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Wouter Florusse - The Edain.jpg
"The Edain" by Wouter Florusse
General Information
Other namesAtanatári, Atani, Fathers of the Númenóreans
OriginsMen who crossed into Beleriand
LocationsBeleriand, Middle-earth, Númenor
LanguagesMannish, Sindarin
MembersHúrin, Túrin, Tuor, Beren, Barahir, Andreth, Morwen, Bëor
Physical Description
Lifespanc. 90[1]
GalleryImages of Edain
"We have looked on the faces that have seen the Light, and heard the voices that have spoken with Manwe."
Húrin Thalion[2]

The Edain were those Men of the First Age who made their way into Beleriand during the Siege of Angband and became close allies of the Elves. The Edain were the ancestors of the Númenóreans, the High Men of the Second Age.



The ancestors of the Edain were those Men who fled Hildórien seeking to reach the Light of the West. They were divided in at least 3 tribes.

The tribe that followed the northern road were at war with the Men who fell under the Shadow, and were pursued by them.[3] In the northern Rhûn they met some Dwarves.[4] At the shores of the Sea of Rhûn the tribes separated. The Lesser Folk got there first and dwelt at the feet of the nearby hills, while the Greater Folk came later in the north-east woods near the shores. They crafted boats and could sail the sea, but they didn't meet often, and their languages soon diverged.[5] The Greater Folk seemed to had been related to the ancestors of the Northmen.[6] In Eriador, some Men stayed behind and were scattered.[3]

Steamey - Men met Dark Elves

During their wanderings the Lesser Folk had extensive contact with the Dark Elves, they adopted "many words and devices" that influenced their language.[7]

The tribe that followed the southern road was different from the two Folk of the north and spoke an unrelated language. Those settled the valleys of the White Mountains and were joined by the Drúedain when they resumed their way to the west.[8] but also some remained behind, in Minhiriath and Eriador; those were the ancestors of the Gwathuirim, the Dunlendings and the Bree-landers.[3]

The Lesser Folk of the north moved on earlier and a team of them, led by Bëor, entered Beleriand around the fourth century of the First Age. The next year the vanguard of the southern tribe followed and made contact with the Elves, followed by the Greater Folk of the north.

These Men therefore spoke two different languages, one of them being divided in at least two dialects. They already had met Dwarves and Avari in the East and had adopted some of their speech.

The Edain who did not participate in the Wars of Beleriand remained in Estolad or fled from Beleriand and the power of Morgoth.

The term Edain does not refer to other groups of Men who entered Beleriand later in the First Age, such as the Easterlings who were noted as being swarthier than the Edain and a large portion of whom would later betray the elves.

The Three Houses

Ted Nasmith - Felagund Among Bëor’s Men

The tribes of Men became Elf-friends, they entered the service of the Eldar and were ennobled and consisted of the Three Mannish noble Houses:

  1. The House of Bëor: these descended from the Lesser Folk, they were dark-haired and stoutly built, and most resembled the Ñoldor of all Elves. They were first discovered by Finrod Felagund, Lord of Nargothrond, and under his guidance later made their way to the lands of the Ñoldorin lord Amrod, in a place later known as Estolad, the Encampment. They remained loyal to the House of Finarfin, and later settled in the lands of Dorthonion.
  2. The Second House, later known as the Haladin or the House of Haleth. They were a reclusive folk, dark-haired but smaller in stature than the Bëorians. They were unrelated to the other two Houses and kept separate from the other Men, and later received permission to settle in the Forest of Brethil, part of Doriath. They mostly kept out of the wars.
  3. The House of Marach, later best known as the House of Hador. They descended from the Greater Folk and thus were related to the First House. They were tall and golden-haired, and most resembled the Vanyar of all Elves. They were a very numerous and war-like tribe, and the Green-elves of Ossiriand feared them. They later settled in Hithlum by way of Estolad. They were loyal to Fingolfin and to his son Fingon.

A fourth kind of Men came with the Second House, and called themselves Drûg. They were a strange people, living with the Haladin in the forest of Brethil, some even apparently made it to Númenor, but they died out or had left before the Fall. In the Third Age, their far kin were known as the Woses of Drúadan Forest.

During and after the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the Edain suffered heavy losses. The House of Bëor was nearly wiped out by Morgoth, and the remainder of its people merged with the remaining Hadorians to become the Númenóreans. It would seem that the Haladin of Beleriand were completely wiped out, or at least disappeared as a separate people. Earendil, of the House of Hador, who had blood from all three Houses, sailed to Valinor prior to the War of Wrath.

Later History

After the War of Wrath the Edain were honoured and blessed by Eonwe in body and mind. They were granted the island of Númenor by the Valar as a gift for their fight during the Wars of Beleriand, their loyalty to the elves and their suffering.[9] Those of the Folk of Hador settled most of the island, while those of Bëor settled mostly to the western part, maintaining their Sindarin tongue.[10]:329[11] Few (if any) of the dwindling Folk of Haleth had survived the ruin of Beleriand.[12] Thus the Edain's descendants became a race far greater than all other men in Middle-earth, living within sight of the blessed realm.

Some of the Edain could have fled the disaster of the War to Eriador in the east, and their descendants remembered rumors of the deluge of the land beyond the Blue Mountains and feared to look upon the Sea.[10]

When the Númenóreans returned to Middle-earth in the Second Age, they encountered many Men who were obviously related to the Atani: they classified these Men as Middle Men, and established friendly relations with them. Examples are the Northmen or the Men of Bree.[10]

Other Men, such as the Dunlendings, were not recognised as Middle Men because they were related to the Haladin rather than Bëorians or Marachians, and they were hostile to Númenor.

Appearance, traits and culture

The Edain were noble in spirit, and their appearances differed between houses, although durng the progress of the First Age they mingled by the disasters of the War of the Jewels and intermarriage, so their differences beame less marked.[10] Those of the First House were for the most part dark-haired and stocky, with grey or brown eyes and skin ranging from fair to swarthy. Little is known of the characteristics of the Second House, save for that they were dark of hair. Those of the Third House were golden-haired and tall, with fair skin and blue eyes.[10]:308

Upon their arrival to Beleriand, they were taught much lore and wisdom by the Eldar and their manners and arts were enhanced.[10] They were loyal to their benefactors, strong and fierce in battle. Their lifespan approached 90, probably quite more than of their ancestors, although that was the case only in peaceful times.[13]

Their descendants, the Númenóreans were further blessed and ennobled. Their first King Elros the Half-elven was a descendant of two unions between the Edain and the Eldar.

In Beleriand most of the Edain adopted the Sindarin tongue, although their native language was Mannish with elements from Avarin after their first contact with the Dark Elves. The language of the survivors of the First and Third Houses was the ancestor of Adunaic; the language of the Second House was unrelated to them. (See also: Taliska)


edain is the plural of adan, "man" in Sindarin.

The Sindarin word Edain, singular Adan (Quenya Atani, Atan) literally meant Second People, and originally referred to all Men, but later it only applied to the Men of Beleriand and their descendants. The Quenya term Atani kept its old meaning.

The noble Edain were also known as Atanatari which means Fathers of Men.


  1. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, p. 106, entry "Edain"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Narn i Hîn Húrin (The Tale of the Children of Húrin)", "The Words of Húrin and Morgoth"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Two. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Concerning the Dwarves (Chapter 13)"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XII. The Problem of Ros"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "The Atani and their Languages"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "A Description of the Island of Númenor"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XII. The Problem of Ros", n.2 and n.17
  13. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, p. 106, entry "Edain"