Aratar or Máhani (Val. māchanumāz) were the High Ones of Arda, the greatest of the Valar: Manwë, Varda, Ulmo, Yavanna, Aulë, Mandos, Nienna and Oromë. Though Manwë was held to be the High King of Arda, the Eight were held in equal reverence, and were said to possess a majesty that surpassed even the other Valar.
The Aratar were originally nine, and included Melkor. He was removed from this 'order' after his rebellion.
Aratar is the plural of arata ("high, lofty, noble"), being an extended form of the stem ara-, which in Quenya had become specialized for the Aratar, but also used in noble names. It has the same root as the Sindarin term Rodon (pl. Rodyn).
Other versions of the legendarium
The idea of some exalted Valar is present since the earlier versions of the Valaquenta, but the number increased with the development.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Of the Valar"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (II) The Second Phase: The Valaquenta", p. 203 (text used in the published Valaquenta)
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor", "Notes", p. 363, note 43
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: Appendix D. *Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language': Note on the 'Language of the Valar'", p. 402
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings: Eldarin Roots and Stems", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 49
- Hiswelókë suggests an etymology from OS *(a)råto(ndo) "noble one", CE *arâtô. Cf. Eldamo: S. Rodon n.
|Valar||Lords|| Manwë · Ulmo · Aulë · Oromë · Mandos · Irmo · Tulkas · |
|Queens||Varda · Yavanna · Nienna · Estë · Vairë · Vána · Nessa|
|Maiar||Arien · Eönwë · Ilmarë · Melian · Ossë · Salmar · Tilion · Uinen|
|Wizards||Saruman · Gandalf · Radagast · Blue Wizards|
|Úmaiar||Sauron · Balrogs (Gothmog · Durin's Bane) · Boldogs|
|Music · Valarin · Almaren · Valinor · Valmar · Second Music • italics indicates Aratar|