From Tolkien Gateway
This article is about a conflict in Gondor. For the MERP supplement, see The Kin-strife.
Previous war: War of the Last Alliance
Next war: Corsair Wars
Beginning: T.A. 1432End: T.A. 1447
Place: Fought in the eastern lands of Gondor, most notably in Osgiliath and Pelargir
Outcome: Victory for Eldacar and his followers
Major battles: Siege of Osgiliath, Battle of the Crossings of Erui, Siege of Pelargir

Gondorians (loyalists)
Northmen of Rhovanion

Gondorians (rebels)




The Kin-strife was a disastrous civil war in Gondor.



The unrest that created the Kin-strife began when prince Valacar, son of King Rómendacil, married a woman of the Northmen of Rhovanion, Vidumavi. She bore him a son Eldacar, but many Gondorians of Númenórean blood were angered by this mixing of blood of lesser men and Númenóreans.[1]


When Eldacar succeeded his father in T.A. 1432, the unrest grew into open rebellion, as many Gondorians saw Eldacar as a half-breed who had no right to rule. The chief of them was his second cousin Castamir, who, as Captain of Ships, was supported by Umbar and Pelargir and other coastal regions. In T.A. 1437, he lead the confederates in open rebellion against the throne, besieging Eldacar in Osgiliath. During the siege, Osgiliath was left in flames with the great Dome of Stars lost together with its palantír, the Osgiliath-stone.[1][2]

Although he seized the throne for himself, Castamir quickly lost the support of the people of Gondor due to his cruelty and lack of generosity as demonstrated by the unnecessarily brutal sack of the city and the execution of Ornendil, Eldacar's son and heir. His love for ships and fleets over the land which he ruled over added to his negative public approval. He also attempted to move the seat of the throne from Osgiliath to Pelargir, adding to his unpopularity amongst the populace in Ithilien and Minas Anor.[1]

Eldacar fled in-exile to his mother's kin in Rhovanion and many Northmen in service to Gondor and Dúnedain of the northern provinces of Gondor flocking to him. Many of the Dúnedain had come to greatly respect him and many more came to hate Castamir, his usurper. There, Eldacar remained for a decade as he mediated war.[1]

A full decade later, in 1447, Eldacar returned with a great army from Rhovanion. Castamir's unpopularity resulted in many of the people living in Calenardhon, Anorien, and Ithilien to flock to Eldacar's banner. The two sides met at the Battle of the Crossings of Erui where much the best blood of Gondor was lost, until Eldacar managed to kill Castamir. But Castamir's sons and many of their supporters retreated to Pelargir. Eldacar besieged them by land until the next year when they sailed their way to the Haven of Umbar with all their forces. Eldacar could not follow them for he had no ships to beset them by sea.[1][2]


Not only did Gondor lose the city of Umbar for four centuries, it gained a new enemy in the Corsairs of Umbar, the followers of the descendants of Castamir's sons. Castamir's descendants established a lordship independent of Gondor's power, and thus a threat to its coastlands and all traffic by sea. The Corsairs remained at war with Gondor for many centuries until the reign of Aragorn II Elessar and they continuously contested their claim to the fief South Gondor. The loss of Umbar to Gondor also reduced Gondor's realm and influence in the south as its hold upon the Haradrim was loosened.[1]

Upon Eldacar's return to the throne, the blood of the House of Anárion and other noble families of the Dúnedain became mingled with lesser men; Gondor's population was replenished by large numbers of Northmen from Rhovanion. Much of the best blood of Gondor was killed during the Battle of the Crossings of Erui.[1]

After the Kin-strife, the Kings of Gondor were generally cautious and watchful of those of near kin; the suspects often joined the rebels at Umbar, or renounced their heritage and took wives of non-Númenórean blood, further weakening the Númenórean strain of the House of Anárion. The repercussions were still felt centuries later, in the time of the last king Eärnur, when very few descendants of the Kings were alive; when he was lost in Minas Morgul, no suitable heir could be found to succeed him.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 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"
Preceded by:
War of the Last Alliance
Major events of Middle-earth
T.A. 1432 - T.A. 1447
Followed by:
Great Plague