Tolkien Gateway

Black Númenóreans

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| rivalry=[[Gondorians]]
| rivalry=[[Gondorians]]
| language=[[Adûnaic]]
| language=[[Adûnaic]]
| members=[[Herumor]], [[Fuinur]], [[Berúthiel]], [[The Mouth of Sauron]]
| members=[[Herumor]], [[Fuinur]], [[Berúthiel]], [[The Mouth of Sauron]], [[Witch-King of Angmar]]
| lifespan=c. 300-350 years
| lifespan=c. 300-350 years
| distinctions=
| distinctions=

Revision as of 00:12, 27 April 2018

Black Númenóreans
Brian Durfee - Black Númenóreans.jpg
"Black Númenóreans" by Brian Durfee
General Information
LocationsUmbar, other southern lands
MembersHerumor, Fuinur, Berúthiel, The Mouth of Sauron, Witch-King of Angmar
Physical Description
Lifespanc. 300-350 years
GalleryImages of Black Númenóreans

The Black Númenóreans were High Men from Númenor. They were under the Shadow like the King's Men, cruel oppressors and overlords over the more primitive Middle Men of Middle-earth. As they were colonising the continent, they survived the Downfall of Númenor.



The Númenóreans' power and knowledge had grown throughout the course of the Second Age, and became increasingly preoccupied with the limits placed on their happiness—and eventually their power—by mortality, the purpose of which they began to question. They started fearing the Gift of Men and attempted to delay it or recall life.

This growing wish to escape death, made most of the Númenoreans envious of the immortal Eldar, who they had come to physically resemble. The Eldar sought ever to remind the men of Númenor however, that death was a gift of the One God, Ilúvatar, to all men, and the will of Ilúvatar could not be gainsaid.

Nevertheless, after S.A. 2221, when Tar-Ancalimon became King of Númenor, the Númenóreans became divided. The King's Men who turned away from the Valar and the Eldar, and eventually became vulnerable to the corruption of Sauron, who dominated the minds and wills of most of the Númenóreans with the One Ring.[1] The powerful and elderly King Ar-Pharazôn, had become frightened of old age,[2] and was persuaded by Sauron that Ilúvatar was a lie invented by the Valar, and seduced.

Some indigenous people of Middle-earth were afraid of those Númenóreans, whom they called "Go-hilleg" in their language. The "Go-hilleg" terrified those people with their ships and intended at some point to conquer the land of Agar and slay its people.[3]

It is known that three of the nine Nazgûl were of Númenórean origin, and it seems unavoidable that these must have originally belonged to the Black Númenóreans.[4]

Even the colonists who had settled on the shores and seaward regions of the Westlands, turned to evil, the Darkness and the black arts. These evil lords made their fortresses and dwellings in the South, because of the power of Gil-galad.[5] [6]

After the Downfall

For many centuries after the Downfall, these descendants of the King's Men held onto the haven of Umbar, the most northerly and famous of their realms.

When the surviving Faithful Numenoreans founded Gondor and Arnor, they saw their southern counterparts as renegades, calling them the Black Númenóreans.[7] The Black Númenóreans held a similar hatred of Gondor after generations.[8]

Two early Black Númenórean lords from the late Second Age were Herumor and Fuinur who desired power over men of other, lesser races, and they "rose to (great) power amongst the Haradrim", the peoples neighbouring Umbar. They likely shared Sauron's defeat at the hands of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.

The triumph of the Last Alliance marked the decline of the Black Númenórean race and the end of their racial superiority. They dwindled swiftly or became merged with the Middle Men.[9]

Queen Berúthiel, wife of Gondor's King Tarannon Falastur was "a black Númenórean".[10][11] This was a loveless union, and was presumably a political accommodation: that such arrangements were possible implies the existence at that time of more Gondor-friendly Black Númenóreans than the much later Mouth of Sauron.

A Black Númenórean elite survived at least in Umbar for over a thousand years after Númenor's fall, maintaining much influence in Haradwaith. As late as Third Age 1015, for example, even after being exiled from their homeland for nearly a century, the lords that had been driven from Umbar led the Haradrim to retake Umbar.[12]

Not much is known about the Black Númenóreans after their defeat by Ciryaher in T.A. 1050. A "Renegade", The Mouth of Sauron, had entered the service of Sauron in Mordor. He mocked the army of King Elessar in front of the Morannon.


The Black Númenórean style of governing was no doubt tyrannical, and may also have involved a tradition of duumviracy, at least in Umbar. After Herumor and Fuinur there were also Angamaite and Sangahyando. Some lords were idle and lazy, they used to fight amongst themselves, until they became conquered by the wild men.[6]

The Black Númenóreans did not use Westron, but probably retained their old tongue Adûnaic, speaking a dialect of it. (In The Notion Club Papers, part of Sauron Defeated, Arundel Lowdham cited two descendants of classical Adûnaic. One of these must have been Westron, the other the tongue of the Black Númenóreans).

Portrayal in adaptations

A typical Black Númenórean within the city of Annuminas (The Lord of the Rings Online).

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The Black Númenóreans are portrayed in service of the different Lieutenants of the Enemy. The Angmarim inhabit the lands surrounding Carn Dum in Angmar and serve Mordirith and later Amarthiel. Much later, Umbarrim Númenóreans make appearance in Dol Guldur of Mirkwood.

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

Agandaûr, the game's main antagonist, is a Black Númenórean[13] as is the minor character Wulfrun, lieutenant of Carn Dûm.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958)
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 156, (dated 4 November 1954)
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Tal-Elmar"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Window on the West"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A
  10. Daphne Castell, "The Realms of Tolkien", Festival in the Shire Journal, Issue 1 (accessed 7 May 2012)
  11. Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings, "Thursday evenings", pp. 137-8
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A
  13. "Enemies", (accessed 15 February 2012)