The Riders were descended from the so-called Middle Peoples
who shared an ancient kinship with the ancestors of the Edain
. Note that the detailed descent of the Northmen
is rather more complex than shown here, and according to some readings the Riders were ultimately descended from the 'Edain
' branch of this tree. See the entry for 'Northmen
' for a detailed discussion on this topic.
The people of Eorl had dwelt originally in the north of Middle-earth, where they were great breeders and riders of horses, and from those horses they took their name Éothéod, meaning 'horse-people'. When Eorl led an army south to the aid of Gondor in III 2510, Steward Cirion rewarded him with a new land, a wide green region that had been a northern borderland of Gondor known as Calenardhon.
Eorl brought his people from the north to settle their new country, which came to be known to outsiders by the Elvish name Rohan. The Riders themselves named the land in their own tongue, calling it the Riddermark, the 'borderland of the Riders', or often merely 'the Mark'. So, while the people of Gondor grew to call their new neighbours Rohirrim ('people of the horse-lords'), in their own land they referred to themselves as the Riders of the Mark.
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