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Southrons by John Howe.

The Haradrim or Southrons were the proud and warlike people of the Harad, in the south of Middle-earth. Ancient enemies of Gondor, they allied with Sauron during the War of the Ring.



The ancestors of the Haradrim were Men who awoke in the First Age, but stayed to the East of Middle-earth, not joining the migration of the Edain to the West. They eventually settled in Harad, where the Sun is fierce and there are no clouds. It is possible that they were relatives of the Swarthy Men who went to Beleriand after the Edain. The Haradrim remained a fierce, cruel people.[1]

During the Second Age the High Men of Númenor built a great city in the firth of Umbar, a vast natural harbour on the southern shores of the Bay of Belfalas, eventually turning the city into a fortified citadel from whose gates the Men of Númenor could levy great tributes upon the tribes of Harad.[2]

In the Third Age they were influenced by Sauron and Black Númenóreans, and became enemies of Gondor, as the Kingdom's southern borders was close to their lands.

In T.A. 1015, the Black Númenóreans led a great power of Haradrim against Umbar to recapture it but were not enough against the sea-power of Gondor. The attempts lasted for 35 years until, in T.A. 1050, Ciryandil defeated the Haradrim force by sending troops by land.[3]

The Haradrim later were allied with the Wainriders, a confederation of Easterlings, and the Men of Khand, planning a simultaneous assault on Gondor from the north and the south, and the South-kingdom came close to destruction. These campaigns ended with the Wainraiders' defeat in the Battle of the Camp in T.A. 1944.[3]

Around that time, some Haradrim were among the Corsairs of Umbar, a constant harassment for Gondor.[4]

The Haradrim were stirred up by emissaries of Sauron to attack Gondor again, and in T.A. 2885, they did so at the Crossings of Poros, but were defeated again. The twin sons of King Folcwine of Rohan, were slain in that battle.[5][6]

At the time of the War of the Ring, the Southrons were in league with Sauron and fought alongside his Orc army. In the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, they deployed cavalry and gigantic, elephant-like Mûmakil. King Théoden of Rohan killed their leader, who bore the standard of the Black Serpent, during the battle.

Once Sauron was destroyed, the Southrons submitted to the rule of King Elessar.

Traits and culture

The Haradrim were tall, primitive and dark-skinned with black hair and eyes, and for that they were called Swertings or Swarthy Men.[7] Many Haradrim warriors were seen in bright clothing, such as scarlet robes, and were decorated with golden ornaments, such as collars, earrings, corslets of overlapping brazen plates, and braided their hair with gold. Some tribes painted their bodies. Scarlet and red was the color of their banners, tips of their spears, and body paint. Their shields were yellow and black with spikes.[7] It is also mentioned that at the end of the Second Age some of the Men in the south had weapons of iron.[8]

To the Gondorians their voices sounded harsh, like shouts of beasts.[9]

The Haradrim had tamed the massive Mûmakil beasts and used them in warfare and, like their masters, were decorated with scarlet and gold. They even strapped towers on their backs, used by Haradrim archers and spearmen.[7]

Half-trolls was a name for a race of Men coming from Far Harad, perhaps one of the tribes of the Haradrim.


Haradrim is a Sindarin name, consisting of the elements harad ("south") + rim ("host")[10] thus meaning "South-people".[4]

Other names were Southerns, Southrons.[4]

Other versions of the Legendarium

Early variant names for this people were the Haradwaith (from the name of their land) and Haradrians.[11]

Portrayal in Adaptations

2001-03: The Lord of the Rings (film series):

The Haradrim appear briefly in The Two Towers when Frodo and Sam witness a raid on one of their columns by Faramir's rangers. They are featured more prominently in The Return of the King, in which the battle between the Rohirrim and the Mûmakil is a major action sequence.
While the book depicts the Southron army as primarily cavalry armed with scimitars, we see no horsemen in the movie: the Haradrim fight almost exclusively from platforms mounted on the backs of their monstrous oliphaunts. They have also adorned the animals' tusks with spikes and shafts that crush and impale numerous enemy horsemen.
The costumes of the Haradrim in the movie are Middle Eastern in style and dark brown or black in color, while the Haradrim wore red livery in the book.

See also


  1. Andreas Moehn, "The History of the Men of Darkness", Lalaith's Middle-earth Science Pages (accessed 7 December 2016)
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "Haradrim"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "The Kings of the Mark"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Siege of Gondor"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 144, (dated 25 April 1954), p. 178
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, pp. 16-7