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Black Númenóreans

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
LanguagesAdûnaic, Westron
MembersHerumor, Fuinur, Berúthiel, The Mouth of Sauron
Physical Description
LifespanThrice the life of lesser men but later diminished[2]
DistinctionsSuperior to the other men of Middle-earth in nobility of spirit and body
Average heightTaller than other Men
Hair colorDark
GalleryImages of Black Númenóreans

The Black Númenóreans were High Men from Númenor. They were under the Shadow like the King's Men, cruel oppressors and overlords over the more primitive Middle Men of Middle-earth. As they were colonising the continent, they survived the Downfall of Númenor.


[edit] History

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 Númenoreans 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.

Three of the Ringwraiths can be considered among the first and most powerful Númenóreans who were corrupted by Sauron,[3][4] 1000 years before the Downfall: they served Sauron, being enslaved to his will, having become so because of their lust for power or knowledge.

Nevertheless, after S.A. 2221, when Tar-Ancalimon became King of Númenor, the Númenóreans became divided. The King's Men who turned away from the Valar and the Eldar, and eventually became vulnerable to the corruption of Sauron, who dominated the minds and wills of most of the Númenóreans with the One Ring.[5] The powerful and elderly King Ar-Pharazôn, had become frightened of old age,[6] and was persuaded by Sauron that Ilúvatar was a lie invented by the Valar, and seduced.

Some indigenous people of Middle-earth were afraid of those Númenóreans, whom they called "Go-hilleg" in their language. The "Go-hilleg" terrified those people with their ships and intended at some point to conquer the land of Agar and slay its people.[7]

Even the colonists who had settled on the shores and seaward regions of the Westlands, turned to evil, the Darkness and the black arts. These evil lords made their fortresses and dwellings in the South, because of the power of Gil-galad.[8][9]

[edit] After the Downfall

For many centuries after the Downfall, these descendants of the King's Men held onto the haven of Umbar, the most northerly and famous of their realms.

When the surviving Faithful Numenoreans founded Gondor and Arnor, they saw their southern counterparts as renegades, calling them the Black Númenóreans.[10] The Black Númenóreans held a similar hatred of Gondor after generations.[11]

Two early Black Númenórean lords from the late Second Age were Herumor and Fuinur who desired power over men of other, lesser races, and they "rose to (great) power amongst the Haradrim", the peoples neighbouring Umbar. They likely shared Sauron's defeat at the hands of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.

The triumph of the Last Alliance marked the decline of the Black Númenórean race and the end of their racial superiority. They dwindled swiftly or became merged with the Middle Men.[12]

Queen Berúthiel, wife of Gondor's King Tarannon Falastur was "a black Númenórean".[13][14] This was a loveless union, and was presumably a political accommodation: that such arrangements were possible implies the existence at that time of more Gondor-friendly Black Númenóreans than the much later Mouth of Sauron.

A Black Númenórean elite survived at least in Umbar for over a thousand years after Númenor's fall, maintaining much influence in Haradwaith. As late as T.A. 1015, for example, even after being exiled from their homeland for nearly a century, the lords that had been driven from Umbar led the Haradrim to retake Umbar.[15]

Not much is known about the Black Númenóreans after their defeat by Ciryaher in T.A. 1050. A "Renegade" and a man of great stature, the Mouth of Sauron was potentially the equal of the Dúnedain, but had fallen into darkness. It is stated that "he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again".[16][note 1] He mocked the army of King Elessar in front of the Morannon.[16]

[edit] Culture

The Black Númenórean style of governing was no doubt tyrannical, and may also have involved a tradition of duumviracy, at least in Umbar. After Herumor and Fuinur there were also Angamaite and Sangahyando. Some lords were idle and lazy, they used to fight amongst themselves, until they became conquered by the wild men.[9]

The Black Númenóreans did not use Westron, but probably retained their old tongue Adûnaic, speaking a dialect of it. (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 within the city of Annuminas (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 Númenóreans make appearance in Dol Guldur of Mirkwood.

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

Agandaûr, the game's main antagonist, is a Black Númenórean[17] as is the minor character Wulfrun, lieutenant of Carn Dûm.

[edit] Notes

  1. 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. 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.), 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 156, (dated 4 November 1954)
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958)
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 156, (dated 4 November 1954)
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Tal-Elmar"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  9. 9.0 9.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Window on the West"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, note 1
  13. Daphne Castell, "The Realms of Tolkien", Festival in the Shire Journal, Issue 1 (accessed 7 May 2012)
  14. Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings, "Thursday evenings", pp. 137-8
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A
  16. 16.0 16.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens"
  17. "Enemies", (accessed 15 February 2012)