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Revision as of 13:27, 18 July 2011
|Members||Bëor, Haleth, Marach, Beren, Uldor, Elros, Aragorn II|
|Lifespan||c. 70 years (except Númenóreans)|
|Distinctions||Mortality, inheritors of the rule of Middle-earth|
|Gallery||Images of Men|
- "West, North, and South the children of Men spread and wandered, and their joy was the joy of the morning before the dew is dry, when every leaf is green."
- ― The Silmarillion, Of Men
Men were one of the Kindreds of the Children of Ilúvatar. Men were called the Secondborn by the Elves, their Elder brethren, because they were the last of all the incarnate races to come into being. Though they were born after the other sentient races, Men were destined to inherit and rule Middle-earth.
Origins and Nature
The race of Men is the second race of beings created by the Supreme God, Ilúvatar. Because they awoke at the start of the First Age of the Sun, while the Elves awoke three Ages before them, they are called the Secondborn (Quenya: Atani, Sindarin: Edain) by the Elves. Men awoke in a land located in the far east of Middle-earth called Hildórien. When the Sun rose for the first time in the far West, Men began to wander towards it, a journey which culminated in some of them reaching Beleriand centuries later.
There is much evidence that, soon after their awakening, Morgoth came to Men and incited them to worship him and turn away from Ilúvatar, and that they complied. This makes Men the only race to have fallen completely under the Shadow, which may account for their propensity to do wrong. Though all were seduced by the Enemy, some Men repented and escaped; they were said to be the ancestors of the Edain.
Men bear the so-called Gift of Men, mortality. Elves are immortal, in the sense that even if their bodies are slain, their spirits remain bound to the world, going to the Halls of Mandos to wait until they are released or the world ends. Elves are tied to the world for as long as it lasts. When Men die, they are released from Arda and the bounds of the world and have rest from its troubles. However, the influence of Morgoth has caused Men to fear their fate, and view Death as a Doom instead of a Gift.
Groups and Alignments
Although all Men are related to one another, there are many different groups with different cultures. The most important group in the tales of the First Age were the Edain. Although the word Edain technically refers to all Men, the Elves used it to distinguish those Men who fought with them in the First Age against Morgoth in Beleriand. The Edain were divided into three Houses.
The First House of the Edain was the House of Bëor, and entered Beleriand in 305 FA and were granted the fief of Ladros in Dorthonion by Finrod Felagund. The Second House of the Edain, the Haladin, was led by Haldad and later by his daughter Haleth and settled in the Forest of Brethil. The Third House, which became the greatest, was led by Marach and later his descendant Hador, and they settled in Dor-lómin. This house was known both as the House of Marach and the House of Hador.
Other Men did not cross the Misty Mountains or fight against Morgoth. However, some, such as the Easterlings, fought openly on his side. In later Ages, the Haradrim and Easterlings would fight on Sauron's side against the descendants of the Edain. Here below follow the short descriptions of the most important groups of Men in the First, Second and Third Ages.
As a reward for their services and assistance rendered to the Elves and the Valar in the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age, the Edain received a new land of their own from the Valar, between Middle-earth and the Undying Lands. This was the land of Númenor, an island in the form of a five-pointed star that was far away from the troubles of Middle-earth.
They were led to this island by Elros with the help of his father Eärendil, who sailed the heavens as the bright star of the same name and guided the ships of the Edain to Númenor. Once they arrived, Elros became the first King of Númenor and took the name Tar-Minyatur. The Edain became known as the Númenóreans or Dúnedain (Sindarin for Men of the West). The kingdom of Númenor grew steadily in power, and the Dúnedain became the noblest and highest of all Men on Arda. In their early days, the Dúnedain remained allied to the Elves of Middle-earth, and aided them in battle against Morgoth's lieutenant Sauron.
As the Men of the West increased in power and happiness, they came to resent the Gift of Men, Death. They wished to become immortal like the Elves and enjoy their possessions for all time. Most of the Númenóreans, including the line of the Kings, began to turn away from the Valar, and spoke against the Ban of the Valar that forbade them to sail west beyond sight of Númenor or to enter Valinor. The Númenóreans also became increasingly hostile to all Elvish influences in their realm, and in 2899 of the Second Age, Ar-Adûnakhôr became the first king of Númenor to take his royal name in Adûnaic, the language of Men, instead of Quenya, the tongue of the Elves of Valinor.
During the early part of their rebellion, the Númenóreans became divided into two factions: the first, the King's Men, enjoyed the support of the King and included the majority of the people. They wished to gain immortality and break away from their ancestral allegiance to the Valar. The King's Men also wanted to end relations with the Elves, and thus they favoured Adûnaic as the official language and eventually punished those who spoke the Elven tongues. The persecuted minority faction, the Faithful, were led by the Lords of Andúnië, the westernmost province of Númenor, and remained loyal to the Valar. They also tried to maintain friendship with the Elves.
When Sauron was apparently defeated and taken to the Isle by the Númenórean army near the end of the Second Age, he took advantage of the pride of the Númenóreans. By teaching the Dúnedain many things and flattering the King, Ar-Pharazôn, he worked his way into the King's counsels and won the hearts of the people. Ultimately, Sauron advised Ar-Pharazôn to attack Valinor and claim immortality. This he foolishly did, and as a punishment Númenor, the island of the Men of the West, sank into the Sea and only the Faithful escaped. When the Faithful returned to Middle-earth, they founded the twin kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.
The Faithful weren't the only Númenóreans left on Middle-earth when Númenor sank. When Númenor grew in naval power, many Númenóreans founded colonies in Middle-earth. In the second millennium of the Second Age there was an exodus of Men from the overcrowded island. Many of the King's Men settled in Middle-earth because they wanted to conquer more lands, and the Faithful because they were persecuted by the Kings. The Faithful settled in Pelargir, while the King's Men ruled the Haven of Umbar and other colonies in the South. From these colonies Sauron recruited men who would become some of the nine Ringwraiths in the second millennium of the Second Age. When Númenor was destroyed, the King's Men became known as the Black Númenóreans and remained hostile towards the Faithful of Gondor. Eventually, the Black Númenórean stronghold of Umbar was conquered by Gondor in 933 of the Third Age.
Further east of Umbar another group of Men lived, called the Haradrim or Southrons. They were dark skinned Men and waged war on great Oliphaunts or Mûmakil. They too were hostile to Gondor, though they were subdued in 1050 of the Third Age by Hyarmendacil I.
Both Umbar and the Harad were left unchecked by Gondor's waning power by the time of the War of the Ring, and presented grave threats from the south. Many Haradrim fought with Sauron's forces in Gondor in that War.
See also: Southrons
Most Men who fought in the armies of Morgoth and Sauron were Easterlings, who came from the region around the Sea of Rhûn. Some Easterlings offered their services to the Elvish kingdoms in Beleriand; among them were Bór and his sons, and Ulfang the Black and his sons. This proved to be disastrous for the Elves in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad when Ulfang and his clan switched sides and defected to Morgoth, though Bór and his sons died bravely fighting on the side of the Eldar.
After Morgoth's defeat Sauron extended his influence over the Easterlings, and although Sauron was defeated by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men at the end of the Second Age, the Easterlings were the first enemies to attack Gondor again in 492 TA. They were soundly defeated by King Rómendacil I, but they invaded again in 541 TA and took revenge by slaying King Rómendacil. Rómendacil's son Turambar took large portions of land from them.
In the next centuries Gondor held sway over the Easterlings. When Gondor's power began to decrease in the twelfth century of the Third Age, the Easterlings took the complete eastern bank of the Anduin except Ithilien and crushed Gondor's allies, the Northmen.
The Easterlings of the Third Age were divided in different tribes, such as the Wainriders and the Balchoth. The Wainriders were a confederation of Easterlings who were very active between 1856 and 1944 TA. They posed a serious threat to Gondor for many years, but were utterly defeated by Eärnil II in 1944.
When Gondor lost its royal dynasty in 2050 TA the Easterlings started to reorganize themselves, and a fierce group called the Balchoth became the most important tribe. In 2510 TA they invaded Gondor again and conquered much of Calenardhon, until they were defeated by the Éothéod who rode to Gondor's aid.
In the War of the Ring, the Easterlings were among the fiercest warriors deployed at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields by Sauron.
Not all the Men who remained east of the Blue Mountains and Misty Mountains during the First Age were tempted by Morgoth or Sauron, and they were joined after the War of Wrath by those of the Edain who did not wish to travel to Númenor. The Northmen who dwelt in Greenwood the Great and other parts of Rhovanion were friendly to the Dúnedain, being for the most part their kin, and many of them became Gondorian subjects. The Men of Dale and Esgaroth were Northmen, as were the Woodsmen of Mirkwood, and the Éothéod, who became the Rohirrim or Horse Lords.
Dunlendings and Drúedain
When Elendil founded the Kingdom of Arnor, its borders were quickly extended towards the river Greyflood (Sindarin:Gwathló), and Gondor likewise extended up through Enedwaith. In Enedwaith and Minhiriath (Sindarin for Land between the Rivers) lived a group of Men related to those Men that became the House of Haleth, and they were known as the Dunlendings. They had lived in the great woods that covered most of Eriador, and when the Númenóreans started to chop these woods down to build their ships in the Second Age, they earned the hostility of the Dunlendings. The Dunlendings later became bitter enemies of Rohan, as they believed the Rohirrim had stolen their lands.
Another group of Men were the Woses. They were small and stooped, and were always few in number and shortlived compared to other races of Men. They lived among the House of Haleth in the First Age, and were held as Edain by the Elves, who called them Drúedain (from Drûg, their own name for themselves, plus Edain).
At the end of the Third Age a few Woses still lived in the Drúadan Forest. They held off Orcs with poisoned arrows and were vital in securing the aid of the Rohirrim in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. King Elessar granted the Drúadan Forest to them "forever" in the Fourth Age.
Names and Etymology
The Elves called the race of Men Atani in Quenya, literally meaning "Second People" (the Elves being the First), but also Hildor (Aftercomers), Fírimar (Mortals), Engwar (The Sickly), and many other names. The name Atani is cognate with Sindarin Edain, but this term was later applied only to those Men who aided the Elves in their war with Morgoth in the First Age.
Tolkien employed a peculiar usage of the words Man and Mannish: these terms came to replace the word "human" found in drafts of The Lord of the Rings. It has been suggested that Tolkien might have preferred Mannish over "human" since the former has Germanic roots (thus being closer to Old English), while the latter word has Latin roots.