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Black Númenóreans

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Black Númenóreans
Brian Durfee - Black Númenóreans.jpg
"Black Númenóreans" by Brian Durfee
General Information
Other namesSauronians[1]
OriginsNúmenóreans seduced and corrupted by Sauron
LocationsThe southern lands of Middle-earth, and especially Umbar
AffiliationKing's Men, Sauron
RivalriesExiles of Númenor, Gondorians
LanguagesAdûnaic, Westron
MembersHerumor, Fuinur, Berúthiel, The Mouth of Sauron
GalleryImages of Black Númenóreans

The Black Númenóreans emerged from the King's Men party;[2] they were cruel oppressors and overlords over the primitive Men of Middle-earth. Since they were colonising the continent, they survived the Downfall of Númenor but swiftly diminished.


[edit] Background

Main article: King's Men

The Númenóreans' power and knowledge had grown throughout the course of the Second Age, and became increasingly preoccupied with the limits placed on their happiness—and eventually their power—by mortality, the purpose of which they began to question. They started fearing the Gift of Men and attempted to delay it or recall life. This growing wish to escape death made most of the Númenóreans envious of the immortal Eldar, who they had come to physically resemble. The Eldar sought ever to remind the Men of Númenor however, that death was a gift of the One God, Ilúvatar, to all men, and the will of Ilúvatar could not be gainsaid.[3]

Nevertheless, after S.A. 2221, when Tar-Ancalimon became King of Númenor, the Númenóreans became divided. The King's Men turned away from the Valar and the Eldar and eventually became vulnerable to the corruption of Sauron.[4][3]

Three of the Ringwraiths were powerful Númenórean lords corrupted by Sauron.[5] 1000 years before the Downfall, they served Sauron, being enslaved to his will, having become so because of their lust for power or knowledge.

[edit] History

[edit] Second Age

[edit] Origin

Many of the King's Men sailed to the shores and seaward regions of the Westlands during Sauron's sojourn in Númenor. These became the Black Númenóreans who submitted to Sauron and served him gladly in Middle-earth. These evil lords made their fortresses and dwellings in the South, because of the power of Gil-galad.[6][7]

Before the Downfall, their settlements beyond Umbar had been absorbed or had been made by the King's Men and had become hostile and parts of Sauron's dominions.[8]

[edit] After the Downfall

Even after the Downfall, the Black Númenóreans held control of the Haven of Umbar, initially a stronghold of the King's Men.[2] They hated, above all, the Exiles of Númenor.[2]

Two early Black Númenórean lords, both mighty and evil, from the late Second Age were Herumor and Fuinur who "rose to power amongst the Haradrim".[6]

As Sauron was preparing to go to war against the Elves and Exiles, he gathered great strength of his servants, including many Black Númenóreans.[6]

The triumph of the Last Alliance marked the decline of the Black Númenórean race.[2] They dwindled swiftly or became merged with the Men of Middle-earth.[2] Although their race declined, they inherited, without lessening, their hatred of Gondor.[2]

[edit] Decline

Although they had dwindled, few notable figures still claimed to be of the Black Númenórean race in later times. One of these was Queen Berúthiel, the "nefarious, solitary, and loveless" wife of Gondor's King Tarannon Falastur.[9][10][11]

In T.A. 933, King Eärnil I captured Umbar, driving the lords of Umbar into exile.[2] 82 years later, in T.A. 1015, these lords lead the Haradrim to re-take the fortress and slew King Ciryandil, son of Eärnil I.[note 1][2]

Another more notable "renegade" of great stature was the Mouth of Sauron; "he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again".[12][note 2] He mocked the army of King Elessar in front of the Morannon.[12]

[edit] Culture

In Middle-earth where they worshipped Sauron, the Black Númenóreans became "enamoured of evil knowledge"[12] and some "learned great sorcery" under Sauron's tutelage.[12] Some, like the Mouth of Sauron, had the potential to be more cruel than any Orc.[12]

Some of these lords were idle and lazy; they used to fight amongst themselves, until they became conquered by the wild men whom they ruled over.[7]

In The Notion Club Papers, part of Sauron Defeated, Arundel Lowdham cited two descendants of classical Adûnaic. One of these must have been Westron, the other the tongue of the Black Númenóreans.

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

A typical Black Númenórean in The Lord of the Rings Online

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The Black Númenóreans are portrayed in service of the different Lieutenants of the Enemy. The Angmarim inhabit the lands surrounding Carn Dum in Angmar and serve Mordirith and later Amarthiel. Much later, Umbarrim Black Númenóreans make appearance in Dol Guldur of Mirkwood. When the lands of Mordor are explored following the downfall of Sauron, Black Númenórean cultists known as Mordorrim are shown to be among its inhabitants.

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

Agandaûr, the game's main antagonist, is a Black Númenórean[13] as is the minor character Wulfrun, lieutenant of Carn Dûm.

[edit] Notes

  1. Whether or not these lords were indeed Black Númenóreans is not known but due to their somewhat longevity (they ruled Umbar for some time before their 82 year long exile), it seems plausible.
  2. It has been noted that this reference is difficult to interpret; according to Appendix B the Dark Tower arose first some time after S.A. 3320 and again in T.A. 2951. If the Mouth lived in the Second Age, he would be one of the King's Men of Númenor, and probably prolonged his life with sorcery (cf. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, p. 274); in the second interpretation he would serve Sauron only for 68 years, and this would make him a Black Númenórean of Umbar or Harad. The second interpretation is more feasible (and supported by Michael Martinez) but both have been considered.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 156, (dated 4 November 1954)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958)
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Window on the West"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Istari"
  9. Daphne Castell, "The Realms of Tolkien", Festival in the Shire Journal, Issue 1 (accessed 7 May 2012)
  10. Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings, "Thursday evenings", pp. 137-8
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Istari", note 7
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens"
  13. "Enemies", (accessed 15 February 2012)