The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
The four Ship-kings reigned between III 830 and III 1149 (a period of 319 years)
Race
Division
Culture
Family
Meaning
These four Kings expanded Gondor's naval power, and its hold on the coastlands of Middle-earth
Title of
(In order of accession) Tarannon Falastur, Eärnil I, Ciryandil and Hyarmendacil I

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  • Updated 12 December 2009
  • This entry is complete

Ship-king

A title given to four great Kings of Gondor

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The title given to the great King Tarannon Falastur and his three successors: Eärnil I, Ciryandil and Hyarmendacil I. These four did much to expand Gondor's naval and military might. Between them, they enormously extended the South-kingdom's control over the southern lands of Middle-earth, including the lands west of the Mouths of Anduin, and as far south as Umbar and the Harad. Their influence was such that, at the end of the reign of Hyarmendacil I, Gondor had reached a peak of strength and power that it would never again surpass.

I Tarannon Falastur Ruled Gondor from III 830 to III 913 (83 years)
The son and heir of King Siriondil. As Captain of the Hosts, Tarannon greatly expanded Gondor's naval power along the coasts of Middle-earth, winning many victories. When he ascended the throne, this caused him to choose the name Falastur, meaning 'Lord of the Coasts', and beginning the tradition of the Ship-kings. Tarannon was driven to exile his Queen, Berúthiel, and so he became the first of Gondor's Kings to die without leaving a direct heir. He was succeeded by his nephew Eärnil.
II Eärnil I Ruled Gondor from III 913 to III 936 (23 years)
Eärnil followed his uncle in building Gondor's naval might, and he also repaired the ancient harbour of Pelargir on the Anduin, giving Gondor's ships easy access to the Great Sea. Eärnil put his ships to use when he besieged and captured Umbar, which soon became an important port and stronghold of the Gondorians. This second Ship-king's reign was cut short when he was lost in storm at sea, and he was succeeded by his son Ciryandil.
III Ciryandil Ruled Gondor from III 936 to III 1015 (79 years)
Ciryandil continued the naval policies of his predecessors, and made Gondor's fleet even greater. During his reign, the lords whom Eärnil had driven out of Umbar rallied the Haradrim against the Gondorians occupying the Haven. Thus began a siege of many years, during which Ciryandil himself was slain. He was succeeded by his son Ciryaher, better known to history as Hyarmendacil I.
IV Hyarmendacil I Ruled Gondor from III 1015 to III 1149 (134 years)
Born Ciryaher, due to the early death of his father this fourth and last of the Ship-kings also had the longest of their reigns. Withstanding the Siege of Umbar for many years, he built up a vast army and navy. When at last he unleashed his forces against the Haradrim, he defeated them utterly, and in III 1050 the Harad became subject to the Kings of Gondor. After this great victory Ciryaher took the royal name Hyarmendacil, meaning 'South-victor'. For the remaining ninety-nine years of his rule Hyarmendacil and his people lived in peace, having extended the dominions of Gondor to their greatest ever extent.

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