Tolkien Gateway

Easterlings (First Age)

This article is about Easterlings of the First Age. For the Easterlings of the Second and Third Age, see Easterlings.
Easterlings
People
Liz Danforth - Ulfang.png
"Ulfang" by Liz Danforth
General Information
Other namesMorbin[1]
LocationsMarch of Maedhros, Hithlum
AffiliationMorgoth (House of Ulfang)
Maedhros (House of Bór)
MembersUlfang, Uldor, Ulfast, Ulwarth, Brodda, Lorgan, Borlach, Borlad, Borthand, Bór
Physical Description
Lifespanshorter than Númenórean
Average heightshorter than Númenóreans
Hair colorDark
Skin colorSwarthy (dark)
GalleryImages of Easterlings

The Easterlings also known as Swarthy Men, or Incomers by the People of Hador, were tribes of Men that migrated west across the Blue Mountains, after the Edain, into Beleriand in the First Age.

Contents

[edit] Origins

The ancestors of the Easterlings were Men that awoke in Hildórien, like the ancestors of the Edain some of them eventually left that land and journeyed west.[2] Their descendants would later settle around Eriador and further East of it.[3]

[edit] History

In F.A. 463 they made their way into Beleriand after the Dagor Bragollach passing north about the Ered Luin and into Lothlann,[3] having heard the rumour of its land and riches while others were instigated by the Enemy.[4] Some folk remained in Eriador.[5]

There were two chieftains that were the greatest amongst the houses, Bór and Ulfang, and they entered the service of the House of Fëanor along with their folk and were given lands north and south of the March to dwell in.[6] However Ulfang and his sons were secretly in league with Morgoth.[4]

In F.A. 472 the Easterlings were part of the Union of Maedhros and participated in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. In the battle the House of Ulfang betrayed the sons of Fëanor and attacked their former comrades, though the House of Bór remained faithful to the Fëanorians and fought back. Unfortunately for the Union the treachery of the House of Ulfang resulted to their utter defeat.[4]

After the battle Morgoth sent the Easterlings that served him into Hithlum and shut them in, denying them the fertile lands of Beleriand. In Hithlum they enslaved the remaining people of Hador and their women were forced into marriage[7] such as Aerin who was wife to Brodda an Easterling chief.[8]

In F.A. 488[9] the Easterlings and Orcs attacked a group of Elf refugees escaping Hithlum and captured an adolescent Tuor, Lorgan an Easterling chieftain made him his slave until he escaped three years later.[10][11]

In F.A. 495[12] Brodda was slain by Túrin who returned to Dor-lómin looking for his mother and sister.[13]

The Easterlings fought for Morgoth in the War of Wrath but were defeated by the Host of the Valar. After the war, those that survived fled back over the Ered Luin to Eriador and beyond.[note 1] Some of them became kings of the primitive Men and they fell under their shadow, for this these Men were neglected by the Valar.[14] Some Easterlings related to the folk of Bór still remained in Eriador, and from those people came the most ancient Men that dwelt in the north in the later Ages.[6]

[edit] Traits and culture

The Easterlings are described as short and broad, with swart or sallow skin and having dark eyes and hair. Some had greater liking for the Dwarves of the mountains than for the Elves.[4] Some of their women were proud and barbaric.[15]

There were many houses of the Easterlings and they were not always friendly to each other or to outsiders,[3] there were two chieftains that had 'the greatest followings and authority' Bór and Ulfang which suggest that they ruled other lesser houses of the Easterlings.[6]

The folk of Bór were described as 'worthy folk and tillers of the earth' which indicate that they were early farmers.[6]

It is seen that they were used to alliterate the names of father and sons/brothers, a custom also seen among the House of Beor.[16][note 2]

Notes

  1. Karen Wynn Fonstad suggests that the Easterlings of the First Age were related to the Easterlings of the Third Age; during the deluge of Beleriand they fled to Rhûn and were the ancestors of the Easterlings as they appear in The Lord of the Rings; cf. Karen Wynn Fonstad (1991), The Atlas of Middle-earth, p. 40-41. Andreas Moehn suggests instead that they were ancestors to, or related to the Haradrim, also called "Swarthy Men". cf. The Men of Darkness
  2. Other than the name alliteration, a Germanic custom, Andreas Moehn also notes that their names have a strong Germanic flavor.

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: B. Meanings and use of the various terms applied to the Elves and their varieties in Quenya, Telerin, and Sindarin", pp. 376-377
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §173
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad", p. 224
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §174
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", p. 24
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Departure of Túrin", p. 69
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §263
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §288
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Return of Túrin to Dor-lómin"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", Note 31
  16. "The Men of Darkness", Lalaith's Middle-earth Science Pages (accessed 12 July 2020)