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Men of Arnor

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Men of Arnor
General Information
OriginsDescendants of the Númenóreans in Arnor (partly Men of Eriador and Bree-men)
LocationsEriador, Arnor
AffiliationLast Alliance of Elves and Men, Host of the West, Grey Company
LanguagesWestron, Númenórean Sindarin, Quenya
MembersArgeleb I, Aragorn II, Gilraen

The Men of Arnor were the inhabitants of Arnor and its successor kingdoms. The Dúnedain of Arnor, also known as the Dúnedain of the North or the Northern Dúnedain, constituted the ruling class and nobility of Arnor being descendants of the Exiles of Númenor who established the North-Kingdom. The history of the Men of Arnor is extensively dominated by the actions of the Dúnedain of the North.


[edit] History

[edit] Foundation

After the Downfall of Númenor, the Exiles of Númenor, led by Elendil, established the Realms in Exile of Arnor and Gondor. Elendil was cast up by the waves in the land of Lindon, and he was befriended by Gil-galad.[1] He then passed up the River Lhûn, and beyond Ered Luin, he established the realm of Arnor.[1]

The Exiles, and later the Northern Dúnedain, dwelt in many places in Eriador about the courses of the Lhûn and the Baranduin; but their "chief city was at Annúminas beside Lake Nenuial. At Fornost upon the North Downs also the Northern Dúnedain dwelt, and in Cardolan, and in the hills of Rhudaur; and towers they raised upon Emyn Beraid and upon Amon Sûl".[1] The Men of Arnor were, from the beginning of their history, always less powerful and populous than their southern counterparts, the Gondorians.[2]

In Arnor, the Men of Eriador accepted the new kingdom of Elendil and helped to people and maintain the many places that the Northern Dúnedain built.[1] When Elendil led his people into the south to battle against Sauron, these Men of Eriador marched alongside the Dúnedain.[1] The Men of Bree also became subjects of the North-kingdom.[3]

[edit] Decline

Originally ruled by their High King, the Dúnedain were divided between Arnor and Gondor, following the death of Isildur, son of Elendil, in T.A. 2.[1][4] Valandil, Isildur's youngest son, took up his rule in Annúminas, but his people were diminished, and of the Northern Dúnedain and Men of Eriador there remained now too few to people the land or maintain the places Elendil built; many of Dúnedain of Arnor had died in the War of the Last Alliance and at the Disaster of the Gladden Fields.[1]

After the reign of Eärendur, the seventh king that followed Valandil, the Dúnedain of the North became divided into the petty realms of Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur, owing to dissensions among his sons.[1][5]

[edit] Conflicts with Angmar

Main article: Angmar War

In the beginning of the reign of Malvegil of Arthedain, the realm of Angmar, lead by the Witch-king, arose in the North beyond the Ettenmoors; the Witch-king was indeed the Lord of the Nazgûl who came north with the purpose of destroying the Northern Dúnedain in disunion.[5]

In the days of Argeleb I, son of Malvegil, the line of Isildur had failed in the other kingdoms and so, the Kings of Arthedain laid claim to the lordship of all the Northern Dúnedain.[5] This claim was resisted in Rhudaur, where the Dúnedain were few, and a lord of the Hill-men, whose allegiance lay with Angmar in secret, seized power.[5]

A great host came out of Angmar in T.A. 1409 and entered Cardolan, besieging the Tower of Amon Sûl. The Northern Dúnedain were defeated and Arveleg I, as well as the last prince of Cardolan, were slain.[5] From that time onward, Rhudaur was occupied by evil men subject to Angmar, and the Northern Dúnedain that remained were slain or fled west.[5] Although Cardolan was ravaged, a remnant of the faithful among the Dúnedain of Cardolan also held out in Tyrn Gorthad (the Barrow-downs), or took refuge in the Old Forest.[5]

Although the northern parts of Arthedain were little affected, the remnants of the Northern Dúnedain were affected by the Great Plague; the joint garrison (of the North and South Kingdoms) at Tharbad ceased to exist,[6] and the last of the Dúnedain of Cardolan died on the Barrow-downs.[5]

In T.A. 1974, the Witch-king, with his host from Angmar, invaded Arthedain and captured Fornost Erain, driving most of the Northern Dúnedain there over the Lune,[5] including the sons of Arvedui,[5] who later perished in a shipwreck. The remnants of the Men of Arnor later joined the great Host of the West, lead by Círdan the Shipwright and Eärnur, in which, also with the help of Elves from Rivendell led by Glorfindel, they overthrew Angmar.[7]

[edit] Later History

Main article: Rangers of the North

After the Angmar War, all the people of Arnor were diminished.[5] The Dúnedain of the North were reduced to a few Rangers wandering secretly in the wild, and their heritage was forgotten, save in Imladris, where the Heirs of Isildur were harboured and their line, from father to son, remained unbroken.[1][5]

By the time of the War of the Ring, Halbarad, kinsman of Aragorn, mustered 30 Northern Dúnedain (all that could be gathered in haste),[8] and this Grey Company rode to the aid of Aragorn in Rohan.[8]

In the Fourth Age, the Dúnedain of Arnor and Gondor were reunited under King Elessar (who was the last Chieftain of the Dúnedain) so that the Men of Arnor became a part of a great Reunited Kingdom that spanned western Middle-earth.

[edit] Culture

[edit] Skills and Customs

The Northern Dúnedain were a martial folk, even considered great warriors in their decline as Théoden remarked that the skill of the Grey Company could not be counted by their numbers.[8] The Rangers were believed to have strange powers of sight and hearing, and to understand the language of beasts and birds.[9]

The Númenórean monarch of the Men of Arnor governed the realm and its people with the frame of ancient law, of which he was administrator (and interpreter) but not the maker.[10]

The Heirs of Isildur, being men of long life, were "not accustomed to wed until they had laboured long and journeyed in the world".[11] For women, the age of 22 is considered too early, according to the customs of the Northern Dúnedain, to be wed.[12]

[edit] Languages

Westron, or the Common Speech, was the native language of the people of Arnor.[13] Among the Dúnedain however, including those of Arnor, "the kings and high lords, and indeed all those of Númenórean blood in any degree," for long used Sindarin.[14] Quenya was known to the learned of Arnor, a tradition which has continued from the loremasters of Númenor, to be used for places of fame and reverence in addition to the names of royalty and men of great renown.[3] All the royal names of the Kings of Arnor were Quenya names.[15] The Kings of Arthedain and later the Chieftains of the Dúnedain, however, took Sindarin names.[15]

[edit] Characteristics

[edit] Physical Description

The Men of Arnor, at least those of Númenórean descent, were tall, pale-skinned, with dark hair, shining grey eyes, and proud faces.[9] They were taller and darker than the Men of Bree.[9] They were described as being stout and lordly men; the Rohirrim looked like boys beside them.[8] Despite being stern, grim-faced and silent for the most part, they were a courteous people if moved to speak.[8][9]

The Dúnedain, including those of Arnor, were lords of long life, great power, and wisdom; far superior to the Men of Middle-earth among whom they dwelt and whom they ruled.[3] They were from the beginning far fewer in number than the lesser men.[3]

[edit] Lifespan

The Third Age marked the beginning of the waning of the Dúnedain, including the Northern ones, in which their gifts of wisdom, nobility, and long life were slowly withdrawn due to the Downfall of Númenor and their mingling with lesser men.[7] "More swift was the waning in the North-kingdom, for Eriador became colder and there, the Dúnedain became ever less".[16]

In the beginning of their history, the Dúnedain were blessed with a lifespan thrice the life of lesser men, yet this ever-diminished over the course of the Third Age.[5][3]

In Arnor, the strife and dissensions between the kingdoms of Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur hastened the waning of the Dúnedain.[5] Although, their lifespans ever continued to shorten,[5] the Dúnedain of Arnor, especially their Chieftains, maintained significant longevity living to twice the age of lesser men.[5] The Heirs of Isildur even lived up to 160 years or more.[11]

Even upon the reunification of the Kingdoms of the Dúnedain, the life-span of all Dúnedain, even those of Arnor, was not restored and continued to wane until it became as that of other men.[17]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "The Atani and their Languages"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Men"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix D: The Port of Lond Daer"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Passing of the Grey Company"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 244, (undated, written circa 1963)
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "IX. The Making of Appendix A": (ii) "The Tale of Aragorn an Arwen", p. 263
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "II. The Appendix on Languages", p. 34
  15. 15.0 15.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Realms in Exile", "The Northern Line: Heirs of Isildur"
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VIII. The Tale of Years of the Third Age", p. 227
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VII. The Heirs of Elendil"