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Men (Middle-earth)

The race of Men in J. R. R. Tolkien's books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is a race of humans.


The race of Men is the second race of beings created by the Supreme God, Ilúvatar. Because they awoke at the start of the First Age, while the Elves awoke three Ages before them, they are called the Afterborn (Quenya Atani, Sindarin: Edain) by the Elves. Men are, unlike Elves, gifted by the so called Gift of Men, Death.

In other words, Elves are immortal, Men are not. While the destiny of the Elves is to go west to dwell with the Valar in Valinor, the destiny of Men is to hold dominion over Middle-earth.

Groups and alignments

Although all Men are related to one another, there are many different groups with different policies. The most important group in the First Age were the Edain. Although the word Edain refers to all Men, the Elves use it to distinguish those Men who fought with them in the First Age against Morgoth in Beleriand and those who didn't. Those Men who fought against Morgoth in the First Age were divided into three Houses.

The First House of the Edain was led by Bëor and entered Beleriand in 305 T.A. and were granted the fief of Ladros in Dorthonion by Finrod Felagund. The Second House of the Edain, the House of Haleth was led by Haldad and later by his daughter Haleth and settled in the Forest of Brethil. And the most famous Third House was led by Hador and they settled in Dor-lómin.

Other Men didn't cross the Misty Mountains or fought against Morgoth. Some such as the Easterlings fought openly on his side. Later on the Haradrim would fight on Sauron's side against the descendants of the Edain. Here below follow the short descriptions of the most important groups of Men in the First, Second and Third Age.

Edain and Dúnedain

Through their services and assistance rendered to the Elves and the Valar in the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age, the Edain were rewarded a new continent of their own between Middle-earth and the Undying Lands. This was the island of Númenor, an island in the form of a five-pointed star far away from the evil of Middle-earth.

They were led to this island by Elros with the help of his father Eärendil who controlled the bright star of the same name. Once there Elros became the first king of Númenor as Tar-Minyatur and the Edain became known as the Dúnedain (Sindarin for Men of the West). The kingdom of Númenor grew steadily in power and the Dúnedain became the noblest and highest of all Men on Arda. Allied to the Elves, Númenor fought against Morgoth's lieutenant Sauron.

Now that the Men of the West had become powerful they no longer enjoyed the Gift of Men, Death. They wanted to become immortal like the Elves and enjoy their power. The Númenóreans turned away from the Valar, began to call the Gift of Men the Doom of Men and cursed the Ban of the Valar which prevented them to enter Valinor. In 2899 S.A. Ar-Adûnakhôr became the first king of Númenor who took his royal name in Adûnaic, the language of Men instead of Quenya, the language of the Elves. This led to civil war in Númenor.

The people of Númenor were divided into two factions: the King's Men, who enjoyed the support of the King and the majority of the people. They favoured Adûnaic as language. The minority faction, the Faithful, were led by the lord of Andunië, the westernmost province of Númenor, and favoured Quenya.Sauron who by the second millennium of the Second Age was nearly defeated by the Elves took advantage of the division. He surrendered to the last Númenórean King, Ar-Pharazôn and advised him to attack Valinor and claim immortality. This he foolishly did, and as a punishment Númenor, the island of the Men of the West fell and only the Faithful escaped and founded the twin kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.

Black Númenóreans and Haradrim

The Faithful weren't the only Númenóreans left on Middle-earth when Númenor sank. When Númenor grew in (naval) power many Númenóreans founded colonies in Middle-earth. In the second millennium of the Second Age there was an exodus of Men from overcrowded Númenor. The King's Men because they wanted to conquer more lands, and the Faithful because they were persecuted by the Kings. The Faithful settled in Pelargir and the King's Men settled in Umbar. When Númenor was destroyed the King's Men became known as the Black Númenóreans and remained hostile against the Faithful of Gondor. From their ranks Sauron managed to recruit the Ringwraiths in the second millennium of the Second Age. Umbar was conquered by Gondor in 933 Third Age.

Further east of Umbar another group of Men lived, the Haradrim. They were dark skinned Men and waged war on great Oliphaunts or Mûmakil, the Haradrim are excellent horsemen, although not as good as the Rohirrim. Hostile to Gondor they were conquered by Gondor in 1050 T.A. by Hyarmendacil I. They fought against Gondor in the War of the Ring.


Most Men who fought in the armies of Morgoth and Sauron were Easterlings, who came from the region around the Sea of Rhûn. Some Easterlings offered their services to the Elvish kingdoms in Beleriand, among them were Bor and his sons and Ulfang the Black and his sons. This proved to be disastrous for the Elves in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad when Ulfang and his clan switched sides and defected to Morgoth, while Bor and his sons died bravely fighting on the side of the Eldar.

After Morgoth's defeat Sauron extended his influence over the Easterlings and although Sauron was defeated by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men at the end of the Second Age, the Easterlings were the first enemies to attack Gondor again in 492 T.A. They were soundly defeated by King Rómendacil I, but invaded again in 541 T.A. and took revenge by slaying King Rómendacil. Rómendacil's son Turambar took large portions of land from them. In the next centuries Gondor held sway over the Easterlings. When Gondor's power began to decrease in the twelfth century Third Age, the Easterlings took the complete eastern bank of the Anduin except Ithilien crushing Gondor's allies, the Northmen.

The Easterlings of the Third Age were divided in different tribes, such as the Wainriders and the Balchoth. The Wainriders were a confederation of Easterlings which were very active between 1856 T.A. and 1944 T.A. They were a serious threat to Gondor for many years, but were utterly defeaten by Eärnil II in 1944. When Gondor lost its royal dynasty in 2050 T.A. the Easterlings started to reorganize themselves and a fierce tribe called the Balchoth became the most important tribe. In 2510 T.A. they invaded Gondor again and conquered much of Calenardhon, until they were defeaten by the Éothéod, coming to Gondor's aid.

Until the War of the Ring the Easterlings didn't launch any invasion. In the War of the Ring they were amongst the fiercest warriors deployed at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields by Sauron.


Not all the Men who didn't cross the Misty Mountains were tempted by Morgoth or Sauron. The Northmen who dwellt in Greenwood the Great and other parts of Rhovanion were friendly to the Dúnedain, and many of them became Gondorian subjects. The Men of Dale and Esgaroth were Northmen, as were the Woodsmen of Mirkwood, and the Éothéod, who became the Rohirrim.

Dunlendings and Drúedain

When Elendil founded the Kingdom of Arnor its borders were quickly extended towards the river Greyflood (Sind:Gwathló), and Gondor likewise extended up through Enedwaith. In Enedwaith (Middle-land) and Minhiriath (Sindarin for Land between the Rivers) lived a group of Men related to those Men that became the House of Haleth, and they were known as the Dunlendings. They had lived in the great woods that covered most of Eriador, and when the Númenóreans started to chop these woods down to build their ships in the Second Age, the Dúnedain of Númenor earned the hostility of the Dunlendings. The Dunlendings later became bitter enemies of Rohan. The Dunlendings served Saruman in the War of the Ring and participated in the Battle of the Hornburg.

Another group of Men were the Woses. They were small and bent compared to other Men. They lived among the House of Haleth in the First Age, and were held as Edain by the Elves, who called them Drúedain (from Drûg, their own name for themselves, plus Edain). At the end of the Third Age some Woses lived in the Drúadan forest, small in number but experienced in wood life. They held off Orcs with poisoned arrows and were vital in securing the aid of the Rohirrim in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. King Elessar granted the Drúadan Forest "forever" to them in the Fourth Age.

Notable Men