The Great Armament was the armada of warships and military forces prepared by the last King of Númenor, Ar-Pharazôn, for the purpose of invading the land of Aman to challenge the Lords of the West (Valar).
History[edit | edit source]
In S.A. 3261, Ar-Pharazôn invaded Middle-earth; by the following year Sauron submitted to him and was taken as prisoner to Númenor. Over the course of the next 48 years Sauron gradually seduced the King and corrupted the majority of the Númenóreans. In S.A. 3310 Ar-Pharazôn felt the coming of his death and initiated the building of the Great Armament, because he feared death and had listened to the lies of Sauron that he would become immortal if he possessed the undying lands of Aman.
When preparation of the Armament became apparent, Amandil became dismayed and attempted to sail into the West to beseech the Valar for mercy and deliverance from Sauron. His mission failed and he was never heard from again.
For nine years Ar-Pharazôn amassed his strength in the havens of western Númenor while Elendil, Amandil's son gathered a small fleet of ships in the east that held the wives and children of the Faithful as well as their heirlooms and a store of goods. In secret the ship of Isildur, Elendil's son, also held a scion of Nimloth, the white tree. Elendil himself most likely carried the Ring of Barahir.
As the Armament proceeded, omens appeared from the West – at first great clouds appeared in the shape of vast eagles, spreading darkness upon the land. As men hardened their hearts the clouds issued lightning that slew men, with one bolt smiting the dome of the Temple that Sauron had caused to be built in the city of Armenelos. Earthquakes shook Númenor and smoke poured from the summit of the Meneltarma, yet Ar-Pharazôn pushed all the more to complete his Armament.
Finally, in S.A. 3319, the King boarded his flagship Alcarondas and led the armada into the West. It had both sails and many oars that were rowed by slaves so that it could move even when there was little wind. The Númenórean fleet was so numerous that it was compared to an archipelago of a thousand islands and it surrounded all of the island of Tol Eressëa on its way to Aman. Coming upon the silent shores of Valinor, Ar-Pharazôn almost wavered but his pride won out - he landed and claimed the land for his own. Manwë then called upon Ilúvatar who put forth his power: The world was changed with a vast chasm rending the sea between Númenor and the Deathless Lands. The ships of the Great Armament were swallowed into the abyss while Ar-Pharazôn and his followers upon the shore were buried under falling hills.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age", entries for the year 3261 and 3262, p. 1084
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age", entry for the year 3310, p. 1084
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Númenor", entry for King Ar-Pharazôn, pp. 1036-7
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age", entries for the year 3310 and 3319, p. 1084
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age", entry for the year 3319, p. 1084