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|"Dunlending" by John Howe|
|Other names||Gwathuirim (S)|
|Members||Squint-eyed Southerner, Freca, Wulf|
|Gallery||Images of Dunlendings|
Dunlendings, also known as the Gwathuirim, were the ferocious, tall and vicious men that lived in Dunland, close to Rohan. Also called the Wild Men of Dunland, they had long been enemies of the Rohirrim, because they were jealous that the rich lands of the old Númenórean province of Calenardhon were granted by the Gondorians to the Rohirrim instead of them.
The ancestors of the Dunlendings were also the ancestors of the Haladin, the second of the Three Houses of the Edain who led her people from East Beleriand to Brethil. They were a reclusive folk, dark-haired but smaller in stature than the Bëorians or the Hadorians. They kept separate from the other Men. Their language was different from the ones that used by the other Edain.
After the fall of Beleriand, the survivors went to Númenor but those who didn't cross the Ered Luin settled upon either side of the Gwathló or in the Ered Nimrais. In the First Age, the Drúedain lived among them and shared close relationship, more than with any other race of men.
 Númenórean contact
In ancient times the peoples who were the ancestors of the Dunlendings ranged over much future Gondor and Eriador, and dwelt in the forests of the shorelands; especially those in Minhiriath, were (as later Gondorian historians recognized) akin to the Folk of Haleth. The Númenóreans treated them ruthlessly and devastated their forests. They became bitter enemies of the West ever since.
During the advance of the Númenóreans, many people overcame their fear of the Elves and fled from Minhiriath into the dark woods of the great Cape of Eryn Vorn. Those from Enedhwaith took refuge in the eastern mountains that would become Dunland. Offshoots of these peoples survived in isolated places like the White Mountains (the Oathbreakers are akin to the ancient Dunlendings). The Men of Bree are another offshoot of the Dunlendings, who moved even further north until they reached what became the Bree-land, and were absorbed into Arnor.
Some of the Pre-Númenóreans were absorbed into the population of Gondor, and some stayed in the White Mountains. There are few records of the Dunlending language, due to their lack of a written history and poor oral tradition.
They remained unaffected, independent and even unfriendly to the Dúnedain, holding their own manners and Dunlendish language. However the Dunlendings also remained hostile to those with Orc-blood. The Dunlendings also dwelled alongside the Stoor Hobbits during their Wandering Days and the latter even formed a related language to theirs.
The Dunlendings suffered from the Great Plague less than other peoples owing to their isolation and were still found in the foothills of the Misty Mountains. By the time of the Ruling Stewards they ceased to be subjects of Gondor and, being surrounded by barbarous folk, they moved to settle the region of Calenardhon as Gondor ceased to man the garrisons during the Watchful Peace.
 Arrival of the Rohirrim
In T.A. 2510, Calenardhon passed to the Northern Eotheod who came from Rhovanion and the wild hillmen and herd-folk who the Dunlendings viewed as competitors and usurpers. Kings Brego and Aldor drove the Dunlendings out of Rohan beyond the Isen until Enedhwaith. As the ensuing enmity did not concern the Stewards of Gondor, the Dunlendings kept hostilities to the Rohirrim and attacked whenever the latter were weak or in trouble.
After the death of King Aldor, and as Isengard became more friendly to them, the Dunlendings passed and settled northern Westfold, the mountain glens around the Ring, and southern eaves of Fangorn Forest, becoming openly hostile. This allowed the two peoples to mingle in some peaceful circumstances; and the dark-haired Landlord Freca was said to have Dunlendish blood But the Dunlendings began raiding over the Isen during the reign of King Déor, and when it became clear that the raiders were coming from near Isengard, in T.A. 2710 Déor led an expedition to the north. He found and defeated a host of Dunlendings, but discovered that Isengard was held by hostile forces. He was unable to drive them out as Steward Egalmoth could not send help.
The worst of these incidents was when Freca's son, Wulf, allied with the Corsairs of Umbar who were in turn stirred by Sauron, keeping safe his properties at Adorn. Joining his kin from outside of Rohan with enemies of Gondor that had landed in the mouths of Lefnui and Isen, Rohan was invaded from the East, the Isen and Isengard, and finally Wulf took Edoras in T.A. 2758. Gondor, fighting Corsair fleets, could not help as the people of Rohan survived the crisis due to the leadership of King Helm Hammerhand, the usurping Dunlendings were reduced after the Long Winter and finished off by Fréaláf. The Rohirrim now kept a strong force in north Westfold.
Eventually many Dunlendings were found later in the Westfold of Rohan, until Folcwine, aided by Gondor, reconquered it. But the people remaining between Isen and Adorn were largely of mixed blood, and not loyal to Edoras.
The Dunlendings were employed by the wizard Saruman to attack and raid the cities and settlements of Rohan. Since Gríma Wormtongue had corrupted the mind of King Théoden, the fighting men of the Rohirrim were absent for the most part. As a result, the Dunlendings easily overpowered the old men and young boys who remained.
Wild Men were also present at the Battle of the Hornburg (Battle of Helm's Deep), as well as Half-orcs, derived from Orcs and the Men of Dunland. The fighting was vicious, but the Dunlendings surrendered after Gandalf appeared. In contrast, the Orcs fled into the forest of Fangorn and were destroyed by Huorns.
Saruman's defeat at Isengard put a stop to Dunlending aggression in Rohan. However, The Scouring of the Shire by Saruman, under the alias of Sharkey, was carried out with the backing of a considerable number of Dunlendings.
It is possible that the rivalry between the primitive Dunlendings and the blond-haired, pseudo-Anglo-Saxon Rohirrim who migrated into the lands neighboring them was meant by Tolkien to be analagous to the real life conflicts that arose between the Anglo-Saxons in England and neighboring Celtic peoples.
This is supported by the fact that placenames of Bree-land like Bree, Archet and Combe are Celtic. The Stoor Hobbits (who had stayed long in Dunland), have Celtic elements in their names. Tolkien mentioned that the survival of traces of the older language of the Stoors and the Bree-men resembled the survival of Celtic elements in England.
 See also
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men", "The Atani and their Languages"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix D: The Port of Lond Daer"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", #76
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "The Kings of the Mark"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", #76)
- ↑ Hiswelókë's Sindarin Dictionary (accessed 31 December 2010)