Friday, March 25, 2016

Numenor colonies

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The Númenóreans had tasted power in Middle-earth, and from that time forward they began to make permanent settlements on the western coasts [dated "c. 1800" in the Tale of Years], becoming too powerful for Sauron to attempt to move west out of Mordor for a long time.

Moreover, after Minastir the Kings became greedy of wealth and power. At first the Númenóreans had come to Middle-earth as teachers and friends of lesser Men afflicted by Sauron; but now their havens became fortresses, holding wide coastlands in subjection.

The few faithful Númenóreans were saved from the flood, and they founded the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor amongst the numerous Númenórean colonists and the natives of north-western Middle-earth.

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.

"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

A very good comparison is the real-world Age of Exploration. Here the ships also went into uncharted waters and made numerous landfalls in uninhabitated lands.

In essence, the quote does not speak of settlements (only long voyages) and the real-world explorations, it is 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.

There is no support for havens in these regions, but there is no support against also.
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. I see no reason to entirely delete it. No reset button please.
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.

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.

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"

And even until 2nd Age 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."

Note 3 to Of Aldarion and Erendis":
"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."

"The interesting times" begin when the Númenóreans go really bad, from the coronation of Ar-Gimilzôr in 3102 to the Downfall in 3319. During these two centuries, the ruling elite of Númenor openly break with the traditions of past and cut all ties with the Eldar and the Valar. Númenor is wracked by political intrigue in which egotistical noblemen vie for influence and the King's ear. The King's Men are chauvinistic and suffer from overbearing pride in their perceived superior qualities.

The King's Men have established extensive colonies in Middle-earth, while shunning its northwestern parts due to the proximity of the Elves in Lindon and Lothlórien. The closest one is Umbar (others are located further south). However, the royal authorities in Umbar are very suspicious what "those Elf-lovers" in the Anduin vale are up to. Sauron, now openly the King of Mordor, dislikes his next-door Dúnadan and Quendi neighbors, and would gladly see them crushed or expelled from the region. However, he is not yet willing to challenge the power of Númenor by a military move. He still remembers the defeat he suffered when fighting the united armies of Lindon and Númenor in Eriador around SA 1700.

Sauron assumes a stout defense of Mordor with great numbers of troops at his disposal. As the "Lord of the World" in the Second Age and with the One upon his finger, he judges the likelihood of a last stand in Mordor, with only few forces available, to be low. Since only the Númenóreans are considered serious enemies, the architecture of the forts resembles this potential enemy: To withstand the Númenórean skill in de- signing and building war machines, powerful bulwarks are necessary, sometimes even similar to modern bunkers.

In later days, in the wars upon Middle-earth, it was the bows of the Númenóreans that were most greatly feared. "The Men of the Sea," it was said, "send before them a great cloud, as a rain turned to serpents, or a black hail tipped with steel;" and in those days the great cohorts of the King's Archers used bows made of hollow steel, with black- feathered arrows a full ell long from point to notch.

When Ar-Pharazôn came to Umbar to challenge the might of Sauron, he brought with him a globe of crystal upon which he purposed to constrain his opponent to swear an oath of fealty. "For seven days he journeyed with banner and trumpet, and he came to a hill, and he went up and set there his pavilion and his throne; and he sat him down in the midst of the land.... Then he sent forth heralds, and he commanded Sauron to come before him and swear to him fealty (Sil: 270)." Ar-Pharazôn caused the crystal globe to be set in the ground before his throne. 

Ar-Pharazôn's challenge to Sauron had been over the latter's claim to the title "King of Men," and in swearing fealty to the king of Númenor (however falsely), Sauron ceded to him that prerogative of rule.
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