From Tolkien Gateway
(Redirected from Easterling)
This article is about Easterlings of the Second and Third Age. For the Easterlings of the First Age, see Easterlings (First Age).
"Easterlings" by John Howe
General Information
Other namesFolk of the East
Locationslands east of and including Rhûn; Rhovanion; March of Maedhros; Hithlum
MembersKhamûl, Easterlings (First Age) (Brodda, Lorgan, Ulfang, Uldor, Ulfast, Ulwarth, Bór, Borlach, Borlad, Borthand)
Physical Description
DistinctionsUse of the war-wagons (Wainriders and Balchoth)
Hair colorDark
Skin colorSwarthy in the First Age
GalleryImages of Easterlings

The Easterlings were Men who lived in the East of Middle-earth, and mostly served the Dark Powers. They were frequent enemies of the Free Peoples.


First Age

In the late First Age, Men awoke in Hildórien in the East. Early on, some of them were corrupted by Morgoth, prompting others (the Edain) to migrate westwards.[1]

Centuries later, after Dagor Bragollach, tribes of Men joined the Edain in Beleriand, long after their arrival. These Swarthy Men (q.v.) came from the east, probably Eriador and were also called "Easterlings". Two of their leaders were Bór and Ulfang.[2]

Second Age

In the Second Age Sauron escaped the judgment of the Valar and continued his former master's work, turning the Men of the East and South to evil and dominating them. Under the authority of the Dark Lord, many towns and walls of stone were built, and those under his influence became numerous and armed with iron. To these men, Sauron was feared as a king and god.[1][3]

During the Dark Years Sauron dominated most of the Westlands, also urging men from the East to go to the west for loot. Those troubled the Northmen who waged a war against them and the orcs. When Sauron was driven back to Mordor, he continued his expansions eastwards gaining servants and worshippers.[1][4]

At some point during the Dark Years, Sauron gave one of the Rings of Power to Khamûl, an Easterling lord[5] with which he gained power and prestige among his people, becoming a mighty lord and sorcerer, until he became a wraith.[3]

Third Age

An Easterling in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, design originally from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

After Sauron's defeat in the War of the Last Alliance, these "Wild Men" were released by his tyranny but they still had darkness in their hearts. Evil and restless, they battled against each other and some withdrew to the hated west.[6] Thus they encountered the lands of Gondor and since then, tribes brought trouble periodically with several attacks and migrations. Even Northmen often assailed Gondor for a long time.[7]

They first enter the records of Gondor in T.A. 490[8] attacking Gondor from the plains between the Sea of Rhûn and the Ash Mountains. Tarostar managed a first victory against them in T.A. 500[8] for which he became known as "Rómendacil". In T.A. 541 they took revenge against him, but Turambar of Gondor destroyed the horde and conquered a new territory in Rhûn for Gondor.[9]

In the following centuries the Easterlings cease, while Gondor was free to extend its borders to the south.

However, beyond the borders of Gondor, some "invaders from the East", no doubt moved by Sauron,[10] came to Rhovanion harassing the Northmen, occupying Greenwood and traversing it, coming to the Vales of Anduin. These moves coincided with the coming of the Shadow of Dol Guldur, and these were the causes that drove the Hobbits to the west around T.A. 1000.[11]

In the days of Narmacil I the Easterlings resumed their attacks, even some greedy Northmen joined them. In T.A. 1248 an Easterling army marched in the lands between Rhovanion and the Sea of Rhûn. Forces from Gondor - aided by Northmen of Rhovanion - defeated them and destroyed their camps and settlements east of the Inland Sea.[9]

After this defeat the Easterlings disappeared from the Gondorian records for some period, during which Gondor was again occupied with the south and the Corsairs of Umbar.

The Wainriders

During that time emissaries of Sauron instigated tribes of Easterlings to form the confederacy known as the Wainriders (q.v.) who would trouble the Kingdom and the Northmen.[9]

Gondor was weakened by the Great Plague and the Wainriders defeated the Gondorian army in T.A. 1856, raided the lands of Rhovanion and enslaved its people. Some of these lands were eventually reclaimed by King Calimehtar.

In T.A. 1944, the Wainriders, allied with the Haradrim of Near Harad and the Variags of Khand, managed a brief victory against Gondor, despite the assistance by the Éothéod. They were eventually defeated in their camp while celebrating their victory.

After this defeat the might of the Wainriders was broken although still held Rhovanion, and they retreated east. Most importantly, King Ondoher and both his sons were slain in that assault, an event that led to the extinction for the line of the Kings of Gondor.

In T.A. 2063 the Necromancer (who was actually Sauron) retreated from Dol Guldur for some centuries. That period was known as the Watchful Peace for the Westlands, but during that time Sauron retreated to the East and managed to create a strong alliance between the various tribes of Easterlings.

The Balchoth

The Balchoth were a fierce race southeast of Mirkwood, under orders of Dol Guldur[12] and no doubt related to the Wainriders.[13] In T.A. 2510 they and Orcs overran the plains of Calenardhon and almost destroyed the army of Steward Cirion, but were defeated by the Éothéod.[12][13]

In T.A. 2545 some Easterlings renewed their attacks and entered the new-founded Rohan. Thus Eorl fell fighting in the Wold.[14]

During these struggles Sauron reclaimed Mordor unnoticed in T.A. 2941.

War of the Ring

Easterlings from regions beyond the Sea of Rhûn[15] fought in the War of the Ring serving Mordor alongside the Haradrim and Variags. They appeared in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

Around the same itme, Sauron sent an army of Easterlings north to invade the Kingdom of Dale. They were temporarily victorious at the Battle of Dale, but could not take the Gate of Erebor. After the fall of Sauron on 25 March, the Easterlings' morale dropped, and the defenders were able to break the siege.[16]

In the Fourth Age some Easterlings were subdued by King Elessar and King Éomer.[17]


The Easterlings were in general more primitive than Gondor. They were motivated by Sauron to hate Gondor and seek its riches.

Troops mentioned in the Easterling forces aiding Sauron in the Third Age included swordsmen, spearmen, horsemen, mounted archers, and chariots ridden by chieftains.

Some like the Wainriders and the Balchoth had large chariots, wagons and wains which they used to run their foes down, as well as live in and used to fortify their camps.[13] During the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Easterlings were bearded and used axes.[18]

Portrayal in adaptations

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The Men collectively referred to as Easterlings by the Free Peoples of the West are portayed as several clans distinct in appearance that are only united by the might of Sauron. The Khundolar Easterlings attack the Wold of Rohan from the Brown Lands and also fight on Sauron's side at the Battle of the Morannon. The Jangovar Easterlings attack Dale and the Lonely Mountain in the north, and after Sauron's defeat the remainder of that army continues to linger in those lands. The Sûhalar Easterlings are shorter in stature and armed with axes, to the point where some mistake them for dwarves, their armies participate in the Siege of Minas Tirith.
The Chayasír Easterlings are craftsmen and tradesmen with no love for Sauron and take no part in the War of the Ring. However, on the same day when The One Ring was destroyed, an unknown calamity had taken place in Rhûn, and in the weeks afterwards streams of Chayasír refugees begin arriving into the Iron Hills and the Dale-lands. The men and dwarves of those lands had only just won a bloody war against the Easterlings and hold a great deal of both prejudice an outward hostility towards them, despite the Chayasír seeing themselves as having nothing in common with the Jangovar who fought in that war. None of the refugees would speak in detail about what exactly had happened in Rhûn, other than it is absolutely impossible for any of the Easterlings, soldiers of refugees, to go back.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Amroth and Nimrodel"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring", "(i) Of the Journey of the Black Riders"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Window on the West"
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", #60
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "The Atani and their Languages"
  12. 12.0 12.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", "The Stewards"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "The Kings of the Mark"
  15. 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, entry Easterlings, p. 755
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl"
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"