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The Edain were those Men who made their way into Beleriand during the Siege of Angband during the First Age and were close allies of the Elves. The Edain were the ancestors of the Númenoreans, the High Men of the Second Age.



The ancestors of the Edain were those Men who fled Hildórien seeking to reach the Light of the West. They were divided in at least 3 tribes.

The tribe who followed the northern road were at war with the Men who fell under the Shadow, and were pursued by them.[1]

The tribe who followed the southern road, settled the valleys of the White Mountains and they were joined by the Drúedain to the west[2] but also leaving some of them behind, in Minhiriath and Eriador.[1] In the northern Rhûn they met some Dwarves.[3] At the shores of the Sea of Rhûn the tribes separated. The Lesser Folk got there first and dwelt at the feet of the nearby hills, while the Greater Folk came later in the north-east woods near the shores. They crafted boats and could sail the sea, but they didn't meet often, and their languages soon diverged.[4] The Greater Folk seemed to had been related to the ancestors of the Northmen.[5] In Eriador, some Men stayed behind and were scattered.[1]

The Edain already had met Dwarves and Avari in the East and had adopted some of their speech. The tongue of the Haladin was alien to the Greater and Lesser Folks.

The Lesser Folk moved on earler and a team of them, led by Beor, entered Beleriand around the fourth century of the First Age..

The Three Houses

The tribes of Men became Elf-friends, they entered the service of the Eldar and were ennobled and consisted of the Three Mannish noble Houses:

  1. The House of Bëor: these descended from the Lesser Folk, they were dark-haired and stoutly built, and most resembled the Ñoldor of all Elves. They were first discovered by Finrod Felagund, Lord of Nargothrond, and under his guidance later made their way to the lands of the Ñoldorin lord Amrod, in a place later known as Estolad, the Encampment. They remained loyal to the House of Finarfin, and later settled in the lands of Dorthonion.
  2. The Second House, later known as the Haladin or the House of Haleth. They were a reclusive folk, dark-haired but smaller in stature than the Bëorians. They kept separate from the other Men, and later received permission to settle in the Forest of Brethil, part of Doriath. They mostly kept out of the wars.
  3. The House of Marach, later best known as the House of Hador. They descended from the Greater Folk, were tall and golden-haired, and most resembled the Vanyar of all Elves. They were a very numerous and war-like tribe, and the Green-elves of Ossiriand feared them. They later settled in Hithlum by way of Estolad. They were loyal to Fingolfin and to his son Fingon.

The Edain who did not participate in the Wars of Beleriand remained in Estolad or fled from Beleriand and the power of Morgoth.

The term Edain does not refer to another group of men who entered Beleriand later in the First Age known as the Easterlings who were noted as being swarthier than the Edain and a large portion of whom would later betray the elves.

During and after the Nirnaeth Arnoediad the Edain suffered heavy losses. The House of Bëor was nearly wiped out by Morgoth, and the remainder of its people merged with the remaining Hadorians to become the Númenóreans. It would seem that the Haladin of Beleriand were completely wiped out, or at least disappeared as a separate people. Earendil, of the House of Hador, who had blood from all three Houses, sailed to Valinor and subsequently caused the War of Wraith.

Later History

After the War of Wrath the Edain were honoured and blessed by Eonwe in body and mind. They were granted the island of Númenor by the Valar as a gift for their fight during the Wars of Beleriand and loyalty to the elves. Thus the Edain's decendants became a race far greater than all other men in Middle-earth, living within sight of the blessed realm.

When the Númenoreans returned to Middle-earth in the Second Age, they encountered many Men who were obviously related to the Atani: they classified these Men as Middle Men, and established friendly relations with them. Examples are the Northmen or the Men of Bree.

Other Men, such as the Dunlendings, were not recognised as Middle Men because they were related to the Haladin rather than Bëorians or Marachians, and they were hostile to Númenor.

A fourth kind of Men came with the Second House, and called themselves Drûg. They were a strange people, living with the Haladin in the forest of Brethil, some even apparently made it to Númenor, but they died out or had left before the Fall. In the Third Age, their far kin were known as the Woses of Drúadan Forest.

Appearance, traits and culture

The Edain were noble in spirit, and tall and fair in body. Upon their arrival to Beleriand, they were taught much lore and wisdom by the Eldar. They were loyal to their benefactors, strong and fierce in battle.Their lifespan approached 90, probably quite more than of their ancestors, although that was the case only in peaceful times.[6]

Their descendants, the Númenoreans were further blessed and ennobled. Their first King Elros the Half-elven was a descendant of two unions between the Edain and the Eldar.

In Beleriand most of the Edain adopted the Sindarin tongue, although their native language was Mannish with elements from Avarin after their first contact with the Dark Elves. The language of the survivors of the First and Third Houses was the ancestor of Adunaic; the language of the Second House was unrelated to them. (See also: Taliska)


edain is the plural of adan, "man" in Sindarin.

The Sindarin word Edain, singular Adan (Quenya Atani, Atan) literally meant Second People, and originally referred to all Men, but later it only applied to the Men of Beleriand and their descendants. The Quenya term Atani kept its old meaning.

The noble Edain were also known as Atanatari which means Fathers of Men.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Two. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Concerning the Dwarves (Chapter 13)"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XII. The Problem of Ros"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
  6. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, p. 106, entry "Edain"