Corsairs of Umbar

From Tolkien Gateway
Corsairs of Umbar
People
John Howe - Corsairs 01.jpg
Corsairs by John Howe
General Information
OriginsFounded by the sons and supporters of Castamir the Usurper
LocationsUmbar
RivalriesGondorians
MembersAngamaitë, Sangahyando, Captain of the Haven

The Corsairs of Umbar were pirates that were based in the Haven of Umbar.

History[edit]

During the Kin-strife, the defeated rebels of Castamir fled Gondor to Umbar — by this time Umbar became the hated enemy of Gondor and a welcome refuge for its enemies. Ever since they claimed South Gondor.[1]

They allied with the Haradrim against Gondor; in T.A. 1540 King Aldamir was slain during that war.[2]

Angamaite and Sangahyando, the descendants of Castamir, led the Corsairs to ravage Pelargir, killing King Minardil who was there (T.A. 1634). In the following years Gondor suffered by the Great Plague and Corsairs raided the Gondorian coasts up to Anfalas, until Umbardacil avenged Minardil's death, slew the last descendants of Castamir, drove away the Corsairs and retook Umbar (T.A. 1810).[1][2]

Eventually, Umbar was taken by the Haradrim[1]

During the reign of Steward Cirion (T.A. 2489-2567)[3], the Corsairs of Umbar attacked the coasts of Gondor.[4]

In T.A. 2746 the Corsairs were involved in a conflict with the fifteenth Prince of Dol Amroth and killed him.[5]

The Corsairs took a long time to prepare a great fleet. In T.A. 2758 three fleets sailed from Umbar and Harad and landed at many places along the coasts of Gondor and even at the mouth of the river Isen[6] and in the mouth of the river Lefnui[7]. The troops from Umbar and Harad supported the Dunlendings who were led by Wulf to invade Rohan from the west over the river Isen and down from Isengard.[7] Before the spring of 2759, Beregond defeated the Corsairs of Umbar and the Men of Harad that had invaded Gondor and subsequently sent troops to Rohan to help the Rohirrim to defeat the invaders.[6] As a result the Dunleandings were driven from Rohan and from Isengard.[8]

In the time of Ecthelion II, a man under his service known as Thorongil, warned him that the Corsairs were a great peril for the Southern Fiefs. With a small fleet, Thorongil made a surprise attack, burning a great part of their ships and overthrowing the Captain of the Haven.[9]

During the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, a fleet of Corsairs was raiding Lebennin when Aragorn captured their ships[10] and rowed them to Minas Tirith to relieve the siege of the city.[11]

It is possible that the threat posed by the Corsairs of Umbar to the coastlands of Gondor and to sea traffice was completely subdued during the reign of King Elessar[12] in a war between the forces of Gondor led by King Elessar supported by the cavalry of the Rohan led by King Éomer on the distant fields of the South.[13]

Culture[edit]

The corsairs's fleet included dromunds, and ships with deep hulls and many oars and with black sails.[11] Others were recognizable by their red sails, adorned with a black star or eye.[14]

Inspiration[edit]

The Corsairs were possibly inspired by the Pirates of the Barbary Coast.[15] J.R.R. Tolkien described in his notes for the translation of names in The Lord of the Rings into other languages that the Corsairs "are imagined as similar to the Mediterranean corsairs: sea-robbers with fortified bases".[16]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit]

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

Corsairs are from the Mordor faction, and are equipped with knives and fire-bombs.

2014: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The Corsairs were led by four brothers who falsely call themselves the Heirs of Castamir. These were Azruthor, Dolgimil, Azgarzôr, and the eldest Balakhôr the Scourge. The player negotiated with a Corsair named Jajax, who ended up siding with the player against the Heirs and their followers.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Realms in Exile", "The Southern Line: Heirs of Anarion", Ruling Stewards, year after Boromir and year after Cirion, p. 1039
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", The Stewards, p. 1053
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VII. The Heirs of Elendil", The House of Dol Amroth, entry for the 15th prince of Dol Amroth, p. 221
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", "The Stewards", The Stewards, entries about Steward Beren and Steward Beregond, p. 1054
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", entries about King Helm, p. 1066
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", entries about King Fréaláf, p. 1067
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", "The Stewards", The Stewards, entries about Steward Ecthelion II, p. 1055
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Last Debate"
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", entries about the reign of King Eldacar, p. 1047
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "The Kings of the Mark", Third Line, last paragraph, p. 1071
  14. "Tolkien’s annotated map of Middle-earth transcribed" dated 10 November 2015, The Tolkien Society (accessed 11 November 2015)
  15. John M. Bowers, Tolkien's Lost Chaucer (2019) p. 170
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 755