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The first Steward was appointed by King Rómendacil I, who ruled Gondor from III 492 to III 5411
Minas Tirith (and originally also Osgiliath)2


About this entry:

  • Updated 6 December 2017
  • This entry is complete

Wand of the Stewards

Emblem of the later rulers of Gondor

"In his hand was a white rod with a golden knob."
From a description of Steward Denethor II,
in The Return of the King V 1,
Minas Tirith

Since the earliest days of Númenor, it had been the tradition for royalty and nobility among the Dúnedain to bear a rod or wand as a mark of office. The Kings and Queens of Númenor bore a royal Sceptre, while lesser nobles carried various rods according to their rank. In Gondor, the Stewards bore a rod that was white in colour, but with a knob of gold. Exactly when this tradition began is unknown: the first mention of the white wand is in the hand of Steward Cirion, who held it aloft when he swore an Oath in the year III 2510.

The rod was destroyed3 more than five hundred years later, during the War of the Ring, when Denethor broke it and burned the fragments in his death pyre. After Denethor's death, a similar wand was taken up by his son Faramir, and after Aragorn's coronation Faramir surrendered that wand to the new King. Aragorn immediately returned it, thus confirming Faramir as his royal Steward. So the white wand continued as a symbol of the Stewardship into the Fourth Age.



We do not know for sure which Steward was the first to bear the Wand. The Stewardship itself dated back to the time of Rómendacil I, and given the lack of specific information, we might reasonably assume that this first (unnamed) Steward was the first to carry the Wand. Our first definite reference to the Wand connects it to Steward Cirion in III 2510, two millennia after Rómendacil's time, though by that point it was already established as the Stewards' symbol of office.

The rod of office seems to have been associated with the role of Steward in general, and not exclusively the Ruling Stewards. After the War of the Ring, Faramir attempted to give up his place as Steward to Aragorn by surrendering the Wand, but Aragorn refused and handed it back, insisting that Faramir continue in the office. This makes it clear that the rod was associated with the office of Steward, but not to the rule of Gondor, which in turn implies that the its use predated the accession of the first Ruling Steward, Mardil, in III 2050.


Throughout the time of the Ruling Stewards, their seat was at Minas Tirith, which had been established as the sole capital of Gondor centuries before Mardil's time, while it was still known as Minas Anor. Before the time of King Telemnar (who reigned for just two years from III 1634 to III 1636), Minas Anor was merely the King's summer seat. During the winter months of this earlier period, the Stewards would have borne their Wands in Osgiliath on Anduin rather than Minas Anor.


It is not established with certainty that the same particular rod was in use continuously for these five centuries, and it is quite conceivable that the ceremonial wand was replaced any number of times during this period. Indeed, the fact that Faramir was able to find a new staff of office so soon after his father destroyed his own rod suggests that a replacement was kept ready, or at least could be made with little effort.


About this entry:

  • Updated 6 December 2017
  • This entry is complete

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