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Founded no earlier than II 32; Númenor was destroyed in II 33191


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  • Updated 3 August 2023
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Guild of Weaponsmiths

The armourers of Númenor

In Beleriand, under the tutelage of the master craftsmen of the Noldor, the smiths of the Edain had acquired great lore and skill in the making of weapons. After the end of the First Age, when these people travelled across the Great Sea to the new land of Númenor, they took this knowledge with them. Though they now dwelt in a peaceful land far from any trouble or warfare, they nonetheless established the Guild of Weaponsmiths to maintain their hard-won knowledge.

Throughout the early centuries of Númenor's existence, there was little need for weapons and, for the most part, the Weaponsmiths used their arts to produce tools rather than arms. When a new King's Heir was announced, the Guild would be called upon to produce a new sword as a gift (but given the centuries-long lives of the Kings of Númenor, this would have been a rare commission indeed).

This time of peace in Númenor did not last indefinitely, as the Númenóreans began to involve themselves in military action in Middle-earth. It was Tar-Aldarion (ruled II 883 - II 1075) who befriended the Elves of Lindon and first began to make settlements on the coasts of Middle-earth. Over the centuries that followed, the Guild of Weaponsmiths were busy creating true armaments, and Númenor's military grew to become a powerful force. So much so, indeed, that by II 1700 (when Tar-Aldarion's descendant Tar-Minastir held the Sceptre) they could field a force capable of defeating Sauron. This was the time of the War of the Elves and Sauron, in which the Dark Lord had ravaged Eriador and threatened Lindon itself, but Tar-Minastir's forces put Sauron to flight and drove him back into Mordor.

By this period in history, the weaponry of the Númenóreans was unchallenged. Their swords, axes and bows are given special mention, and among these the mighty metal bows are particularly noted. These Númenórean bows were made from hollow steel, and were used to shoot long arrows tipped with steel and fletched with black feathers.

By the time of King Ar-Pharazôn, the armed might of the Númenóreans was such that the King could consider marching against Sauron in Mordor. This indeed he did, but rather than meet in open war, Sauron gave himself up as a hostage of the King. The Dark Lord schemed against the Númenóreans, engineering the construction of an even greater force, the Great Armament, with which Ar-Pharazôn was persuaded to invade the Blessed Realm itself. In this he failed, as Sauron had foreseen, and his actions brought about the Downfall of Númenor.

It should be pointed out that the powerful later armaments are not specifically said to have been the work of the Guild of Weaponsmiths. We're only told that the guild existed during the earlier history of the realm of Númenor, but given that their entire purpose was to preserve the superior knowledge of their craft in Númenor, it would be peculiar indeed if they were not involved in the later advances in Númenórean weaponry.

It is also unknown whether the guild survived the Downfall to continue working in Gondor during the Third Age. The Gondorians remained well armed and armoured, so it seems to be entirely plausible that there may have been a Guild of Weaponsmiths (or, at least, some equivalent organisation) working among the Men of Gondor. If so, however, we have no mention of them in records.



We don't know precisely when the Guild was formed, but it was evidently early in Númenor's history (Númenor itself was founded in II 32, hence the date shown here as the earliest possible). The timeline above assumes that the Guild persisted throughout the entire history of Númenor, and while this seems likely (the Númenóreans became more warlike as time went by) it is not established with certainty.


About this entry:

  • Updated 3 August 2023
  • This entry is complete

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