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The first Men awoke at the time of the first rising of the Sun
Originally from Hildórien, as were all Men; later settled in the east and south of Middle-earth
Men unrelated to those who travelled westward to become the Edain
Other names


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  • Updated 6 July 2008
  • This entry is complete

Men of Darkness

Those Men unrelated to the Númenóreans

Encyclopedia of Arda Timeline
Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond

Soon after they awoke in Hildórien, the first Men were visited by Morgoth, and many were seduced by him. Even after his return to Angband, he left a shadow on the history of that race, such that Men were always apt to follow the Dark Lord in any age.

Some Men escaped this curse, or at least left it behind them, travelling westwards across Middle-earth and eventually reaching the Blue Mountains. Some of those passed across the Mountains into Beleriand to become the fathers of the Edain, while others remained in Eriador, giving rise to peoples such as the Northmen. The first group ultimately became known as the High Men, and the second were the Men of the Twilight.

Those who remained in the east, or spread slowly away from Hildórien, remained most strongly under Morgoth's shadow. These were the Men of Darkness, and from them sprang some of the greatest enemies of the Free Peoples: Easterlings, Haradrim, Wainriders, Variags, and doubtless many others besides.

Balchoth A fierce Easterling people who lived by raiding, and settled in the lands east of Mirkwood, and were under the power of Dol Guldur. In III 2510 they joined forces with the Orcs of the Mountains to attack Gondor from the north, but were utterly defeated by Eorl at the Battle of the Field of Celebrant.
Dunlendings A branch of the Men of the Mountains who travelled northwards and explored the western Misty Mountains during the Second Age. Many of these travellers settled in Dunland, on the eastern fringes of Enedwaith. They later became implacable enemies of the Rohirrim, and at one time invaded and occupied Rohan. They fought in the War of the Ring as allies of Saruman.
Easterlings A broad term for Men of Darkness out of the east of Middle-earth. In the First Age, it was incomers from the east who betrayed the Elves and Edain, and so turned the Nirnaeth Arnoediad in Morgoth's favour. In later Ages, Easterlings (including the Balchoth, Wainriders and many others besides) were often allies of Sauron.
Haradrim The Men of the lands of desert and jungle that lay in the south of Middle-earth, beyond the River Harnen. The Haradrim were historically close allies of Sauron, and they rode to war on their immense war-elephants, the Mûmakil.
Men of Bree A people who shared their ancestors with the Dunlendings, but settled much farther to the north, in the region that came to be known as the Bree-land. The Men of Bree were far less warlike than their cousins to the south, and enjoyed friendly relations with the Little Folk, as they called the Hobbits who shared their homeland.
Men of the Mountains The ancestors of the Dunlendings and the Bree-men, the Men of the Mountains settled in the White Mountains before the end of the Second Age. In the War of the Last Alliance at the end of that Age, they swore allegiance to Isildur, but reneged on their oaths. In punishment for their betrayal, Isildur cursed them, and so they haunted their Mountains as the Dead Men during the Third Age. In the War of the Ring, they fulfilled their oath at last, and were released by Aragorn, Isildur's Heir.
Variags A people from the land of Khand, whose warriors fought fiercely as allies or tributaries of Sauron. These people seem to have been considered distinct from both the Easterlings and the Haradrim, but they fought alongside both during the War of the Ring.
Wainriders A nomadic but powerful people out of the East of Middle-earth. They travelled in large wagons or wains, from which they took their name. Sauron secretly brought them under his power, and persuaded their warriors to challenge Gondor. They remained a threat to the South-kingdom for nearly a century, until they were finally defeated by Eärnil at the Battle of the Camp.

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