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  • Updated 2 May 2016
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Swarthy Men

Incomers out of the East and South

A term commonly used to refer to the Easterlings, or at least a branch of that people stemming from the same stock, belonging to many different houses and speaking different languages. They were described as being broad of build and strong, with thick dark hair and eyes, and having darker skin than the Edain (thus giving rise to the 'swarthy' of their name).

Long after the ancestors of the Edain had come to Beleriand, these Easterlings came across the Blue Mountains. Some, like the Edain before them, were drawn by tales of lush lands beyond the Mountains, but others had been stirred by Morgoth to conspire against the Eldar and Edain. Their greatest chieftains were two Men named Bór and Ulfang, who allied themselves to Maedhros. Bór remained faithful to the Elves, but it was the treachery of Ulfang that would turn the tide of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and lead to victory for Morgoth. These Easterlings were rewarded with the land of Hithlum, where Morgoth placed them to rule as chieftains over the remnant of Men that remained there.


In the First Age, the term 'Swarthy Men' was used only of the Easterlings that crossed into Beleriand after the Edain. It did not fall out of use at the end of the First Age, and even in the Third Age we have a record of the term being used by Hirgon, an errand-rider of the Men of Gondor. In this case, however, it was used not of the Easterlings but of the Haradrim of the south,1 and so the name seems to have expanded over time to describe enemies of the Westlands from both East and South.


Notes

1

This connection is stated explicitly in Tolkien's unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings.

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  • Updated 2 May 2016
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