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Númenóreans

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Númenóreans
Race
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General Information
MembersElros, Ar-Pharazôn, Elendil, Aldarion
Physical Description
LifespanLine of Elros 400 years. Other lines 200 years
DistinctionsAlliance with the Elves, advanced technology, longer lifespan
Average heightTaller than other Men
GalleryImages of Númenóreans


"So great was the might and splendor of the Númenóreans that Sauron's own servants deserted him."
The Return of the King, Appendix A


Númenóreans were the Men of Númenor, descendants of the Edain of the First Age, who were granted the island of Elenna as a dwelling place. They turned against the Valar, and their island home was destroyed in the last years of the Second Age.

Contents

Prologue

When the Sun rose for the first time upon Middle-earth, a new race began its existence in the land called Hildórien. They were the race of Men, Secondborn from the Children of Ilúvatar. Those that marched West into Beleriand during the First Age were called the Edain and proved themselves to be allies of the Elves, from whom they gathered knowledge of all things surrounding them. Three were the main Houses of the Edain: House of Bëor, first to cross Ered Luin, House of Haleth and House of Hador, last to cross the mountains towards West, each having distinct features and different ways of life.

In the events that took place during the First Age, the two kindred races of Ilúvatar, Men and Elves, fought together against the one common enemy, Morgoth and great were the casualties on either sides. When the last battle of the First Age was won by the forces of Valinor, the Valar honored the Edain by giving them a place to dwell outside the troubled land of Middle-earth. It was called Elenna and later became known as the Island of Númenor. Set halfway between Endor and Aman, it was there that the descendants from the three houses of Edain established the Kingdom of Númenor in S.A. 32, which would last and dominate all other mortal fractions through the entire Second Age.

Line of Elros

Two couples formed between Men and Elves are of great importance for the history of Númenóreans. Lúthien and Beren was the first one. Their son, called Dior, married Nimloth of Doriath and Elwing was born. Idril and Tuor, the second of the two couples between Men and Elves, were parents of Eärendil the Mariner. Elwing and Eärendil met at the Havens of Sirion and from their union twins were born: Elros and Elrond. To the two half-elves, the Valar gave a choice: to either live as Men or as Elves. While Elrond chose to live among the Firstborn of Ilúvatar, Elros joined the race of Men and he became the first King of Númenor.

Númenóreans from the Line of Elros had right to inherit the Sceptre and thus become Rulers of Númenor. From the creation until the destruction of the Kingdom, twenty-five Kings and Queens succeeded to the throne, all descendants of Elros. This blood line was also gifted with longer life then others. While the rest of the Númenóreans lived around 200 years, royal kindreds had double life span, 400 years. In front of their names, the Quenya word Tar was added, which meant "royal" or "noble". The language of it was not random, for it shown once more their loyalty and alliance with the Eldar. When the relationships between the two races grew cold, the prefix was kept only for the sake of superstition, until finally it was dropped and in his place Ar was used, with the same meaning, only that the language was Adûnaic.

Númenóreans from the Line of Elros influenced their era in various ways:

Lords of Andúnië

After the Line of Elros those who held more power in Númenor were the Lords of Andúnië. The eldest descendant of the fourth king Tar-Elendil was a woman, Silmariën. Due to the fact that during her time the law of agnatic primogeniture existed, she could not succeed her father and instead her brother took up the Sceptre as Tar-Meneldur. In her honor was created the title "Lord of Andúnië", which was set upon her descendants. Valandil of Númenor was her first son and the first to bear that title. Eighteen Lords of Andúnië there were in total, the last one being Amandil, father of Elendil. Renowned for their friendship with the Eldar, they were considered leaders of the political party named Elendili.

Law

Of great importance was the Law of Succession in Númenor, a set of rules meant to legally establish who would be the heir to the throne. It started out as an inherited custom, which gave exclusive rights to the male descendants of Elros. Tar-Aldarion, the sixth ruler of Númenor, due to the fact that he only had one daughter, replaced the principle of exclusive male heir with that of eldest progeny, of any gender and in S.A. 1075 Tar-Ancalimë became the first ruling queen in the history of Númenor.

Not an actual law, but respected as one was the Ban of the Valar, which stated that Númenóreans should never sail West more than the limit of their sight when looking after the shores of Elenna. As the Second Age drew towards its end and the fear of death filled more and more the hearts of the Númenóreans, they sailed further away from the island, until finally the last king, Ar-Pharazôn, broke the Ban of the Valar in his attempt to reach Tol Eressëa out of the false belief that dwelling in that place granted immortality.

Politics

Númenór was a monarchy, which meant that the head of the state was the King or Queen. It was he who held the power of decision over the affairs of the state. However, there was also the executive branch, called the Council of the Sceptre, composed from the Heir of the King and the lord from the six regions of Númenor: Forostar (Northlands), Andustar (Westlands), Hyarnustar (Southwestlands), Hyarrostar (Southeastlands), Orrostar (Eastlands) and Mittalmar (Inlands).

There were two main political parties: Elendili was the first one, the Faithful they were also called. Lead by the Lords of Andúnië, they were loyal to the Elves. Towards the end of Númenor they became a small group, subject to oppression by the opposing party: the King's Men. They were the ones to rebel against the Valar and their ban. To compensate the restrictions, they set dominions among the men of Middle-earth and laid heavy tribute upon them. As the number and the power of the King's Men increased, they had the Elendili move from Andúnië, where they lived until then, and deported them on the eastern side of the island, at Rómenna. Pelargir was a harbor built where the river Sirith met Anduin and it was founded by the Faithful in S.A. 2350.

Religion and Tradition

Dúnedain at War by Jan Pospisil.

Towards the middle of Mittalmar stood the Holy Mountain Meneltarma, the sacred place on which Eru was worshiped. Its flatten top was wide enough to contain a great crowd during the ceremonies. These took place three times per year, in an absolute silence while climbing its slopes. Prayers were uttered during the feasts of Erukyermë, Erulaitalë and Eruhantalë. Soon after S.A. 3262 these religious beliefs were abandoned and the worshiping of Melkor began. It was done in a cylindrical temple near the city of Armenelos built especially for this, and it involved sacrificing men and women over a great fire, whose first flames were lit from the White Tree of Tol Eressëa.

Whenever ships sailed from Númenor, the custom of the Green Bough of Return took place. A branch from the Fragrant Tree Oiolairë was set at the prow as a symbol of good fortune by a Númenórean woman, close relative to the captain of the ship. Erendis, wife of Tar-Aldarion, refused to do so in disagreement with her husband's frequent voyages towards Middle-earth, breaking this tradition for the first time.

Daily Life

The Dúnedain were skilled in riding and they loved horses beyond measure. It was said that in the beginning they could even call them in their thoughts, if the man and the beast were bound by friendship. Because of this, Númenor had no paved roads, so that the carriages could move on them more easily. From the Noldor they learned the art of forging terrible weapons: swords, axes, spears, knives, but mostly bows with which they loved to practice. Later, in the wars of Middle-earth, their arrows resembled dark clouds falling upon the enemies.

But the greatest love of the Númenóreans was the sea and the building of ships. Theirs were the largest ones built in all the Arda, save for those of Círdan himself. Many were built at the command of Tar-Aldarion, a great mariner king of his time, who also established the Guild of Venturers. The very own headquarters of this organization was on a ship called Eämbar. Being surrounded by waters, most of the inhabitants of Númenor were fishermen. Along with the grains cultivated in Orrostar, fish was the main food source for the Númenóreans.

Kinship with the Elves

In the beginning of Númenor all the Dúnedain held the Eldar in friendship. From the island of Tol Eressëa white ships sailed towards the Bay of Andúnië, bringing with them many gifts: birds, flowers, healing herbs. They also brought a branch from Celeborn, the White Tree of Tol Eressëa and it grew at the court of the king of Armenelos.

As the fear of death crept into the hearts of the Dúnedain, the Firstborn Children of Ilúvatar became envied for their immortality. Tar-Atanamir was the first to speak against the Eldar and the Ban of the Valar. Little by little the Númenóreans abandoned the use of the Eldarin tongues. It was during the time of his son, King Tar-Ancalimon, that the two parties were formed, the Elf-friends and the King's Men. The twentieth king, Ar-Adûnakhôr openly chose an Adûnaic name and began to persecute the Faithful, punishing all those who would speak the Elven tongues openly. In the end the Eldar came no more to the land of Númenor.

Dominion over the Men of Middle-earth

Ar-Pharazon Defies by Paula DiSante.

Due to the fact that the Ban of the Valar restricted them from sailing West, the Númenóreans began to explore the eastern part of the world, reaching the shores of Middle-earth in S.A. 600. The mortal fractions who dwelt there were far inferior in both knowledge and technology. The Númenóreans brought them not only these gifts, but they also offered them protection from Sauron, who oppressed them for a long time. Grateful, they called the Dúnedain gods and held them in great praise.

As the shadow spread over Númenor, their attitude towards the men of Middle-earth changed. It was during the reign of Tar-Ciryatan that the oppression began. With a great fleet he sailed to Middle-earth, bringing numerous treasures back to Númenor. Further on more lands were occupied, plundered or forced to pay heavy tribute in return for the lives of their inhabitants. Towards the end of the kingdom, when their religion had changed and human sacrifices were made towards Melkor, many of the victims were people of Middle-earth taken prisoners. Because of these acts they were looked upon in fear, called the "Death" itself and the Men of Middle-earth trembled at the sight of a mighty Númenórean ship on the waters of Belegaer. However, the Faithful shared not the behaviour of the King's Men and though they also built a port in Middle-earth, named Pelargir, it was not for the sake of plundering, but meant to be a heaven far from those of the opposing party.

Sauron's Influence

The only daughter of the king Tar-Palantir, a friend of the Eldar who tried to restore the old ways, was Tar-Míriel. According to the New Law she had the right to inherit the throne, but her cousin Pharazôn forced her into marriage, and took the Sceptre for himself, becoming known as Ar-Pharazôn the Golden, the most proud and powerful of all the kings. He desired not only immortality as the ones before him, but also the dominion over the entire world. For this he gathered a great fleet and opposed the greatest opponent in the path of his task : Sauron.

So mighty were the Númenóreans that the servants of Sauron fled even before the battle begun and their leader was taken as a prisoner back to the island of Elenna. Through numerous lies he poisoned the mind of the king and became master of his council, changing even the religion of the Númenóreans and turning them into servants of the dark Morgoth. And because he assured Ar-Pharazôn that if he ever reached Aman he would become immortal, the last king gathered once more a great host of ships and sailed to brake the Ban of the Valar.

Downfall

Pharazôn's attempt to reach Valinor and his previous preparations for war with the Eldar raised the anger of Manwë who sent his Eagles towards the island. They brought lightnings with them and they stroke the land, but mostly the temple of Melkor, where human sacrifices were made. Because Sauron himself stood in their path and was not hurt by them, the Númenóreans were deceived even more into thinking he was their rightful god.

Ar-Pharazôn ahead of his great fleet lead by the mighty ship known as Alcarondas set towards Valinor and reached Tol Eressëa. His pride fooled him into thinking that neither the inhabitants of Aman would stand in his way, because the land was quiet and peaceful, thus he set camp near the Túna hill. But Manwë was aware of what was happening and he requested Ilúvatar to intervene. His praise was listened. All the Númenóreans present in Valinor were buried under the hills which felt upon them. On the island of Elenna fire was born out of the top of Meneltarma. The earth crumbled into pieces and a great wave raised and buried the island at the bottom of the sea. Its people were taken by the waters and this tragedy was the end of the Númenórean race, in S.A. 3319.


Epilogue

The only ones to survive the Downfall of Númenor were Elendil and his sons, Isildur and Anárion, along with the few people of the Elendili. They escaped the Akallabêth with nine ships, a seedling of Nimloth, which Isildur had rescued the night before its destruction and the Seven Seeing-stones. Cast ashore by the storm on the western lands of Middle-earth, they founded the Númenórean realms in exile: Arnor and Gondor. Their war with Sauron continued in the lands of Middle-earth. Fighting side by side with the Elves and the Dwarves they opposed and defeated him during the War of the Last Alliance.

Long after the Fall there was a belief among the Númenóreans who survived it that the Holy Mountain Meneltarma was not swallowed by the waters, but instead raised to be a new island of its own. The heirs of Elendil built great ships once more and set on its search, not only because they yearned for their home, but also because from that point, the top of Meneltarma, Tol Eressëa could be spotted and their hearts still desired to reach the West, against all warnings. But they never found the top of Meneltarma and their voyages served only to discover that Arda was a round world.

References

See Also