Toggle menu
Toggle personal menu
Not logged in
Your IP address will be publicly visible if you make any edits.


From Tolkien Gateway
"Felagund Among Bëor's Men" by Ted Nasmith
General Information
Other namesAtani, Secondborn, Hildor, Apanónar
OriginsChildren of Ilúvatar
LocationsHildórien, Beleriand, Númenor, Gondor, Arnor, Rohan, Dunland, Harad, Khand, Forochel, Rhûn, Rhovanion
LanguagesTaliska, Adûnaic, Sindarin, Rohanese, Westron, Quenya
PeopleBëorians, Haladin, Hadorians, Easterlings, Númenóreans, Black Númenóreans, Dúnedain, Arnorians, Gondorians, Corsairs, Forodwaith, Haradrim, Rohirrim, Dunlendings, Men of Dale, Beornings, Bardings, Drúedain, Hobbits
MembersBëor, Hador, Barahir, Beren, Húrin, Morwen, Túrin, Niënor, Tuor, Elros, Ar-Pharazôn, Elendil, Isildur, Bard, Denethor, Boromir, Faramir, Théoden, Éomer, Éowyn, Aragorn
Physical Description
LifespanMiddle Men - c. 80-100 years
Númenóreans - c. 200+ years[1]
Kings of Númenor - c. 400 years[1]
Dúnedain - Thrice the life of lesser men but later slightly diminished[2]
Hobbits - c. 100 years
Drúedain - Shorter[3]
DistinctionsMortality, rulers of Middle-earth
Average HeightDúnedain - 6'4" (average)[4]
Númenóreans - 7'0" (average)[5]
Middle Men - Shorter
Drúedain - 4' to 5'
Hobbits - 3'6" (average)
HairBlack, brown, chestnut, blond, auburn, red, and (when older) grey or white
SkinFair, pale, sallow, ruddy, tan, dark tan, light brown, dark brown, black
WeaponrySwords, knives, bows, axes, spears
GalleryImages of Men

West, North, and South the children of Men spread and wandered, and their joy was the joy of the morning before the dew is dry, when every leaf is green.

Men were one of the Kindreds of the Children of Ilúvatar. Men were called the Secondborn (or the Second Kindred[6]) by the Elves, their Elder brethren, because they were the last of all the incarnate races to come into being. Though they were born after the other sentient races, Men were destined to inherit and rule Middle-earth.

Origins and nature

The race of Men is the second race of beings created by Eru Ilúvatar. Because they awoke when the Sun first rose in the heavens late in the First Age, while the Elves awoke millennia before them, they are called the Secondborn (Quenya: Atani, Sindarin: Edain) by the Elves. Men awoke in a land located in the far east of Middle-earth called Hildórien. When the Sun rose for the first time in the far West, Men began to wander towards it, a journey which culminated in some of them reaching Beleriand centuries later.

There is much evidence that, soon after their awakening, Morgoth came to Men and incited them to worship him and turn away from Ilúvatar, and that they complied. Though all were seduced by the Enemy, some Men repented and escaped; they were said to be the ancestors of the Edain.

Men bear the so-called Gift of Men, mortality. Elves are immortal, in the sense that even if their bodies are slain, their spirits remain bound to the world, going to the Halls of Mandos to wait until they are released or the world ends. In contrast, Men are released from Arda and the bounds of the world and have rest from its troubles. Ilúvatar also gifted Men with the freedom to shape their own future, being rather free from the designs of the Music of the Ainur.[7] However, the influence of Morgoth has caused Men to fear their fate, and view Death as a Doom instead of a Gift.

Groups and alignments

Although all Men are related to one another, there are many different groups with different cultures. The most important group in the tales of the First Age were the Edain. Although the word Edain technically refers to all Men, the Elves used it to distinguish those Men who fought with them in the First Age against Morgoth in Beleriand. The Edain were divided into three Houses.

The First House of the Edain was the House of Bëor, and entered Beleriand in F.A. 310 and were granted the fief of Ladros in Dorthonion by Finrod Felagund. The Second House of the Edain, the Haladin, was led by Haldad and later by his daughter Haleth and settled in the Forest of Brethil. The Third House, which became the greatest, was led by Marach and later his descendant Hador, and they settled in Dor-lómin. This house was known both as the House of Marach and the House of Hador.

Other Men did not cross the Misty Mountains or fight against Morgoth. However, some, such as the Easterlings, fought openly on his side. In later Ages, the Haradrim and Easterlings would fight on Sauron's side against the descendants of the Edain. Here below follow the short descriptions of the most important groups of Men in the First, Second and Third Ages.

Edain and Dúnedain

As a reward for their services and assistance rendered to the Elves and the Valar in the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age, the Edain received a new land of their own from the Valar, between Middle-earth and the Undying Lands. This was the land of Númenor, an island in the form of a five-pointed star that was far away from the troubles of Middle-earth.

They were led to this island by Elros with the help of his father Eärendil, who sailed the heavens as the bright star of the same name and guided the ships of the Edain to Númenor. Once they arrived, Elros became the first King of Númenor and took the name Tar-Minyatur. The Edain became known as the Númenóreans or Dúnedain (Sindarin for Men of the West). The kingdom of Númenor grew steadily in power, and the Dúnedain became the noblest and highest of all Men on Arda. In their early days, the Dúnedain remained allied to the Elves of Middle-earth, and aided them in battle against Morgoth's lieutenant Sauron.

As the Men of the West increased in power and happiness, they came to resent the Gift of Men, Death. They wished to become immortal like the Elves and enjoy their possessions for all time. Most of the Númenóreans, including the line of the Kings, began to turn away from the Valar, and spoke against the Ban of the Valar that forbade them to sail west beyond sight of Númenor or to enter Valinor. The Númenóreans also became increasingly hostile to all Elvish influences in their realm, and in 2899 of the Second Age, Ar-Adûnakhôr became the first king of Númenor to take his royal name in Adûnaic, the language of Men, instead of Quenya, the tongue of the Elves of Valinor.

During the early part of their rebellion, the Númenóreans became divided into two factions: the first, the King's Men, enjoyed the support of the King and included the majority of the people. They wished to gain immortality and break away from their ancestral allegiance to the Valar. The King's Men also wanted to end relations with the Elves, and thus they favoured Adûnaic as the official language and eventually punished those who spoke the Elven tongues. The persecuted minority faction, the Faithful, were led by the Lords of Andúnië, the westernmost province of Númenor, and remained loyal to the Valar. They also tried to maintain friendship with the Elves.

When Sauron was apparently defeated and taken to the Isle by the Númenórean army near the end of the Second Age, he took advantage of the pride of the Númenóreans. By teaching the Dúnedain many things and flattering the King, Ar-Pharazôn, he worked his way into the King's counsels and won the hearts of the people. Ultimately, Sauron advised Ar-Pharazôn to attack Valinor and claim immortality. This he foolishly did, and as a punishment Númenor, the island of the Men of the West, sank into the Sea and only the Faithful escaped. When the Faithful returned to Middle-earth, they founded the twin kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.

Black Númenóreans and Haradrim

The Faithful weren't the only Númenóreans left on Middle-earth when Númenor sank. When Númenor grew in naval power, many Númenóreans founded colonies in Middle-earth. Many of the King's Men settled in Middle-earth because they wanted to conquer more lands, and the Faithful because they were persecuted by the Kings. The Faithful settled in Pelargir, while the King's Men ruled the Haven of Umbar and other colonies in the South. When Númenor was destroyed, the King's Men became known as the Black Númenóreans and remained hostile towards the Faithful of Gondor. Eventually, Umbar was conquered by Gondor in 933 of the Third Age.

In Harad another group of Men lived called the Haradrim or Southrons. They were dark skinned Men and waged war on great Oliphaunts or Mûmakil. They too were hostile to Gondor, though they were subdued in T.A. 1050 by Hyarmendacil I.

Both Umbar and the Harad were left unchecked by Gondor's waning power by the time of the War of the Ring, and presented grave threats from the south. Many Haradrim fought with Sauron's forces in Gondor in that War.


Most Men who fought in the armies of Morgoth and Sauron were Easterlings who came from the regions beyond the Sea of Rhûn. Some Easterlings offered their services to the Elvish kingdoms in Beleriand; among them were Bór and his sons, and Ulfang the Black and his sons. This proved to be disastrous for the Elves in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad when Ulfang and his clan switched sides and defected to Morgoth, though Bór and his sons died bravely fighting on the side of the Eldar.

After Morgoth's defeat Sauron extended his influence over the Easterlings, and although Sauron was defeated by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men at the end of the Second Age, the Easterlings were the first enemies to attack Gondor again in T.A. 492. They were soundly defeated by King Rómendacil I, but they invaded again in 541 and took revenge by slaying King Rómendacil. Rómendacil's son Turambar took large portions of land from them.

In the next centuries Gondor held sway over the Easterlings. When Gondor's power began to decrease in the twelfth century of the Third Age, the Easterlings took the complete eastern bank of the Anduin except Ithilien and crushed Gondor's allies, the Northmen.

The Easterlings of the Third Age were divided in different tribes, such as the Wainriders and the Balchoth. The Wainriders were a confederation of Easterlings who were very active between T.A. 1856 and 1944. They posed a serious threat to Gondor for many years, but were utterly defeated by Eärnil II in 1944.

When Gondor lost its royal dynasty in 2050 the Easterlings started to reorganize themselves, and a fierce group called the Balchoth became the most important tribe. In 2510 they invaded Gondor again and conquered much of Calenardhon, until they were defeated by the Éothéod who rode to Gondor's aid.

In the War of the Ring, the Easterlings were among the fiercest warriors deployed at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields by Sauron.


Not all the Men who remained east of the Blue Mountains and Misty Mountains during the First Age were tempted by Morgoth or Sauron, and they were joined after the War of Wrath by those of the Edain who did not wish to travel to Númenor. The Northmen who dwelt in Greenwood the Great and other parts of Rhovanion were friendly to the Dúnedain, being for the most part their kin, and many of them became Gondorian subjects. The Men of Dale and Esgaroth were Northmen, as were the Woodsmen of Mirkwood, the tribe of skin-changers later known as Beornings, and the Éothéod, who became the Rohirrim or Horse Lords.


When Elendil founded the Kingdom of Arnor, its borders were quickly extended towards the river Greyflood (Sindarin: Gwathló), and Gondor likewise extended up through Enedwaith. In Enedwaith and Minhiriath (Sindarin for Land between the Rivers) lived a group of Men related to those Men that became the House of Haleth, and they were known as the Dunlendings. They had lived in the great woods that covered most of Eriador, and when the Númenóreans started to chop these woods down to build their ships in the Second Age, they earned the hostility of the Dunlendings. The Dunlendings later became bitter enemies of Rohan, as they believed the Rohirrim had stolen their lands.

Because of their enmity with the Rohirrim, the Dunlendings served Saruman in the War of the Ring and fought against the Horse Lords in the Battle of the Hornburg.


Another group of Men were the Drúedain, also called the Woses. They were small and stooped, and were always few in number and shortlived compared to other races of Men. They lived among the House of Haleth in the First Age, and were held as Edain by the Elves, who called them Drúedain (from Drûg, their own name for themselves, plus Edain).

At the end of the Third Age a few Woses still lived in the Drúadan Forest. They held off Orcs with poisoned arrows and were vital in securing the aid of the Rohirrim in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. King Elessar granted the Drúadan Forest to them "forever" in the Fourth Age.


Hobbits were strictly a race of Men rather than a separate species. The origin of Hobbits is obscure; they first appeared in the records of other Men in the middle of the Third Age.


Tolkien employed a peculiar usage of the words Man and Mannish: these terms came to replace the word "human" found in drafts of The Lord of the Rings.[8] It has been suggested that Tolkien might have preferred Man and Mannish being pure Germanic roots, unlike the Latin-influenced Human (cf. homo).[9] This usage also reflects old Germanic practice, where Man originally meant mankind, not merely the male gender; this was found (and in many of them, still is found) in all the Germanic languages (i.e. German Menschen, "people").[10]

Other names

The Elves called the race of Mankind with poetic names that refer to their later coming, and their mortality. They are mostly called Atani in Quenya, literally meaning "Second ones" (the Elves being the First), but also Hildor ("Followers" or "Aftercomers"), Apanónar ("Afterborn"), Secondborn, Younger Children of Ilúvatar, Strangers and Usurpers[11] because they dominated Arda after the Elves. Sindarin names were Ephedyn or Aphadrim ("Followers").[12]

The name Atani is cognate with Sindarin Edain, but the latter term was later applied not to the race, but only to the peoples of Beleriand who aided the Elves in their war with Morgoth in the First Age.

Other names were Fírimar (Q. Mortals),[11][13] Engwar (Q. "The Sickly"), used to describe the mortality of men[11] the Self-cursed and the Guests[11] because their fate was outside Arda.

Other names by the Elves, apparently referring to their differences from themselves are Inscrutable, the Heavy-handed, the Night-fearers, and the Children of the Sun[11] because they awoke with the Sun.

Hobbits called them the Big People or the Big Folk, especially in Bree.[14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Line of Elros: Kings of Númenor"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men", p. 310.
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 89
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Beginning of Days"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "II. The Appendix on Languages", p. 61
  9. Peter Gilliver, Edmund Weiner and Jeremy Marshall, The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, pp. 156-8
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Men"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 70
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony"