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  • Updated 31 May 2018
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King’s Archers

The bowmen of the King of Númenor

"The Men of the Sea ... send before them a great cloud, as a rain turned to serpents, or a black hail tipped with steel..."
Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth
Part Two I, A Description of the Island of Númenor

The art of shooting with a bow was a sport among the Númenóreans even in the peaceful early days of their realm, and they had great skill in the art, whether firing from foot or horseback. In later years, as Númenor became involved in conflicts in Middle-earth, the most feared of its soldiers were the cohorts1 of the King's Archers. Each of the Archers carried a bow made of hollow steel, from which they fired arrows with black flight feathers, each measuring an ell in length (that is, a little over a metre, or just short of four feet).


Notes

1

We're told little of the organisation or numbers of the King's Archers, other than the use of the word 'cohorts' (ibid). In the Roman army, a cohort (Latin cohors) would classically have contained about five hundred men, though this number varied over according to period or circumstances. It's unclear exactly how applicable this would be to the armies of the Númenóreans, but it seems safe to imagine the King's Archers as being organised into companies of at least several hundred bowmen each.

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About this entry:

  • Updated 31 May 2018
  • Updates planned: 1

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