The Southern Line
Heirs of Anarion
This section deals with the growth of the kingdom of Gondor accompanied
however by the decline of the Dunedain bloodline. The efficacy of the great
Numenorean heritage dissipated more swiftly in Gondor then in Arnor, not
only in the duration of the lifespans of the kings, but also in that many of
them did not in fact sire any children.
The Gondorians begin to build up a substantial navy and their influence
increases to the greatest point in their history. The Easterlings and the
Haradrim begin to become more of a threat, but are easily dealt with.at
least at first.
During the reign of Hyarmendacil, Gondor reached the height of his power.
Hyarmendacil dies in the year 1149 of the Second Age and is succeeded by his
son Atanatar, a man who as Tolkien puts it "loved ease and did nothing to
maintain the power that he had inherited". And so the decline of Gondor
accelerated. During his reign, the watch that had been put on Mordor was
neglected. Atanatar died childless and the crown passed to his brother
Calmacil, who in time made his son Minalcar Regent of the realm, a position
he held for 64 years until he in turn ascended to the throne. During his
time as Regent, Minalcar became concerned about the Northmen, who had been
used by the Kings of Gondor as buffers against the Easterlings. In the
period between the end of Hyarmendacil's reign and Minalcar's ascension as
Regent, the Northmen had become less staunchly loyal and sometimes turned a
blind eye to the Easterlings' raids. Minalcar sought to solidify his
position with the Northmen and impress upon the Easterlings the cost of any
forays into Gondor. In 1248 S.A., Minalcar defeated the Easterlings at sea
and burned all of their camps and settlements east of the Inland Sea.
Minalcar fortified positions along the Anduin River and it was he who built
Ties between Gondor and the North were strengthened and many Northmen came
to serve in Minalcar's forces. A special friendship developed between
Minalcar (who took the name Romendacil "east-victor") and Vidugavia, the
most powerful of the Northmen. Some years after Romendacil had assumed
kingship of Gondor, he sent his son to live with Vidugavia and learn more of
the Northmen's language and customs. Romendacil's son became enchanted with
the North and in time married the daughter of the Northern chief. This was
to lead to the first great tragedy of Gondor. Many Gondorians looked
askance at the Northmen and found it unconscionable that one of their own
would marry with them. When Romendacil's son grew old and his grandson was
set to take the throne, civil war broke out in Gondor.
Eldacar, grandson of Romendacil, was deposed in 1437, and for the next ten
years the usurper Castamir held the crown. A cruel and ungenerous man,
Castamir lost the love of his own people mostly by his own actions. He
caused Eldacar's son, who was captured in Osgiliath, to be put to death; he
savaged the defenders of Eldacar and destroyed the city he had laid siege
to; further, as a former master of ships, he showed that he cared more for
the sea than for Gondor's lands.
Finally after ten years (1447 S.A), sensing that the time was right for his
return, Eldacar came back from the North where he had fled, with Northmen
and the Dunedain of the north, and many from Gondor joined to his cause out
of their hatred for the usurper Castamir. Castamir himself was slain by
Eldacar in battle, but his sons and many of his supporters were driven from
the land and fled to Umbar in the South, where they set up an independent
municipality and remained hostile to Gondor for many years.
Many feared that the interbreeding between Gondor and the North would
diminish the long lives that were their Numenorean heritage, but this did
not at first turn out to be true. Eldacar lived for 256 years and was king
for 58 of those years, although the first ten years he spent as an exile in
the North. The battles that arose when Eldacar ascended the crown and later
returned to reclaim it, were called the Kin-Strife, and it was the first
evil to befall Gondor.
The second evil to befall Gondor occurred in 1636, during the reign of
Telemnar, grandson of Eldacar. A great plague swept in out of the East and
killed the King and his family, along with a great many of the people of
Gondor and elsewhere. Some don't see it as a coincidence that the plague
befell Gondor as Sauron's power grew stronger in Mordor. Many who fled the
plague to Ithilien and elsewhere never returned to Gondor, even after the
After the plague and the death of King Telemnar and the royal heirs, the
crown passed to a nephew of the King, and then his son. It was this son,
Telumehtar, who gathered his forces and made it his point to take back the
city of Umbar. The corsairs of Umbar had managed to kill Eldacar's son many
years before. The Corsairs of that city continued to pester and raid the
Gondorian coast and in 1810 Telumehtar assembled a great force and took back
There was barely time to rejoice in the victory, as in less than fifty
years, Gondor would lose two kings. First, Telumehtar died in 1850; six
years later his son Narmacil II died in battle with the Wainriders, a new
and better armed horde of peoples who had come suddenly out of the East.
Like (perhaps) the great plague that had struck earlier, Sauron was seen to
be the cause of the Wainriders' sudden attack on Gondor. Calimehtar, son of
Narmacil II, avenged his father, but his triumphs were a brief respite from
the strife to come.
It was during the reign of Ondoher, Calimehtar's son, that the Northern and
Southern Kingdoms began to communicate again after a long period of
estrangement. It was then that they came to the conclusion that it seemed
as if there was a central power behind the attacks on the surviving heirs of
the Numenorean bloodline. It was during that time of counsel between the
kingdoms in a period of relative peace that Arvedui, son of King Araphant of
the Northern Kingdom of Arnor married Firiel daughter of King Ondoher of the
Southern Kingdom of Gondor. When Ondoher and his sons died in battle in
1944, Arvedui claimed the kingship of both kingdoms, but was rejected by
Gondor. He ruled in Arnor only and was in fact their last King. Gondor
chose as king Earnil, grandson of the brother of Narmacil II. He would fare
little better than Arvedui as he would turn out be Gondor's penultimate King
until Elessar's ascension to the throne. The Northern Kingdom is overrun by
the forces of Angmar in 1974. Nearly sixty years later Earnil's son Earnur
becomes King and is challenged by the Witch-King of Angmar. Seven years
later, the challenge is repeated. The rash king rides to Minas Morgul to
face the Witch King and is never seen again. He is presumed killed, but as
no word comes of his death. The King, dies childless, and the Stewards
begin to rule in Gondor.
There is much much more that I have glossed over in this brief summary and
reading it is like being swept up in a history book digested to a few pages.
The sweep of the events in Tolkien's backstory is exciting enough for
several books in and of themselves. It is a testament to Tolkien's
imagination that he can afford to throw all of it into appendices at the end
of his huge book.
SOME POSSIBLE DISCUSSION POINTS
1. It is well known that Tolkien was a Christian and his writings bore many
traces of his faith, both overtly and innately. One example was his
revising the Ainulindale so that creation was actualized by Illuvatar/Eru
speaking the universe into being. One wonders if his having the twin realms
of Arnor and Gondor was a deliberate mirror of the history of ancient
Israel, which for a time was also divided into two kingdoms, north and
south. The Southern Kingdom Judea survived for some time after the Northern
Kingdom of Israel was conquered and its residents dispersed. (What is
perhaps less known is that J.R.R. Tolkien was listed by the general editor
of the first edition of the Jerusalem Bible as one of his principle
collaborators in translation and literary revision, along with a number of
other prominent scholars).
2. Some have looked at Tolkien as being a racist. How does that view fit
in with the Kin-Strife, which is seen as a tragedy for Gondor?
3. What other narratives have you found that have been similar to the
histories in the appendices? For me, the royal chronicles in the 1&2
Samuels and 1&2 Kings in the Bible and Geoffrey of Monmouth spring to mind.
4. There are people who have recommended a variety of different ways to
approach reading Tolkien, or have preferences for one or another volume he's
written. One of the most exciting things for me has been to read these
appendices by themselves. Is that something you've ever tried or
5. There is very little variant material of these sections (at least that's
how it seems in HoME XII). Why do you think that is?
I think Tolkien does a good job of emphasizing how the nature of
Numenorian superiority is not "Racial" per se, though you have to read
somewhat carefully to not get the wrong impresion. Certainly he does
not characterize the Northmen as worse then Gondorians.
> 4. There are people who have recommended a variety of different ways
> approach reading Tolkien, or have preferences for one or another
> written. One of the most exciting things for me has been to read
> appendices by themselves. Is that something you've ever tried or
I have read parts of the Appendices by themselves; I'm a history buff
and enjoy these parts of LOTR as works unto themselves.
> 5. There is very little variant material of these sections (at least
> how it seems in HoME XII). Why do you think that is?
According to PoME, it appears that the general structure of the Realms
was set early; Tolkien was good at creating an effective big picture,
and given the nature of the account, there were not dozens of little
fine details to muck around with or agonize over.
Exactly, and given that Tolkien makes the case that both the racism of the
Gondorians and the effects of it were tragedies it seems to put paid to the
commentators who would like to paint the Prof with a racist brush.
> I have read parts of the Appendices by themselves; I'm a history buff
> and enjoy these parts of LOTR as works unto themselves.
I think that after my next reading of the Silmarillion I'd like to return to
the Appendix A and read it as a supplement to the book, then go back and
read "Of The Third Age and the Rings of Power" in Silm. It would be like
reading a complete history of Middle Earth up to the beginning of the Fourth
>> 5. There is very little variant material of these sections (at least
>> how it seems in HoME XII). Why do you think that is?
> According to PoME, it appears that the general structure of the Realms
> was set early; Tolkien was good at creating an effective big picture,
> and given the nature of the account, there were not dozens of little
> fine details to muck around with or agonize over.
Definitely different than the First Age material, which went through
It helps that the 3rd age involved no vast gaps between the
possibilities of a created "Catholic" universe and the realities of a
created "Catholic" universe. There are no issues regarding the creation
and nature of sentient beings, or any great issues of cosmology.
Why don't you hit up Steuard's Tolkien Custom Tolkien Book List:
He has everything sorted out very nicely.
> I think that after my next reading of the Silmarillion I'd like to
> return to the Appendix A and read it as a supplement to the book,
> then go back and read "Of The Third Age and the Rings of Power" in
> Silm. It would be like reading a complete history of Middle Earth up
> to the beginning of the Fourth Age.
There is a website out there that gives a reading order for a
_chronological_ reading of Tolkien's writings, from the First Age right
up to the end of the Fourth Age. It is terribly complicated as you are
shuttled from footnote to footnote and from Unfinished Tales to The
Hobbit and The Silmarillion and back to LotR and to the Prologue and
then dipping in and out of Appendices and jumping between yet more
footnotes. Can't remember if it includes some of the HoME material.
I can look it up if you are interested. Or someone else can post the
link if they remember where this website is before I do.
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Nice job with the introduction.
One problem. You posted to rec.arts.books.tolkien (RABT) only, and
forgot to cross-post to alt.fan.tolkien (AFT). I would normally
cross-post the whole thing straighaway, but I see that Belba has posted
the post in AFT as what appears to be a separate thread.
It is not a serious problem (others have done it before), but I'm not
quite sure what to do now. Having two separate threads in AFT and RABT
is not a major problem, but I wonder if there is any way to unify them.
Does anyone know how to do this?
No thanks, I read for fun, not to make my life more complicated. =)
I have done so, I was wondering which you have and what your opinions were.
> Nice job with the introduction.
> One problem. You posted to rec.arts.books.tolkien (RABT) only, and
> forgot to cross-post to alt.fan.tolkien (AFT)...
My earthlink newsreader doesn't recognize the other group, so it didn't get
posted there. Dang it, that didn't occur to me until you mentioned it.
Blast. I have to give my thanks to Belba for the cross-post. Nuts.
I'll check out a different newsreader to look at the other thread and answer
any questions there might be. Double darn.
You asked for it...
[That's the simple one]
[That's another simple one]
[That's the complicated one!]
This is what it suggested for my editions:
You evil, evil, man. May the fleas of a thousand camels nest in your
If possible, unless replying to points already raised in the other
threads, please use the cross-posted version of this thread that points
at both AFT and RABT. This one is a RABT-only version of this thread.
There is also an AFT-only version as well.
>> SOME POSSIBLE DISCUSSION POINTS
>> 1. It is well known that Tolkien was a Christian and his writings
>> bore many traces of his faith, both overtly and innately. One
>> example was his revising the Ainulindale so that creation was
>> actualized by Illuvatar/Eru speaking the universe into being. One
>> wonders if his having the twin realms of Arnor and Gondor was a
>> deliberate mirror of the history of ancient Israel, which for a time
>> was also divided into two kingdoms, north and south. The Southern
>> Kingdom Judea survived for some time after the Northern Kingdom of
>> Israel was conquered and its residents dispersed. (What is perhaps
>> less known is that J.R.R. Tolkien was listed by the general editor of
>> the first edition of the Jerusalem Bible as one of his principle
>> collaborators in translation and literary revision, along with a
>> number of other prominent scholars).
Actually, the consensus seems to be that Tolkien didn't do much work on
the Jerusalem Bible. It seems he agreed to do some of the work, but in
the end did so little (due to pressures of other work) that he was
almost embarassed to be listed. IIRC, this is in a Letter somewhere, but
there are red herrings in the trail. The Biography (by Carpenter) and
Letters list Jonah, but other sources list Job. And to make matters even
more confusing, some publisher wrote a letter to someone with (probably)
the wrong information in it. I can look up the details if needed, but
search for Tolkien, Jonah, Job and Jerusalem, for more information. 
Having said that, your point about the Appendices reading like the Bible
is probably a good one. I wouldn't really know, not having read the
 Some starting points:
And the final comment here probably explains how the Amon Hen quote
confused matters. It was a quote of a letter written to the TS secretary
from Longmans. It seems Longmans, the publishers of the Jerusalem Bible,
got confused and said Job in this letter, when they shouldt have said
> Having said that, your point about the Appendices reading like the
> is probably a good one. I wouldn't really know, not having read the
I wouldn't say so. Tolkien's histories and annals are selected sources
designed to provide a broad overview of the history of the Third Age,
and added depth to the narrative. Biblical "history" even if one wants
to read the Bible as literally as possible, is clearly an ideological
treatise. Nothing wrong with that of course, but not exactly what
Tolkien was looking forward. Tolkien's prose is also generally easier
to read (though I confess parts of the Bible, especially the poetry, do
make great literature-I did an undergrad Hebrew Scriptures course last
Personally; I enjoyed Morgoth's Ring more than WoJ (the latter was more
textual history then new content, though there are interesting things
to be gleaned from it, especially about how much we missed from a truly
published Silmarillion). I haven't read anything else, save BoLT I,
which I couldn't get through. The Lays sound interesting, though I'm
not sure I'd buy it, and I have similar feelings about The Lost Road.
There are royal annals which read much the same way that some of Appendix A
does, and are not of an ideological bent at all. Some trace these to actual
annals written during the time of both kingdoms Israel proper and Judaea.
Given what we now know (and have available, thanks to HoME) it is easy to
second guess what Christopher Tolkien did or might have done to put the
Silmarillion together, but to be fair, even the elder Tolkien seemed to get
boggled as to what to do.
> I haven't read anything else, save BoLT I,
> which I couldn't get through. The Lays sound interesting, though I'm
> not sure I'd buy it, and I have similar feelings about The Lost Road.
Yeah, I'm not sure about that either. I've always had the hardest time in
reading poetwry generally speaking, whether by JRRT or anyone else.
I'm not sure, do you mean Catholic in the sense of 'universal', or in
reference to the religion?
> reference to the religion?
Religion. Philosophically Tolkien wanted his universe to ultimately;
reflect physical reality as much as possible (especially in terms of
cosmology) and reflect Catholicism's worldview.
But Tolkien's conception of evil is of a corruption of nature, as in Morgoth
beasically suborning the natural order of things, and how evil tended to
spring forth from Mordor as Sauron's power grew (in appendix A). This
concept is very Eastern in nature, especially Hinduism.
I think, like the whole debate about allegory, his concepts were broad
enough to allow for applicability, without making it necessary.
IMHO, of course,
Forgot to say thanks for the kind word, what with all the cross-posting
oddness. Thanks also for helping to resolve that issue.
> reference to the religion?
I think it is precisely this problem that helped hold up publication.
As he grew pulled in deeper and deeper into sub-creation, it became
harder and harder to "create."
(With my earlier remarks added so AFT readers get the gist)
As I said not to long ago, the HoME volumes I had the most trouble getting
through was the History of LotR series. Not that there isn't tons of neat
stuff in there, but it's tough to read versions of chapters that are
inferior to the published work.
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
I'm going to try and straighten this one out if I can. I've tried here
At the beginning of the Jerusalem Bible translation project headed up by
Fr. Anthony Jones in English, the idea was to quickly provide good
English translations of the French text of La Bible Jerusalem, completed
and published in 1954, but to provide new commentary by English, Roman
Catholic scholars and authors. It was in this context that Jones wrote
to Tolkien inviting him to be part of the project. Because of time
Tolkien accepted the book of Jonah which he then seems to have
translated from French, which Jones himself then checked against the
Hebrew and Greek and revised it. Jones' initial letter to Tolkien
assures T more than once that knowledge of the languages was not
necessary. The aim of the JB was to have an eye on English style as
much as accurate translation. Jones makes it clear that he was inviting
Tolkien on board because of his expertise in English philology and
because of the fact that Jones was taken with LoTR, not because of any
supposed expertise in Hebrew. This wasn't unusual. There are other
members of the JB board who were like Tolkien--not expert in the
original languages of the Bible but were desireable for their expertise
in English, and quite frankly, because they were prominent Roman
Catholic thinkers/writers in England.
In the end, as Tolkien says, he was able to contribute very little in
spite of writing to his grandson Michael in 1957 that he hoped to take a
much larger role in the JB and was learning Hebrew (note that this is
AFTER he had submitted the translation of Jonah), but as he indicates
elsewhere he never got very far because of the demands of other work.
Jones, wanting to keep Tolkien on the board and involved in the project,
offered to Tolkien the task of revising some of the translation--not in
comparison to the originals--but by making comments on improving the
English style of some of the translations. Tolkien received the copy of
Job that had been translated by Andrew Keeney, Jones' nephew and also a
board member in the end. Tolkien held up the work for a long time not
being able to complete his revisions in part due to other work, in part
due to Tolkien's perfectionism. According to Keeney, when he and Jones
went to Tolkien's home to discuss the translation, Tolkien proved to be
difficult and intractable on some of the issues of the translation's
English expression and forced through the changes. This resulted in yet
more delay in publication. This isn't to lay the fact that it took 10
years to complete the project on Tolkien....many other factors
contributed to delays of all kinds, chiefly that Jones undertook most of
the work himself and he ended his career in parish life if I recall
correctly. But it is to say that Tolkien's revisions were late and did
delay crossing Job off the list of completed books. Tolkien esp. in
later years, was seldom on time with a publication, in large part due to
The note from the publisher reproduced in Amon Hen in 1977 and taken up
elsewhere is mistaken. The author conflates Tolkien's tardiness in
preparing a revision of the translation of Job with which the author
states Tolkien was important, with Tolkien actually providing the
translation, which he didn't. Not unless Jones and Keeney are lying.
So the upshot is this:
Tolkien translated Jonah from French and this was revised by Jones in
comparison to the Hebrew
Tolkien REVISED the English translation of Job, but the translation was
done by Keeney.
Tolkien's name is listed as among the board members, but he thought it
generous considering how little he had done.
I'd say that Tolkien's appendices read more like medieval historiography
than the Bible. Most of the native Hebrew narrative elements are
missing in Tolkien, whereas his writing resembles in tone, structure,
and scene, authors such as Fredegar, Jordanes, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
(see the Tale of Years), and so on.
>Appendix AI.ii & AI.iv
>The Southern Line
>Heirs of Anarion
<Snip excellent summary>
>SOME POSSIBLE DISCUSSION POINTS
>1. It is well known that Tolkien was a Christian and his writings bore many
>traces of his faith, both overtly and innately. One example was his
>revising the Ainulindale so that creation was actualized by Illuvatar/Eru
>speaking the universe into being. One wonders if his having the twin realms
>of Arnor and Gondor was a deliberate mirror of the history of ancient
>Israel, which for a time was also divided into two kingdoms, north and
>south. The Southern Kingdom Judea survived for some time after the Northern
>Kingdom of Israel was conquered and its residents dispersed. (What is
>perhaps less known is that J.R.R. Tolkien was listed by the general editor
>of the first edition of the Jerusalem Bible as one of his principle
>collaborators in translation and literary revision, along with a number of
>other prominent scholars).
Interesting analogy. I'm not convinced, though; you would have to
stretch the analogy to account for the Rangers and the reunification -
there are plenty of more pertinent models throughout history that
Tolkien might have used.
>2. Some have looked at Tolkien as being a racist. How does that view fit
>in with the Kin-Strife, which is seen as a tragedy for Gondor?
>3. What other narratives have you found that have been similar to the
>histories in the appendices? For me, the royal chronicles in the 1&2
>Samuels and 1&2 Kings in the Bible and Geoffrey of Monmouth spring to mind.
Suetonius' _Twelve Caesars_, perhaps? It's a lot more detailed, but
the same sort of long term narrative. And now I come to think of it,
Livy's _History of Rome_.
Matthew T Curtis mtcurtis[at]dsl.pipex.com
HIV+ for 24 glorious years!
There was a roar as the shout of a camel that finished seeing
two bricks. - Terry Pratchett, translated into Spanish and back
Part of what sparked my curiosity (from just scanning the volumes, not from
reading them in depth) was the evolution of the work and seeing where
Tolkien came to an impasse. Others have problems with the fragmentary
nature and convoluted development. I know that I would have the most
difficulty with the poetry, which simply isn't too great an interest of
Do you own the 12 volumes? Which did you like best or return to the most
I keep saying that I would have the hardest time with the early Silmarillion
texts, but as that discussion is coming up soon, the HoME books might
actually be beneficial in shedding light on some of the material.
Larry: thank you very very much for bringing your very detailed knowledge to
the subject and clearing up some points of confusion. Your comments were as
informative as they were entertaining and appreciated.
> I'm going to try and straighten this one out if I can.
I think you can safely say you succeeded in clearing this up. Thanks!
> The note from the publisher reproduced in Amon Hen in 1977 and taken
> up elsewhere is mistaken. The author conflates Tolkien's tardiness in
> preparing a revision of the translation of Job with which the author
> states Tolkien was important, with Tolkien actually providing the
> translation, which he didn't.
That was the 'mistaken publisher' I referred to. It is interesting
though, from looking at a Google search, just how far and wide this
little mistake has spread, (to the extent where hundreds of people say
categorically that Tolkien translated Job). It is a perfectly reasonable
source (the publishers themselves), but as you explained, the original
correspondence between Tolkien and Jones, along with Tolkien's own
comments on the matter in other letters, contradicts the assertion that
Tolkien translated Job.
Not to mention that the whole process of translation was not as simple
as it sounds, as you also clearly explained: French to English; then
checked against the original Hebrew; with some of the final English
texts being revised for matters of English style.
> So the upshot is this:
> Tolkien translated Jonah from French and this was revised by Jones in
> comparison to the Hebrew
> Tolkien REVISED the English translation of Job, but the translation
> was done by Keeney.
> Tolkien's name is listed as among the board members, but he thought it
> generous considering how little he had done.
Thanks again for the details, and for this nice summary.
*Detailed info which purport to impart more of the Witch-King's story derive
ultimately from non-canonical sources, such as games produced by Iron Crown
There is an excellent thread about the Witch-King over at alt.fan.tolkien --
check it out!