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


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  • Updated 11 October 2011
  • Updates planned: 1


A horseman or knight

A Quenya word deriving from an ancient form roko-kwén, 'horse-person', that was originally used by the Elves simply to refer to a person who rode a horse. The -quen ending could be either masculine or feminine; it implied no more than the fact that the person in question was a regular rider of a horse, especially as part of their profession.

Over time, especially among the Dúnedain, the word roquen took on a more specifically military meaning. Among the armies of the Númenóreans, it came to signify a particular rank, translated 'knight', that was above the common foot-soldiers who held the rank of ohtar. Given the origins of the word, the clear implication is that those who held the rank of roquen or knight typically formed the Númenórean cavalry.1



We're given little information about the roles of different ranks within the Númenórean military, but we do know that horsemanship was a greatly prized skill in Númenor, and that horses were treated with particular honour. In Númenor's earlier days, at least, the bond between horse and master was said to be so strong that particularly noble steeds could be summoned by thought alone. It seems clear from this that there would have been a place for a mounted roquen among the armies of Númenor, but whether all those who held this rank were mounted is less certain.

See also...

Knights, Ohtar

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