Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Numenorean contact with Middle Earth


"It was six hundred years after the departure of the survivors of the Atani [Edain] over the sea to Númenor that a ship first came again out of the West to Middle-earth and passed up the Gulf of Lhûn. Its captain and mariners were welcomed by Gilgalad; and thus was begun the friendship and alliance of Númenor with the Eldar of Lindon."

Numenor colonies?
They visited the "primitive" Men residing there, and had some impact, but did NOT make any permanent abodes of any kind. And the emphasis that their early visits were in effect unarmed had quite an impact when they ran into the dark foe's minions in their early exploration.

The time they spent with these tribes didn't really make them colonies, only places to stop and rest and resupply (at the generosity (or not) of the locals).

Resources, especially trees were definitely (and I believe clearly stated by Tolkien) and issue, and thus the stripping of the treelines along the costs of Middle-earth, to be shipped back to Numenor.

In fact, not entirely. You have this another quote

 "They (the Númenóreans) ranged from Eressëa in the West to the shores of Middle-earth, and came even to the inner seas; and they sailed about the North and the South and glimpsed from their high prows the Gates of Morning in the East." (People of Middle Earth 149)

This is no support for havens in these remote regions. It only tells that the Númenóreans went there. IIRC the quote's context is the age of exploration when the Númenóreans began to explore the world as allowed by the Ban of the Valar. Note - they *sailed* there. They did not *settle* there - or made havens.

During such voyages, there is absolutely no need for own havens. Either they visit havens from men living there or they made landfall in a cozy little bay to re-provision themselves (e.g. by hunting) or repair their ships (by chopping wood). Both these are described in UT as well:
"But for long the crews of the great Númenórean ships came unarmed among the men of Middle-earth; and though they had axes and bows aboard for the felling of timber and the hunting for food upon wild shores owned by no man,..."  

UT. Description of the island of Númenor

In essence, the quote does not speak of settlements (only long voyages) and the real-world explorations, it is IMO highly unlikely that the Númenóreans set up harbors or settlements wherever they went. They simply explored the world - nothing more (at least at this time). The later colonies are highly unlikely to have been located in the Inner Seas or beyond. The western shores (from north to south) were the territory for Númenor's overseas possessions.

Let's examine the case of all the conflictual colonies:
Hithlond : a little Haven in the North, probably built in an association with the locals (Ulshyans).
Balkuloni : the same than Hithlond, a small Haven shared with locals of the Sea of Ormal
Sakal an-Khâr : this is the most important colony of Numenor.
Azrathani : a small outpost, still shared with locals of Shay.
Anarikê : an important colony of Numenor, also in the Inner Sea.
All of these colonies have to be mentioned in the Numenorean essay.

The later colonies are highly unlikely to have been located in the Inner Seas or beyond. The western shores (from north to south) were the territory for Númenor's oversea possessions.

Again, this is an interpretation, not a direct affirmation from a quote of Tolkien.

Since we begin with 2d Age 1000-1200, this essay should not burden itself with the way *how* these people got there. It is only important to know *that* they are there. Of course we have to include wide wild and unpopulated areas where mankind is still far from being the "Master of Middle-earth"

 For the level of civilisation, maybe a general note on plausible Technology  levels of Middle-earth Men before they are met by the Numenoreans would be sufficient. If necessary, maybe also pinpoint some civilisation centres on the map, to show areas where the Numenoreans might fight people with a higher degree of civilisation (find organised kingdom and cities).

Though these centres of civilization should be rare around 2d Age 1200.

One or two at the most. And even until 2dAge Endorian civilization should be lagging far behind Númenor. Not only in terms of "Tech level", but especially in form of organization, sophistication etc.
Powerful or even moderately powerful Endorian realms should be the exception rather than the norm in this time.

 The exploration of the Inner Seas occurs much sooner - SA 1004 with  Soronto, in the lands of the Chyan Empire and Olyas Kriis.

-Fortunately, we have a quote for Tolkien that gives a hint:
-"The first sign of the shadow that was to fall upon them appeared in the days of Tar-Minastir, eleventh King. He it was that sent a great force to the aid of Gil-galad. He loved the Eldar but envied them. The Númenoreans had now become great mariners, exploring all the seas eastward,..." LotR. Appendix A

-Interestingly, it is the time of Tar-Minastir (or a bit before him) that is associated with the far-flung voyages into the east. This would limit former times to the exploration of the western coasts.

The quote is relative to "all the seas eastward". This is why I placed the "start" of the exploration (i.e. the entrance into the Inner Sea) in the period immediately before, so that, in Tar-Minastir's time, his son Ciryatan would bring his ships to the eastern seas, beyond the Inner Sea.

 “Other protected havens may have survived along the coast, and greater colonies in more remote lands, such as the Inner Seas or the East, may even have suffered little or no damage. Those realms who survived were greatly modified though (when they accepted the mixing with natives). Others, like Umbar, maintained for long the legacy of the Black Numenoreans, and in some cases, of the Mulkherites. Some other colonies of the Far South did not survive the first millennium of the Third Age."
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Numenore – Technology Maxed - Non-Canon(sic)


Numenor on the eve of the sailing of Ar-Pharazon the Golden to challenge Sauron?

And Ar-Pharazon instead sails and lands in Iberia with his force of around 250,000 men, who all stand over 6', indeed, the term "man high" represents 6'4", and Elendil the Tall, who lived then, was said to be over 7'6". Not to mention, all are armed and armoured with some of the greatest steel weapons, including 6'6" long bows made of hollow steel.

That was before the Great Armament.

It would happen about 100 years earlier, when Ar-Pharazon assembled a force so great that Sauron's minions feared the Dunedain more than they feared their own master.

So the Dunedain are not actually yet on the search for eternal life by seizing the Deathless Lands.

But also, I think that the population of Numenore is great enough that they would never need to breed with the Lesser Men, it is in the millions, possibly in the 10's of millions?!

I have seen in Tolkien's books some matter that seems to suggest that in the later part of Ar-Pharazon's reign Numenor had steam powered ships.

Other possible technology in Tolkien's world is:-

Internal combustion engines. Some of the machines that attacked Gondolin were clearly not flesh-and-blood dragons.

Powered aircraft (some exiled Numenoreans after the fall)

Numenorean rocket missiles ("Our darts are like thunder and fly over leagues unerringly", as a Numenorean writes in one of Tolkien's books says).

If all this and its necessary infrastructure landed in Bronze Age Europe and America, it might quickly develop into a modern technological system.

The Numenoreans began to get gadget-happy (and more militaristic) as they became dissatisfied with the Valar's gifts and began to desire immortality, which led to them being corrupted by Sauron.

Their more advanced tech is also associated with "Unfinished Tales," one of the Faithful comments that Sauron taught them how to build vessels that propel themselves.
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Numenor - DBM Version 4.8


Numenor - DBM Version 4.8 (14 May 2006; superseding v4.7 of 22 November 2002) Numenor

Warm. Ag 4. WW, Rv, H(S), H(G), Wd, O, V, E, RGo, Rd, BUA.
C-in-C - Reg Sp (S) @ 27 or Reg Bd (O) @ 27
Sub-generals - as above
Guards - All Reg Sp (S) @ 7 or all Reg Bd (O) @ 7
Scouts - Reg LH (F) @ 4
Spearmen - Reg Sp (O) @ 5
Cohorts - all Reg Bw (O) @ 5 or all Reg Bw (S) @ 7
Light stone-throwers - Reg Art (I)
Auxiliaries - Irr LH (F) @ 4
Auxiliaries - Irr Ax (O) @ 3
Ships - Reg Gal (S) @ 4 or Irr Shp (S) @ 4 (Sp, Bd, Bw)
Transports - Irr Shp (I) @ 2 (Bg, Reg LH)
Only after 2A1700:
Eldar allies - List: Noldor
Only before 2A3319:
Easterling vassal allies - List: Easterlings
Southron vassal allies - List: Haradrim (may not include regulars)
Only after 2A3319:
Upgrade C-in-C to Reg Bd (S) @ 29
Hillmen allies: - List: Dunlendings 

Numenor was a large island far from the coasts of Middle-earth, inhabited by the descendents of the Men that had served the Noldor in the first age. This lists covers Numenorean armies from when the first permanent havens were set up in Endor around the year 1200 of the second age, until the start of the third age, including the Kingdoms in Exile, Gondor and Arnor, after the fall of Numenor proper in 2A3319. Numenoreans did not fight on horseback, leaving the job of scouting to bow-armed light horse generally of foreign origin. Guards wore black and silver. Archers were organized into cohorts and had steel bows. It is uncertain what secondary arms were carried. Numenorean ships were large, with towers and many masts. They might be equipped with auxiliary oars. Noldor allies cannot be used with other allies. Allied contingents drawn from this list need not contain any guards.
DBA: 1 x 2LH, 1 x 2Lh or 3Ax or 4Sp, 1 x 4Bd or 4Sp, 4 x 4Sp, 4 x 4Bw, 1 x 4Bw or 4Sp
HotT: 1 x Hero or 2 x Blades or 2 x Spears, 1 x Riders, 4 x Spears, 3 x Shooters, 2 x Shooters or Spears 

Enemies: Easterlings, Mordor, Haradrim, Dunlending

Army List Notes: Numenor
Numenor was a very large island peopled by the men, the Edain, allied to the Elves of Beleriand at start of 2A. The Numenoreans were slow in returning to Middle-Earth, at first content with their own island, but gradually taking lands for their own, until they became the most powerful empire Middle-Earth had ever seen. The island was drowned in the great cataclysm of 2A3319, but its culture survived in the two successor states of Arnor and Gondor. These are covered by their own lists in 3A, but use this list in 2A post 3319. 

Aggression is rated 4, as Numenor itself was never invaded, while the Nmenoreans conquered many other nations. Gondor and Arnor were likewise aggresive in overthrowing Sauron. The terrain list and climate reflects the island of Numenor itself, a land with a favourable climate (UT, p165ff) and resources. A road is compulsory, as the state was very well-organised, with many roads, for the most part unpaved however (UT, p169). 

Numenoreans fought almost exclusively on foot (UT, p278), the only exceptions being mounted scouts. They were well-organised, disciplined, and trained to a high standard. They formed up in shield-walls when on the defensive (UT, p272), and used longer weapons than the short Orcish spear (UT, p273), and are hence graded as Reg Sp (O). Guards units existed (UT, p271) - I assume that these would be equally capable with sword or spear. That they could form up in wedge formations (UT, p273) would certainly point to a Bd classification being permissible. In any case, Numenoreans used axes as weapons (UT, p170). The option for a Bd (S) C-in-C is to cover Elendil wielding Narsil (Sil, p354). 

As well as these close-fighting troops, archers were also employed. They were organised into cohorts and shot dense volleys, and are accordingly graded as Reg Bw (UT, p170). These were longbowmen using steel bows (UT, p273), and can accordingly be classified as Bw (S). 

Engines of war are mentioned (Sil, p330) which I have assumed to be similar to those of their Gondorian descendents (RotK, p158). 

Auxiliary light horse-archers were employed (UT, p278), hence the LH (F) listed, and the Ax (O) represent those tribesmen of the forests and hills that they at first befriended (Sil, p316). 

Numenoreans were excellent mariners, and used naval forces extensively, for instance in the defence of the Grey Havens (eg UT, p239) assisting the Noldor against Sauron. Such was the size of the Numenorean fleet on this occasion that it could scarcely find harbourage (hence the large number of naval elements allowed, and the rating of the Noldor as allies, rather than the Numenoreans being allied to the Noldor). 

Before Numenor fell, it had laid vast parts of Middle-Earth under vassalage (Sil, p319); such peoples were not very advanced, and so cannot contain regular troops. The Hillmen of the Ered Nimrais swore allegiance to Gondor; as they in fact refused to take the field against Sauron they are counted as allies (UT, p430). 

The banner of Elendil was black, with a white tree, surrounded by seven stars, surmounted by a gold and silver crown (RotK, p145).
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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Numenorean Army and Armour


What we can surmise…
When we return to the Arthadan army, the following prerequisites for the introduction of large archer-contingents are met:
• The Dúnadan realm often has to fight against the numerical odds. The need for an effective, massed, ranged weapon that weakens the enemy before the melee begins is therefore great.
• Large contingents of its enemies, such as Orcs and tribal Easterlings, tend to be not overly disciplined and only lightly armored on the battlefield (at least compared to 14th and 15th century European knights).
• It has sufficient numbers of skilled bowmen to form a powerful archery corps.

This last requisite is extrapolated from Tolkien’s statements about the Númenóreans. In Unfinished Tales, we read that “… shooting with bows on foot and on horseback was a chief sport and pastime of the Númenóreans. In later days…it was the bows of the Númenóreans that were most greatly feared (UT.170).” Considering the overall conservatism among the Dúnedain, it seems very likely that the Faithful preserved their old military traditions in Middle-earth, as long as these did not contradict their philosophy. Even if we allow for a decline in skill and lore and the slow disappearance of the powerful steel bows, the tradition of skillful archery should have been active even among the indigenous and mixed people of Arthedain who are heavily influenced by the culture of their lords.

During the Second Age, the Númenórean armies made extensive use of massive archer contingents: “…in those days the great cohorts of the King’s Archers used bows made of hollow steel… (ibid).” Even at the beginning of the Third Age, the archers of the Dúnedain were still feared and highly skilled, as we learn in the essay about the disaster at the Gladden Fields: “They [the Orcs]… kept at a distance out of the range of the dreaded steel-bows of Númenor… (UT.273).” Considering all these facts, it seems very likely that the widespread tradition of archery was preserved in Arthedain (the Dúnadan realm in Eriador with the purest Númenórean tradition).

In one respect, however, Dúnadan knights differed significantly from their medieval European counterparts: they were not inclined to true cavalry warfare:
The Númenóreans in their own land possessed horses, which they esteemed. But they did not use them in war…. In war they were used only by couriers, and by bodies of light-armed archers (often not of Númenórean race). (UT.278)
Therefore the typical Arthadan knight might use his horse(s) for transportation to the battlefield, but whenever possible would fight on foot.

Citadel Guards and Fountain Court Guard [film version]
Founded as an order of elite guards answerable only to the king of the southern realm. Only the best warriors that Gondor has to offer are picked to join the Guard, to be clad in their ancient armour and to carry blades of Westernesse and Númenorean steel composite bows, heavy with both age and honour. The guardsmen themselves are the very image of the first Men of Núménor to settle the shores of Middle-earth, tall and stern, proud and steady in battle. They protect the lords of Minas Anor and the sacred places of the Mound of Mindolluin with a resolute devotion. In the absence of a king, the guards take their orders from the Steward of Minas Anor, sworn to obey his every command until death claims them.

Steel Bows
The Númenórean steel bow should be an almost devastating weapon. I suggest using it sparsely because of its power and the loss of lore among the Dúnedain in Endor. In my opinion, it should possess ca. 150% the strength (damage) and range of a normal longbow. If you use Hârnmaster, treat a steel bow as if it were two categories higher than usual (e.g., a steel longbow is treated as a strongbow, a heavy steel longbow as a greatbow, etc.), but only one category higher in Strength requirements (e.g., a steel longbow uses the strength requirements of a heavy longbow).

Even in the case of the fabulously gifted Noldor and Naugrim, there are absolutely no indications in Tolkien’s writings that they ever possessed something similar to the elaborate plate armor of the 14th and 15th century.

Where Tolkien wants to describe advanced technology, he usually does not describe anything significantly more modern than the legends he draws from, from Beowulf to the Edda and the Chanson de Roland, but moves within the time frame set by these and their contemporary sources. Instead, he uses the levels within that time frame, and occasionally uses more advanced materials for items that were not, historically, used. For example, Tolkien sometimes describes blades as damascened steel to accentuate their superiority, while their real historical counterpart was of inferior material. Similarly, in The Hobbit, he describes how the Dwarves expanded the concept of mail armour to hose, another development which occurred much later than the introduction of coats of mail.

Thus, I believe that while Tolkien did not plant people 1:1 from our world to Middleearth, he mixed even the very Anglo-Saxonlike Rohirrim with Ostrogoths and consequentially put them on horseback. He used material from within the framework of his sources, and additionally described weapons and armour from a time frame that spans from the mythical time of Beowulf in the 5th or 6th century to the Bayeux tapestry and the first crusade in the late 11th or 12th century. This is the end of the historical scope of his sources though; barring any plate-equipped knights in a true-to- Tolkien scenario in Middle-earth. --- by Oliver Haussth.
The exception but a very unique singular one:
Now the traffic of the Dwarves down from the Blue Mountains followed two roads across East Beleriand, and the northern way, going towards the Fords of Aros, passed nigh to Nan Elmoth; and there Eöl would meet the Naugrim and hold converse with them. And as their friendship grew he would at times go and dwell as guest in the deep mansions of Nogrod or Belegost There he learned much of metalwork, and came to great skill therein; and he devised a metal as hard as the steel of the Dwarves, but so malleable that he could make it thin and supple; and yet it remained resistant to all blades and darts. He named it galvorn, for it was black and shining like jet, and he was clad in it whenever he went abroad. - Chapter 16 Of Maeglin - Silmarillion


Eöl loved the night and the stars, and among all the Firstborn of his time he was the one closest in friendship with Dwarves, who instructed him in smithcraft and who were in turn later taught by him in techniques of his own. His greatest creation as master smith was the so-called galvorn, a black metal harder than steel but light in weight and supple, whose most special component was iron from a meteorite. He forged two swords with this metal, Anglachel and Anguirel, and they were powerful weapons indeed. But when he had used all his stock of meteorite iron, he became obsessed with finding a way to make an alloy of earth-delved metals that could resemble the properties of his prized galvorn. He spent long years trying more and more complicated processes, and visiting the Dwarves to exchange knowledge and find a way to achieve his goal. Finally, he discovered the way to create an alloy better than steel for forging weapons and armor, which he called morglân, but this was still insignificant when compared with the mighty galvorn. However, he found it useful because he could produce it in much greater quantity than galvorn, despite the process needing several years to be completed. He shared his secret only with his younger brother, Dúhir.-addition by José Enrique Vacas de la Rosa - MERP
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Building of the Tower of Orthanc


There was but one choice for the Master Builder of Angrenost, and that was Curugond of Lamedon. He had overseen the building of Minas Anor nearly thirty years earlier, and though old, was the most cunning builder that the Dúnedain had produced since the days of Númenor. Great friendship he had with the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm, who shared their arts with him, but Curugond gleaned even more from their teachings than they guessed, and as his knowledge grew, so did his pride. Curugond’s thought was fixed on the Barad-dûr, which had been the greatest tower of its age. Why, he thought, should Gondor not build a fortress of such stature, an answer to the darkness of the previous age?

When he travelled to the vale to survey it, he discovered Ciryanar’s vision of a tower within a ring was not mere fancy. Only half-buried beneath the soil deposited by the Isen, was a rough, natural ring of black stone, the lip of some ancient volcano laid low by time and nature. Curugond’s designs were greater than they ought to have been, a mark of pride. He made plans to carve four great slabs of black stone from the centre of the ring, forming the tower’s apartments and chambers from them, and then hoisting them together to fit into a virtually impregnable tower. To carve the sides, he enlisted the aid of the dwarves of Moria, while crews recruited from Dunland performed the task of hoisting the slabs. This latter labour was far more difficult than Curugond had promised, and when the Hill-men attempted to raise the third slab, the lines broke, and many Dunlendings were crushed. Curugond cared not for their misfortune, but fretted about the tower, which was undamaged. This slight was remembered in Dunland, whose people nurse grudges like a dragon’s horde, and the people of Gondor would later come to rue the callousness of their chief builder.

Ten years after the death of Ciryanar, the tower was finally completed. Upon its lofty roof, enchantments were set to protect it from harm, from fire and stone and the natural forces that weather stone to its roots. Prince Thinyarpher, Ciryanar’s son, took the keys of Orthanc and became its first steward, bringing with him a palantír of Elendil. He served Gondor faithfully, as did his descendents, the Angrenostim, for in those days there was trust among the royal houses of Gondor and love between its brethren, and kings did not fear that a rival would use Angrenost as a citadel to supplant them. But such days were not to last forever.

As for Curugond’s fate, one tale says that he promised the Dwarves of Moria a great jewel of Númenor in exchange for their service, but besotted by a pretty granddaughter, he gave her the jewel and substituted a lesser gift in its stead. It is further said that the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm, who had no love for deception, seized Curugond and slew him in the dark.
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Army of Numenor


The Numenorean army is the mightiest that exists in Arda at this point of time, and one of the greatest in all the ages of the world. It is this military strength which has enabled the Sea-Kings to extend their sway over vast areas of Middle-Earth and protect their dominions from Sauron and others who would oppose them. The strength of this army lies not just in its size, but also in the rigid discipline of its soldiers and their stern loyalty and valour -- all of which combine to make it almost unstoppable.

The Numenorean army consists almost entirely of foot soldiers. The typical gear of the Numenorean 'Narad', or warrior, consists of chain, spear and sword. In addition, the Numenoreans are well provisioned for long campaigns in far places.

The main unit of the arms of Numenor can be found within what is called a Host consisting of some 6000 Men. These are further divided into ten Cohorts consisting of 600 Men apiece. The Host commander is a high position indeed and holds the Adunaic title of 'Attabar' or 'Father of Strength.' The ensignias and badges of the Hosts vary from place to place.

There are two kinds of Cohorts in the Numenorean Host. The most common kind is the Cohort of Men-of-Arms. These are foot soldiers that are armed with spear and sword. In addition, all Numenorean warriors carry with them on their belts a sealed wallet that contains a small phial of cordial and wafers that can sustain life for many days as may be needed. In the classical Host, eight of the ten cohorts consist of this kind of soldiery.

The other two employ perhaps the most effective of the weapons of the Numenoreans: Bowmen. The bows and arrows employed are wrought of steel, to be sent in hails against their foes. The bows themselves are a full ell long! The commander of a Cohort, holds the Adunaic title of 'Azgaran', which roughly translates to 'Man-making war.'


The Hosts which make up the Numenorean army fall into 3 categories -- the Standing Hosts, the Reserve Hosts, and the War Hosts.

Standing Hosts These are the elite Hosts, containing the veteran soldiers who are the most highly trained. They are always fully manned and ready to march into battle at a moment's notice. In more peaceful times, there was but 1 Standing Host in Numenor proper, but due to internal strife, there are now 6 Standing Hosts upon the Isle -- a number unheard of in the days of old.

They are the 1st Host in Mittalmar, the 2nd Host in Andustar, the 78th Host in Hyarmenstar, the 4th Host in Hyarrostar, the 5th Host in Romenna, and the 6th Host in Forrostar. In addition, there are several Standing Hosts based in the colonies -- the 7th, 11th, 12th and 16th Hosts in Umbar, and the 8th Host in Tharbad.

Reserve Hosts There come times when the presence of Numenorean might is urgently needed in a troubled place. However, the Standing Hosts are often on duty in positions from which they cannot be spared -- thus, the Reserve Hosts. These Hosts are formed of those Hosts from the Standing Hosts which can be spared at any time(all 6 Hosts from Numenor, and the 7th Host from Umbar), and a number of other Hosts which can be assembled very swiftly.

These latter Hosts are not fully manned at all times, but rather, consist of the commanders and a small number of trained veterans. Those who wish to join them must serve in the Host for 2 years. After this term of service, they may leave, but will have to return every 3 months for battle training. In this manner, these Hosts are comprised of trained soldiers who can be rapidly assembled in times of need, and sent wherever they are needed. There are 22 Reserve Hosts in totality.

War Hosts The Standing Hosts and Reserve Hosts together number 32 -- a mighty force indeed, and one which is well able to deal with the forces of Sauron and petty rebellions of Middle-Earth. However, there may come a time when such a foe threatens Numenor that her entire might shall be needed -- the well nigh invincible Grand Army of 75 Hosts.

The Grand Army consists not just of the Standing and Reserve Hosts, but also of the War Hosts. The latter will be formed of the citizens of Numenor who will be conscripted into service should the need ever arise. The War Hosts are 43 in number. However, this massive force has never been needed in the course of Numenor's history -- and it is extremely doubtful that it ever will be.

Army Ranks:

Attabar Host Commander

Azgaran Cohort Commander

Narad Warrior
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Orthanc was, according to J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, built during the end of the Second Age by the men of Gondor out of four many sided columns of rock joined together by an unknown process and then hardened. No known weapon could harm it. The Ents themselves could not break the tower, although they could split solid rock into fragments with ease. Orthanc rose up to more than 500 feet (150 meters) above the plain of Isengard, and ended in four sharp peaks. Its only entrance was at the top of a high stair, and above that was a small window and balcony.

Orthanc housed one of the palantíri of the South Kingdom, and was guarded by a special warden. In the days of the early Stewards the tower was locked and its keys taken to Minas Tirith. When Isengard fell to the Dunlendings in T.A. 2710 they were unable to enter the tower.
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The Great Armament


My inspiration was Tolkien (of course), his Númenórean race. The Shipis my creation, based maybe on some Greek or Roman designs. Done in photoshop, in some 35-40 hours. There is a lot of details which takes me ages to do.

Prompted by Sauron and fearing old age and death, Ar-Pharazôn built a great armada and set sail into the West to make war upon the Valar and seize the Undying Lands, and by so doing achieve immortality. Sauron remained behind. This force was quoted by Tolkien as the 'greatest force ever assembled on Arda'. In the year 3319 of the Second Age, Ar-Pharazôn landed on the shores of Aman. As the Valar were forbidden to take direct action against Men, Manwë, chief of the Valar, called upon Eru. The Undying Lands were removed from the world forever, and the formerly flat Earth was made into a globe. Númenor was overwhelmed in the cataclysm and sank beneath the sea, killing its inhabitants, including the body of Sauron who was thereby robbed of his ability to assume fair and charming forms, forever appearing in the form of a Dark Lord thereafter.

The Great Armament was the armada of warships and military forces prepared by the last King of Númenor, Ar-Pharazôn, for the purpose of invading the land of Aman to challenge the Lords of the West.

In S.A. 3261 Ar-Pharazôn invaded Middle-earth; by the following year Sauron submitted to him and was taken as prisoner to Númenor. Over the course of the next 48 years Sauron gradually seduced and corrupted the King and the majority of the Númenóreans. Feeling the coming of death, in S.A. 3310 Ar-Pharazôn initiated the construction of the Great Armament.

When preparation of the Armament became apparent, Amandil became dismayed and attempted to sail into the West to beseech the Valar for mercy and deliverance from Sauron. His mission failed and he was never heard from again.

For nine years Ar-Pharazôn amassed his strength in the havens of western Númenor while Elendil, Amandil's son gathered a small fleet of ships in the east that held the wives and children of the Faithful as well as their heirlooms and a store of goods. In secret the ship of Isildur, Elendil's son, also held a scion of Nimloth, the white tree.

As the Armament proceeded, omens appeared from the West – at first great clouds appeared in the shape of vast eagles, spreading darkness upon the land. As men hardened their hearts the clouds issued lightning that slew men, with one bolt smiting the dome of the Temple that Sauron had caused to be built in the city of Armenelos. Earthquakes shook Númenor and smoke poured from the summit of the Meneltarma, yet Ar-Pharazôn pushed all the more to complete his Armament.

Finally, in S.A. 3319, the King boarded his flagship Alcarondas and led the armada into the West. So vast was the Númenórean fleet that it surrounded all of Tol Eressëa. Coming upon the silent shores of Valinor, Ar-Pharazôn almost wavered but his pride won out - he landed and claimed the land for his own. Manwë then called upon Ilúvatar who put forth his power: The world was changed with a vast chasm rending the sea between Númenor and the Deathless Lands. The ships of the Great Armament were swallowed into the abyss while Ar-Pharazôn and his followers upon the shore were buried under falling hills.

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The inhabitants of Númenor, usually called the Númenóreans or Men of the West, were descended from the Edain, a group of Men that dwelt in the north-west of Middle-earth and became the most advanced mortal culture. After their settlement in the isle, their knowledge and skills were further developed through the teaching of the Valar and of the Elves of Tol Eressëa.

The majority of the Númenóreans, descended from the original Folk of Hador, were fair-haired and blue-eyed. The settlers of the western regions, especially of the Andustar, came mostly from the Folk of Bëor, resulting in their darker hair and grey eyes. It is also recorded that a few remnants of the Folk of Haleth had journeyed to Númenor, and that they were accompanied by several families of the Drúedain. The latter, though at first increased in number, departed back to Middle-earth over time.

As a result, the common language of the Númenóreans — Adûnaic — was mainly derived from the speech of the Hadorians. According to some of Tolkien's writings, the descendants of the people of Bëor spoke an accented form of Adûnaic, while in others it is stated that they had dropped their own tongue before coming to the island and used the Grey-elven Sindarin as daily speech in Númenor. All texts, however, agree that Sindarin was known to the majority of the Númenóreans, and was widely used in noble families; the latter also knew the High-elven Quenya, employing it in "official documents", works of lore and nomenclature. The situation changed when the friendship with the Elves was broken. The usage of both Sindarin and Quenya gradually lessened, until at last King Ar-Adûnakhôr forbade to teach them, and the knowledge of the Elven-tongues was only preserved by the Faithful.

The Númenóreans were extremely skilled in many arts, but in later centuries their chief industries were shipbuilding and sea-craft. They became great mariners, exploring the world in all directions save for the west, where the Ban of the Valar was in force. They often travelled to the shores of Middle-earth, teaching the men there the arts and crafts, and they introduced farming to improve their everyday lives.

The Númenóreans, too, became skilled in husbandry, breeding great horses that roamed the open plains of Mittalmar.
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Numenor History

The island was brought up from the sea as a gift from the Valar to the Edain, the Fathers of Men who had stood with the Elves of Beleriand against Morgoth in the War of the Jewels. Númenor was meant to be a “rest after the war” for the Edain. Early in the Second Age the greater part of those Edain that survive their defeat from Morgoth journeyed to the isle, sailing in ships provided by the Elves. The realm was officially established in S.A. 32, and Elros Half-elven, son of Earendil, and brother of Elrond and descendant of all the royal houses of Elves and Edain, became the first King of Númenor. Under his rule, and those of his descendants, the Númenóreans rose to become a powerful people. The first ships sailed from Númenor to Middle-earth in the year 600 of the Second Age.

The Númenóreans were forbidden by the Valar from sailing so far westward that Númenor was no longer visible, for fear that they would come upon the Undying Lands, to which Men could not come. For a long time, Númenor remained friendly with the Elves, both of Eressëa and of Middle-earth, and between S.A. 1693-1700, they assisted Gil-galad in the War of the Elves and Sauron, which broke out after the forging of the Great Rings, in particular the One Ring. King Tar-Minastir and the forces of Númenor were without peer in war, and together with the Elves, they were able to temporarily defeat Sauron. Over time the Númenóreans became jealous of the Elves for their immortality, and began to resent the Ban of the Valar and to rebel against their authority, seeking the everlasting life that they believed was begrudged them.They tried to compensate for this by going eastward and colonizing large parts of Middle-earth, first in a friendly manner, but later as cruel tyrants.

Soon the Númenóreans came to rule a great coastal empire that had no rival. Few (the “Faithful”) remained loyal to the Valar and friendly to the Elves. In the year 3255 of the Second Age, the 25th king, Ar Pharazon, sailed to Middle-earth and landed at Umbar. Seeing the might of Númenor, Sauron’s armies fled and Sauron surrendered without a fight. He was brought back to Númenor as a prisoner but he soon became an advisor to the king and promised the Númenóreans eternal life if they worshipped Melkor. With Sauron as his advisor, Ar-Pharazôn had a 500-foot (150 m) tall temple to Melkor erected, in which he offered human sacrifices to Melkor (those selected to be sacrificed were Elendili, Númenóreans who were still faithful to the Elves). During this time, the White Tree Nimloth, which stood before the King’s House in Armenelos and whose fate was said to be tied to the line of kings, was chopped down and burned as a sacrifice to Melkor at Sauron’s direction.

Isildur heroically and at great personal risk, rescued a fruit of the tree which became the White Tree of Gondor,  preserving the ancient line of trees. Prompted by Sauron and fearing death and old age, Ar-Pharazôn built a great armada and set sail into the West to make war upon the Valar and seize the Undying Lands, and by so doing achieve immortality. Sauron remained behind.

In the year 3319 of the Second Age, Ar-Pharazôn landed on the shores of Aman. As the Valar were forbidden to take direct action against Men, Manwe, chief of the Valar, called upon Eru. The Undying Lands were removed from the world forever, and the formerly flat earth was made into a globe. Númenor was overwhelmed in the cataclysm and sank beneath the sea, killing its inhabitants, including the body of Sauron who was thereby robbed of his ability to assume fair and charming forms, forever appearing in the form of a Dark Lord thereafter. Elendil son of the leader of the Faithful during the reign of Ar-Pharazôn, his sons and his followers had foreseen the disaster that was to befall Númenor, and they had set sail in nine ships before the island fell. They landed in Middle-earth and founded the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor. The downfall of Númenor was said to be the second fall of Men, the first being when Men first awoke and fell swiftly under the dominion of Morgoth.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Technology of Numenor


If we try to visualize Númenor during the last days, what would the technological level of the country be like? We do know that Sauron taught them a lot of things.

The HOME books have descriptions of Númenor being an industrial nation with steam-punk technology such as metal ships and even missiles:

"The teaching of Sauron has led to the invention of ships of metal that traverse the seas without sails, but which are hideous in the eyes of those who have not abandoned or forgotten Tol Eressea; to the building of grim fortresses and unlovely towers; and to missiles that pass with a noise like thunder to strike their targets many miles away."

(History of Middle-earth 5)
“Our ships go now without the wind, and many are made of metal that sheareth rocks, and they sink not in calm or storm; but they are no longer fair to look upon. But our shields are impenetrable, our swords cannot be withstood, our darts are like thunder and pass over leagues unerring.”

(Again, History of Middle-earth 5)
It seems that the steam-powered ships of metal were dropped in the Silmarillion version (which is the "final version", for all intents and purposes), where the ships are obviously wooden and use sails:
“..., and they [the fleets of the Númenóreans] were like an archipelago of a thousand isles; their masts were as a forest upon the mountains, and their sails like a brooding cloud; ... Then Ar-Pharazôn hardened his heart, and he went aboard his mighty ship, Alcarondas, Castle of the Sea. Many-oared it was and many-masted, golden and sable; ...

In the end, it seems like Tolkien dropped the idea of Númenor being a steam-powered high-tech state, and instead made it a pre-modern society. But it must have been the most advanced pre-industrial realm possible, since the author tells us that the natives of Middle-earth often mistook them for gods, and we know they created some pretty awe-inspiring architectural works (Isengard, Minas Tirith, Argonath, etc) in Middle-Earth even after their downfall.

If looking only by Silmarillion, Akallabeth, we are told that during Sauron's stay at Numenor they “devised engines" whatever that means, evidently some Numenoreans were practicing alchemy (shown in Faramir's words “withered men compounding strong elixirs") and alchemy leads sometimes to discoveries in the chemistry, their engineering knowledge too would be impressive, even such construction feats as giant bridge of Osgiliath (with Dome of Stars), Kings House on arches on Anduin river, Isengard and Hornburg, Argonath, Minas Ithil and Minas Anor (Tirith), massive bridge of Tharbad, made in times of Gondor indicated that Numenor was full of such massive buildings. If only smaller part of their knowledge was saved from the cataclysm it would lead to interesting speculations, what they were capable of, maybe they built in Numenor great archologies, cities where nature and technology were in unity due to elvish sensibilities. Elves taught them much and cultivated gardens in the central lands of the island. Armenelos must have been truly magnificent. In metallurgy and weapon making they were superior to any other human nation but not as great as elven or dwarven work. Here there are also those spells “for the bane of Mordor", we know that by some art the daggers were not rusting after thousands of years and remained incredibly sharp able to pierce trolls hide with ease (trolls skin is so hard that average sword can bounce off it, it requires a lot of strength to harm a troll with usual weapons, Barrow Downs daggers were made in Arnor but knowledge definitely came from Numenor), also medicine was advanced, they were able to make invigorating draughts and food stuff with the qualities of lembas and miruvor (by the way this vitality drink was also made by orcs but with less potency), extremely useful for armies. Only small fracture of old lore survived to Third Age in Houses of Healing.

How big could have been their ships, probably massive as everything else, one of the ships of Aldarion was called popularly Wooden Whale so its size definitely was impressive. Not much of other things is known, it is my own speculation but maybe they also knew physics (actually optics) Saruman said that white light can be broken I can imagine that such basic knowledge was known to advanced Numenor civilization (elves probably too know it, and could teach the Numenoreans during their visits) elves knew how to make glass, so maybe they made lenses (telescopes maybe as we have a reference to astronomy or astrology, ”in high cold towers asked questions of the stars"). Who knows, maybe Feanor's crystals that showed things from far away were not only Palantir but also more mundane optic devices and this knowledge could have come to Numenor.

About the elves in Numenor it's written in Unfinished Tales, the elves of Tol Eressea came often with visit and brought much of the fauna and flora to the island and we know how elves are great in agriculture and gardening :) Gildor Inglorion company had fruits larger and tastier than anything that could be found in the best tended gardens. The description of Numenor in Unfinished Tales tells something about the environment of the island and its resources. Elves brought many species like: kirinki (small scarlet birds), seven kinds of Fragrant Trees (I don't remember all their names, one that comes to mind is Oiolare which bough was taken as a sign of good fortune on the prows of ships).

Also there is a reference in Akallabeth (and Lotr) that Numenoreans were able to embalm the corpses of their dead. So human anatomy in medical science would be well known (not to mention the required use of chemistry and thanatology). Probably Numenoreans also had some skill in mining, smelting and refining various ores if indeed they had mithril there on the island (in this one case they would come pretty close to dwarven abilities if in the purpose of processing mithril is required some higher technology, but I assume there was rather small amount of it, the island was stated to be rather poor in precious metals, before they started to get profits from colonial empire).

Their buildings are always large in scale:
“But Sauron caused to be built upon a hill in the midst of the city of Numenoreans, Armenelos the Golden, a mighty temple; and it was in the form of a circle at the base, and there the walls were fifty feet in thickness, and the width of the base was five hundred feet across the center, and the walls rose from the ground five hundred feet, and they were crowned with a mighty dome. And the dome was roofed all with silver, and rose glittering in the sun, so that the light of it could be seen from afar off; but soon the light was darkened, and the silver became black. For there was an altar of fire in the midst of the temple, and in the topmost of the dome there was a lover, whence there issued a great smoke."

Well this particular building was built by the will of Sauron and was not typical for Armenelos architecture but judging by the height of later monumental structures: Minas Tirith (about 1000 ft) they sure know how to show off with construction feats. King's Palace would be much greater than this temple (and the city existed for thousands of years before Sauron even got there). What style the building would have? Hard to guess, but certainly there were made from stone delivered from stone-quarries near city of Ondosto (it must have been quite thriving industry, constantly providing building materials).

Those engines mentioned in my previous post made me wonder, some machinery was definitely involved so the bits of text about metal ships going without wind might be considered as part of the technology after all (those ships would also perished in the cataclysm along with knowledge of their making so nobody could make another one, in fact Faithful would probably despise the very idea for it would mean using Sauron's knowledge, Akallabeth mentions that ships of Great Armament had sails and many oars but it doesn't exclude the possibility that such ships were build).

As for magic I think that there indeed was present in Numenorean lives, they themselves were granted with special gifts which made this nation very elf-like if you know what I mean. Their craft is one thing but such abilities like Denethor possessed thanks to the blood of Numenor “he can perceive if he bends his will thither much of what is passing in the minds of men" and there is told that in Numenor “and it is said in old tales that where there was great love between men and women and their favourite steeds they could be summoned at need by thought alone." The enchanted blades too seem to confirm that these people possessed certain powers (like elves and dwarves).

Possibly a hint about Numenorean engineering in book two, where we get this part about Minas Morgul:

"Paler indeed than the moon ailing in some slow eclipse was the light of it now, wavering and blowing like a noisome exhalation of decay, a corpse-light, and a light that illuminated nothing. In the walls and tower windows showed, like countless black holes looking inward into emptiness; but the topmost course of the tower revolved slowly, first one way and then another, as a huge ghostly head leering into the night."

I imagine that the Numenoreans who built Minas Ithil used this type of pre-modern engineering, with hydraulics and massive gears, to make the top of the tower rotate around.

The line in The Lost Road maybe hints that Sauron improved their normal weapons, as well as inventing new ones: "But our shields are impenetrable, our swords cannot be withstood, our darts are like thunder and pass over leagues unerring."

These “darts like thunder" might have been a reference to firearms (nothing too fancy, artillery cannons, not personal guns, or it's just super boosted catapult :) Numenoreans earlier were known for long range weapons (bows of hollow steel, by the way, man how strong they must have been to draw one) so it would be perverted form of their previous style of fighting. About material knowledge from Sauron, metallurgy for one such as him should have no secrets, new alloys, better quality steel who knows. By the way I tried to find out what metals besides the precious ones (and imaginary) were known to inhabitants of Arda, not much, so let's list them: iron (obviously, copper, bronze and steel alloys by extension, tin and lead. In metalwork Dark Lord could probably surpass the best elven and dwarven smiths (the reference to them mining coal made me wonder whether they possessed technology to properly refine steel using coal in production instead of a standard charcoal, and that technology appeared about 1780)

Sauron's “help" would be much admired, like the one thing with “defying lightning" so they would call him god and I bet he would use some of his skill in manufacturing showing that his creations are better. Besides other more flashy examples of his innate power he would present his solutions for doing things “better and faster" as Ted Sandyman thought about this large, fully mechanized mill which turned out to be something more sinister, poisoning the river (after being fooled by Saruman, Sandyman allowed to build new mill destroying the old one). Dominating others through display of power and higher knowledge was always Sauron's forte. From his association with fire Sauron could probably bring temperatures impossible to achieve in normal furnaces and have more pure metal from ore, not to mention possible sorcery involved giving new unknown qualities, evil enchantments on first look useful. From the information we have about battering ram Grond we know it had “spells of ruin" on it.
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