A History of the Númenóreans
Culture: Dúnedain, Númenóreans
Lands: Númenor, later settlements in Middle-earth
The Beginnings of the Dúnedain
The first people of the race of Men awoke in the lands of Hildórien in the eastern regions of Middle-earth. They were called many names by the Eldar Children of Ilúvatar: Atani ‘the Second People’, Hildor ‘the Followers’, Apanónar ‘the After-born’, Engwar ‘the Sickly’, and Fírimar ‘the Mortals’. Other names they were called also: Usurpers, the Strangers, the Inscrutable, the Self-cursed, the Heavy-handed, the Night-fearers and the Children of the Sun.
The fathers of Men were called the Atanatári and it was they who led their people into the north in the first days of the Sun and Moon. In the north they strayed near to the lands of Morgoth and they found a darkness there that they feared. Though Morgoth was for a time subdued due to his fear and hatred of the new lights in the world (the Sun and Moon), his emissaries were always at hand. In the coming days, Men fled the lands of the north ever heading into the west where they thought they could find peace. The first rising of the Sun occurred in the West and it was always toward this direction that Men were drawn.
The Men who made the journey from the north divided into three groups, or houses, and then came over the Blue Mountains and into Beleriand. Once in these lands they quickly made friends with the Elves who had dwelt there for many years. These houses of Elf-friends were then called the three houses of the Edain and each house served and allied itself with the kings of the Eldar. During the wars with Morgoth, these Men fought and died alongside the Elves and they earned great respect and renown. During these early days, Elves and Men were allies and held themselves akin and there were some among the mortal kindred who learned the wisdom of the Eldar and became great and valiant among the captains of the Noldor and are remembered in many tales of both kindreds.
After the War of Wrath, Morgoth was taken prisoner by the host of the Valar and was thrust out into the Void. The northern regions of the western parts of Middle-earth were covered by the sea and the hills and valleys were changed. The Elves of Beleriand were summoned to depart from Middle-earth and many of them accepted that summons and traveled to Tol Eressëa. To the people of the three houses of the Edain rich reward was also given. Eönwë, the herald of Manwë, came among them and taught them and they were given wisdom, power and long lives.
The island of Númenor
A land was made for them to dwell in; neither part of Middle-earth nor Valinor and to that land many of them sailed, following the light of the star of Eärendil. However, some to whom they were akin remained in Middle-earth.
The island was raised for them out of the Great Sea by Ossë. It was established by Aulë and enriched by Yavanna, and the Eldar brought there flowers and fountains out of Tol Eressëa. The land was shaped like a five pointed star and was called by the Valar Andor, ‘Land of Gift’. By Men it was called Elenna ‘Starwards’ or Anadûnê ‘Westernesse’, and in elven tongues it was known as Númenórë in Quenya, or Númenor in Sindarin.
The chief city and haven of Númenor was in the middle of its western coast. It was named Andunië because it faced the sunset. In the middle of the land was a great mountain called Meneltarma ‘the Pillar of Heaven’. Atop the great mountain was a hallowed place to Eru Ilúvatar where only the kings would go, and this hallowed place was the only temple in all the land. There was a tradition of bringing the “first fruits” of the year as an offering to Ilúvatar. At the feet of Meneltarma were the tombs of the kings and on a hill nearby was the city of Armenelos where dwelt the king in his citadel.
The Men who came to dwell in this land were the beginnings of the Dúnedain or the Númenóreans, the Kings of Men. Because the land of Númenor was within sight of Tol Eressëa, which was a part of the Blessed Realm, those who lived there were given a length of life triple that of other men and they knew no sickness before the shadow fell upon them. They were wise and glorious and in all things more like to the Eldar than any other of the kindreds of Men. They were taller than the tallest men of Middle-earth and the light in their eyes was like the bright stars. Their numbers increased slowly in their new land, though daughters and sons were born fairer than their parents there were still few children born to them. The people there spoke their own language, but their Kings still spoke the language of the Eldar so that they could hold converse with them. Some of their lore masters also learned Quenya and used it in tales or songs.
Númenor, Tol Eressëa, and Valinor
During this time, Valinor was still a part of the world, and from atop Meneltarma, the most farsighted of the Númenóreans could see a city shining white on the distant shore. Elves would come often to Númenor from Eressëa bearing gifts and tokens of friendship, including birds, flowers, and herbs of great virtue, as well as the Seven Seeing Stones or the Palantír. The greatest gift given to them was a seedling of the White Tree of Eressëa, Celeborn. Celeborn was itself a seedling of Galathilion, the White Tree of Tirion, which was the likeness of Telperion that Yavanna had given to the Elves in the Blessed Realm. The seedling of Celeborn was called Nimloth and it was grown in Armenelos, the city of the King. It flowered in the evening and the shadows of night were filled with its’ fragrance. Nimloth came to be a symbol of the strength and glory of the Númenóreans.
The Ban of the Valar
The Númenóreans learned how to build ships and they became great mariners and loved their sea-craft above all else. But a ban was imposed upon them by the Valar forbidding them to sail so far west that they could no longer see their own lands. The Men of Númenor did not understand the purpose of this ban, but they obeyed it anyway. Into the east they would then sail far and wide coming at times to the now forsaken Hither Lands, but always their hearts turned back to the west and their new home or beyond.
The Kings of Númenor
The Realm of Númenor began in the year 32 of the Second Age with the ascent of Elros son of Eärendil to the throne in Armenelos. Elros was the brother of Lord Elrond of Rivendell. Elrond and Elros were descended from all three houses of the Edain, the Eldar, and the Maiar. Because of the great deeds of Eärendil and Elwing they, and their sons after them, were given the ability to choose to which kindred they wished to belong. Elrond chose to abide with the Elves and he remained in Middle-earth with the High King of the Noldor, Gil-galad of Lindon. Elros chose instead to be counted among the kindred of Men, so becoming their first king in Númenor.
Elros Tar-Minyatur was the first king of the Númenóreans and he took the throne in the city of Armenelos when he was then ninety years of age. He began the tradition of the kings of taking a name in the High-elven tongue of Quenya for it was considered the noblest tongue in the world. Minyatur means ‘First Power’.
Tar-Minyatur ruled the lands of Númenor for 410 years, for to him was granted the longest life span of any mortal man. To his line also were granted lifespans longer than even other Men of Númenórean blood, at least until the shadow fell upon them.
Elros Tar-Minyatur built the Citadel and the Tower in Armenelos, but when he was 500 years old, he finally grew weary. He laid down his life and died in the year SA 442.
Vardamir Nólimon was the second King of Númenor. He took the name of Nólimon because of his love of ancient lore which he gathered from both Elves and Men.
Because his father, Elros, had lived so long and had not relinquished the sceptre of Númenor until his death, Nólimon did not ascend the throne though he was said to have ruled for one year. He instead passed the sceptre straight to his son, and ever after the tradition of the kings was to yield the kingship to their successor before death, and while the younger was ripe for the kingship. The kings of Númenor died of free will while they were still clear of mind. Vardamir Nólimon died in the year SA 417.
Tar-Amandil was the son of Vardamir Nólimon. He reigned as king for 148 years and died in the year SA 603. Amandil means ‘Blessed Friend’.
Tar-Elendil was the son of Tar-Amandil. He ruled for 150 years and died in SA 751. Elendil means ‘Elf Friend’
He was called Parmaitë for he wrote many books and legends citing the lore collected by his grandfather (Vardamir Nólimon).
Tar-Elendil married late in life and his eldest child was a daughter named Silmarien. From Silmarien came her son Valandil and thence all the Lords of Andunië on the west coast of Númenor. These folk went on to become the lords of the lands of Númenor in Middle-earth, escaping the Downfall and establishing the realms of Arnor and Gondor.
During the reign of Tar-Elendil, the Númenóreans began to sail to Middle-earth and explore the lands there. It was during the Dark Years of Men for those who still lived in Middle-earth that the Men of Númenor began to come among them. The men who had remained in Middle-earth had been forced into serving Sauron through their fear of him and the strength of his servants. However, the Númenóreans taught them many things and their fear and weakness was lessened so that they rose up against Sauron’s servants and would serve them no more. These Men looked upon the Númenóreans with reverence and called them gods. They were glad always to see the Dúnedain come, and sad to see them go, for the Men of Númenor would not stay long in the Hither Lands; they always looked back to the West and their own beautiful home.
Tar-Meneldur was the son of Tar-Elendil. He ruled for 143 years and died in SA 942. Meneldur means literally ‘Dark Heaven’.
His right name was Írimon, but he took the name of Meneldur because of his love of lore concerning the stars. Meneldur was wise, gentle and patient.
Tar-Meneldur surrendered the sceptre to his son very early for there was trouble stirring again in Middle-earth and Gil-galad, the High King of the Noldor, had become aware of it at last.
Tar-Aldarion was the son of Tar-Meneldur. He reigned for 192 years and died in SA 1098.
His real name was Anardil but he was soon known as Aldarion because he had a great love of trees, and he planted many to furnish timber for the ship-yards. He was a great mariner and he became a close friend and counselor of Gil-galad in Lindon. Because of his long journeys away from home he was separated from his wife Erendis.
Tar-Aldarion’s only child was a daughter of great beauty, Ancalimë. For her, the king changed the law of succession so that eldest daughter of the king could take the sceptre if the King had no son. This change angered some of the descendants of Elros, especially the ones who would have taken the reign had the law not been changed. Tar-Aldarion’s nephew Soronto would have taken the sceptre but instead it passed to Ancalimë.
Tar-Ancalimë was the only child and daughter of Tar-Aldarion. She ruled for 205 years, the longest save Elros only, and died in SA 1285.
She remained unwed for a long time but when she was pressed by her cousin Soronto to step down, she wed and gave birth to a son.
Tar-Ancalimë was a proud and willful queen and once her father had died she paid little heed to his policies and sent no aid to Gil-galad in Lindon. But during her lifetime the Númenóreans began to make permanent settlements in Middle-earth.
Tar-Anárion was the son of Tar-Ancalimë. He reigned for 114 years and died in SA 1404.
Tar-Súrion was the son of Tar-Anárion. He reigned for 162 years and died in SA 1574.
He took the sceptre after his two elder sisters refused. During his reign the forging of the Rings of Power was begun.
Tar-Telperien was the second Ruling Queen of Númenor and the daughter of Tar-Súrion. She ruled for 175 years and died in SA 1731. Telperien means literally ‘Thing of Silver’.
She was long lived, for the women of Númenor either had the longer life or laid down their lives less easily. She would wed no man so when she at last relinquished her life, the sceptre was passed to her nephew, the son of her sibling Isilmo.
The Shadow Begins To Take Shape Over Númenor
Tar-Minastir was the son of Isilmo and grandson of Tar-Súrion. He reigned for 138 years and died in SA 1873.
He took this name because he built a high tower upon the hill of Oromet, near to Andunië. He would spend a great deal of time high up in that tower gazing into the West. During his time, the yearning of the Númenóreans for the far West was growing though none spoke of it yet.
Also during the time of Tar-Minastir, the Rings of Power were completed and Sauron forged the One Ring in the fires of Orodruin. Barad-dûr was completed and the war between him and the Elves begun.
Sauron’s forces invaded and laid to waste first Eregion and then Eriador. Elrond fled and established Imladris during this time. Finally Tar-Minastir sent a great navy of Númenorean ships to Lindon, and with the help of Men, the Elves defeated Sauron and he was driven out of Eriador. The Númenóreans began to establish dominions along the coasts of Middle-earth as the shadow began to fall upon them in Númenor.
When Sauron learned that the Men of Númenor were settling in the lands of Middle-earth he became angry, for he hated them the Númenoreans. He remembered their friendship with the Eldar, and the alliances they had in the days of old when the Men and Elves fought together against Morgoth. Sauron learned that the Númenóreans had become great and powerful and he feared them, thinking that they may try to steal his lands. But for a long time he did not assail them and he withdrew from all of the coasts.
Tar-Ciryatan was the son of Tar-Minastir. He ruled for 160 years and died in SA 2035.
He was a mighty king but he was greedy for wealth. He built a huge fleet of royal ships and his servants brought many great gems and metals from Middle-earth. They also began to oppress the men of Middle-earth who had once held them as gods.
Before taking the sceptre, he scorned his father’s yearnings for the west and he sailed east, north, and south searching for treasures. It is said that he urged his father to give up the sceptre to him before he was ready. This was held as a sign of the coming of the Shadow upon the bliss of Númenor. More people began to whisper against the Valar in the west.
Tar-Atanamir was the son of Tar-Ciryatan. He ruled for 192 years and died in SA 2221 There are some discrepancies surrounding the dates of his taking the sceptre and his death but the date used here for his death is as set forth in Unfinished Tales
Tar-Atanamir was like his father; greedy for power and wealth, and the Men of Númenor who were in his service forced heavy tribute upon the men of the coasts of Middle-earth. At first the Númenóreans had come to Middle-earth to teach and befriend the lesser Men, who had fallen under the dominion of Sauron, but now the Númenorean havens in Middle-earth became like fortresses and they held the people of wide lands near the coasts as their subjects.
During Tar-Atanamir’s time the Shadow fell more heavily upon Númenor and people began to speak out openly against the Valar. The more joyful their lives, the more they longed for the immortality of the Eldar. Endless thoughts of death darkened the hearts of the people and “Thus it was that a shadow fell upon them; in which maybe the will of Morgoth was at work that still moved in the world. And the Númenóreans began to murmur, at first in their hearts, and then in open words, against the doom of Men, and most of all against the Ban which forbade them to sail into the West.” (The Silmarillion) Their hearts were turned against the Valar and The Eldar, but they kept this quiet for they still feared the Lords of the West, and would not yet defy them.
The people of Númenor began to divide during Atanamir’s reign into those who shared the feelings of the King (the King’s Men) and those who remained still true to the Valar and would continue to welcome the Eldar from Eressëa. These folk, who called themselves the Faithful, removed themselves to the western portions of Númenor where few of the King’s supporters would come. There a great city lay that was named Andunië, and the lords of that city were of the Line of Elros descended through Silmarien daughter of Tar-Elendil. Those lords remained always in close counsel with the king, and they revered him, but their hearts were with the Valar and Eldar, and they sought to help the Faithful when they could.
Some of the Elves who came still to Númenor heard the words of the people who supported the King and they were saddened by them. They brought the news to the Valar and Manwë was deeply grieved. He sent messengers to the Dúnedain who told those who would listen, “The Doom of the World, One alone can change who made it. And were you so to voyage that escaping all deceits and snares you came indeed to Aman, the Blessed Realm, little would it profit you. For it is not the land of Manwë that makes its people deathless, but the Deathless that dwell therein have hallowed the land; and there you would but wither and grow weary sooner, as moths in a light too strong and steadfast.” (The Silmarillion)The messenger explained to Men that, “Indeed the mind of Ilúvatar concerning you is not known to the Valar, and he has not revealed all things that are to come. … The Doom of Men, that they should depart, was at first a gift of Ilúvatar. It became a grief to them only because coming under the shadow of Morgoth it seemed to them that they were surrounded by a great darkness, of which they were afraid; and some grew willful and proud and would not yield, until life was reft from them. … Therefore, though you be the Dúnedain, fairest of Men, who escaped from the Shadow of old and fought valiantly against it, we say to you: Beware! The will of Eru may not be gainsaid; and the Valar bid you earnestly not to withhold the trust to which you are called, lest soon it become against a bond by which you are constrained.” (The Silmarillion)Tar-Atanamir heard the words of Manwë, but he gave little heed to them and most of the people of Númenor followed him.
He became known as ‘The Unwilling’ for though he lived to be a great age, he was the first of the Númenóreans to refuse to lay down his life willingly. He died only when he was unmanned and witless, so denying his son of the sceptre during the height of his days.
During the time of Tar-Atanamir, the Nazgûl first appeared in Middle-earth and became slaves to the Nine Rings. It is said that three of them were great lords of Númenórean race. When the Úlairi (Nazgûl) arose in Middle-earth so great was the terror that went before them that Sauron’s mastery over Men became great. His confidence was then vast enough that he began to assail the Númenórean strongholds in Middle-earth.
Tar-Ancalimon was the son of Tar-Atanamir. He ruled for 165 years and died in SA 2386.
His mind was much like that of his father. The rift between the larger part of the people of Númenor, the King’s Men, and the smaller part, the Faithful or Elendili ‘the Elf-friends’, grew. Many of the King’s Men began to utterly forsake the use of the Elven-tongue and they refused to teach it to their children. However, the titles for the Kings continued to be given in Quenya though, for they feared if they broke that tradition ill-fortune would fall upon them.
During his reign, the Númenóreans made a great fortress in Umbar, and in many other places in the south they would build great towers and harbours. The power and majesty of the kings increased and they clad themselves in silver and gold. But the Faithful had little part in these deeds. They returned ever to the north of the westernmost areas of Middle-earth. Coming to the lands of Gil-galad, they lent him aid against Sauron, and they made a great haven called Pelargir to where many of the Elendili moved.
The hallowed place to Eru on top of Meneltarma became nearly abandoned and the custom of carrying the first fruits of the year as an offering to him was neglected. The primary concern of Men became death. They built great tombs to rival their homes, and some tried in vain to find ways of prolonging life or reversing death.
Tar-Telemmaitë was the son of Tar-Ancalimon. He reigned for 140 years and died in SA 2526.
He was named such because of his love of silver and he sent his servants ever searching for mithril. During his time the lengths of the lives of those of the Line of Elros began to wane because of their obsessions with death and the ever-darkening shadow. The Kings Men hardened their hearts against the Valar.
Tar-Vanimeldë was the daughter of Tar-Telemmaitë. She was the third ruling queen. She reigned for 111 years and died in SA 2637.
She cared little for ruling the land, delighting rather in music and dance. The power of the sceptre was wielded instead by her husband Herucalmo. He was descended from Tar-Atanamir and when Vanimeldë died, he took the sceptre and refused to pass it to his son until his death. Most do not count him as the seventeenth Lord of Númenor though, counting rather his son who was the King by right.
Tar-Alcarin was the son of Tar-Vanimeldë and Herucalmo. He ruled as rightful king for 80 years and died in SA 2737.
The Shadow Grows Darker And Deeper Over Númenor
Tar-Calmacil was the son of Tar-Alcarin. He ruled for 88 years and died in SA 2825.
He took his name because when he was young he had been a great captain and had won large lands across the coasts of Middle-earth. In so doing, he had drawn hate from Sauron, who withdrew from the coasts and established a power base in the east far from the shores.
In the days of Calmacil, the king’s name was first spoken in Adûnaic. He was called Ar-Belzagar by the King’s Men.
Tar-Ardamin was the son of Tar-Calmacil. He ruled for 74 years and died in SA 2899.
His name in Adûnaic was Ar-Abattârik. Note: this name is not listed in Appendix A, The Númenórean Kings in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, only being found in the Line of Elros in Unfinished Tales.
Ar-Adûnakhôr was the son of either Tar-Calmacil or Tar-Ardamin. (see note in entry for Tar-Ardamin). He ruled for 63 years and died in SA 2962.
He was the first king to take the sceptre with a title in the Adûnaic tongue. However, his name is inscribed in the Scroll of Kings in Quenya as Tar-Herunúmen, for they still feared going utterly against this tradition.
Both the titles of Adûnakhôr and Herunúmen were considered blasphemous by the Faithful for they were names restricted in use for the Valar, Manwë in particular, because they meant ‘Lord of the West’.
During his reign, Elven-tongues were not used, nor permitted to be taught. However, the Faithful maintained them in secret, and only to them did the ships of Eressëa ever come, but very seldom and always in secret. Ar-Adûnakhôr began to persecute the Faithful.
Ar-Zimrathon was the son of Ar-Adûnakhôr. He ruled for 71 years and died in SA 3033.
His name is inscribed in the Scroll of Kings as Tar-Hostamir.
Ar-Sakalthôr was the son of Ar-Zimrathon. He ruled for 69 years and died in SA 3102.
His name is inscribed in the Scroll of Kings as Tar-Falassion.
Ar-Gimilzôr was the son of Ar-Sakalthôr. He reigned for 75 years and died in SA 3177.
His name is inscribed in the Scroll of Kings as Tar-Telemnar.
He was the greatest enemy of the Faithful so far. He would not allow the Elven-tongues to be spoken at all, and he forbade the Elves to come to Númenor. He also punished those who welcomed them in secret. He went never to the Hallow of Eru and he allowed Nimloth, the White Tree of Númenor to decline.
Ar-Gimilzôr took Inzilbêth to wife, who was secretly a follower of the Faithful – for her mother was of the House of the Lords of Andunië. They had two sons, the oldest of whom was much like his mother, while the younger was every bit like his father, though maybe more willful and proud. Ar-Gimilzôr would certainly have given the sceptre to his younger son if the laws would have allowed it.
Gimilzôr forced all those that he could discover of the Faithful to move their homes to where he could better watch over them. Their chief haven became Rómenna, and from there many of them would sail to Middle-earth to hold counsel with Gil-galad. The later kings knew this but they did not hinder it as long as the Faithful sailed away and did not return.
The later kings desired to break all ties with the Faithful, calling them the ‘Spies of the Valar’, for they hoped to keep all of their deeds a secret from the Powers. But, Manwë knew all that they did and he was angry. He would counsel them and protect them no longer, and the ships of Eressëa ended their sailing to Númenor.
Tar-Palantir was the son of Ar-Gimilzôr. He ruled for 78 years and died in SA 3255.
He was also given the name of Ar-Inziladûn in the Adûnaic tongue. He took his name for he was far-sighted both in eye and in mind. Even those who hated him feared his words knowing that he was a truth-seer.
Tar-Palantir repented of the ways of the previous Kings and he would have returned to friendship with the Eldar and Valar if it had not been too late. He spent a lot of time in Andunië with his mother’s kin and he would often ascend to the topmost tower there seeking for any ships of Eressëa that might have returned to them. But none came, for the hearts of most of the Númenóreans still scorned the Valar.
Tar-Palantir’s brother Gimilkhâd was like to their father and he became the leader of the King’s Men, or the King’s Party. They resisted the will of Tar-Palantir as much as they dared. Civil War came to Númenor – but it was not fought openly, only in secret.
During Palantir’s reign the Faithful had some peace and the King would return to the Hallow of Eru at the appointed times. He also tended to the White Tree for he had prophesized that when the Tree died then the line of Kings also would perish.
When Gimilkhâd died before his two hundredth year, still Tar-Palantir had no peace from the strife caused by the King’s Men. Gimilkhad’s son Pharazôn was more restless and eager for wealth than even his father before him. He had been a leader in the wars of the Númenóreans in Middle-earth as they sought to extend their dominion over the ‘lesser’ Men. Therefore when he returned to Númenor, and found his father dead, the people turned to him for he had won great renown as a Captain of great wealth.
It came then to pass that Tar-Palantir grew weary of grief for his lands and his people, and he died. He had married late in life and had only one child; a daughter named Míriel and to her now, by right, the sceptre would pass. But Pharazôn son of Gimilkhâd took Míriel to wife against her will. This was a great evil in and of itself but it was also against the laws of Númenor that any should marry closer in blood than cousins of the second degree.
Once they were wed, Pharazôn seized the sceptre and became King himself. He changed the name of Míriel to Ar-Zimraphel.
Ar-Pharazôn was the son of Gimilkhâd son of Ar-Gimilzôr. He ruled for 64 years and died in SA 3319.
Ar-Pharazôn was the mightiest, proudest, and the last King of Númenor. As he sat upon his throne in Armenelos he would brood and think of war. He learned of the strength of Sauron in Middle-earth and knew that he hated the Númenóreans above almost all else. His captains returned to him out of the east and they reported that since Pharazôn had returned to Númenor, Sauron had begun to press down upon the cities of the coasts. He had also taken a new name for himself, ‘King of Men’, and he declared that he would drive the Númenóreans into the sea and destroy Númenor itself if he could.
Ar-Pharazôn was furious at these words. All the while he sat and thought, and his heart yearned for power unbounded and the sole dominion of his will. He determined that the title of ‘King of Men’ should be his own and that Sauron should become his servant. He began to order the building of many ships and great hoards of weapons. When all was made ready he set sail himself with his host into the east.
As the ships of Ar-Pharazôn came into the east Men saw them and they were afraid. Finally the host came to the mighty Númenórean haven of Umbar. There they disembarked from their ships and marched toward the lands of Sauron. Ar-Pharazôn climbed atop a hill and sat upon a throne and waited. He sent for the heralds to call forth Sauron himself and the Dark Lord indeed came.
Sauron made no offer of battle for seeing the strength and might of the Númenóreans he knew that he could not assail them. He humbled himself before Ar-Pharazôn and smoothed his tongue and all that he said seemed fair and wise. But, the king was not yet deceived and he thought it would be better to hold Sauron captive so he could be watched. Pharazôn thought to have Sauron return with them to Númenor as a hostage. Sauron agreed to be constrained and was led over sea to the land of Númenor. His heart was glad for this was exactly what he had hoped, and when he saw the glorious lands and the great city of Armenelos he was filled with all the more hate for these Men.
Before three years had passed, Sauron had become one of the Kings chief counselors for flattery was ever on his tongue and Pharazôn in his pride and foolishness could not see his folly. Only one of the Kings aides did not trust Sauron and that was Amandil, lord of Andunië. Changes began to come over the lands, and the Faithful became afraid and many fled for Middle-earth. Those who remained watched as Sauron made arguments against the Valar and those who supported them.
Sauron spoke to Ar-Pharazôn and told him that there were many lands west of Númenor waiting to be conquered and even if the Númenóreans conquered all of those lands and seas still there was the Ancient Darkness beyond. He said, “And out of it the world was made. For Darkness alone is worshipful, and the Lord thereof may yet make other worlds to be gifts to those that serve him, so that the increase of their power shall find no end.” (The Silmarillion) Pharazôn asked who the Lord of Darkness was, and Sauron replied “It is he whose name is not now spoken; for the Valar have deceived you concerning him putting forward the name of Eru, a phantom devised in the folly of their hearts, seeking to enchain Men in servitude to themselves. For they are the oracle of this Eru, which speaks only what they will. But he that is their master shall yet prevail, and he will deliver you from this phantom; and his name if Melkor, Lord of All, Giver of Freedom, and he shall make you stronger than they.” (The Silmarillion) Then Ar-Pharazôn began to worship Melkor – at first in secret, but soon openly and in the face of his people. They followed him for the most part, save only the Faithful.
During these times, the Faithful lived in the city of Rómenna and a country nearby. They were led by Amandil, counselor of the King, and his son Elendil. Elendil’s sons were Isildur and Anárion – then only young men. Amandil and Elendil were great ship captains and were of the Line of Elros, though not of the ruling house. Though Amandil was of the Elf-friends, he remained in the counsels of Ar-Pharazôn until he was dismissed at Sauron’s bidding. He then drew all of the Faithful to him in Rómenna for he feared what evil was to come. He was so mighty a captain and was so noble that many followed him, and neither the King nor Sauron dared to lay hands on him.
Ar-Pharazôn had utterly abandoned the Hallow of Eru atop Meneltarma and he would let no man ascend to it, not even the Faithful. Sauron then counseled that he should destroy Nimloth, the White Tree of Númenor, but at first the King refused for he feared the words of Tar-Palantir, which had said that when the White Tree was dead so would the Line of Elros fail.
When Amandil heard that the King was considering destroying Nimloth, he was grieved. He told the tale of the Two Trees of Valinor to Elendil and his sons, and then Isildur did a deed for which he was afterwards renowned. He snuck off disguised to the court of Armenelos where it was forbidden that any should go. Isildur passed through the guards and took a fruit that hung from the tree. As he turned to go, the guard spotted him and Isildur fought him and received many wounds. He escaped and because of his disguise no one knew who had come to the Tree. He made it back to Rómenna and handed to his grandfather the fruit before he lay down and his strength failed him. Amandil planted the fruit in secret and blessed it and it began to sprout in the spring. When its first leaf opened, Isildur awoke finally, for he had come near to death, and was troubled by his wounds no more.
After the assault on the White Tree, Ar-Pharazôn yielded to Sauron’s counsel and he felled Nimloth and turned utterly away from the allegiance of his fathers. Sauron then built a temple atop a great hill in the midst of the city of Armenelos, and it was a great place of worship for Melkor. There was an altar of fire in the midst of the temple and in the top of the great black dome was a louvre out of which issued black smoke. The first thing to be kindled there was the remains of the White Tree and after that a cloud of smoke lay over the land for seven days until it slowly passed into the west.
Thereafter smoke went up ceaselessly “and in that temple, with spilling of blood and torment and great wickedness, men made sacrifice to Melkor that he should release them from death. And most often among the Faithful they chose their victims…” (The Silmarillion) But death did not desert them as they hoped, in fact it came sooner and more often. Whereas upon a time Men had grown old slowly and had simply laid their lives down and died peacefully, now madness and sickness would assail them. Men began to take weapons and slay one another for little cause, as they were now quick to anger. Sauron would go often amongst them and pit one against the other.
The Downfall Of Númenor
But for all this madness, the Númenóreans still increased in power. They would sail to Middle-earth where they would hunt the ‘lesser’ Men and steal from them. Some they even brought back to Númenor to sacrifice upon their great altar. Ar-Pharazôn grew to be the greatest tyrant since the time of Morgoth, though in truth Sauron ruled from behind the throne. The years passed and finally Ar-Pharazôn felt the shadow of his death approaching and Sauron deemed that the time had come for his greatest plan.
Sauron told the king that now his power was so great that the time was ripe for him to have anything that he could desire, and no longer be subject to any command or ban. Sauron said, “The Valar have possessed themselves of the land where there is no death; and they lie to you concerning it, hiding it as best they may, because of their avarice, and their fear lest the Kings of Men should wrest from them the deathless realm and rule the world in their stead. And though, doubtless, the gift of life unending is not for all, but only for such as are worthy, being men of might and pride and great lineage, yet against all justice is it done that this gift, which is his due, should be withheld from the King of Kings, Ar-Pharazôn, mightiest of the sons of Earth, to whom Manwë alone can be compared, if even he. But great kings do not brook denials, and take what is their due.” (The Silmarillion) Playing on the pride of Ar-Pharazôn, Sauron convinced the man that he should sail against the Valar. The king began to make plans and prepare in secret for war, but he could not keep his doings hidden from all.
Amandil, lord of Andunië learned of the kings purposes and he spoke then to Elendil his son, “The days are dark, and there is no hope for Men, for the Faithful are few. Therefore I am minded to try that counsel which our forefather Eärendil took of old, to sail into the West, be there ban or no, and to speak to the Valar, even to Manwë himself, if may be, and beseech his aid ere all is lost.” (The Silmarillion) Elendil asked what would happen to their people when the king learned where he had gone and to that Amandil said, “It must not become known. I will prepare my going in secret, and I will set sail into the east, whither daily ships depart from our havens; and thereafter, as wind and chance may allow, I will go about, through south or north, back into the west, and seek what I may find…” (The Silmarillion) He bid Elendil to ready ships for their people and to wait in the harbour of Rómenna and should any ask, he should say that they purpose to follow Amandil into the east. Few of the King’s Men would miss any of the Faithful.
So Amandil set sail with three of his servants and was never seen or heard from again. Elendil did as he was asked and the ships of the Faithful were arrayed off the eastern coast of Númenor. Into those ships they put their women, children, and a great many heirlooms of their people. They had the Seven Seeing Stones, given to them by the Eldar, divided between the ships of Elendil, Isildur, and Anárion; and in Isildur’s ship also was the tiny scion of the White Tree of Númenor, Nimloth. They meddled not in the affairs of the King’s Men who were gathering their fleets on the western shore of Númenor. Elendil would journey in secret to those western shores and he looked always west hoping against hope to see his father returning, but he did not come.
For a long time the weather of Númenor had been always suited to the needs and likes of the Men who lived there. It rained when needed and only just enough, and the sun would shine down sometimes warm, sometimes cool, and the breeze coming out of the west was filled with the sweet fragrance of ripe blooms. But all was now changed and foul weather plagued the land. There were terrible rains, and hail fell from a darkened sky. Violent winds made the sea tumultuous. At times a great cloud would come from the west in the shape of an eagle and it would blot out the sunset. Some of these eagle shapes carried lightning under their wings and thunder would echo between sea and cloud. Seeing these shapes like the Eagles of Manwë fly across the sky made some Men afraid, and they would repent for a time, but most hardened their hearts more against the Valar, feeling that they were striking first, and they awaited only their chance to strike their own blow.
During this time, lightning increased and some Men were struck by it and killed. A great bolt hit the dome of the temple of Melkor, and it was broken and wreathed in flame. But the temple itself stood strong and Sauron stood inside it atop a pinnacle and he defied the lightning and was unharmed. Men began to think him a god and they did all that he said, and so when their last warning came to them in the form of a great rumbling and shaking of the land, and a smoke issuing from Meneltarma, they ignored it and Ar-Pharazôn continued his battle readying.
The fleets of the King’s Men were now grown great and they were arrayed along the western coasts. Their banners were golden and black and their masts were like a forest upon the mountains. They just waited for Ar-Pharazôn to give word as Sauron went to the temple and had men bring him victims to be burned.
Then as day fell the Eagles of Manwë came out of the west and they were arrayed as for battle. The west burned red behind the great host of Eagles and their wings were lit with fire. All of Númenor was lit by the wrath of the west and so Ar-Pharazôn deemed that his time had come. He boarded his ship, called Alcarondas, ‘the Castle of the Sea’, and the fleets moved against the menace of the West. Those who remained in Númenor watched them go until they disappeared from sight. In the morning they were gone, for a great wind had come out of the east and had borne them toward the Deathless Lands where they wished to wrest from those who lived there their everlasting life.
The fleets of Ar-Pharazôn were seen by those who dwelt on Eressëa and the Eldar there mourned. At last the king came even to Aman and he almost turned back as doom hung by a thread. But pride was now his master and he stepped onto the shore and claimed all the lands as his own as the silence hung overhead. A host of Númenóreans camped that night all about Túna from where the Eldar had fled.
Then Manwë called upon Ilúvatar and the Valar laid down their government of Arda. Ilúvatar showed forth his power and he changed the world forever. A great chasm opened between Númenor and Aman and all the ships of the fleet of the Númenóreans were drawn down into it and were swallowed up. Pharazôn, and all of his warriors who had dared to step foot on Aman, were buried under falling hills, and it is said that they lie imprisoned there in the Caves of the Forgotten until the Last Battle and the Day of Doom. Aman and Eressëa were taken away into the mists and Númenor was utterly destroyed along with all who remained therein. Ilúvatar cast back the great seas west of Middle-earth and the Empty Lands east of it and the world was diminished.
“But whether or no it were that Amandil came indeed to Valinor and Manwë hearkened to his prayer, by the grace of the Valar Elendil and his sons and their people were spared from the ruin of that day.” (The Silmarillion) When the great wave rolled over the land and Númenor fell, a wind came out of the west and sent the ships of the Faithful toward Middle-earth. There were nine ships in total: 4 for Elendil, 3 for Isildur, and 2 for Anárion. However, their masts were broken and they could not control where they sailed. When they finally arrived in Middle-earth, Elendil and his sons established kingdoms there, and though they were but an echo of the greatness of Númenor, they still seemed very great to the Men of Middle-earth.
Sauron had remained behind when Ar-Pharazôn sailed to Aman and he sat upon his black seat in the midst of the temple. He laughed when he heard the trumpets of Ar-Pharazôn, and again when he heard the thunder of the coming storm, and a last time as he thought what he would now do with a world rid of the Edain. But as he sat there laughing, he was taken with Númenor into the abyss. “But Sauron was not of mortal flesh, and though he was robbed now of that shape in which he had wrought so great an evil, so that he could no longer again appear fair to the eyes of Men, yet his spirit arose out of the deep and passed as a shadow and a black wind over the sea, and came back to Middle-earth and to Mordor that was his home. There he took up again his great Ring in Barad-dûr, and dwelt there, dark and silent, until he wrought himself a new guise, and image of malice and hatred made visible; and the Eye of Sauron the Terrible few could endure.” (The Silmarillion)
Unfortunately for the race of Men, their longing for death followed them even to Middle-earth and some said that the tip of Meneltarma, from where long ago the most farsighted could see the Undying Lands, still existed and not all of it had been swallowed by the Sea. Some would seek for it wishing to catch a glimpse of Aman, but they could not find it, and even if they could have they would not have seen the Undying Lands as they had been removed from the world, and though a Straight Road existed, Men were not permitted to take it.
And so by the guile of Sauron came about the Downfall of Númenor. Men no longer called that land Elenna, Andor, Númenórë, or Númenor; instead it was called Mar-nu-Falmar ‘Whelmed in the Waves’, Akallabêth, ‘the Downfallen’, or Atalantë which meant the same in the Eldarin tongue.
Research by Nienna-of-the-Valar
All information compiled from The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.