Aka: The Secondborn; the Younger Children; the Children of the Sun; Mortals (Q. Fírimar”); Atani (sing. Atan ); Hildor (Q. Followers”); Apanónar(Q. After-born”); Engwar (Q. Sickly”); the Usurpers; the Strangers; the Inscrutable; the Self- cursed; the Heavy-handed; the Night-fearers; etc.

At the first rising of the Sun the Younger Children of Ilúvatar awoke in the land of Hildorien in the eastward regions of Middle-earth; but the first Sun arose in the West, and the opening eyes of Men were turned towards it, and their feet as they wandered over the Earth for the most part strayed that way.”
(Sil, p. 119.)

An Overview of Man

The Elves (Quendi), who were the Firstborn, called Men the Atani, or Secondborn, or the Apanónar, the After-born. They also named them the Children of the Sun; for, to the Elves, the Sun itself was a new star in the age-old sky, and Men awoke in the light of its birth. Mankind was always most comforted by the great orb’s golden rays. For that reason, Men also earned the appellation Night-fearers, since they trembled in the gentle starlight which set Elves and Orcs most at ease.

The greater lore of the Elves sometimes counted Men as the Hildor, the Followers (although this more properly refers to those who entered Beleriand). After their first, short generation in Arda, however, the Quendi perceived the Secondborn’s strange and weak nature. Thus, Men were deemed Engwar, the Sickly; and Fírimar, the Mortals. In time, the passing of unkind Men, unkind deeds, and unkind circumstances gave birth to other names: The Strangers, the Usurpers, the Self-cursed, and the Heavy-handed. They were also called the Inscrutable.

The Nature of Men

Called the Younger Children of Eru, or the Secondborn, Men were created after the noble Elves. They appeared to be the least of Eru’s intelligent creations, for their spirits embodied much less strength than those of the Ainur (i.e., the Valar and Maïar) and, in contrast to Elves and Dwarves, they were short-lived and vulnerable to all the hardships of life: disease, poison, and the weather. Men bore the memories of their many struggles not only in their minds and hearts, but also in the scars on their bodies. In form and face, they lacked the great beauty of the Eldar and enjoyed nothing of the glory of the Calaquendi. Compared to the great magics, cultures, skills, and refinements of the Elves and Dwarves, the works of Men seemed pitiable and primitive.

Yet, for all this, they were the best loved by Eru. He made them alone at the first rising of the Sun. No Vala shared in their birth, no Eldar beheld their creation, and no Maia represented them as their special patron. And He gave to them a unique gift, first thought by their immortal older brothers, the Elves, to be a curse: death. Men died as a matter of course, without violence, without calamity, simply by the passing of years and the wearing-out of their bodies.

Death was Eru’s blessing, though, for it left Men unshackled by fate and destiny — as were the Elves, who often suffered from the burden of a preordained doom. The Firstborn, while immortal of body, wearied in spirit over the course of ages, but the spirits of the Secondborn burned with a passion for life and a need to savor each precious moment. No undying Elf could understand the desperate but energetic nature of mortal Men.

Most importantly, Eru’s gift created a mystery that shrouded the most fundamental aspect of the nature of Men: their eternal destiny. The ultimate fate of a Man’s spirit was unknown, even to the Valar (save Námo). Men did not, at the end of their brief lifespans, come to dwell in the Undying Lands of Aman. Instead, their souls passed beyond Arda, finding eternity cradled in the welcoming arms of the One. The Secondborn resided with and in Eru, rather than walking in the lesser glory of the Valar. Such is the great Gift of Death, Eru’s bequest to His Younger Children.

A Brief History of Men

The first of Men, the Elder Lords, the friends of Quendi and Ulmo, were called Atanatári; the Fathers of Men. They awoke with the Sun in eastern Middle-earth, during the Second Spring of Arda, and their coming signaled a change in Arda. The Years of the Sun burned with a bright light and passed quickly. Life abounded — rising, aging, changing, and dying as never before — and Endor’s air grew heavy with a sense of birth and rebirth. The unhurried, placid Years of the Trees became a gentle memory, and the Long Night that gripped the world ended in the splendid dawn.

Arda and the First Sunrise

During the Sunless Year that followed the death of the Two Trees of Valinor, only Ulmo, the capricious master of the waters, kept watch on the Middle Land. He gleaned knowledge from the oceans that surrounded Endor’s shores, and the waters that ran through and beneath its fields. This knowledge came to Aman and the other Valar, but their thoughts turned away from Middle-earth. They left the proud, cursed Noldor to their doom.

As the Sun first crossed the sky above Middle-earth, the Valar resided in Aman, behind the sheer mountain walls of Pelóri. They guarded their land from the ravages of their fallen brother, Morgoth. Leaving a sleepless watch at Calacirya, the only unclosed pass into Aman, they shut the Undying Lands to all but those Faithful Elves who were capable of crossing the bewitching storms and shadows of the Great Sea between Endor and Arda. The Powers entrusted with Arda’s wardship neglected their appointed cause, while the Black Enemy extended his terror in Middle-earth. Noldor courage stood as the only obstacle to Morgoth’s victory. There was little hope beneath the first sunrise.

The Birth of Man

It was then that Mankind awoke in number. Gathering in Hildorien (Q. Land of the Followers”) — beneath the eastern face of the Mountains of the Wind and beside the cool waters of the Encircling Sea— they rose from their short slumber. No Vala or Elf beheld their wakening, for their coming was the thought and the pleasure of their Father Eru. He smiled down on his Younger Children, alone and joyful, knowing that their birth brought new hope. Men marked a new beginning, one which was not tied to the destiny that rang in the Song of Creation, but to bound to Him alone.

As the Sun journeyed westward, most Men turned their eyes inland and followed the beacon of the day star. They went into the West through the great passes to the north and south of the Orosúli, taking countless tracks and trails through the forests, over the hills and across the grasslands of eastern Endor. Their tribes moved, multiplied, and settled, laying claim to Middle-earth.

No Vala came to guide Men out of Hildorien, as did Oromë for the Eldar. The Powers never summoned the Secondborn to Valinor, for they were as yet unknowing, and Aman remained the domain of the undying. Instead, Men walked on their own.

Henceforth most Men never knew of the real nature of the Valar, and never shared the close bond that bound the Eldar to the Lords of Aman. Just as Men were initially hidden from the Ainur, the Powers remained beyond the knowledge of the Secondborn, and those that encountered the hand of the Powers suspected their purpose and feared their presence.

However, Ulmo cared for the Younger Children and sought to guide the counsel and understanding of his King, Manwë. The Ocean Lord also spoke to Men, conversing through the waters: in streams and floods and by the sea. Still, before the Secondborn met the Elves, they could hardly understand Ulmo’s voice, or discern his impassioned message.

The First Encounters With the Avari

It was inevitable, though, that Men would meet the Quendi, for the Elves lived throughout Middle-earth, and numerous groups of Avari (Q, Refusers”) resided in the East, Men marveled at the Firstborn, who looked much like themselves but possessed a fine culture and spoke with words rather than communicating by simple gestures. Although they initially shied away from the knowing Quendi, many of the Younger Children discovered and mastered speech, and some Men even befriended their teachers. Wild Men, on the other hand, shunned the Firstborn and made war on their brethren. Morgoth seduced many of their tribes, since fear and superstition guided their ways.

Of those who did develop a friendship with the Elves, most de-vised their own cultures and founded their own realms. Some began to use their new-found knowledge to exploit or subjugate less fortunate peoples; such is the way with Men. Others learned of the tales of the Eldar and the Great Journey and resolved to trace the route of the three Elda kindreds. Their adventurous spirit led the way to the first sundering of the Secondborn.

The First Sundering of Men

This split amongst the Hildor occurred between the Lintador and the Aravador: the swift” groups who went into the Far West and entered Beleriand, and the slow” races who settled in other areas of Middle-earth or migrated into the West after the Elder Days. Among the Lintador, were the Edain, the Arhûnedain (the ancient Easterlings) or (later) Arhûnerim, and the Drúedain (the Woses or Drûgs). Aravador peoples included, among others, the Avarim (later Avaredain) or Womaw, the Hamerim (Southrons), the Momerim (Northrons), the Talatherim (Plainsmen or later Easterlings), and the Linerim (eastern Lake-peoples).

Led by the Edain, the Lintador traveled northwestward, across the wide grasslands, through Rhûn, and beyond the Anduin. Traveling apart and ahead of the others, the Edain reached Eriador after three centuries. For a time, they settled in the rich hills of what would later be Arnor. Then, after prospering near Nenuial, Balan took the First House of the Edain over the Blue Mountains (S. Ered Luin”) and into fair Beleriand.

The Meeting of the Men and the Eldar

Balan’s Edain entered Beleriand during the Long Peace that followed the third war between the Elves and Morgoth, the Glorious Battle (S. Dagor Aglareb”). It was then that they encountered the Noldo King of Nargothrond, Finrod Felagund. Finrod became the first of the Eldar to behold the Younger Children of Eru. He befriended and taught these Men, who were of the First House of the Edain; and he developed a special rapport with their leader, the great Chieftain Balan, who was later called Bëor the Old.

The Three Houses of the Edain

Of the Edain or Atani, the Second-born Elf-friends,” there were three great families. The First House comprised the people of Balan, later called Bëor. The Second House was called the Haladin, and they differed in speech and life from the House of Bëor. Yet, they waited in the valleys on the eastern slopes for Balan’s couriers to send them word concerning what they would find west of Ered Luin. A year passed before they followed their brethren over the mountains.

The Third House counted the greatest numbers of the three Adan Kindreds, clans who paid homage to a mighty Chieftain called Marach. Though the Third House had begun the journey westward before the House of Balan, their numbers had slowed them, for they were careful to stay together. They arrived in Beleriand two years after the first meeting of the Eldar and the Edain.

Together, the Men of the Three Houses were called Atani (sing. Atan”), the Second People,” in the lore of Valinor. The Sindar of Beleriand named them by their own tongue, calling them the Edain (sing. Adan”), and that name only speaks of Men whose blood comes from the three Kindreds of the Elf-friends.

The End of the First Age

In the years that followed, many young and eager Edain took up service in the armies of the Elda Kings. Adan sympathies aligned against Morgoth, providing the Black Enemy with a new and vigorous adversary. Although individually weak by Elda standards, Men fought hard and many — like Barahir, Beren, Huor, Húrin, Tuor, and Turin — distinguished themselves as great heroes.

The Edain were not the only Men to enter Beleriand, however. A small group of Woses, or Drúedain, lived among the people of the Second House. They remained apart from the fighting that raged across Beleriand; but, the two huge tribes of the Swarthy Easterlings, or Arhûnedain, that arrived soon afterwards, became embroiled in the struggle. Most enlisted in the armies of Morgoth, and were known thereafter as the Arhûnerim. Beor’s valiant Clan was the only exception, for they chose to ally with the Eldar and fought on behalf of the Free Peoples.

During the dark days that concluded the First Age, the three Houses of the Edain suffered dearly. Some, like the thousand members of the First House led by Bereg, simply left Beleriand; others perished in the fighting or struggled to survive in the wilds. The Easterlings were virtually annihilated in the Fifth Battle, the last conflict before the climactic War of Wrath.

The War of Wrath, or Final Battle, ended the First Age. Morgoth was overthrown by the Host of the Valar and Arda was changed. Except for Lindon, all of Beleriand perished beneath the Great Sea. Out of the awful turmoil, the Elder Days passed and the Dark Years began.

The Second Age

The uncertain years of the Second Age saw a gradual change in the character of Middle-earth. Although many Elves, including a large number of Eldar, resided in Endor, Men began to assert themselves. Most remained ignorant and worked hard to survive, of course, but others prospered.

Of these, the Edain enjoyed the greatest glory. Settling Númenór (aka Westernesse or Andor) — the island continent that the Valar created in the midst of the Great Sea west of Middle-earth — the majority of the Edain developed a brilliant culture which was largely based on Elda teachings. They became known as the Númenóreans or the Dúnedain, the Edain of the West. In time, they sailed eastward to Endor, bringing their knowledge back to their brethren who lived near the shores.

Just before the first Dúnadan ships dropped anchor off the coasts of Middle-earth, a new Power began to stir. Sauron, Morgoth’s lieutenant, began to take shape again and over the course of the latter half of the first millennium S.A. returned to Endor. Around S.A. 1000, he occupied Mordor and began work on the Dark Tower. He then began laying plans for the conquest of the continent.

While no Men in Middle-earth possessed the knowledge and strength to defeat the Dark Lord, the Men of Westernesse challenged his rise. As the Númenóreans* power grew they began to exploit their less blessed brethren. They built a great empire and colonized much of Endor; they made war on many peoples. As their might grew, their ambitions followed and, like Sauron, the Lords of Númenór began to style themselves as the Kings of Men.

Sauron forged the One Ring around S.A. 1600, and captured the souls of nine mortal Men during the centuries that followed. They became his undying Ringwraiths, his most heinous servants. Three were fallen Númenóreans, an indication of the relative might of the Dúnedain.

Indeed, Sauron perceived the Edain of Númenór as his greatest threat, for their expansion forced him to yield the coastal regions of Middle-earth to their hegemony. Númenórean influence along the shores was preeminent. The Lord of the Rings fought the Dúnedain three times over the course of the Second Age. Númenórean intervention forced his defeat in his War Against the Elves (S.A. 1693 – 1700). Then, in S.A. 3262, he was forced to surrender before the might of Ar-Pharazôn. He was bound and taken to the Blessed Isle as a prisoner.

Sauron’s capitulation signaled the beginning of the end of Númenór. Already corrupt, the Dúnedain of Westernesse quickly fell under the Dark Lord’s influence. He played on their fears of death and convinced Ar-Pharazôn to attempt the conquest of the Undying Lands of Aman. Seeking immortality, the Númenóreans built the Great Armament, all the time believing that the mere possession of Aman conferred undying life. Their greed, hubris, and lack of faith doomed their Kingdom. As they set foot in the Undying Lands in S.A. 3319, the Valar laid down their Guardian-ship and called upon Eru to rebalance Arda. The One created a cataclysm and the Great Sea swallowed Númenór. Ar-Pharazôn and his invasion army were engulfed and destroyed.

Aside from Sauron, the Faithful Elf-friends were the only survivors of Númenór’s Downfall (A. Akallabêth”). Sailing back to Middle-earth, they founded the Kingdoms in Exile: Amor and Gondor. These Dúnadan realms, although modest by Númenórean standards, proved to be the greatest Mannish Kingdoms in Endor. As a result, they quickly came in conflict with the Dark Lord.

The third struggle between Sauron and the Dúnedain ended the Second Age. Allying with the Eldar of Middle-earth, the Dúnedain of Amor and Gondor forged the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and vanquished the Evil One in a war which cost Sauron the One Ring. The Alliance lost both its leaders, but the Evil One was forced out of Endor.

The Third Age

The dawn of the Third Age saw Men freed from the yoke of Númenórean domination and absolved of the Shadow spawned by the Lord of the Rings. Although still ignorant, they were free, and Mannish societies began to assert themselves more independently. They built new realms and expanded their holdings, warring amongst themselves. There was a mixing of races, reducing old distinctions and creating others.

As a result, the Third Age saw a great decline in the presence of non-Mannish races in Middle-earth. The Eldar departed in unprecedented numbers, while the Dwarves hid themselves or became nomadic folk. Hobbits migrated westward into the Shire of Eriador, finding comfort in their innocuous domain.

The Dúnedain continued their preeminence among Men. The sons of Isildur ruled the Northern Kingdom of Amor, while the sons of Isildur’s brother, Anárion, ruled the Southern Kingdom of Gondor. In the East and South, successors to the old Númenórean overlords carved out their own kingdoms, dominating so-called lesser Men.

Other Men, scattered throughout the world, appeared from the heart of the continent, the region once ruled by Sauron. Having had little or no exposure to the Dúnedain in Ages past, the Balchoth, Wainriders, and other Easterlings came from beyond the Sea of Rhûn to confront Gondor. Others came from the South, among them Haradrim, Black Númenóreans, and the Variags of Khand (who are accounted the most vicious Men in the world). But the Dúnedain remained strong and defeated all of their enemies.

Not all Men warred against the Dúnedain. Hiding in the forests, reclusive and shy, were the Woses — the Drúedain of old. These mystical, inscrutable, and strange people were capable of remarkable feats of hiding, nature lore, and magic, but they were overall very primitive in tongue and habit. These were shy but hardy folk, exceptionally hospitable to strangers. But they were not quick to form close bonds, and they remained increasingly hesitant about entering into the affairs of others.

In the grasslands and plateau country of south-central Endor dwelt more peaceable Horseman tribes: the Chey and the Ahar peoples. Their ancestors were the Talatherim (Plainsmen or later Easterlings) of the First and Second Ages, the same kindred who gave birth to their neighbors to the south, the surprisingly civilized mercantile races like the Shay and Chy. Many of their cities were early colonies of Númenór, port and crossroad towns that formed the foundation for the nations of the Bulchyades, Clyan, Olyas Kriis, and Codya.

In the Farthest South dwelt the myriad peoples of the Mûmakan main, many of whom suffered in the struggle between Sauron, the Númenóreans, and cults loyal to Morgoth’s ancient legacy. Most descended from the Hamerim (Southron), folk that produced the Haradrim and contributed to the blood of the Variags. They included the tall, graceful Kirani, the Tuktani, and the violent Mûmakani. Others, like the Hathorians, were alien cultures that had arrived with the Men of Númenór.

Descendants of the Avarim or Avaredain, the Womaw, dominated much of the Farthest East. They had been heavily influenced by the Avari and, like the Edain, were counted as Elf-friends (albeit by the Moriquendi). From the homeland in northeast Endor, these seafaring folks extended their domain throughout isles and along the coasts washed by the waters of the Encircling Sea. Linerim, the Lake-peoples, resided to their west, along the inland flanks of the great mountain ranges of the East.

Northrons lived in the Far North. The offspring of the ancient kindred of the Mornerim, many of whom had died in Morgoth’s Wars, they remained very distinct and quite apart from other Men. They counted, among other peoples, the Lossoth of Forochel. Their scattered, nomadic clans ruled the icy wastes, an example of how Men came to occupy the whole of Middle-earth. Indeed, by the beginning of the Third Age, they were but one of hundreds of Mannish communities, both Common Men and those derived from the early fathers of the Elf-friends, that scattered to the four comers of Endor.

The Struggle Against Sauron

With the rise of Sauron in the middle of the Third Age, most of these peoples would struggle under the Shadow. Many succumbed to their own weaknesses — fear, greed, superstition, or pride — while others resisted and were conquered by force of arms. Clever plots and overt force brought the majority of Middle-earth under the rule of the Lord of the Rings. His Nazgûl, the nine undead Mannish Kings who acted as his most powerful agents, carved the continent into their own fiefs.

One such Evil arose far in the North. Sauron’s great lieutenant, the first of the Nazgûl, grew in power in the lean and frigid lands of Angmar. He built an evil army of Orcs and creatures, the Ettenmoors Hillmen, and far-travelled Easterlings. With these hordes he warred on Amor, laying waste to the Dúnadan Kingdom. Although Angmar itself was finally broken, only a remnant of the northern Dúnedain — the noble Rangers of the North — remained to oppose the Evil One’s will. The southern Dúnedain, the Men of Gondor, appeared alone in their struggle against the Dark Lord.

As the Witch-king worked in the North a constant flow of evil barbarians swept from the South and East against Gondor. Again, there were Haradrim, Easterlings, and Variags; and to their numbers were added the Dunlendings. The Nazgûl came forth from Mordor and seized the great tower of Minas Ithil from the Gondorians. The wondrous citadel-city that stood guard over Mordor was renamed Minas Morgul, the Tower of Black Sorcery.

Against this swelling threat, though, Gondor found new allies. The Rohirrim of Rohan, the Woodmen and Beornings of Mirkwood, the Bardings of Dale, all came to the Dúnedain’s aid to fight back the evil tide sweeping their lands.

This was the setting for the War of the Ring, where Sauron with all his might attempted to wrest the Ring of Power from the Hobbits of the Shire, who by their innocence and courage eventually destroyed it The Istar (Wizard) Gandalf paved the way for the Free Peoples’ victory, removing many foes. The One King, hidden for centuries from Sauron’s machinations, was revealed and he prevailed against the Dark Armies. Sauron and his Empire of the Shadow were destroyed, marking the end of the Third Age.

The Fourth Age, the Age of Men

The return of the King brought Aragorn, son of Arathorn to the throne of both Gondor and Amor. Named Elessar, he was the true heir of Isildur, and the King of all the Dúnedain. He made the final union of the royal Mannish blood and the Elvish, for he married Arwen Undomiel, the daughter of Elrond Half-elven. They ruled together until Fourth Age 120, when he died, old and full of years.

King Elessar, by wisdom and strength, made peace with the Easterlings and the Haradrim, and under his hand began the Fourth Age: The Time of the Dominion of Men. The Dúnedain had drawn from the Elves that which was truly noble and great: love, beauty, knowledge and lore. They passed it on to their descendants.

But their victory over the Dark Years had been foreseen by Eru and He had indeed made them with that design. In purpose they were to be His and His alone. In form they were to be the ones who could endure; over whom Destiny could not make absolute claim; in whom ran the cycles of life; for whom was promised the joy and hope of eternity with Eru. Even the Valar are awed and now sing of the gifts given by the Father to Men.

Docu­ments de la section

We have chosen a limited number of Mannish characters to focus upon in some detail.

We have chosen a limited number of Mannish characters to focus upon in some detail.

The following is a series of short descriptions covering the majority of Mannish characters in the lore of Middle-earth.

The following table details the statistics covering the majority of Mannish characters in the lore of Middle-earth. As in Section 4.2, an * denotes a character created by ICE.


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