The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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  • Updated 26 May 2014
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Men of the Sea

The mariners of Númenor

A term used in Middle-earth during the Second Age for the Númenóreans. The first of the Men of Númenor to cross the Sea and return to the Great Lands was Vëantur. He sailed his vessel Entulessë into the Grey Havens nearly six centuries after the Númenóreans had originally departed from Middle-earth. Vëantur's grandson was King Tar-Aldarion, a great mariner in his own right, who felt a deep attachment to Middle-earth. He visited it several times, exploring its coasts and founding the first Númenórean fortifications at the place that would later be called Lond Daer.

As the centuries passed the Númenóreans made a greater impact on the lands east of the Sea. After the War of the Elves and Sauron, in which Sauron had overrun Eriador, it was the Númenóreans who drove him back out of the Westlands and earned the Dark Lord's hatred. Needing timber for their ships, they felled great stretches of forest, literally changing the landscape of Middle-earth.

As time passed and the people of Númenor began to fall from their early greatness, their attitude to the peoples of Middle-earth changed, and many were displaced and exiled by the incoming Men of the Sea, and many of these alienated people chose to ally themselves with Sauron. Even Sauron could not stand against the full might of Númenor, and in II 3262 the Dark Lord submitted himself to King Ar-Pharazôn and departed with him back to Númenor as a hostage.

The was the last decisive action of the Men of the Sea in Middle-earth while Númenor still stood. Fifty-seven years after the departure of Sauron, a vast storm came out of the West and broke on the shores of Middle-earth, a storm that was later known to have signalled the final Downfall of Númenor. On that storm rode nine ships, carrying the people of Elendil, who thus escaped the Downfall. These would become the founders of Arnor and Gondor, and through them the descendants of the Men of the Sea remained important in Middle-earth through the Third Age and into the Fourth.

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