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Dates
Founded in II 750; persisted at least until II 10751
Location
Explored Middle-earth from Númenor
Origins
Established by Aldarion, son of the then recently crowned King Tar-Meneldur
Race
Division
Culture
Settlements
The Guildhouse of the Venturers, the ship Eämbar, was usually moored on Tol Uinen in the bay of Rómenna
Pronunciation
uine'ndili (ui as in English 'ruin')
Meaning
'Devotees of Uinen' (Uinen being a Maia of the Sea)
Other names

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About this entry:

  • Updated 2 March 2023
  • This entry is complete

Uinendili

The Venturers of Númenor

Uinen the Lady of the Seas was one of the Maiar, who brought calm waters and restrained the storms of her spouse Ossë. As such she was held in particular reverence by mariners, and especially those who dwelt on the island of Númenor. Uinen in turn gave special favour to the Númenóreans, going so far as to place a small island within the bay of Rómenna that was known as Tol Uinen.2

Aldarion the son of Tar-Meneldur of Númenor held a particular love of the Sea. In the year II 725 he had been taken by his uncle, the great navigator Vëantur, on an eastward ocean journey to Middle-earth, and that voyage had awakened the Sea-longing in the young Aldarion. He was soon captaining Vëantur's vessel himself, and making voyages of his own across the Great Sea.

Aldarion was by no means the only Númenórean to be entranced by the seas of Uinen, and in II 750 he established a new guild, the Guild of Venturers, to which all the hardiest mariners of Númenor were joined. Dedicated as they were to Uinen the Lady of the Seas, these Venturers became known as Uinendili, the 'devotees of Uinen', and Aldarion was their Great Captain.

The Guildhouse of the Venturers was not on land, but rather Aldarion built a great ship named Eämbar to be the home of the Uinendili. This vessel would sail at times around the isle of Númenor, but it was usually anchored off Tol Uinen, the island gifted to the Númenóreans by Uinen herself. That island lay in the inlet that led to Rómenna, the great harbour where the Venturers built their ships, and from which they sailed out on their voyages of exploration.

After a hundred years, the Uinendili marked their centenary by sailing around the island of Númenor aboard their seaborne Guildhouse. Aldarion took Erendis (who would one day be his Queen) aboard Eämbar, and named her Uinéniel, 'Daughter of Uinen'. Erendis, however, did not share Aldarion's love of the Sea, and renounced the name, going so far as to call Uinen her foe. From this difference would come many troubles between Aldarion and Erendis over the years to come.

Aldarion's fascination with the Sea would lead to troubles with his father the King, who wished his son to pay more heed to the duties of his station as King's Heir. Indeed at one point Tar-Meneldur went so far as to ban his son from further venturing, an order which Aldarion defied by sailing away from Númenor for many years. The two were eventually reconciled, and Aldarion would continue his voyaging throughout his life, even after he became King Tar-Aldarion of Númenor.

Little is known of the history of the Uinendili after Aldarion's time. They did continue to exist for some years, but at some point they roused the ire of the later Kings, and the vessel Eämbar was impounded and sailed from Tol Uinen to a new berth off Andúnië in the west. Whether the Guild of Venturers itself survived beyond this point is unknown, but there is no doubt that their tradition of voyaging and exploration burgeoned in the later years of the Second Age. The Númenóreans travelled in great numbers to Middle-earth where, under the later Kings, they plundered its resources. Even at the end of the Third Age, a remnant of the legacy of the Uinendili could still be seen in Middle-earth: the old port of Lond Daer at the mouth of Gwathló had its origins as Vinyalondë, a harbour established by the Venturers in the days when Aldarion himself had been their Great Captain.


Notes

1

We know that the Uinendili continued as a guild through the reign of Tar-Aldarion, which came to an end in II 1075. We have no references after this date, so the Venturers - who are noted to have only been a small band even at their height - may simply have disbanded when Tar-Ancalimë succeeded her father and reversed many of his policies. In later years, the Númenóreans began to explore and exploit Middle-earth in earnest, but whether these later voyagers considered themselves to be the successors of Aldarion's Uinendili is open to question.

2

It is not explained precisely why Uinen would have thought a small island to be a suitable gift for the Númenóreans. Perhaps the implication is that she would appear there herself at times (in the way that her spouse Ossë had appeared to the Elves long beforehand). If so, there is no record of the Maia making such an appearance. Alternatively, perhaps the Lady of the Seas had foreseen that the Uinendili would have need of such an island, and prepared Tol Uinen for just that purpose.

See also...

Maiar, Tol Uinen

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 2 March 2023
  • This entry is complete

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