkel-men," who were a secret and fell people, tireless and silent hunters, using poisoned darts. They said that they had always been there, and had formerly lived also in the White Mountains.


Though another fragment quoted shortly thereafer states that the Drúedain of the White Mountains withdrew to Andrast when the Númenóreans began to occupy the coastal areas. (Andrast, being a cape, was obviously coastal but was never settled by Númenóreans or Gondorians.) It's interesting to imagine the interactions of the Drúedain of Númenor and those of the White Mountains, assuming that they made contact, in light of the changes being wrought by the nascent Númenórean empire.


Eldorion
Gondor


Feb 11, 10:18pm

Post #8 of 24 (3590 views)
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I'm glad it made for good reading! :) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think "Men of the Twilight" is the fluid label depending on one's allegiance to Gondor, and let's not forget that the Northmen used to fight Gondor, so when they were enemies, they were probably called worse names.


I totally agree that MIddle Men/Men of Twilight was a fluid label and you raise a good point regarding perceptions of the Northmen in light of their more combative pre-Rómendacil II history with Gondor.


In Reply To
So it's not just the royal house but the nobility that are vulgarizing the precious DNA of Numenor, yet no one says "And this is when Gondor fell from the ranks of the Numenor and became a lesser folk, destined to decline." Nor is Eldacar saddled with a title like Elrond's (Half-Elven), or not that we know of: the Half-Dunedan or Half-Numenorean. And think of the implications of how that Numenorean blood gets diluted over time. He was 50% Numenorean, but let's fast-forward a few generations and assume a King of Gondor is only 12.5% Numenorean. How are they reckoned? As a Numenorean, through and through, not a Man of the Twilight.


I wouldn't assume that there was a precise mathematical system for assessing Númenórean heritage (and none of the Half-Elven but Eärendil were exactly 50-50 human and elf, either). I don't think the "dilution" would have been that rapid though; Eldacar's sons and grandsons probably had a higher percentage of Númenórean ancestry than Eldacar himself, unless all of them continued to take Northmen wives.


In Reply To
Or do we assume that Gondor lived in a self-imposed fiction of "we're still Numenorean" because the alternative was too unappealing to admit?


I mean, people are free to disagree, but I think that the histories indicate that this was how the Gondorians saw themselves during the era of the kings, although things began to change under the Stewards and by the time of LOTR you could be considered fully Gondorian without being a "pureblooded" Númenórean (cf. Faramir's description, quoted in the OP). "Of Dwarves and Men" describes the classical Númenórean worldview in some detail and their self-conception of occupying a very privileged position in the hierarchy of peoples never entirely went away, as evidenced by the comment (also quoted above) that their classification of the Rohirrim as Middle Men was meant as a salve to their pride.


In Reply To
Since the victors wrote the history, we don't know much about Black Numenoreans' point of view, but I will speculate that they had the same view. I think the key point of calling oneself Numenorean is the pride in descent from people who had lived on Numenor, presumably traced father-to-son. Or mostly father-to-son. It does seem that Beruthiel, despite her moral deficiencies, was rated as a prize bride both for her Numenorean DNA and for whatever lands she controlled via her noble/royal status among the Black Numenoreans, so a woman's racial purity matters, of there wouldn't have been the Kin-Strife over Eldacar. But it seems to matter less. There's this part in Appdx A:


You bring up an interesting line of thought regarding whether the "purity" of one's descent was valued the same for men as it was for women. Unfortunately I can't think of too much information offhand that would provide a solid basis for speculation. Arvedui tried to claim the throne of Gondor through his wife and she was, as a member of the House of Anárion, not of as jealously-guarded a lineage as Arvedui (thanks for posting that quote regarding the northern line, btw!). The decision by the Council of Gondor to reject Arvedui was a thoroughly political one so I don't think we can generalize too much, though I have always found that particular argument by Arvedui to be rather specious since, taken at face value, it would have meant Fíriel should be Ruling Queen, not that Arvedui should be King.


In Reply To
would conclude that there was always tension in Gondor between the notion of true racial purity and the status one held, which Denethor conveniently expresses for me in "The Pyre of Denethor" as he disparages Aragorn while aware of his lineage:


This is a really good point! I think it's we see something similar in the discussion of the role of the Northmen in Gondorian society before the Kin-strife but I really like the connection you draw with Denethor and Aragorn coming at it from the other direction (possessing the ancestry but not so much immediate political power, rather than the other way around for the Northmen). I think that the labels the Númenóreans used for themselves and others varied a lot on the basis of political expediency. This is pretty clearly stated by Tolkien to be true of Middle Men and Men of Darkness but I've tried to lay out my reasoning for why I think it was true of the topmost label as well.

Thanks for a thorough and interesting reply! Smile


Eldorion
Gondor


Feb 11, 10:48pm

Post #9 of 24 (3590 views)
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Thanks! Some thoughtful stuff here too [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thanks for all that; I admit I'm rarely up for excessive speculation about Middle-earth that draws too heavily on real-world similes or examples to fill in the holes. One reason is that there are too many ways in which Middle-earth seriously differs from our world; and another is that Tolkien himself admitted to winging this kind of thing (historical back-story, geopolitics, etc.) by cribbing from Gibbon or the like, or trying out an old historical trope about imperial politics to see how it flies in the context of his story.


I agree that it's dicey to try to infer things about Middle-earth on the basis for supposed Primary World parallels. I've tried to rely mainly on the histories as presented in LOTR, though, and I think that Tolkien put a lot of thought and revision into them. He made plenty of changes to the Appendices for the second edition so it was clearly still something he had on his mind. One limitation of the "historiographic" approach I like to employ is that it's hard to say for sure when inconsistencies in the text are the result of Tolkien changing his mind and when they are meant to represent differing viewpoints of Secondary World characters or chroniclers, but in cases of inconsistencies between works that were all published during Tolkien's lifetime I think it's (relatively) safer to consider the latter possibility.


In Reply To
For an example of the first type of issue, I usually consider that 'DNA' with all its associated notions of genetic inheritance, is the wrong way to analyze Tolkien's ideas about his fictional royal lines. For whatever satisfying reason, in Middle-earth the father's genetic inheritance - oh, what the heck, let's just say "blood" - is far more important in estimating a descendant's worth than is the mother's. Thus Aragorn's multi-generational descent from Earendel and Elwing via Elros should count for almost nothing in relation to Arwen's elvish nature, yet the story says the two lines were 're-united' when they finally married.

Unless it's the other way around! Such as when all those Elvish wives marrying mortal husbands managed to bestow far more than a nominal 50% Elvishness, which ought to have declined exponentially by each mortal generation that followed, on their descendants many centuries later.


I can't say that genetics has ever been my favorite lens through which to view Middle-earth, and I think in the case of Elven descent it's particularly poorly suited. In the case of the Half-Elven it's hard to say how much of what made them special came from descent alone. The choice of the Half-Elven was a gift from the Valar; it is almost certain that Dior was mortal. I think the Akallabêth is fairly clear that the long life of Elros and his descendants was also a gift as it was to the rest of the Númenóreans (if not to the same extent for everyone else). I think that the importance of the reunion of the two branches of the Half-Elven was as much symbolic as it was anything else. There were a lot of things that made Aragorn Envinyatar, Renewer, and his marriage to Arwen was only one such thing.


In Reply To
So although I agree that you can make some excellent speculations on just what Tolkien meant by "Numenorean blood" in the histories of Gondor and Arnor, because he clearly meant something by the term, the only thing I can really derive from it all is that the virtue of Numenor, being based on the Elvish connection, declined in Middle-earth as much due to the effect of being back in "mortal lands" as to the fading moral excellence of the ruling dynasties.


Appendix A makes a similar point and I can't really disagree. I have to admit, though, that the metaphysical aspects of Númenórean heritage are not my main area of interest. The label clearly retained significant political and sociological meaning long after most of the "gap" between the Númenóreans and other humans had been closed. I tend to be interested in the political side of things since that's long been an interest of mine (as well as my major in college Laugh).


In Reply To
On another point entirely, I often see references in commentaries in this area to "Harad" as if it were some kind of kingdom - or, as you put it, a coherent federation of allied kingdoms. I think the confusion is that Harad is on the map right next to Gondor, which is an honest-to-Gosh kingdom, so Harad must be a kingdom like Gondor. But Harad just means "South" and should really be given the proper article The, as in The South. That more accurately translates it as the equivalent of real world European references to The East as a placename.... We ought to think of Harad that way, I believe: it's simply a catch-all term for everything to the south of Gondor, or more correctly, to the south of the lands of the Free Peoples of the Northwest of the Old World. (Rhun, of course, is the same thing: it's The East, not a kind of country called Rhun).


This is a very good point and I think I agree for the most part. The Appendices are pretty clear about the Easterlings not being a single distinct people (even the Wainriders specifically were stated to be "a people, or a confederacy of many peoples") and I have no doubt that the Haradrim were not monolithic either. However, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that there were cultural similarities and political alliances between different Haradrim polities, especially if we limit ourselves to just looking at Near Harad, since that's a smaller sample size. We know that Umbarian and Haradrim identities were fluid and overlapping, in any event. I wouldn't call them a federation, however; if anything my mental image is something along the lines of Mediterranean city-states in the late Medieval and early Modern periods, which were competitors as often they were rivals, though I don't bring this up to try to argue for any concrete parallels, just as a general illustration of the sort of political structures I imagine. It's hard to say for sure to what extent the cooperation between various Haradrim and Easterling polities was the result of Sauronian influence. It's implied that he was behind many of the alliances that threatened Gondor (or at least that the Gondorians thought he was), but Sauron wasn't in a position to directly force various Easterling or Haradrim peoples to work together for most of the Third Age, so he must have relied on other means of inducement, which could indicate that the Easterlings and Haradrim were not opposed to cooperating on their own either, if a good reason presented itself.


Eldorion
Gondor


Feb 12, 12:15am

Post #10 of 24 (3577 views)
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Addenda on Umbar [In reply to] Can't Post

1. I remembered today while continuing to think about this that the monument to Ar-Pharazôn's victory over Sauron was not constructed until after the Gondorian conquest of Umbar (Appendix A) so it can not indicate anything about the perspective of the Black Númenórean rulers of Umbar in the first millennium or so of the Third Age. However, I think that it's continued existence after the Kin-strife remains telling and I stand by my speculation regarding the perspective of Melkorists on the conflict with Sauron.

2. I should have noted in the OP that "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age" mentions two leaders of the Black Númenóreans, Herumor and Fuinur, "who rose to power among the Haradrim" around the time of the War of the Last Alliance. It is often speculated that they were rulers of Umbar because they are contrasted with other Black Númenórean "renegades, lords both mighty and evil, [who] for the most part took up their abodes in the southlands far away" because they were avoiding the power of Gil-galad (also, the the King's Men never controlled any Númenórean colonies north of Umbar).

3. In the discussion of Gandalf's travels found in UT, The Istari, we are told that:


Quote
"The North" must refer to the North-western regions of Middle-earth, in which most of the inhabitants or speaking-peoples were and remained uncorrupted by Morgoth or Sauron. In those regions resistance would be strongest to the evils left behind by the Enemy, or to Sauron his servant, if he should reappear....

...Harad "South" is thus a vague term, and although before its downfall Men of Númenor had explored the coasts of Middle-earth far southward, their settlements beyond Umbar had been absorbed, or being made by men already in Númenor corrupted by Sauron had become hostile and parts of Sauron's dominions. But the southern regions in touch with Gondor (and called by men of Gondor simply Harad "South", Near or Far) were probably both more convertible to the "Resistance," and also places where Sauron was most busy in the Third Age, since it was a source to him of man-power most readily used against Gondor.


The implication here that Umbar, in contrast to other Númenórean colonies further south, had not been "absorbed" by their surrounding peoples is another piece of evidence for a continued Númenórean identity (presumably only among the elite) well into the Third Age. The statement that the peoples of Harad, apparently not only Númenóreans, were more amenable to being recruited into the anti-Sauronian cause is an intriguing one. Unfortunately I can't recall this being substantially elaborated on elsewhere. The passage could be interpreted as suggesting that the peoples of Harad were more resentful of Sauronian rule because he repeatedly recruited and/or pressed them into service in wars against Gondor, but the two statements are not necessarily causally linked in this way.

An interesting contrast can be found in the Tolkien's consideration of the idea that the sometimes-called Blue Wizards passed into the East "to bring help to the few tribes of Men that had rebelled from Melkor-worship [and] to stir up rebellion" which deprived Sauron of potentially far greater forces that he might otherwise have recruited (HoMe XII, Last Writings). Presumably these tribes and rebellions would have been further west than the Wainriders, Balcoth, and other Easterlings who the Gondorians encountered, which would be the reverse of the situation in the South. None of this can be taken as definitive, of course.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 12, 8:41pm

Post #11 of 24 (3472 views)
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Umbar, monuments, and Numenorean pride [In reply to] Can't Post

From Appdx A:

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‘The loss of Umbar was grievous to Gondor, not only because the realm was diminished in the south and its hold upon the Men of the Harad was loosened, but because it was there that Ar-Pharazôn the Golden, last King of Númenor, had landed and humbled the might of Sauron. Though great evil had come after, even the followers of Elendil remembered with pride the coming of the great host of Ar-Pharazôn out of the deeps of the Sea; and on the highest hill of the headland above the Haven they had set a great white pillar as a monument. It was crowned with a globe of crystal that took the rays of the Sun and of the Moon and shone like a bright star that could be seen in clear weather even on the coasts of Gondor or far out upon the western sea. So it stood, until after the second arising of Sauron, which now approached, Umbar fell under the domination of his servants, and the memorial of his humiliation was thrown down.’


Two things are interesting about that monument. 1) Even though Ar-Pharazon persecuted them ruthlessly and caused the destruction of Numenor, the Faithful were still proud of his accomplishment in humbling Sauron. Especially for Americans right now as they debate who is and isn't worthy of having a public statue when one takes the full measure of their successes and failings, it's interesting that the Faithful gave him a pass on their own suffering at his hands and singled out his battle-less victory, I suppose saying, "This was how great Numenor was at its height, now forgot the rest." To me it seems like a pan-Numenorean Pride statement, which leads to:

2) An exact date for the pillar's destruction isn't given, and I don't intend to quibble about this, but it seems possible the Black Numenoreans viewed the pillar with the same pride, and it was only when Sauron's direct lieutenants showed up in Umbar that it was torn down to appease them.


Eldorion
Gondor


Feb 13, 1:18am

Post #12 of 24 (3444 views)
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Thanks for posting the full quote! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
1) Even though Ar-Pharazon persecuted them ruthlessly and caused the destruction of Numenor, the Faithful were still proud of his accomplishment in humbling Sauron. Especially for Americans right now as they debate who is and isn't worthy of having a public statue when one takes the full measure of their successes and failings, it's interesting that the Faithful gave him a pass on their own suffering at his hands and singled out his battle-less victory, I suppose saying, "This was how great Numenor was at its height, now forgot the rest." To me it seems like a pan-Numenorean Pride statement, which leads to:


I think this is a good description of the Faithfu; nicely put. Smile


In Reply To
2) An exact date for the pillar's destruction isn't given, and I don't intend to quibble about this, but it seems possible the Black Numenoreans viewed the pillar with the same pride, and it was only when Sauron's direct lieutenants showed up in Umbar that it was torn down to appease them.


I would agree with this, though it presents an interesting conundrum which I don't have an answer to in terms of it seeming (to me) to conflict with the Black Númenórean's reported Melkorism, which is a subject that I didn't really give adequate attention to in the OP. Perhaps that religion became less common after the Kin-strife when Umbar was ruled by renegade descendants of Gondorian kings? Could be that if the Dúnedain of Gondor did in fact recognize the Númenórean status of the Umbar elite, that resulted in cultural changes for the Black Númenóreans of Umbar that persisted even after Gondor lost control of that province. Certain the religion would have had to go underground during the Gondorian period, unless it died out entirely and was only later reintroduced by Sauron's emissaries in the late Third Age.

At the risk of diving too far into the realm of speculation, one other potential explanation is that the prevalence of Melkorism among the King's Men was exaggerated in some of the sources we have that were written by the Faithful. One potentially variant source is the aforementioned quote from UT, The Istari, which states that Black Númenórean "settlements beyond Umbar had been absorbed, or being made by men already in Númenor corrupted by Sauron had become hostile and parts of Sauron's dominions." That seems to imply that some of the more southerly colonies were not made by already-corrupted men but went in a third direction, neither Elf-friend nor Sauronian.* But I might be reading too much into a sentence fragment.

The simpler explanation is probably that I'm just wrong about the point of view that Melkorists would have toward the monument and that the Black Númenóreans were both Melkorists and viewed it in a positive light. Unfortunately I'm pretty tired right now and would need to give this question more thought to feel confident in any particular answer. I'm not even sure how coherent this post is. Crazy


---


*The following section is entirely hypothetical and I am probably mixing and matching ideas from different texts more than I should so take it more as me spitballing than as a serious attempt at determining what Tolkien's intentions might have been. That said: the other interesting thing in the UT quote is that, while both types of colony ceased to be distinctively Númenórean realms, only some "became ... parts of Sauron's dominions", whereas others--implicitly--did not. This would seem to suggest that the native peoples whom the latter class were "absorbed" by were not Sauronian either. Presumably they were further south than Sauron's influence in Middle-earth ever reached. The Akallabêth gives a rather poetic description of the Númenórean voyages, stating:


Quote
Thus it was that because of the Ban of the Valar the voyages of the Dúnedain in those days went ever eastward and not westward, from the darkness of the North to the heats of the South, and beyond the South to the Nether Darkness; and they came even into the inner seas, and sailed about Middle-earth and glimpsed from their high prows the Gates of Morning in the East. And the Dúnedain came at times to the shores of the Great Lands, and they took pity on the forsaken world of Middle-earth; and the Lords of Númenor set foot again upon the western shores in the Dark Years of Men, and none yet dared to withstand them.


It's tempting to draw a connection between the statement that the Númenóreans circumnavigated the main known continent of Middle-earth to reach the far east with the notion (printed in HoMe XII) that the Blue Wizards helped establish and defend an anti-Sauronian power base in that area. This was the same version that had the Blue Wizards arriving in the Second Age, which would be put them on the scene during the era of far-flung Númenórean colonization. On the other hand, the Akallabêth quote states only that the Númenóreans landed on "the western shores" and "The Istari" implies something similar. In any event, whether east or south, one could imagine that especially remote colonies were less influenced by the central policies of Númenor and therefore never fully embraced Melkorism, but were also isolated from and thus not influenced by the Eldar.


(This post was edited by Eldorion on Feb 13, 1:31am)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 13, 5:56am

Post #13 of 24 (3403 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

[that’s to plagiarize Darkstone in a deliberate though non-hostile poke to him]

Late for me too. I am of course speculating on the King’s Men, their depth of Melkorism, and the pride in being Númenórean. I guess I was thinking of situations like Vichy France, where a faction of the French accepted German rule, but they didn’t become total slaves and rename all their streets with German names nor empty the Louvre of its treasures to send to Berlin. Their are limits.

So I was thinking: “Look how proud the Faithful were of Ar-Pharazôn, and he was their enemy. Wouldn’t the King’s Men have been even more proud of him and his power & exploits?” Hence there would be the tension between that pride and their servitude to Sauron. Maybe similar to Sauron’s Orcs serving him but plotting to run off too.
___

Oh, we never get tired of discussing the Blue Wizards in the Reading Room! Bring up Balrogs’ wings next (OK, don’t). But anyway, I was thinking that though our readers’ view of M-earth is that it’s split between pro- and anti-Sauron forces, I think you’re right to conclude that his sphere of influence was not infinite, and there must have been realms in the Deep South and Deep East that were not beholden to him or to the Eldar or Dúnedain. Maybe there were Blue Wizards among them, maybe not, but I think geographical distance alone attenuates power, and the farther from Sauron one was, the more likely one would rather not be under his thumb.

So the real temptation is to wonder if those extreme seafaring Númenóreans settled all around the world, or even sent emissaries as teachers and civilized students, as they did before they became conquerors, and did they influence these unknown, non-aligned realms in some way.


Eldorion
Gondor


Feb 13, 6:34am

Post #14 of 24 (3396 views)
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Things to imagine [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Late for me too. I am of course speculating on the King’s Men, their depth of Melkorism, and the pride in being Númenórean. I guess I was thinking of situations like Vichy France, where a faction of the French accepted German rule, but they didn’t become total slaves and rename all their streets with German names nor empty the Louvre of its treasures to send to Berlin. Their are limits.


That's a good analogy and you make a good case for this interpretation in general. The analogy in the back of my mind earlier was neo-Nazis who fetishize and adopt the symbolism of a country that their own country fought in the past in a really weird case of doublethink. Part of the reason they came to mind is because that's always been what the Melkorist "orc-cults" among Gondorian youth alluded to in The New Shadow remind me of. But there are a lot of ways in which that's not a precisely analogous situation to the Black Númenóreans, obviously.


In Reply To
So the real temptation is to wonder if those extreme seafaring Númenóreans settled all around the world, or even sent emissaries as teachers and civilized students, as they did before they became conquerors, and did they influence these unknown, non-aligned realms in some way.


I find it a fascinating prospect, definitely. I think it would be in keeping with the notion of Númenor as an Atlantis analogue. The Akllabêth is so tantalizing in the hints it gives about the Númenórean empire--"the King's Men sailed far away to the south; and the lordships and strongholds that they made have left many rumours in the legends of Men"--but unlike Númenor itself, we never get to learn very much about their settlements beyond northwest Middle-earth in any of Tolkien's other posthumous publications. I'm inclined to think that the Númenóreans were conquerors in the majority of cases where they encountered people significantly weaker than them, since even the Faithful come across pretty poorly in texts not written from their perspective. But imagine if they actually did bump into a powerful anti-Sauronian civilization in the East, possibly one in which "secret cults and 'magic' traditions" established by the Blue Wizards played a major role in society. At this point I'm basically listing off fanfic ideas but I think it's to Tolkien's credit how huge his Secondary World feels and how many hints there are of even more lands and peoples beyond the (already vast) ones he wrote about in detail.


(This post was edited by Eldorion on Feb 13, 6:36am)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Feb 13, 7:12am

Post #15 of 24 (3389 views)
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The Empty Lands [In reply to] Can't Post


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At this point I'm basically listing off fanfic ideas but I think it's to Tolkien's credit how huge his Secondary World feels and how many hints there are of even more lands and peoples beyond the (already vast) ones he wrote about in detail.


According to Tolkien, the Númenóreans visited but never colonized the Empty Lands beyond the southern and eastern shores of Middle-earth, right? That does make me wonder if those other lands remained empty to the end of the Third Age. It seems entirely possible that some Easterling or Southron people might have set sail and settled some of those lands at some point after the Fall of Númenor, much as what happened in our Primary World (even earlier). Of course a more detailed discussion of this digression might be better suited to a new thread.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Feb 13, 3:45pm

Post #16 of 24 (3353 views)
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Wild Men of Enedwaith [In reply to] Can't Post

It may be that the later waves of Drúedain to return to Middle-earth from Númenor did not join their kinsmen in the White Mountains, but settled in the woodlands at the mouths of the rivers Greyflood and Isen. It might also be that some of the native tribes, discontented with hiding in the mountains, migrated to those woods, especially to those at the mouth of the Isen. There is a passage in "The Battles of the Ford of Isen" in Unfinished Tales:


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In the marshlands of the mouths of Greyflood and Isen lived a few tribes of 'Wild Men', fishers and fowlers, but akin in race and speech to the Drúedain of the woods of Anórien.


The irony is the characterization of these Drúedain as 'Wild Men' in lieu of their friendship with the People of Halath and the status imparted to them by the Elves. Granted, this designation does fit their primitive appearance and lifestyle.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Eldorion
Gondor


Feb 13, 10:52pm

Post #17 of 24 (3291 views)
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I think that's the implication, yeah... [In reply to] Can't Post

...that the Númenóreans never established colonies that far abroad. We see plenty of migration throughout the recorded history of Middle-earth so I imagine that would continue and people would expand, although in the northwest at least we also see large areas such as Arnor become mostly depopulated during the Third Age.


Eldorion
Gondor


Feb 13, 10:53pm

Post #18 of 24 (3290 views)
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Another great quote! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for piecing together these bits of evidence like this. Smile


InTheChair
Lorien

Feb 25, 11:23pm

Post #19 of 24 (2735 views)
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What does Khand mean? Or is that really the name of a kingdom? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
On another point entirely, I often see references in commentaries in this area to "Harad" as if it were some kind of kingdom - or, as you put it, a coherent federation of allied kingdoms. I think the confusion is that Harad is on the map right next to Gondor, which is an honest-to-Gosh kingdom, so Harad must be a kingdom like Gondor. But Harad just means "South" and should really be given the proper article The, as in The South.
...
(Rhun, of course, is the same thing: it's The East, not a kind of country called Rhun).


I suppose they could have gone with Umbar, which must have been the natural gathering point for most of the Haradrims forays into the norht anyway. Though I suppose calling a people Haradrim might be on the same level as real world Europeans calling all Africans Africans.

The geography of the South is deliberately left vauge. Of Khand I can only remeber that it was the land of the Varyags, but that is not a lot of information.

Nurn is another name that may have a meaning but perhaps does not apply to a people or a kingdom.


InTheChair
Lorien

Feb 25, 11:29pm

Post #20 of 24 (2730 views)
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I should have thought the Black Numenoreans would be more inclined to through down such a momument. [In reply to] Can't Post


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1) Even though Ar-Pharazon persecuted them ruthlessly and caused the destruction of Numenor, the Faithful were still proud of his accomplishment in humbling Sauron. Especially for Americans right now as they debate who is and isn't worthy of having a public statue when one takes the full measure of their successes and failings, it's interesting that the Faithful gave him a pass on their own suffering at his hands and singled out his battle-less victory, I suppose saying, "This was how great Numenor was at its height, now forgot the rest." To me it seems like a pan-Numenorean Pride statement, which leads to:


Plus it's worth mentioning that the event they celebrate took place before Sauron came to Numenor and the real persecution of the faithful went into overdrive, so they probably felt they had reason to feel a part of that moment.


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2) An exact date for the pillar's destruction isn't given, and I don't intend to quibble about this, but it seems possible the Black Numenoreans viewed the pillar with the same pride, and it was only when Sauron's direct lieutenants showed up in Umbar that it was torn down to appease them.


An exact date for the building of the pillar also isn't given. If it where the Gondorians that put it up, I should have thought they made it some time after the Black Numenoreans were driven off from Umbar. The Black Numenoreans where servants of Sauron and would not likely have promoted a memorial of his humiliation.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Feb 25, 11:53pm

Post #21 of 24 (2723 views)
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Throw? [In reply to] Can't Post


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I should have thought the Black Numenoreans would be more inclined to through down such a momument.


I don't think that word means what you think it means. 'Through' sounds like 'threw' and is sometimes written as (in shorthand) 'thru').

You drive through the countryside. The Hulk throws your car through a wall.

Sorry, my (self-diagnosed) OCD kicked in.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Feb 26, 12:31am

Post #22 of 24 (2718 views)
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Khand [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien tells us very little about Khand. We do know that it is a region to the south-east of Mordor that borders both Near Harad and the lands of Rhûn and the people (presumably Men) of Khand are called the Variags. As far as I know, Tolkien tells us nothing else about either Khand or the Variags in The Lord of the Rings or the Appendices. We do learn from Tolkien's essay "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan" (in Unfinished Tales) that in TA 1944 Khand and Near Hard allied with the Wainriders against Gondor, though the Wainriders and peoples of Khand were at earlier times in conflict with each other.

The phrase 'peoples of Khand' implies that the region might not have been united under a single ruler, or at least was made up of two or more ethnic groups of Men. Perhaps nomadic tribes treated the border between Khand and Near Harad as fluid The Variags might have been a single race or faction that was particularly loyal to Sauron, almost certainly Morgoth worshipers. There are many possibilities.

Here's an interesting note I found a Tolkien Gateway:


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Variag is a Slavic word derived from Norse Varingar "mercenary people" (vár "contract"). The Varangian Guard were Norse body-guards of the Byzantine Emperor.

It has been suggested that Tolkien adopted the Slavic term to indicate that the Variags were possibly mercenaries serving a possible Lord of Khand.


"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Feb 26, 12:40am)


InTheChair
Lorien

Feb 26, 5:49pm

Post #23 of 24 (2626 views)
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Yes throw should have been the word. [In reply to] Can't Post

About Khand I guess it does not need to be Sindarin, but if it is it probably has some meaning like Harad or Rhun.

If it is not maybe it has some connecton with the name Khamûl which at least share the same spelling.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Feb 26, 7:01pm

Post #24 of 24 (2619 views)
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Nurn and Nûrnen [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
About Khand I guess it does not need to be Sindarin, but if it is it probably has some meaning like Harad or Rhun.

If it is not maybe it has some connecton with the name Khamûl which at least share the same spelling.


Khand might be a word in a language of the Easterlings. Similarly, the name Khamûl seems to have a Rhûnic origin.

Unfinished Tales indicates that Núrnen (as in the Sea of Núrnen) is Sindarin for 'sad-water'. That suggests that Nurn can be ascribed the meaning of 'sad' or 'land of sadness' in Sindarin.

Lithlad in the east of Mordor is Sindarin for 'ash-plain'.



"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Feb 26, 7:14pm)

 
 

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