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Gondor

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{{kingdom
 
{{kingdom
| image = [[Image:Gondor.jpg|300px]]
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| image = [[Image:Gondor.jpg|250px]]
 
| name = Gondor
 
| name = Gondor
 
| meaning = Land of Stone
 
| meaning = Land of Stone
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| holiday =  
 
| holiday =  
 
| anthem =  
 
| anthem =  
| formed = The escape of the [[Faithful]] from the [[Downfall of Númenor]] in [[Second Age 3319|S.A. 3319]]
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| formed = The escape of the [[Faithful]] from the [[Downfall of Númenor]] in {{SA|3319}}
| established = [[Second Age 3320|S.A. 3320]]
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| established = {{SA|3320}}
| reorganized = [[Third Age 3019|T.A. 3019]]
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| reorganized = {{TA|3019}}
 
| fragmented =  
 
| fragmented =  
 
| dissolved =  
 
| dissolved =  
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<center>{{quote|Gondor! Gondor, between the Mountains and the Sea!<br>West Wind blew there; light upon the Silver Tree|[[Aragorn]]<ref name="tRoR">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'', ''[[The Two Towers]]'', "[[The Riders of Rohan]]"</ref>}}</center>
 
<center>{{quote|Gondor! Gondor, between the Mountains and the Sea!<br>West Wind blew there; light upon the Silver Tree|[[Aragorn]]<ref name="tRoR">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'', ''[[The Two Towers]]'', "[[The Riders of Rohan]]"</ref>}}</center>
  
'''Gondor''' was the '''South Kingdom''' of the [[Númenóreans]] in [[Middle-earth]], established soon after the downfall of [[Númenor]] by [[Isildur]] and his brother [[Anárion|Anárion]]. Their father [[Elendil]], who ruled the North Kingdom [[Arnor]], held the overlordship of the realm, however. Though it waned in power over time and the line of its Kings failed, Gondor survived to the end of the [[Third Age]], and had an instrumental role in the [[War of the Ring]]. After the defeat of [[Sauron]], Gondor was ruled by [[Aragorn|Elessar]], Heir of Isildur. Gondor was the seat of the [[Dominion of Men]] in the beginning of the [[Fourth Age]], and many of the tales and legends of the earlier [[Ages of the Children of Ilúvatar|Age]]s of Middle-earth come from the lore and history it preserved.
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'''Gondor''' was the '''South Kingdom''' of the [[Númenóreans]] in [[Middle-earth]], established soon after the downfall of [[Númenor]] by [[Isildur]] and his brother [[Anárion]]. Their father [[Elendil]], who ruled the North Kingdom [[Arnor]], held the overlordship of the realm, however. Though it waned in power over time and the line of its Kings failed, Gondor survived to the end of the [[Third Age]], and had an instrumental role in the [[War of the Ring]]. After the defeat of [[Sauron]], Gondor was ruled by [[Aragorn|Elessar]], Heir of Isildur. Gondor was the seat of the [[Dominion of Men]] in the beginning of the [[Fourth Age]], and many of the tales and legends of the earlier [[Ages of the Children of Ilúvatar|Age]]s of Middle-earth come from the lore and history it preserved.
  
 
== History ==
 
== History ==
 
=== Early History ===
 
=== Early History ===
Before the Downfall of Númenor, the region that would become Gondor was home to many Númenórean colonists, who either mingled with the indigenous [[Middle Men]] if they were friendly, or dispersed them into [[Ras Morthil]], [[Dunland]], and [[Drúadan Forest]]. The land on which Gondor was founded was more fertile than the more northerly areas of Middle-earth, and therefore it already had a fairly large population before the ships of Elendil's sons arrived, including a well-established haven, [[Pelargir]].<ref name="UTD">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (ed.), ''[[Unfinished Tales]]'', "[[The Drúedain]]"</ref> Pelargir was founded by the [[Faithful]] Númenóreans in the year [[Second Age 2350|2350 of the Second Age]].  
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Before the Downfall of Númenor, the region that would become Gondor was home to many Númenórean colonists, who either mingled with the indigenous [[Middle Men]] if they were friendly, or dispersed them into [[Ras Morthil]], [[Dunland]], and [[Drúadan Forest]]. The land on which Gondor was founded was more fertile than the more northerly areas of Middle-earth, and therefore it already had a fairly large population and settlements, including a well-established haven, [[Pelargir]]<ref name="UTD">{{UT|Druedain}}</ref> founded by the [[Faithful]] Númenóreans in the year {{SA|2350|n}} of the [[Second Age]].
  
The refugees from [[Númenor]] led by [[Isildur]] and [[Anárion|Anárion]] were given a warm reception upon their arrival by those that had already colonized this area of Middle-earth. The colonists north of the river [[Anduin]] accepted Elendil's claim to kingship over them. South of the Great River, however, the also-newly-exiled [[Black Númenóreans]] did not recognize Elendil's claim. Since the Black Númenóreans were the descendants of the [[King's Men]] of Númenor, who were opposed to the Faithful, they did not unite with Elendil and his sons, who represented the [[Faithful]] in Middle-earth. Much of Gondor's early history was marked by conflict with the Black Númenóreans.
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The refugees from [[Númenor]] led by [[Isildur]] and [[Anárion]] were given a warm reception upon their arrival by those [[Númenóreans|Númenórean]] colonists. Those north of the river [[Anduin]] accepted Elendil's claim to kingship over them, being a heir of the Faithful [[Lords of Andúnie]]. South of the Great River, however, there were also-newly-exiled [[Black Númenóreans]], descendants of the [[King's Men]] of Númenor, who opposed the Faithful, and therefore did not recognize Elendil's claim. Much of Gondor's early history was marked by conflict with the Black Númenóreans.
 
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[[File:Early gondor.png|thumb|left|The core of Gondor during its founding.]]
[[Image:Ted Nasmith - The White Tree.jpg|thumb|right|250px|''The White Tree'' by [[Ted Nasmith]]]]After their arrival and acceptance by the people, Isildur and Anárion put themselves to the task of ordering their realm. Isildur built the tower of [[Minas Ithil]] near Mordor as a threat to the [[Mordor|Black Land]], and within its walls he planted a seedling of the [[Nimloth of Númenor|White Tree]] of Númenor that he had taken before its destruction. Anárion raised the tower of [[Minas Anor]] on the other side of Anduin's floodplain as a bulwark against the [[Wild Men]]. In between their cities, the brothers founded [[Osgiliath]], their capital. From this city Isildur and Anárion ruled side-by-side, and used the ''[[palantíri]]'', the Seeing Stones that the Faithful had taken with them from Númenor, to maintain contact with Elendil and the other areas under their control.
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[[Image:Ted Nasmith - The White Tree.jpg|thumb|''The White Tree'' by [[Ted Nasmith]]]]After their arrival and acceptance by the people, Isildur and Anárion put themselves to the task of ordering their realm. Isildur took the area then known as [[Arnen]] (later [[Ithilien]])<ref>{{VT|42a}}, p. 17</ref> and built the tower of [[Minas Ithil]] near Mordor as a threat to the [[Mordor|Black Land]], and within its walls he planted a seedling of the [[Nimloth of Númenor|White Tree]] of Númenor that he had taken before its burning. Anárion raised the tower of [[Minas Anor]] on the other side of Anduin's floodplain as a bulwark against the [[Wild Men]]. In between their cities, the brothers founded [[Osgiliath]], their capital, from which they jointly reigned; these three cities also housed three of the ''[[palantíri]]'', the Seeing Stones that the Faithful had taken with them from Númenor, to maintain contact with Elendil and the other areas under their control.
  
 
=== First Conflict with Sauron ===
 
=== First Conflict with Sauron ===
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=== The [[War of the Last Alliance]] ===
 
=== The [[War of the Last Alliance]] ===
Elendil reacted to the threat of Sauron by combining forces with [[Gil-galad]] the [[Elves|Elven]]-king to make the [[Last Alliance of Elves and Men]]. Their armies marched southeast from Arnor and Gil-galad's realm of [[Lindon]]. Supported by the forces of Gondor, [[Lórinand]], [[Mirkwood]] and the dwarves of [[Moria]], the Alliance fought a great battle on the plain of [[Dagorlad]] north of Mordor. The armies of Elendil and Gil-galad were victorious, and entered Mordor itself, where they laid a siege on Sauron's Tower of [[Siege of Barad-dûr|Barad-dûr]] for seven years. During this time, Anárion was killed by a rock thrown from the Tower that broke his helm. The siege ended when Sauron himself emerged from Barad-dûr to fight the Alliance. Gil-galad and Elendil attacked and destroyed Sauron, though they themselves were slain the process.<ref name="OtRoP">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (ed.), ''[[The Silmarillion]]'', "[[Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age]]"</ref>
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Elendil reacted to the threat of Sauron by combining forces with [[Gil-galad]] the [[Elves|Elven]]-king to make the [[Last Alliance of Elves and Men]]. Their armies marched southeast from Arnor and Gil-galad's realm of [[Lindon]]. Supported by the forces of Gondor, [[Lórinand]], [[Mirkwood]] and the dwarves of [[Moria]], the Alliance fought a great battle on the plain of [[Dagorlad]] north of Mordor. The armies of Elendil and Gil-galad were victorious, and entered Mordor itself, where they laid a siege on Sauron's Tower of [[Siege of Barad-dûr|Barad-dûr]] for seven years. During this time, Anárion was killed by a rock thrown from the Tower that broke his helm. The siege ended when Sauron himself emerged from Barad-dûr to fight the Alliance. Gil-galad and Elendil attacked and destroyed Sauron, though they themselves were slain the process.<ref name="OtRoP">{{S|Rings}}</ref>
  
 
=== Gondor in the Beginning of the [[Third Age]] ===
 
=== Gondor in the Beginning of the [[Third Age]] ===
 
====Rebuilding====
 
====Rebuilding====
After the battle, during which the long Second Age came to an end, Isildur built a secret tomb for Elendil on the mountain [[Amon Anwar]].<ref name="CE"/> He also aided Anárion's son [[Meneldil]], who was now King, in reorganizing Gondor. Isildur planted the seedling of the White Tree that he had saved in Minas Anor, and it endured for several centuries. After these acts, Isildur left Gondor in the third year of the Third Age with the intent of ruling his father's kingdom of Arnor. He [[Battle of the Gladden Fields|never arrived]].<ref name="Gladden">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (ed.), ''[[Unfinished Tales]]'', "[[The Disaster of the Gladden Fields]]"</ref>
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After the battle, during which the long Second Age came to an end, Isildur built a secret tomb for Elendil on the mountain [[Amon Anwar]].<ref name="CE"/> He also aided Anárion's son [[Meneldil]], who was now King, in reorganizing Gondor. Isildur planted the seedling of the White Tree that he had saved in [[Minas Ithil]], and brought to Minas Anor (later known as Minas Tirith), and it endured for several centuries. After these acts, Isildur left Gondor in the third year of the Third Age with the intent of ruling his father's kingdom of Arnor. He [[Battle of the Gladden Fields|never arrived]].<ref name="Gladden">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (ed.), ''[[Unfinished Tales]]'', "[[The Disaster of the Gladden Fields]]"</ref>
  
 
==== Gondor Prospers ====
 
==== Gondor Prospers ====
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==== Gondor's Golden Age ====
 
==== Gondor's Golden Age ====
[[Image:Gondor map.gif|thumb|right|300px|Gondor in [[Third Age 1050|T.A. 1050]]]]Gondor's power reached its Golden Age under the four "[[Ship-king|Ship-kings]]":
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[[File:Steven White Jr. - Gondor TA1050.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Gondor in {{TA|1050}}]]Gondor's power reached its Golden Age under the four "[[Ship-kings]]"<ref name="Gondor">{{App|Gondor}}</ref> 
  
* [[Tarannon Falastur]], reigned [[Third Age 830]] - [[Third Age 913]]. First of the Ship-Kings, died childless
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The reign of Tarannon was an unhappy one: he married [[Berúthiel]], nefarious and loveless. Unlike her husband, she hated the Sea, its smells and its sounds. Mystery began to surround her as she used her [[cats]] to spy on every one, and paranoia and fear rose. After much ado, Tarannon banished her from Gondor, setting her on an adrift ship with her cats. It was last seen passing [[Umbar]] in the South.<ref name="UTI7">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (ed.), ''[[Unfinished Tales]]'', "[[The Istari]]", note 7</ref>  
* [[Eärnil I]], [[Third Age 913]] - [[Third Age 936]]. Nephew of Tarannon
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* [[Ciryandil]], [[Third Age 936]] - [[Third Age 1015]]
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* [[Hyarmendacil I|Ciryaher Hyarmendacil I]], [[Third Age 1015]] - [[Third Age 1149]]. Last of the Ship-Kings.<ref name="Gondor">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'', ''[[Appendix A]]'', "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"</ref> 
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The reign of Tarannon was an unhappy one: he married [[Berúthiel]], nefarious and loveless. Unlike her husband, she hated the Sea, its smells and its sounds. Mystery began to surround her as she used her [[cats]] to spy on every one, and paranoia and fear rose. After much ado, Tarannon banished her from Gondor, setting her on an adrift ship with her cats. It was last seen passing [[Haven of Umbar|Umbar]] in the South.<ref name="UTI7">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (ed.), ''[[Unfinished Tales]]'', "[[The Istari]]", note 7</ref>  
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In the reign of the powerful king Hyarmendacil I Gondor reached the height of its power. During Hyarmendacil's reign Gondor's borders reached their furthest extent. The Kingdom extended east to the [[Sea of Rhûn]], south to the nearest lands of the [[Haradrim]], as far north as [[Mirkwood]] and west towards the borders of [[Arnor]]. Gondor would also enjoy several centuries of peace due to its military might.<ref name="Gondor"/>
 
In the reign of the powerful king Hyarmendacil I Gondor reached the height of its power. During Hyarmendacil's reign Gondor's borders reached their furthest extent. The Kingdom extended east to the [[Sea of Rhûn]], south to the nearest lands of the [[Haradrim]], as far north as [[Mirkwood]] and west towards the borders of [[Arnor]]. Gondor would also enjoy several centuries of peace due to its military might.<ref name="Gondor"/>
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==== The Kin-strife ====
 
==== The Kin-strife ====
In the 15th century a great civil war named the Kin-strife tore the nation apart.  The current King Eldacar was of mixed blood: his mother was of the Northmen.  Popular displeasure at this led to the overthrow of King Eldacar by Castamir, the admiral of all of Gondor's naval forces who possessed some royal blood.  Eldacar's son was slain, and he fled north.  Castamir was afterward known as [[Castamir|Castamir the Usurper]].  During his ten year rule he proved to be very cruel, and because of his love of his old fleet, he lavished attention on the coastal regions while the interior provinces were ignored and left to rot.  Eldacar then returned with an army of his Northmen kinsmen, and they were joined by armies of Gondorians from interior provinces such as Anórien.  [[Osgiliath]] was devastated during this conflict, its great bridge destroyed and its ''[[palantíri|palantír]]'' lost. Eldacar slew Castamir and reclaimed his throne, but Castamir's sons and their forces were besieged in Pelargir, the great port of Gondor.  They eventually retreated to Umbar, where they joined with the Corsairs, and troubled Gondor for many years, until their descendants died out.
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In the 15th century a great civil war named the Kin-strife tore the nation apart.  The current King Eldacar was of mixed blood: his mother was of the Northmen.  Popular displeasure at this led to the overthrow of King Eldacar by Castamir, the admiral of all of Gondor's naval forces who possessed some royal blood.  Eldacar's son was slain, and Eldacar fled north.  Castamir was afterward known as [[Castamir|Castamir the Usurper]].  During his ten year rule he proved to be very cruel, and because of his love of his old fleet, he lavished attention on the coastal regions while the interior provinces were ignored and left to rot.  Eldacar then returned with an army of his Northmen kinsmen, and they were joined by armies of Gondorians from interior provinces such as Anórien.  [[Osgiliath]] was devastated during this conflict, its great bridge destroyed and its ''[[palantíri|palantír]]'' lost. Eldacar slew Castamir and reclaimed his throne, but Castamir's sons and their forces were besieged in Pelargir, the great port of Gondor.  They eventually retreated to Umbar, where they joined with the Corsairs, and troubled Gondor for many years, until their descendants died out.
  
 
==== The Great Plague ====
 
==== The Great Plague ====
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==== The Last Heir of Anárion ====
 
==== The Last Heir of Anárion ====
During the [[Battle of Fornost]], Eärnil II's heir Eärnur led Gondor's forces to victory over the [[Witch-king of Angmar]], who was actually the Lord of the [[Nazgûl]].  Although Eärnur wished to fight him, Eärnur's horse was terrified and fled the battle against his wishes.  By the time he mastered his horse and return, the Witch-king had fled.  [[Glorfindel of Rivendell|Glorfindel]] the Elf then prophesied to him that it was better that he not fight the Lord of the Nazgûl because "never by the hand of man shall he fall".   
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During the [[Battle of Fornost]], Eärnil II's heir Eärnur led Gondor's forces to victory over the [[Witch-king]] of [[Angmar]], who was actually the Lord of the [[Nazgûl]].  Although Eärnur wished to fight him, Eärnur's horse was terrified and fled the battle against his wishes.  By the time he mastered his horse and return, the Witch-king had fled.  [[Glorfindel of Rivendell|Glorfindel]] the Elf then prophesied to him that it was better that he not fight the Lord of the Nazgûl because "never by the hand of man shall he fall".   
  
 
Eärnur later ascended to the throne, ruling from Minas Anor (Tower of the Sun).  During this time, the Ringwraiths captured Minas Anor's sister city, Minas Ithil (Tower of the Moon), renaming it Minas Morgul (Tower of Sorcery) and taking it as their lair.  Minas Anor was renamed Minas Tirith (Tower of Guard) as a result.  The Lord of the Nazgûl repeatedly sent messengers to Minas Tirith challenging Eärnur to single combat, taunting him that he had fled out of cowardice from facing him during the Battle of Fornost.  Eventually, King Eärnur was overcome by wrath and rode with a small company of knights to Minas Morgul, to accept the challenge.  They were never heard from again.  So ended the Line of [[Anárion]].
 
Eärnur later ascended to the throne, ruling from Minas Anor (Tower of the Sun).  During this time, the Ringwraiths captured Minas Anor's sister city, Minas Ithil (Tower of the Moon), renaming it Minas Morgul (Tower of Sorcery) and taking it as their lair.  Minas Anor was renamed Minas Tirith (Tower of Guard) as a result.  The Lord of the Nazgûl repeatedly sent messengers to Minas Tirith challenging Eärnur to single combat, taunting him that he had fled out of cowardice from facing him during the Battle of Fornost.  Eventually, King Eärnur was overcome by wrath and rode with a small company of knights to Minas Morgul, to accept the challenge.  They were never heard from again.  So ended the Line of [[Anárion]].
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==== Cirion and Eorl ====
 
==== Cirion and Eorl ====
[[Image:Ted Nasmith - The Oathtaking of Cirion and Eorl.jpg|thumb|left|300px|''The Oathtaking of Cirion and Eorl'' by [[Ted Nasmith]]]]
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[[Image:Ted Nasmith - The Oathtaking of Cirion and Eorl.jpg|thumb|left|200px|''The Oathtaking of Cirion and Eorl'' by [[Ted Nasmith]]]]
 
In [[Third Age 2510]], when Steward [[Cirion]] ruled over Gondor, the nation faced one of its greatest perils: an Easterling tribe named the ''[[Balchoth]]'' invaded Gondor with massive force. Gondor's army marched to fight the Balchoth but were cut off from [[Minas Tirith]] and pushed back in the direction of the [[Limlight]].
 
In [[Third Age 2510]], when Steward [[Cirion]] ruled over Gondor, the nation faced one of its greatest perils: an Easterling tribe named the ''[[Balchoth]]'' invaded Gondor with massive force. Gondor's army marched to fight the Balchoth but were cut off from [[Minas Tirith]] and pushed back in the direction of the [[Limlight]].
  
Messengers were sent to get help from the [[Éothéod]], a tribe which lived in the northern vales of the [[Anduin]], but nobody expected the messengers to reach their destination. When certain peril came upon Gondor, however, the Éothéod turned the tide of the [[Battle of the Field of Celebrant]]. After the victory the Éothéod were awarded the fields of [[Calenardhon]] north of the [[Ered Nimrais]] from the Gap of Rohan at the southern end of the [[Hithaeglir]], [[Fangorn Forest]], rivers Limlight to river [[Anduin]], western [[Emyn Muil]] and the [[Mering Stream]], where they established the kingdom of [[Rohan]] with [[Eorl the Young]] as their first king. A perpetual alliance between Gondor and Rohan was established by the oath Eorl swore to Cirion.<ref name="CE"/>
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Messengers were sent to get help from the [[Éothéod]], a tribe which lived in the northern vales of the [[Anduin]], but nobody expected the messengers to reach their destination. When certain peril came upon Gondor, however, the Éothéod turned the tide of the [[Battle of the Field of Celebrant]]. After the victory the Éothéod were awarded the fields of [[Calenardhon]] north of the [[Ered Nimrais]] from the Gap of Rohan at the southern end of the [[Misty Mountains|Hithaeglir]], [[Fangorn Forest]], rivers Limlight to river [[Anduin]], western [[Emyn Muil]] and the [[Mering Stream]], where they established the kingdom of [[Rohan]] with [[Eorl the Young]] as their first king. A perpetual alliance between Gondor and Rohan was established by the oath Eorl swore to Cirion.<ref name="CE"/>
  
 
=== [[War of the Ring]]===
 
=== [[War of the Ring]]===
[[Image:Gondor map (Third Age).gif|thumb|right|300px|Gondor in [[Third Age 3019|T.A. 3019]]]]
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[[File:Steven White Jr. - Gondor TA3019.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Gondor in {{TA|3019}}]]
In 3019, during the [[War of the Ring]], Gondor was the strongest of the free nations that opposed Sauron, and thus, its defeat was his primary strategic goal in the war.<ref name="MT">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'', ''[[The Return of the King]]'', "[[Minas Tirith (chapter)|Minas Tirith]]"</ref>  Gondor faced an all out attack on its capital Minas Tirith in the [[Battle of the Pelennor Fields]]. Although nearly defeated, the Rohirrim once again turned the tide of battle, and helped win the war, though with heavy losses.<ref name="tBotPF">{{RK|Battle}}</ref> The combined army of the West then carried the battle to Sauron at the Battle of the Morannon, a feint to distract Sauron's attention from Frodo Baggins's quest to destroy the One Ring in Mount Doom, thus causing Sauron's destruction and the allies' ultimate victory.
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In 3019, during the [[War of the Ring]], Gondor was the strongest of the free nations that opposed Sauron, and thus, its defeat was his primary strategic goal in the war.<ref name="MT">{{RK|V1}}</ref>  Gondor faced an all out attack on its capital Minas Tirith in the [[Battle of the Pelennor Fields]]. Although nearly defeated, the Rohirrim once again turned the tide of battle, and helped win the war, though with heavy losses.<ref name="tBotPF">{{RK|Battle}}</ref> The combined army of the West then carried the battle to Sauron at the Battle of the Morannon, a feint to distract Sauron's attention from Frodo Baggins's quest to destroy the One Ring in Mount Doom, thus causing Sauron's destruction and the allies' ultimate victory.
  
 
After the second and final defeat of Sauron the Kingship was restored, [[Aragorn|Aragorn II]] became king of the [[Reunited Kingdom]] of Gondor and Arnor.  
 
After the second and final defeat of Sauron the Kingship was restored, [[Aragorn|Aragorn II]] became king of the [[Reunited Kingdom]] of Gondor and Arnor.  
  
[[Faramir]], last heir of the Ruling Stewards, was to retain the office of steward (though not ruling), and was made [[Prince of Ithilien]], which had been reconquered from the forces of Mordor.<ref name="tSatK">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'', ''[[The Return of the King]]'', "[[The Steward and the King]]"</ref> Faramir would serve as the King's representative during absence or illness, and became the chief counsellor of the [[Council of Gondor]].<ref name="L244">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Humphrey Carpenter]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (eds.), ''[[The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien]]'', [[Letter 244]] (dated c. [[1963]])</ref>
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[[Faramir]], last heir of the Ruling Stewards, was to retain the office of steward (though not ruling), and was made [[Prince of Ithilien]], which had been reconquered from the forces of Mordor.<ref name="tSatK">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'', ''[[The Return of the King]]'', "[[The Steward and the King]]"</ref> Faramir would serve as the King's representative during absence or illness, and became the chief counsellor of the [[Council of Gondor]].<ref name="L244">{{L|244}}</ref>
  
 
==Geography==
 
==Geography==
Initially, Gondor was comprised of the lands to the North and South of the [[White Mountains]], but [[Calenardhon|a large part of the northern territories]] was gifted to the [[Éothéod]] in [[Third Age 2510]].<ref name="CE">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (ed.), ''[[Unfinished Tales]]'', "[[Cirion and Eorl]]"</ref> Gondor's close proximity to Sauron's land was the catalyst of many battles and skirmishes, but its location also gave the Gondorians more ability to protect the other regions of Middle-earth from the Dark Lord and his servants.<ref name="CoE">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'', ''[[The Fellowship of the Ring]]'', "[[The Council of Elrond]]"</ref>
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Initially, Gondor was comprised of the lands to the North and South of the [[White Mountains]], but [[Calenardhon|a large part of the northern territories]] was gifted to the [[Éothéod]] in [[Third Age 2510]].<ref name="CE">{{UT|Cirion}}</ref> Gondor's close proximity to Sauron's land was the catalyst of many battles and skirmishes, but its location also gave the Gondorians more ability to protect the other regions of Middle-earth from the Dark Lord and his servants.<ref name="CoE">{{FR|Council}}</ref>
 
===Regions===
 
===Regions===
 
Gondor was divided between several nearly autonomous regions. These were the following:
 
Gondor was divided between several nearly autonomous regions. These were the following:
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* [[Minas Ithil]], conquered by [[Mordor]] and renamed [[Minas Morgul]] by the Gondorians
 
* [[Minas Ithil]], conquered by [[Mordor]] and renamed [[Minas Morgul]] by the Gondorians
 
* [[Tharbad]] to the north, held by both Gondor and Arnor but abandoned and later ruined after Gondor retreated from [[Enedwaith]]
 
* [[Tharbad]] to the north, held by both Gondor and Arnor but abandoned and later ruined after Gondor retreated from [[Enedwaith]]
* The [[Haven of Umbar]], a harbour in the south which was contested by the Haradrim and lost and reclaimed several times
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* [[Umbar]], a harbour in the south which was contested by the Haradrim and lost and reclaimed several times
  
 
==Languages==
 
==Languages==
As the Gondorians came from Númenor, so came their language: [[Westron]], or the Common Speech, was the main language of the people of Gondor. Though the source of Westron lied in Pelargir,<ref name="AppF">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'', ''[[Appendix F]]'', "Of Men"</ref> the clearest form, without any accent, was spoken in Minas Tirith.<ref name="L193">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Humphrey Carpenter]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (eds.), ''[[The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien]]'', [[Letter 193]] (dated [[November 2]], [[1956]])</ref> This style was nobler and more antique than other dialects, and this was the Westron the Elves adopted.<ref name="L144">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Humphrey Carpenter]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (eds.), ''[[The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien]]'', [[Letter 144]] (dated [[April 25]], [[1954]])</ref> In reverence of the mighty lords of Númenor of old, Eldarin was spoken by nobility. Quenya was known to the learned, and Sindarin was used to be polite, especially by those of high [[Númenóreans|Númenórean]] blood.<ref name="L347">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Humphrey Carpenter]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (eds.), ''[[The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien]]'', [[Letter 347]] (dated [[December 17]], [[1972]])</ref> However, especially the Sindarin contained several [[Gondor Sindarin|dialectical differences]].<ref name="CE49">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (ed.), ''[[Unfinished Tales]]'', "[[Cirion and Eorl]]", note 49</ref>
+
As the Gondorians came from Númenor, so came their language: [[Westron]], or the Common Speech, was the main language of the people of Gondor. Though the source of Westron lay in Pelargir,<ref name="AppF">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'', ''[[Appendix F]]'', "Of Men"</ref> the clearest form, without any accent, was spoken in Minas Tirith.<ref name="L193">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Humphrey Carpenter]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (eds.), ''[[The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien]]'', [[Letter 193]] (dated [[2 November|November 2]], [[1956]])</ref> This style was nobler and more antique than other dialects, and this was the Westron the Elves adopted.<ref name="L144">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Humphrey Carpenter]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (eds.), ''[[The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien]]'', [[Letter 144]] (dated [[25 April|April 25]], [[1954]])</ref> In reverence of the mighty lords of Númenor of old, Eldarin was spoken by nobility. Quenya was known to the learned, and Sindarin was used to be polite, especially by those of high [[Númenóreans|Númenórean]] blood.<ref name="L347">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Humphrey Carpenter]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (eds.), ''[[The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien]]'', [[Letter 347]] (dated [[17 December|December 17]], [[1972]])</ref> However, especially the Sindarin contained several [[Gondor Sindarin|dialectical differences]].<ref name="CE49">[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Christopher Tolkien]] (ed.), ''[[Unfinished Tales]]'', "[[Cirion and Eorl]]", note 49</ref>
  
 
==Etymology==
 
==Etymology==
In earlier times, it was called the South Kingdom, or ''[[Hyaralondie]]'', ''[[Hyallondie]]'' and ''[[Turmen Hyallondiéva]]'' in Quenya, and ''[[Arthor na Challonnas]]'' in Sindarin from the Númenórean point of view: the elements ''[[londie]]'' and ''[[lonnas]]'' mean "harbour, landing".<ref name="PE17">{{PE|17}}</ref>
+
In earlier times, it was called the South Kingdom, or ''Hyaralondie'', ''Hyallondie'' and ''Turmen Hyallondiéva'' in Quenya, and ''Arthor na Challonnas'' in Sindarin from the Númenórean point of view: the elements ''[[londie]]'' and ''[[lonnas]]'' mean "harbour, landing".<ref name="PE17">{{PE|17}}</ref>
 +
 
 +
The name '''Gondor''' was likely adopted from the lesser people's terminology<ref name="L324">{{L|324}}</ref> and translates from [[Sindarin]] as "Stone-land", from the words ''[[gond]]'', "stone", and ''(n)[[dor]]'', "land".<ref name="L324"/> The (generally not used) [[Quenya]] form of the name was ''Ondonóre''.<ref name="VT42">{{VT|42}}</ref> Gondor received its name because of the abundance of stone in the [[Ered Nimrais]], and the usage of it in great stone cities, statues, and monuments, such as Minas Tirith and the Argonath.
 +
 
 +
In [[Rohan]], it was known as '''Stoningland''' (a modernization of [[Old English]] ''Stāning-(land)''<ref>{{HM|N}}, p. 776</ref>),<ref name="tBotPF"/> and [[Ghân-buri-Ghân]] of the [[Drúedain]] also recognized their use of stone.<ref name="RotR">{{RK|Ride}}</ref>
 +
==Inspiration==
 +
[[Tolkien]] himself likened Gondor in a degree to ancient Egypt, in terms of how Gondorians constructed gigantic stone structures, and the [[Crown of Gondor]] being similar to the [[Wikipedia:Pschent|crown of the Pharaohs of Egypt]].<ref>{{L|211}}, p. 281</ref> Notably, some "scholars" claimed that ancient Egypt was a colony of [[Atlantis]],<ref>[[Wikipedia:Ignatius L. Donnelly|Ignatius L. Donnelly]], [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/4032 Atlantis: The Antediluvian World] (1882), Part V, Chapter II: The Egyptian Colony</ref> much like how Gondor was a survival of Númenor (although it is unknown if Tolkien considered this aspect).
 +
 
 +
In online discussions, many [[Tolkien fandom|Tolkien fans]] have entertained the idea that Gondor is comparable to the [[Wikipedia:Byzantine Empire|Byzantine Empire]],<ref>{{webcite|author=|articleurl=http://www.middleearthcenter.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21307|articlename=Gondor -> Byzantine Empire|dated=|website=[http://www.middleearthcenter.com/ Middle-earth Center]|accessed=22 September 2012}}</ref><ref>{{webcite|author=|articleurl=http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=229914|articlename=Is Gondor Constantinople?|dated=|website=Plaza|accessed=22 September 2012}}</ref><ref>{{webcite|author=|articleurl=http://www.thephora.net/forum/showthread.php?t=12555|articlename=Gondor = Byzantium?|dated=|website=[http://www.thephora.net/forum/index.php The Phora]|accessed=22 September 2012}}</ref> and Tolkien himself referred to Minas Tirith as a "Byzantine City".<ref>{{HM|RC}}, p. 570</ref> Some of the parallels noted between Gondor and the Byzantine Empire are:<ref>Miryam Librán-Moreno, "'Byzantium, New Rome!': Goths, Langobards, and Byzantium in ''The Lord of the Rings''", in ''[[Tolkien and the Study of His Sources]]'' (edited by [[Jason Fisher]]</ref><ref>{{webcite|author=Tom Simon|articleurl=http://www.bondwine.com/essays/38/gondor.html|articlename=Gondor, Byzantium, and Feudalism|dated=13 March 2010|website=[http://www.bondwine.com/ Bondwine]|accessed=22 September 2012}}</ref>
  
The name '''Gondor''' was likely adopted from the lesser people's terminology<ref name="L324">{{L|324}}</ref> and translates from [[Sindarin]] as "Stone-land", from the words ''[[gond]]'', "stone", and ''(n)[[dor]]'', "land".<ref name="L324"/> The (generally not used) [[Quenya]] form of the name was ''[[Ondonóre]]''.<ref name="VT42">{{VT|42}}</ref> Gondor received its name because of the abundance of stone in the [[Ered Nimrais]], and the usage of it in great stone cities, statues, and monuments, such as Minas Tirith and the Argonath.  
+
Gondor is the south-eastern portion of [[Elendil]]'s original kingdom. The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern remnant of the Roman Empire. The [[Wikipedia:Western Roman Empire|Western Roman Empire]] eventually withered and dissolved, like [[Arnor]], while the Byzantine Empire endured, although in declined state. Their geographical role is also comparable as the Byzantine Empire encircled the Mediterranean while Gondor occupied the region around the [[Bay of Belfalas]]; both were threatened by [[Easterlings|eastern]] and [[Haradrim|southern]] adversaries. The Byzantine Empire absorbed several "barbaric" peoples like the Wends and Slavs, much like Gondor did with the [[Northmen]] and other [[Middle Men]].  
  
In [[Rohan]], it was known as '''[[Stoningland]]''',<ref name="tBotPF"/> and [[Ghân-buri-Ghân]] of the [[Drúedain]] also recognized their use of stone.<ref name="RotR">{{RK|Ride}}</ref>
+
As a final note, the last Byzantine Emperor, [[Wikipedia:Constantine_XI_Palaiologos#Legacy|Constantine XI]], remained in legend and folklore as the [[Wikipedia:King in the mountain|"Marble King"]] whose messianic ressurection and return would signal the restoration of the Empire. This parallels the fate of [[Earnur]] and Gondor's interregnum period until the "Return of the [[Aragorn|King]]" who [[Reunited Kingdom|restored the Kingdom]]. However unlike the Byzantine Empire, Gondor did not fall.
  
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Revision as of 06:14, 30 August 2013

Gondor.jpg
Gondor
EtymologyLand of Stone
GovernmentMonarchy/Stewardship
Head of StateKing of Gondor/Ruling Steward
ExecutiveCouncil of Gondor
Societal information
CapitalOsgiliath/Minas Tirith
LanguageWestron
LocationSouth of the White Mountains, west of Mordor
PopulaceMostly Men
CurrencyThe castar
Historical information
Formed fromThe escape of the Faithful from the Downfall of Númenor in S.A. 3319
EstablishmentS.A. 3320
ReorganisationT.A. 3019
"Gondor! Gondor, between the Mountains and the Sea!
West Wind blew there; light upon the Silver Tree
"
Aragorn[1]

Gondor was the South Kingdom of the Númenóreans in Middle-earth, established soon after the downfall of Númenor by Isildur and his brother Anárion. Their father Elendil, who ruled the North Kingdom Arnor, held the overlordship of the realm, however. Though it waned in power over time and the line of its Kings failed, Gondor survived to the end of the Third Age, and had an instrumental role in the War of the Ring. After the defeat of Sauron, Gondor was ruled by Elessar, Heir of Isildur. Gondor was the seat of the Dominion of Men in the beginning of the Fourth Age, and many of the tales and legends of the earlier Ages of Middle-earth come from the lore and history it preserved.

Contents

History

Early History

Before the Downfall of Númenor, the region that would become Gondor was home to many Númenórean colonists, who either mingled with the indigenous Middle Men if they were friendly, or dispersed them into Ras Morthil, Dunland, and Drúadan Forest. The land on which Gondor was founded was more fertile than the more northerly areas of Middle-earth, and therefore it already had a fairly large population and settlements, including a well-established haven, Pelargir[2] founded by the Faithful Númenóreans in the year 2350 of the Second Age.

The refugees from Númenor led by Isildur and Anárion were given a warm reception upon their arrival by those Númenórean colonists. Those north of the river Anduin accepted Elendil's claim to kingship over them, being a heir of the Faithful Lords of Andúnie. South of the Great River, however, there were also-newly-exiled Black Númenóreans, descendants of the King's Men of Númenor, who opposed the Faithful, and therefore did not recognize Elendil's claim. Much of Gondor's early history was marked by conflict with the Black Númenóreans.

The core of Gondor during its founding.
The White Tree by Ted Nasmith
After their arrival and acceptance by the people, Isildur and Anárion put themselves to the task of ordering their realm. Isildur took the area then known as Arnen (later Ithilien)[3] and built the tower of Minas Ithil near Mordor as a threat to the Black Land, and within its walls he planted a seedling of the White Tree of Númenor that he had taken before its burning. Anárion raised the tower of Minas Anor on the other side of Anduin's floodplain as a bulwark against the Wild Men. In between their cities, the brothers founded Osgiliath, their capital, from which they jointly reigned; these three cities also housed three of the palantíri, the Seeing Stones that the Faithful had taken with them from Númenor, to maintain contact with Elendil and the other areas under their control.

First Conflict with Sauron

The Dúnedain were at first unaware that Sauron, who had been taken as a prisoner to Númenor before its destruction, had survived the disastrous Downfall. However, not long after the kingdom's cities were built, the awakening of the fires of Orodruin signaled his return. At that time, the Men of Gondor first called the mountain Amon Amarth, or Mount Doom. Soon after, Sauron launched an attack on Minas Ithil, which forced Isildur into a retreat. Sauron took the fortress and burned the White Tree that had grown there, but Isildur saved one of its seedlings and took it and his family on a ship down the Anduin. He sailed to the north to confer with Elendil about these events. Anárion remained in Gondor and continued to hold Osgiliath. He also managed to push back Sauron's forces to the mountain range of Ephel Dúath, but Sauron began to gather reinforcements, among whom were a large number of Black Númenóreans, and the Men of Gondor knew that their realm was in great danger of being destroyed unless aid came.

The War of the Last Alliance

Elendil reacted to the threat of Sauron by combining forces with Gil-galad the Elven-king to make the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. Their armies marched southeast from Arnor and Gil-galad's realm of Lindon. Supported by the forces of Gondor, Lórinand, Mirkwood and the dwarves of Moria, the Alliance fought a great battle on the plain of Dagorlad north of Mordor. The armies of Elendil and Gil-galad were victorious, and entered Mordor itself, where they laid a siege on Sauron's Tower of Barad-dûr for seven years. During this time, Anárion was killed by a rock thrown from the Tower that broke his helm. The siege ended when Sauron himself emerged from Barad-dûr to fight the Alliance. Gil-galad and Elendil attacked and destroyed Sauron, though they themselves were slain the process.[4]

Gondor in the Beginning of the Third Age

Rebuilding

After the battle, during which the long Second Age came to an end, Isildur built a secret tomb for Elendil on the mountain Amon Anwar.[5] He also aided Anárion's son Meneldil, who was now King, in reorganizing Gondor. Isildur planted the seedling of the White Tree that he had saved in Minas Ithil, and brought to Minas Anor (later known as Minas Tirith), and it endured for several centuries. After these acts, Isildur left Gondor in the third year of the Third Age with the intent of ruling his father's kingdom of Arnor. He never arrived.[6]

Gondor Prospers

After the war, Gondor's power and wealth grew steadily (only interrupted by an Easterling invasion in Third Age 492). Its power would continue to grow into the 9th century of the Third Age. While the power of Gondor's sister kingdom Arnor peaked during the 9th century, when it broke into various successor states, Gondor's greatest glory was yet to come.

Gondor's Golden Age

Gondor in T.A. 1050
Gondor's power reached its Golden Age under the four "Ship-kings"[7]

The reign of Tarannon was an unhappy one: he married Berúthiel, nefarious and loveless. Unlike her husband, she hated the Sea, its smells and its sounds. Mystery began to surround her as she used her cats to spy on every one, and paranoia and fear rose. After much ado, Tarannon banished her from Gondor, setting her on an adrift ship with her cats. It was last seen passing Umbar in the South.[8]

In the reign of the powerful king Hyarmendacil I Gondor reached the height of its power. During Hyarmendacil's reign Gondor's borders reached their furthest extent. The Kingdom extended east to the Sea of Rhûn, south to the nearest lands of the Haradrim, as far north as Mirkwood and west towards the borders of Arnor. Gondor would also enjoy several centuries of peace due to its military might.[7]

Rómendacil II built on the northern approach to Nen Hithoel the giant pillars Argonath to mark the northern border of Gondor around Third Age 1340.

The Decline of Gondor

But after his reign decadence spread under the kings of Gondor and a long period of decline began (although Gondor experienced several revivals). Three great calamities struck Gondor during the second millennium of the Third Age, which are held to be the chief reasons for its decline: the Kin-strife, the Great Plague, and the invasion of the Wainriders (a tribe of Easterlings), one of series of conflicts in the Wainrider/Balchoth War.

The Kin-strife

In the 15th century a great civil war named the Kin-strife tore the nation apart. The current King Eldacar was of mixed blood: his mother was of the Northmen. Popular displeasure at this led to the overthrow of King Eldacar by Castamir, the admiral of all of Gondor's naval forces who possessed some royal blood. Eldacar's son was slain, and Eldacar fled north. Castamir was afterward known as Castamir the Usurper. During his ten year rule he proved to be very cruel, and because of his love of his old fleet, he lavished attention on the coastal regions while the interior provinces were ignored and left to rot. Eldacar then returned with an army of his Northmen kinsmen, and they were joined by armies of Gondorians from interior provinces such as Anórien. Osgiliath was devastated during this conflict, its great bridge destroyed and its palantír lost. Eldacar slew Castamir and reclaimed his throne, but Castamir's sons and their forces were besieged in Pelargir, the great port of Gondor. They eventually retreated to Umbar, where they joined with the Corsairs, and troubled Gondor for many years, until their descendants died out.

The Great Plague

In Third Age 1636 the Great Plague struck and the White Tree died. This Plague was no localized event: the Plague swept through all of Middle-earth, reaching the successor states of Arnor and the Hobbits of the Shire in the North. King Tarondor found a sapling of the White Tree, and moved the capital from Osgiliath to Minas Anor, the City of Anárion. During this time, Gondor was so depopulated that the fortifications guarding against the re-entry of evil into Mordor were abandoned. It is believed that had the Haradrim or Easterlings been capable of attacking Gondor at this time, it would have fallen. However, the Plague left Gondor's enemies in no better condition than Gondor itself, and neither side was capable of mounting new offensives.

The Invasion of the Wainriders

Following the sapping of Gondor's strength by the plague, the Wainrider invasions devastated Gondor, and the conflict lasted for almost a century. The Wainriders destroyed the Northern Army of Gondor, but survivors linked up with the victorious Southern Army of Gondor, led by a general named Eärnil, and they destroyed the Wainriders as they celebrated their victory during the Battle of the Camp, in Third Age 1944.

The Line of the Kings Fails

Reunification Rejected

In 1944, Gondor also faced a constitutional crisis when King Ondoher was slain in a previous battle with both his sons. Arvedui, King of Arthedain, Ondoher's son-in-law, and the victorious general Eärnil, who was a distant blood-relative of Ondoher, claimed the throne. Arvedui's claim lay mainly in the reintroduction of the old Númenórean law of accession, which stated the eldest (remaining) child should succeed the king. If the law was reintroduced, then Arvedui's wife Fíriel, Ondoher's daughter and last remaining child would become Ruling Queen, making their descendants Kings of both Arnor and Gondor. Arvedui also tried to put weight behind his claim as he was Isildur's heir. The council of Gondor recognised that the name of Isildur was held in honour in Gondor, but they dictated that the South-Kingdom must be ruled by an Heir of Anárion. Due to his ancestry from Fíriel and Arvedui, more than a millennium later, Aragorn Elessar put forward his claim as the heir of both Isildur and Anárion.

Eärnil lay his claim as being a direct descendant of King Telumehtar Umbardacil. His claim was also greatly bolstered by the popularity he had gained as the victorious general who saved Gondor from the Wainriders after winning the southern theatre of the war. Steward Pelendur who was temporarily ruling Gondor as serving as arbiter of succession, intervened in favour of Gondor's victorious general who would rule as Eärnil II.

The Last Heir of Anárion

During the Battle of Fornost, Eärnil II's heir Eärnur led Gondor's forces to victory over the Witch-king of Angmar, who was actually the Lord of the Nazgûl. Although Eärnur wished to fight him, Eärnur's horse was terrified and fled the battle against his wishes. By the time he mastered his horse and return, the Witch-king had fled. Glorfindel the Elf then prophesied to him that it was better that he not fight the Lord of the Nazgûl because "never by the hand of man shall he fall".

Eärnur later ascended to the throne, ruling from Minas Anor (Tower of the Sun). During this time, the Ringwraiths captured Minas Anor's sister city, Minas Ithil (Tower of the Moon), renaming it Minas Morgul (Tower of Sorcery) and taking it as their lair. Minas Anor was renamed Minas Tirith (Tower of Guard) as a result. The Lord of the Nazgûl repeatedly sent messengers to Minas Tirith challenging Eärnur to single combat, taunting him that he had fled out of cowardice from facing him during the Battle of Fornost. Eventually, King Eärnur was overcome by wrath and rode with a small company of knights to Minas Morgul, to accept the challenge. They were never heard from again. So ended the Line of Anárion.

The Stewards of Gondor

The Ruling Stewards

The realm was governed by a long line of hereditary Stewards after the disappearance of Eärnur, son of Eärnil, since there was no proof that the last king was dead, and no claimant had enough support to be accepted as his successor. The line of Anárion was held to have failed, and Gondor was not willing to risk to another Kin-strife, which would surely have destroyed it. Whenever there was a new Steward, he would swear an oath to yield rule of Gondor back to the King, in essence only an heir of Isildur, if he should ever return. In Gondor there was no one who could claim descent from Isildur in direct line, and the northern line of Arnor had effectively disappeared, so this oath was not considered seriously. The line of Stewards ruled as Kings, without having the title.

Cirion and Eorl

The Oathtaking of Cirion and Eorl by Ted Nasmith

In Third Age 2510, when Steward Cirion ruled over Gondor, the nation faced one of its greatest perils: an Easterling tribe named the Balchoth invaded Gondor with massive force. Gondor's army marched to fight the Balchoth but were cut off from Minas Tirith and pushed back in the direction of the Limlight.

Messengers were sent to get help from the Éothéod, a tribe which lived in the northern vales of the Anduin, but nobody expected the messengers to reach their destination. When certain peril came upon Gondor, however, the Éothéod turned the tide of the Battle of the Field of Celebrant. After the victory the Éothéod were awarded the fields of Calenardhon north of the Ered Nimrais from the Gap of Rohan at the southern end of the Hithaeglir, Fangorn Forest, rivers Limlight to river Anduin, western Emyn Muil and the Mering Stream, where they established the kingdom of Rohan with Eorl the Young as their first king. A perpetual alliance between Gondor and Rohan was established by the oath Eorl swore to Cirion.[5]

War of the Ring

Gondor in T.A. 3019

In 3019, during the War of the Ring, Gondor was the strongest of the free nations that opposed Sauron, and thus, its defeat was his primary strategic goal in the war.[9] Gondor faced an all out attack on its capital Minas Tirith in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Although nearly defeated, the Rohirrim once again turned the tide of battle, and helped win the war, though with heavy losses.[10] The combined army of the West then carried the battle to Sauron at the Battle of the Morannon, a feint to distract Sauron's attention from Frodo Baggins's quest to destroy the One Ring in Mount Doom, thus causing Sauron's destruction and the allies' ultimate victory.

After the second and final defeat of Sauron the Kingship was restored, Aragorn II became king of the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor.

Faramir, last heir of the Ruling Stewards, was to retain the office of steward (though not ruling), and was made Prince of Ithilien, which had been reconquered from the forces of Mordor.[11] Faramir would serve as the King's representative during absence or illness, and became the chief counsellor of the Council of Gondor.[12]

Geography

Initially, Gondor was comprised of the lands to the North and South of the White Mountains, but a large part of the northern territories was gifted to the Éothéod in Third Age 2510.[5] Gondor's close proximity to Sauron's land was the catalyst of many battles and skirmishes, but its location also gave the Gondorians more ability to protect the other regions of Middle-earth from the Dark Lord and his servants.[13]

Regions

Gondor was divided between several nearly autonomous regions. These were the following:

The long cape of Andrast was not populated.

Additionally, Gondor held or had held the following regions at certain points in its history:

  • Harondor or South Gondor, which was contested between Gondor and Harad
  • Calenardhon, which was given to the Éothéod and became Rohan
  • Enedwaith, never really populated by Gondor and soon abandoned
  • Rhovanion, which was never fully under the control of Gondor but under Gondorian influence at certain times during the Third Age

Cities

Cities in Gondor included:

  • Calembel
  • Dol Amroth, a city on the coast of Belfalas
  • Erech, fortress of Gondor, abandoned by the end of the Third Age
  • Linhir
  • Minas Tirith (originally named Minas Anor), City of the Kings
  • Osgiliath, city and former capital of Gondor on the river Anduin, largely destroyed and abandoned by the end of the Third Age
  • Pelargir
  • Tarnost (debatable)[14]

Fortresses and outposts

Additionally, Gondor used the following locations as military strongholds at certain points in its history, many of which Mordor later took:

  • The outposts of Amon Hen and Amon Lhaw on Emyn Muil probably had small garrisons
  • Angrenost, the fortress of Isengard, later granted to Saruman
  • Aglarond, the Gondorian fortress, later known as Helm's Deep
  • The Towers of the Teeth, built by the Gondorians to keep watch over Mordor
  • The Gondorian fortress guarding the pass of Cirith Ungol
  • The castle that came to be called Durthang, the largest fortress in Mordor, originally built to guard the Ephel Dúath
  • Minas Ithil, conquered by Mordor and renamed Minas Morgul by the Gondorians
  • Tharbad to the north, held by both Gondor and Arnor but abandoned and later ruined after Gondor retreated from Enedwaith
  • Umbar, a harbour in the south which was contested by the Haradrim and lost and reclaimed several times

Languages

As the Gondorians came from Númenor, so came their language: Westron, or the Common Speech, was the main language of the people of Gondor. Though the source of Westron lay in Pelargir,[15] the clearest form, without any accent, was spoken in Minas Tirith.[16] This style was nobler and more antique than other dialects, and this was the Westron the Elves adopted.[17] In reverence of the mighty lords of Númenor of old, Eldarin was spoken by nobility. Quenya was known to the learned, and Sindarin was used to be polite, especially by those of high Númenórean blood.[18] However, especially the Sindarin contained several dialectical differences.[19]

Etymology

In earlier times, it was called the South Kingdom, or Hyaralondie, Hyallondie and Turmen Hyallondiéva in Quenya, and Arthor na Challonnas in Sindarin from the Númenórean point of view: the elements londie and lonnas mean "harbour, landing".[20]

The name Gondor was likely adopted from the lesser people's terminology[21] and translates from Sindarin as "Stone-land", from the words gond, "stone", and (n)dor, "land".[21] The (generally not used) Quenya form of the name was Ondonóre.[22] Gondor received its name because of the abundance of stone in the Ered Nimrais, and the usage of it in great stone cities, statues, and monuments, such as Minas Tirith and the Argonath.

In Rohan, it was known as Stoningland (a modernization of Old English Stāning-(land)[23]),[10] and Ghân-buri-Ghân of the Drúedain also recognized their use of stone.[24]

Inspiration

Tolkien himself likened Gondor in a degree to ancient Egypt, in terms of how Gondorians constructed gigantic stone structures, and the Crown of Gondor being similar to the crown of the Pharaohs of Egypt.[25] Notably, some "scholars" claimed that ancient Egypt was a colony of Atlantis,[26] much like how Gondor was a survival of Númenor (although it is unknown if Tolkien considered this aspect).

In online discussions, many Tolkien fans have entertained the idea that Gondor is comparable to the Byzantine Empire,[27][28][29] and Tolkien himself referred to Minas Tirith as a "Byzantine City".[30] Some of the parallels noted between Gondor and the Byzantine Empire are:[31][32]

Gondor is the south-eastern portion of Elendil's original kingdom. The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern remnant of the Roman Empire. The Western Roman Empire eventually withered and dissolved, like Arnor, while the Byzantine Empire endured, although in declined state. Their geographical role is also comparable as the Byzantine Empire encircled the Mediterranean while Gondor occupied the region around the Bay of Belfalas; both were threatened by eastern and southern adversaries. The Byzantine Empire absorbed several "barbaric" peoples like the Wends and Slavs, much like Gondor did with the Northmen and other Middle Men.

As a final note, the last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI, remained in legend and folklore as the "Marble King" whose messianic ressurection and return would signal the restoration of the Empire. This parallels the fate of Earnur and Gondor's interregnum period until the "Return of the King" who restored the Kingdom. However unlike the Byzantine Empire, Gondor did not fall.

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Riders of Rohan"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 42, July 2001, p. 17
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Istari", note 7
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Minas Tirith"
  10. 10.0 10.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Steward and the King"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 244, (undated, written circa 1963)
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, The War of the Ring, "The Second Map"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "Of Men"
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 193 (dated November 2, 1956)
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 144 (dated April 25, 1954)
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 347 (dated December 17, 1972)
  19. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl", note 49
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson)
  21. 21.0 21.1 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 324, (dated 4-5 June 1971)
  22. Vinyar Tengwar, Number 42, July 2001
  23. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 776
  24. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Ride of the Rohirrim"
  25. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958), p. 281
  26. Ignatius L. Donnelly, Atlantis: The Antediluvian World (1882), Part V, Chapter II: The Egyptian Colony
  27. "Gondor -> Byzantine Empire" , Middle-earth Center (accessed 22 September 2012)
  28. "Is Gondor Constantinople?" , The Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza: Forum (accessed 22 September 2012)
  29. "Gondor = Byzantium?" , The Phora (accessed 22 September 2012)
  30. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 570
  31. Miryam Librán-Moreno, "'Byzantium, New Rome!': Goths, Langobards, and Byzantium in The Lord of the Rings", in Tolkien and the Study of His Sources (edited by Jason Fisher
  32. Tom Simon, "Gondor, Byzantium, and Feudalism" dated 13 March 2010, Bondwine (accessed 22 September 2012)