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Dates
Established early in the history of Númenor (which was founded in II 32); abandoned on the accession of Ar-Gimilzôr in II 3102
Location
The summit of the Meneltarma in the central regions of Númenor
Race
Men (also attended by three Eagles)
Division
Culture
Family
Led by members of the royal House of Elros

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  • Updated 1 April 2020
  • This entry is complete

Three Prayers

The prayers of the Númenóreans to Eru

Three times each year, the King of Númenor would lead his people to the summit of the Meneltarma, and on each of those occasions a ritual prayer would be said. The Three Prayers took place at the beginning of spring, at the height of midsummer and at the end of autumn, and were known respectively as the Erukyermë, the Erulaitalë and the Eruhantalë. By tradition, at the time of each of the Three Prayers, three great Eagles, known as the Witnesses of Manwë, would hover over the King and his subjects.

Erukyermë
'Prayer to Eru'
The first of the Three Prayers was held each year at the beginning of spring, when the King of Númenor would pray to Eru before his people for a bountiful year ahead.
Erulaitalë
'Praise of Eru'
The second of the Three Prayers was held at the height of Midsummer. Before the silent people of the land of Númenor, the King would stand atop the Meneltarma and offer praise to Eru Ilúvatar.
Eruhantalë
'Thanksgiving to Eru'
The third and last of the Three Prayers was held in autumn1 each year, offering thanks to Eru. Its placing in the calendar after the time of harvest implies that thanks were offered for the bounty of the year, though this is not explained in detail.

The Three Prayers were observed without fail by the early Kings of Númenor, but fell into disuse as the party of the King's Men established their power. The first King explicitly said to have abandoned the Prayers altogether was Ar-Gimilzôr, the twenty-third ruler of Númenor.


Notes

1

The details we have on the dating of the Eruhantalë (all from Unfinished Tales) are not entirely in accord with one another. In A Description of the Island of Númenor, we're told that the Eruhantalë fell 'at the end of autumn', but in Aldarion and Erendis, we're told of a time when 'summer was almost over and the Eruhantalë was nigh' (which implies the beginning of autumn rather than the end).

Assuming a connection with the harvest, dating the Eruhantalë in early autumn makes rather more sense. The Númenórean harvest month of Yávannië ('gift of fruits') occurred in late summer, and it would seem reasonable that the prayer of thanksgiving should take place in this month. On this assumption, the reference in Aldarion and Erendis is more likely the correct one. Rather than 'at the end of autumn', then, the relevant comments in A Description of the Island of Númenor would more consistently be read as 'at the end of summer and beginning of autumn'.

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About this entry:

  • Updated 1 April 2020
  • This entry is complete

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