Decline of the Lifespan of the Númenóreans

© 2005 www.zarkanya.net.  Please cite this essay if you quote it or use it.

Click here to send me comments and e-mail on this essay.

 

 

Note: this piece is becoming something of a work-in-progress.  If you want the original version, it can be found here.  

 

 

The Númenóreans worried and complained bitterly about the decline in their lifespans from the time of Tar-Atanamir (lived II 1800-2221[1], reigned II 2029-2221) until the passage of Aragorn Elessar, when even Arwen Undómiel complained about the Fate of Men[2]. 

 

The desire for life unending within the Circles of the World, described by Tolkien as an envy of the Eldar[3], was one of the pertinent and persistent causes of the rebellion of the Númenóreans in the Second Age.  Indeed, Tolkien remarks that “the more joyful was their life, the more they began to long for the immortality of the Eldar.”[4]  Even Tar-Minastir, who sent the Númenórean fleet to the assistance of Gil-galad in the mid-Second Age, “loved the Eldar but envied them.”[5]

 

But there were other causes as well – greed and hubris – behind the fall, as they were for the Noldor before them, and as they are for real people in our real world.  Tolkien writes that “after Minastir, the Kings [of Númenor] became greedy of wealth and power.  … their havens became fortresses, holding wide coastlands in subjugation.  Atanamir and his successors levied heavy tribute, and the ships of the Númenóreans returned laden with spoil.”[6]  Tar-Telemmaitë, the fifteenth king, “was so called because of his love of silver, and he bade his servants to seek ever for mithril.”[7]  His successor, Tar-Vanimeldë, the third ruling Queen, was given to “music and dance”, while her husband wielded royal power.  Tar-Vanimeldë’s husband so enjoyed the exercise of royal power that he usurped the throne from his own son and ruled for 20 years in his despite. [8]

 

Yet  the desire for life unending within Arda was still the primary cause of the fall of the Númenóreans.  Except for Tar-Palantir, it would appear that every King of Númenor from Tar-Atanamir to Ar-Pharazôn was concerned about obtaining life unending within the circles of the world.[9]  Tar-Atanamir received an embassy from Valinor concerning his complaint about having to die.  Along with this was a demand that the Númenóreans be admitted to Aman, “’and taste there, were it but for a day, the bliss of the Powers’”.[10]  Messengers from Manwë rebuked the king, “’Yet it seems that you desire now to have the good of both kindreds, to sail to Valinor when you will, and to return when you please to your homes.’”[11]  As for Ar-Pharazôn, he

…felt the shadow of death approach, as his days lengthened; and he was filled with fear and wrath. …

   And [Sauron] said: ‘The Valar have possessed themselves of the land where this is no death; and the lie to you concerning it, hiding it as best they may, because of their avarice, and their fear lest the Kings of Men should wrest from them the deathless realm and rule the world in their stead …’

   Then Ar-Pharazôn, being besotted, and walking under the shadow of death, for his span was drawing towards it end, hearkened to Sauron; and he began to ponder in his heart how he might make was upon the Valar.[12]

 

Even among the descendants of the Faithful in Gondor, the problem followed them, as Faramir spoke to Frodo in Henneth Annûn of the Dúnedain of Gondor:

   ‘Death was ever present, because the Númenoreans still, as they had in their old kingdom, and so lost it, hungered after endless life unchanging.  Kings made tombs more splendid than houses of the living, and counted old names in the rolls of their descent dearer than the names of sons.  Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry; in secret chambers withered men compounded strong elixirs, or in high cold towers asked questions of the stars.  And the last king of the line of Anárion had no heir.[13]

 

Finally, let us consider the words of Arwen herself to Aragorn as prepared to die in his tomb in Rath Dínen:

‘”…There is now no ship that would bear me hence, and I must indeed abide the Doom of Men, whether I will or I nill: the loss and the silence.  But I say to you, King of the Númenoreans, not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.  As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.  For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men, it is bitter to receive.”[14]

 

 

The Númenórean Kings

 

The lives of the Númenórean kings began to decline immediately after Tar-Atanamir and his son and successor, Tar-Ancalimon.  His eleven predecessors, from Vardamir Nólimon to Ancalimon, lived an average of 404 years.  Tar-Ancalimë, the first Ruling Queen, had lived longest (other than Elros) at 412 years; Tar-Telperion, the Second Ruling Queen, and Tar-Amandil, the second king (his father, Vardamir Nólimon, declined the crown in his son’s favor), lived 411 years.  Tar-Atanamir refused to surrender his life, lived 421 years, the longest since Elros; so he gained perhaps 9 extra years of questionable quality.[15]  Tar-Atanamir’s son, Tar-Ancalimon, also refused to surrender his life, but only lived 400 years; his grandson, Tar-Telemmaitë continued the refusal to surrender his life, and died at age 390 years.  There followed a rapid decline in the lifespan of Númenórean kings after that, as the chart shows:  In the end, their lifespan was the same as that of other Númenóreans, about 3 times the life of other races of men, or about 210 years.[16]

 

After 14 generations of stable lifespans of about 405 years, the lifespan of Númenórean kings began to decline sharply.  The yellow bar is for Tar-Anducal, who for 20 years usurped the throne from his son, Tar-Alcarin.  Notice the straight-line character of the lives of the rulers from 14 to 22.

 

In contrast to the Kings and their close kindred in the royal house, there is evidence that the lifespan of their cousins, the Lords of Andúnië, declined much more slowly.  Assuming that the Lords of Andúnië had the same lifespan as their cousins the Kings of Númenor, they would have also have lived an average of 405 years until the reign of Tar-Ancalimon.  After Tar-Ancalimon there were 11 Kings of Númenor, but only 9 Lords of Andúnië.[17]  Note that Elendil the Tall was 322 at the time of his death, but still hale and strong enough to fight Sauron side-by-side with Gil-galad.[18]  The decline in their lifespans – along with their own wealth and aggrandizement – seems to have become the primary concern of the House of Elros.  Since the Lords of Andúnië had longer lives than the royal house, part of the policy of Ar-Gimilzôr in marrying Inzilbêth, niece of Eärendur, 15th Lord of Andúnië, (his sister Lindórië was the mother of Inzilbêth), could have been an attempt to see that his offspring had longer lifespan.  Inzilbêth seems to have been opposed to marrying Gimilzôr[19], but it one must understand that the growing power of the faction of the King’s Men, along with the increasingly tenuous position of the Faithful, would make it hard for her to resist his desire to marry.  At this point, Ar-Gimilzôr moved many of the Faithful from the western regions of Númenor to the eastern regions near Rómenna.[20] 

 

The length of the lifespans of the Númenórean kings collapsed rapidly during the third millennium of the Second Age, while the Lords of Andúnië retained a fairly stable lifespan. 

 

The Lords of Andúnië may have retained their longer lives through a way of life more like that of the Eldar.  In any case, the decline in the lifespan of the kings must have been a matter of serious concern.

 

Tar-Palantir, son of Inzilbêth and Gimilzôr, was the only Númenórean king since Tar-Atanamir to live longer than his predecessor.[21]  Eventually, he died of grief as Númenóreans refused to reconcile themselves to the fate of Men and to the Eldar and Valar.[22]  Part of the problem that plagued the Númenóreans is this very of refusal of reconciliation: Tolkien noted that the long lifespan of the Númenóreans was “brought about by assimilation of their mode of life to that of the Eldar … ‘Clinging to life’, and so in the end dying perforce and involuntarily, was one of the changes brought about by the Shadow and the rebellion of the Númenóreans; it was also accompanied by a shrinking of their natural life-span.”[23]  Tolkien also implies that this represents an impiety on behalf of the Númenóreans,[24] and that this impiety and the accompanying rejection of “the ‘theological’ teaching the Númenóreans had received from [the Eldar]’ marked a fall from grace and the diminution of the lifespan of the Dúnedain in Númenor.[25] 

 

The lifespans of both the Kings of Arnor and Gondor continued to diminish in exile in Middle-earth.  The Kings of Gondor lived about 20% longer than the Kings of Arnor (and their successors in Arthedain), although there were premature deaths from both warfare and from illness.  The reasons for this difference in longevity is not quite clear: certainly Arnor was under desperate assault by Angmar, but likewise Gondor was under a series of attacks by Harad and various Easterlings peoples such has the Wainriders and the Balchoth[26]  The weather was certainly milder in Gondor, which was the more southerly of the two kingdoms of the exiled Dúnedain.[27]  Some of the difference might be due to a presumed to a return to the worship of Darkness among some of the people of Arnor, a practice that might have led to the weakening and eventual overthrow of Rhudaur by allies of Angmar.[28]  The “waning of the Dúnedain” [29] from continuous civil war might describe not only the depopulation of the old kingdom of Arnor but also to shorter lives for its exilic inhabitants. 

 

The decline in the length of the lives of the Kings of Gondor was slower than that of the Kings of Arnor and Arthedain.  Toward the end of the kingdom, warfare took an increasingly greater toll on the royal house.  The yellow bar is for Castamir the Usurper.  Note the descending, almost straight-line character of the lives of those kings not killed in war.  There is a rapid decline after 25, Hyarmendacil II: Minardil was killed, Telemnar died in the Plague, and his cousin Tarondor moved the capital to Minas Anor from Osgiliath.

 

From the beginning of the Third Age, the Kings of Arnor had shorter lives than the Kings of Gondor.  There is straight-line character in the shortening lives of the Kings of Arnor from 3 to 27, but then the lifespan of the Chieftains of the Dúnedain stabilized at just short of 160 years.

 

The lifespan of Aragorn Elessar[30] is roughly in line with the declining lifespan of the Kings of Gondor, but an increase of about one-fourth for the lifespan of 8 the last 10 Chieftains of the Dúnedain.  Of the Chieftains of the Dúnedain, the last two, Arador and Arathorn II, died violent deaths in battle, as did Aragorn I; excluding these three, the Chieftains lived almost 160 years.  The lifespan of the Chieftains of the Dúnedain seems to have stabilized at this level.  This is also the lifespan of the last King of Gondor live to the end of his natural life, Eärnil II.  The length of Aragorn II’s life, however, is instead in line with that of the Kings of Gondor, and was roughly the same as the age of a King of Númenor just before the downfall and drowning of that land.  Part of this is that “in Aragorn Elessar the dignity of the kings of old was renewed”[31], and a special grace granted to Aragorn, but also in part perhaps due to the fact that Aragorn had grown up in the house of Elrond, who “’came to love him as a son of his own.’”[32]  Part of it may also been that Aragorn lived more like the Eldar than any other Dúnadan since the days of his forefather Valandil: he had assimilated the mode of his life to that of the Eldar. 

 

The lifespan of the Kings of Arnor was never as long as those of Gondor.  Aragorn's lifespan, however, was more in line with that of a King of Gondor.  Notice the straight-line character of the lines, excluding those rulers killed in combat.

 

 

Other Númenóreans

 

The length of life for other Númenóreans is not explicitly referenced except in a few places.  Tarinya-Almarian, the queen of Tar-Meneldur, told her husband that “’The kin of Erendis have not the length of life that is granted to the descendants of Elros…”[33]  Tolkien wrote that Tar-Aldarion was so unhappy in his marriage to Erendis, for which he blamed her fate of a shorter life, that he made a law that the King’s Heir in Númenor could wed only among the descendants of Elros, but then he notes that “this rule of ‘royal marriage’ was never a matter of law, but it became a custom of pride: ‘a symptom of the growth of the Shadow, since it only became rigid when the distinction between the Line of Elros and other families, in life-span, vigour, or ability, had diminished or altogether disappeared.’”[34]  From this we may deduce that the average Númenórean was living to something beyond 200 years, since the kings were dying at about that age.[35]  One wonders how much shorter the lives of average Númenóreans had become having begun their time on Númenor with lifespans “in the beginning thrice that of lesser Men”[36] if “the distinction between the Line of Elros and other families, in life-span … had diminished or altogether disappeared”.  I think that in this context, we must imagine that the lifespans of even the average Númenóreans had become noticeably shorter as well.[37] 

 

The line of the Stewards seems stable but with high variance.  The Princes of Dol Amroth show a marked decline in lifespan.[38]  Only the Lords of Dol Amroth show the straight-line character of declines in the royal houses in the Second and Third Ages.

 

Tolkien notes that during the rule of the Stewards, “the lifespan those [Dúnedain of Gondor] even of the purer blood steadily decreased.”[39]  He also notes that

...though not in the direct line, the Hurinionath [the Stewards], the family to which Pelendur and Mardil belonged, were of Númenórean blood hardly less pure than that of the kings, and undoubtedly had some share in the actual blood of Elendil and Anárion.[40]

 

These two families must be considered extraordinary in Gondor.  The Princes of Dol Amroth had elven blood in them from the elf-maid Mithrellas.  The Stewards were related to the House of Anárion: it should not be surprising that the house of the Stewards would be related to the kings whom they served, nor should it be thought unusual that the royal house would marry into the other noble houses of the land: indeed, it would be unusual if they did not, as it was in the latter years of Númenor.  In addition, the two houses were related by the end of the Third Age: Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth was brother-in-law to Denethor II, so Faramir was his nephew.[41] 

 

Of the Stewards, only Hador, the seventh Ruling Steward, lived to an age comparable to the royal houses: he died at age 150 in III 2395.  Belegorn, his great-grandfather and fourth Ruling Steward, died age 130 in III 2204.  The White Tree planted by Tarondor in Minas Tirith died during the reign of Belecthor II, the 21st Ruling Steward; thereafter, none of the five Ruling Stewards lived beyond 100 years.  (Faramir lived to 120 years after Aragorn II restored the kingdom and planted a seedling of the White Tree.)  As an interesting note, none of the Ruling Stewards died in battle, although Boromir, 11th Ruling Steward and ancestor of the Boromir of The Fellowship of the Ring, died at age 79: “His life was shortened by the poisoned wounds he received in the Morgul-war.”[42]

 

In the case of the Princes of Dol Amroth, their lifespan from III 2913 onward was not more than real-world folk of quite advanced age: none of the last 4 Princes of Dol Amroth mentioned by Tolkien lived beyond age 100.[43]  Since these were the two leading families of Gondor, and they probably had the “purest” blood in that land – and so the longest lives by Tolkien’s logic – I think it is reasonable to expect that by the end of the Third Age, most of the folk of Gondor were typically living to what we real-world folk would call an advanced but not particularly fanciful age.

 

Tolkien does not enumerate the lifespans of other families of the Dúnedain other than the royal houses until after Eärnur, the last King of the House of Anárion of Gondor, was lost in Imlad Morgul.  None of the other families were of interest until the House of Anárion became extinct.

 

 

Possible considerations for Tolkien’s notes

 

JRR Tolkien was a capable mathematician.  In one of his letters, he reported his calculation that the “Númenórean calendar was just a bit better than the Gregorian”, and then explains that while the Gregorian calendar is 26 seconds fast, the Númenórean calendar is 17.2 seconds slow.[44]  This is a bit of a tedious calculation without a computer or calculator: Tolkien did it by hand. 

 

The distinct declines in the lifespans of the Númenórean rulers appear to be straight-line calculations.  There should be notes among his papers on this decline, or perhaps even a chart or rough graph for the ruling houses of Númenor, Arnor and Gondor.  (I doubt there is a graph or set of calculations for the Lords of Andúnië, but perhaps there is.) 

 

There are also similar declines for the Lords of Dol Amroth, as I have noted.  It is entirely possible that Tolkien did all this work without sketching out a chart other than the tables he constructed: no charts or graphs have ever been referenced in The History of Middle-Earth series. 

 

 

Appendix 1: The House of Elros[45]

 

Tolkien tells us explicitly how old the Kings of Númenor are.  A preliminary step to building an estimate of the lifespans of the Lords of Andúnië is to first build a model of the lifespans of the Kings.  You can find a simple model here.

 

 

 

king

born

sovereign

Retired

died

age

ruled

Comment

1

I

Elros

-58

32

442

442

500

410

High King of the Númenóreans

2

II

Vardamir

61

442

443

471

410

 

nominally ruled 1 year

3

III

Amandil

192

442

590

603

411

148

 

4

IV

Elendil

350

590

740

751

401

150

father of Silmariën, wife of Elatan of Andúnië; ancestor of Elendil and Aragorn; sent first Númenórean ships back to Middle-Earth

5

V

Meneldur

543

740

883

942

399

143

 

6

VI

Aldarion

700

883

1075

1098

398

192

born Anardil

7

VII

Ancalimë

873

1075

1280

1285

412

205

first ruling queen

8

VIII

Anárion

1003

1280

1394

1404

401

114

 

9

IX

Súrion

1174

1394

1556

1574

400

162

 

10

X

Telperiën

1320

1556

1731

1731

411

175

second ruling queen

11

XI

Minastir

1474

1731

1869

1873

399

138

may have been coregent from ca. 1700; sent fleet to help Gil-galad

12

XII

Ciryatan

1634

1869

2029

2035

401

160

the Shadow falls on Númenor

13

XIII

Atanamir

1800

2029

 

2221

421

192

refused to lay down his life

14

XIV

Ancalimon

1986

2221

 

2386

400

165

 

15

XV

Telemmaitë

2136

2386

 

2526

390

140

 

16

XVI

Vanimeldë

2277

2526

 

2637

360

111

third ruling queen

 

 

Anducal

2286

2637

 

2657

371

20

husband of Vanimeldë; usurped throne from Alcarin, his son; ruled 20 years

17

XVII

Alcarin

2406

2657

 

2737

331

100

ruled 80 years; rightful king 100 years

18

XVIII

Calmacil

2516

2737

 

2825

309

88

 

19

XIX

Ardamin

2618

2825

 

2899

281

74

Ar-Abattârik in Adûnaic

20

XX

Adûnakhôr

2709

2899

 

2962

253

63

first king to take his name in Adûnaic

21

XXI

Zimrathôn

2798

2962

 

3033

235

71

 

22

XXII

Sakalthôr

2876

3033

 

3102

226

69

 

23

XXIII

Gimilzôr

2960

3102

 

3177

217

75

moved the Faithful to Rómenna

24

XXIV

Palantir

3035

3177

 

3255

220

78

Ar-Inziladûn in Adûnaic

25

XXV

Pharazôn †

3118

3255

 

3319 †

201

64

seized Míriel (Zimraphel), daughter of Palantir; usurped the throne; ruined Númenor by attacking Valinor

 

 

Appendix 2: The House of Valandil of Andúnië

 

The “corresponding Númenórean King” is the king at the death estimated for the Lord of Andúnië except for Amandil and Elendil, who are presumed to have outlived Ar-Pharazôn.  Before the reign of Tar-Atanamir, the Lords of Andúnië have been assigned the average age of the Kings of Númenor.  After that, the ages of the Lords of Andúnië is calculated to decline so that there are only 19 generations of Lords of Andúnië while there are 21 for the Kings of Númenor.[46] 

 

 

 

line from Elros

Born

died

age

Comment

est. birth

est. death

est. age

Corresponding Númenórean King

Age of the Kings of Númenor

1

I

Elros

-58

442

500

High King of the Númenóreans

-58

442

500

Elros

500

2

II

Vardamir

61

471

410

ruled nominally 1 year

61

471

410

Vardamir

410

3

III

Amandil

192

603

411

 

192

603

411

Amandil

411

4

IV

Elendil

350

751

401

father of Silmariën, mother of Valandil of Andúnië; ancestor of Elendil and Aragorn

350

751

401

Elendil

401

 

 

Silmariën

521

 

 

Silmariën, daughter and eldest child of Elendil, married Elatan of Andúnië

521

934

413

Meneldur

401

1

I

Valandil

630

 

 

first Lord of Andúnië

630

1035

405

Aldarion

398

2

II

 

 

 

 

 

787

1192

405

Ancalimë

412

3

III

 

 

 

 

 

944

1349

405

Anárion

401

4

IV

 

 

 

 

 

1102

1507

405

Súrion

400

5

V

 

 

 

 

 

1259

1664

405

Telperiën

411

6

VI

 

 

 

 

 

1416

1821

405

Minastir

399

7

VII

 

 

 

 

 

1573

1978

405

Ciryatan

401

8

VIII

 

 

 

 

 

1731

2136

405

Atanamir

421

9

IX

 

 

 

 

Tar-Ancalimon becomes King of Númenor

1888

2293

405

Ancalimon

400

10

X

 

 

 

 

 

2045

2450

405

Telemmaitë

390

11

XI

 

 

 

 

 

2195

2593

399

Vanimeldë

360

12

XII

 

 

 

 

 

2336

2729

393

Alcarin

331

13

XIII

 

 

 

 

 

2470

2857

386

Ardamin

281

14

XIV

 

 

 

 

 

2596

2977

380

Zimrathôn

235

15

XV

Eärendur

 

 

 

his sister Lindórië was the mother of Inzilbêth mother of Tar-Palantir

2715

3089

374

Sakalthôr

226

16

XVI

 

 

 

 

 

2825

3193

368

Palantir

220

17

XVII

Numendil

 

 

 

his son Elentir might have been betrothed to Tar-Míriel, daughter of Tar-Palantir.

2928

3290

362

Pharazôn

201

18

XVIII

Amandil

 

3319

 

last Lord of Andúnië; sailed to Eressëa to warn the Valar of Ar-Pharazôn’s impending attack.  Might have been the younger son of Numendil.

3023

3379

355

Pharazôn

201

19

XIX

Elendil †

3119

3441

322

"The Tall", High King of the Dúnedain (Annúminas)[47]

3119

3441 †

322 †

Pharazôn

201

 

 

Appendix 3: The House of Anárion[48]

 

 

 

king

born

sovereign

died

age

ruled

Comment

Arnor

1

I

Elendil †

3119

3320

3441 †

322

121

"The Tall", High King of the Dúnedain (Annuminas)

Elendil

 

 

Anárion †

3219

 

3440 †

221

 

killed by a stonecast at Barad-dûr; never sovereign

Elendil

1

I

Meneldil

3318

10

158

280

148

King of Gondor.  Seat at Osgiliath

Valandil

2

II

Cemendur

3399

158

238

279

80

 

Valandil

3

III

Eärendil

48

238

324

276

86

 

Eldacar

4

IV

Anardil

136

324

411

275

87

 

Arantar

5

V

Ostoher

222

411

492

270

81

 

Tarcil

6

VI

Rómendacil I †

310

492

541 †

231

49

born Tarostar; slain in battle with Easterlings

Tarondor

7

VII

Turambar

397

541

667

270

126

 

Elendur

8

VIII

Atanatar I

480

667

748

268

81

 

Elendur

9

IX

Siriondil

570

748

830

260

82

 

Earendur

10

X

Falastur

654

830

913

259

83

born Tarannon; first childless king

Amlaith

11

XI

Eärnil I †

736

913

946 †

210

33

nephew of Falastur; drowned in storm off Umbar

Beleg

12

XII

Ciryandil †

820

946

1015 †

195

69

fell in battle with against Harad

Beleg

13

XIII

Hyarmendacil I

899

1015

1149

250

134

born Ciryaher

Celepharn

14

XIV

Atanatar II

977

1149

1226

249

77

called Alcarin, the Glorious.  Height of power of Gondor

Celebrindor

15

XV

Narmacil I

1049

1226

1294

245

68

second childless king

Malvegil

16

XVI

Calmacil

1058

1294

1304

246

10

brother of Narmacil I

Malvegil

17

XVII

Rómendacil II

1126

1304

1366

240

62

regent from 1240 for his uncle and then his father; built Argonath

Arveleg I

18

XVIII

Valacar

1194

1366

1432

238

66

married Vidumavi, daughter of King of Rhovanion

Araphor

19

XIX

Eldacar

1255

1432

1490

235

58

born Vinthanarya; deposed 1437-1447 by Castamir

Araphor

 

 

Castamir †

1259

1437

1447 †

188

10

called "The Usurper".  Descendant of Calmacil; killed by Eldacar at Ethraid Erui

Araphor

20

XX

Aldamir †

1330

1490

1540 †

210

50

died fighting rebels of Umbar allied with Harad

Araphor

21

XXI

Hyarmendacil II

1391

1540

1621

230

81

born Vinyarion; defeated Harad in vengeance for Aldamir

Argeleb II

22

XXII

Minardil †

1495

1621

1634 †

139

13

killed by the great-grandsons of Castamir at Pelargir

Argeleb II

23

XXIII

Telemnar

1516

1634

1636

120

2

died in the Plague with his children.  White Tree died.

Argeleb II

24

XXIV

Tarondor

1577

1636

1798

221

162

nephew of Telemnar.  Moved seat to Minas Anor.  Planted scion of White Tree.  Mordor unguarded.

Arveleg II

25

XXV

Umbardacil

1632

1798

1850

218

52

born Telumehtar.  destroyed Havens of Umbar

Araval

26

XXVI

Narmacil II †

1684

1850

1856 †

172

6

Nazgûl re-entered Mordor.  killed in battle with the Wainriders

Araval

27

XXVII

Calimehtar

1736

1856

1936

200

80

defeated Wainriders.  Built White Tower of Minas Anor

Araphant

28

XXVIII

Ondohir †

1787

1936

1944 †

157

8

he and his sons killed by Wainriders.  Daughter Fíriel married Arvedui of Fornost

Araphant

 

 

Interregnum

 

1944

 

 

1

interregnum; Pelendur the Steward of Ondoher ruled

Araphant

29

XXIX

Eärnil II [49]

1883

1945

2043

160

98

great-grandson of Umbardacil; sent fleet to Lindon to fight Angmar; Nazgûl seized Minas Ithil

Aranarth

30

XXX

Eärnur †

1928

2043

2050 †

122

7

went to Minas Morgul to face Lord of the Nazgûl, never returned.  Last King of Gondor.

Aranarth

 

 

Appendix 4: The House of Isildur[50]

 

 

 

 

 

king

born

sovereign

Died

age

ruled

comment

Gondor

High King

1

1

I

Elendil †

3119

3320

3441 †

322

121

"The Tall", High King of the Dúnedain (Annúminas)

Elendil

 

2

2

II

Isildur †

3209

3441

2 †

234

2

 

Meneldil

Arnor

1

3

III

Valandil

3430

10

249

260

239

High King of Arnor (Annúminas)

Eärendil

 

2

4

IV

Eldacar

87

249

339

252

90

 

Anardil

 

3

5

V

Arantar

185

339

435

250

96

 

Ostoher

 

4

6

VI

Tarcil

280

435

515

235

80

 

Rómendacil I

 

5

7

VII

Tarondor

372

515

602

230

87

 

Turambar

 

6

8

VIII

Valandur †

462

602

652 †

190

50

 

Turambar

 

7

9

IX

Elendur

552

652

777

225

125

 

Siriondil

 

8

10

X

Eärendur

640

777

861

221

84

Arnor divided into 3 kingdoms after he died

Falastur

Arthedain

1

11

XI

Amlaith

726

861

946

220

85

King of Arthedain (Fornost)

Ciryandil

 

2

12

XII

Beleg

812

946

1029

217

83

 

Hyarmendacil I

 

3

13

XIII

Mallor

895

1029

1110

215

81

 

Hyarmendacil I

 

4

14

XIV

Celepharn

979

1110

1191

212

81

 

Atanatar II

 

5

15

XV

Celebrindor

1062

1191

1272

210

81

 

Narmacil I

 

6

16

XVI

Malvegil

1144

1272

1349

205

77

 

Rómendacil II

 

7

17

XVII

Argeleb I †

1226

1349

1356 †

130

7

killed in battle with Rhudaur and Angmar

Rómendacil II

 

8

18

XVIII

Arveleg I †

1309

1356

1409 †

100

53

killed fighting Angmar at Amon Sûl

Valacar

 

9

19

XIX

Araphor

1391

1409

1589

198

180

 

Hyarmendacil II

 

10

20

XX

Argeleb II

1473

1589

1670

197

81

 

Tarondor

 

11

21

XXI

Arvegil

1553

1670

1743

190

73

 

Tarondor

 

12

22

XXII

Arveleg II

1633

1743

1813

180

70

 

Umbardacil

 

13

23

XXIII

Araval

1711

1813

1891

180

78

Defeated Angmar with help of Lindon and Rivendell

Calimehtar

 

14

24

XXIV

Araphant

1789

1891

1964

175

73

war with Angmar resumes

Eärnil II

 

15

25

XXV

Arvedui †

1864

1964

1975 †

111

11

crushed by sea-ice during war with Angmar.  Married Fíriel daughter of Ondoher of Gondor.  Claimed throne of Gondor, but claim rejected.

Eärnil II

Chieftains

1

26

XXVI

Aranarth

1938

1975

2106

168

131

Chieftain of the Dúnedain (Imladris)

none

 

2

27

XXVII

Arahael

2012

2106

2177

165

71

 

none

 

3

28

XXVIII

Aranuir

2084

2177

2247

163

70

 

none

 

4

29

XXIX

Aravir

2156

2247

2319

163

72

 

none

 

5

30

XXX

Aragorn I †

2227

2319

2327 †

100

8

slain by wolves

none

 

6

31

XXXI

Araglas

2296

2327

2455

159

128

 

none

 

7

32

XXXII

Arahad I

2365

2455

2523

158

68

 

none

 

8

33

XXXIII

Aragost

2431

2523

2588

157

65

 

none

 

9

34

XXXIV

Aravorn

2497

2588

2654

157

66

 

none

 

10

35

XXXV

Arahad II

2563

2654

2719

156

65

 

none

 

11

36

XXXVI

Arassuil

2628

2719

2784

156

65

 

none

 

12

37

XXXVII

Arathorn I †

2693

2784

2848 †

155

64

 

none

 

13

38

XXXVIII

Argonui

2757

2848

2912

155

64

 

none

 

14

39

XXXIX

Arador †

2820

2912

2930 †

110

18

killed by hill-trolls in the Coldfells

none

 

15

40

XL

Arathorn II †

2873

2930

2933 †

60

3

killed by an orc-arrow

none

High King

1

41

XLI

Aragorn II

2931

2933

3019

210

206

King of the Reunited Kingdom as Elessar

Aragorn II

 

2

42

XLII

Eldarion

 

120

 

 

 

born ca. IV 30; ruled at least 100 years

Eldarion

 

 



[1] I am using the dating convention II::Second Age, where I 265 would be First Age year 265, III 1975 would be Third Age year 1975; II 2221 is therefore Second Age year 2221.  The reference for the dates of Tar-Atanamir’s life and reign come from Unfinished Tales, “The Line of Elros: Kings of Númenor”.  For discrepancies on the year of the death of Tar-Atanamir, see my comments on this subject in the footnotes of my essay, Origins of the Nazgûl and the Downfall of Númenor

[2] Arwen’s comment to Aragorn: The Return of the King, Appendix A.(v), “… The Tale of Aragorn & Arwen”:  “She [Arwen] was not yet weary of her days, and thus tasted the bitterness of the mortality that she had taken upon her. … ‘I say to you, King of the Númenóreans, not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.  As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.  For if this indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men, it is bitter to receive.’”  According to this part of the Appendix, Arwen died early the following year (IV 121); she was born in III 241 (The Return of the King, Appendix B, “The Third Age”), making her about 2899 years old, yet “She was not yet weary of her days, and thus tasted the bitterness of the mortality that she had taken upon her.”  The second quotation of the previous passage is deliberate.

[3] Tar-Minastir “sent a great force to the aid of Gil-galad.  He loved the Eldar but envied them.”  The Return of the King, Appendix A. I. (i) “Númenor”.

[4] Ibid., same passage as that just cited.

[5] The Return of the King, Appendix A, I. “The Númenórean Kings”, (i) “Númenor”

[6] Ibid.

[7] Unfinished Tales, “The Line of Elros”

[8] Ibid.  The implication might be that Tar-Vanimeldë and her husband Herucalmo were involved in licentious living; but at any rate, she was what we 21st-century Americans call a “party animal.”  Almost nothing is said of their son, Tar-Alcarin, except that he “ruled for 80 years…, being rightful king for 100 years.” 

[9] This is not explicit but implicit in Tolkien’s writings. 

[10] The Silmarillion, “Akallabêth”

[11] Ibid.  The “messengers” are not said to be Eldar or Maiar.  In Sauron Defeated, Christopher Tolkien states his belief that this was deliberate obfuscation on his father’s part.  (See “The Drowning of Anadûnê”, p. 406.)

[12] The Silmarillion, “Akallabêth”

[13] The Two Towers, “The Window on the West”

[14] The Return of the King, Appendix A.(v), “… The Tale of Aragorn & Arwen”

[15] See footnote 1 of “The Line of Elros” in Unfinished Tales:

The first approach of ‘world-weariness’ was indeed for [the Númenóreans] was indeed for them a sign that their period of vigour was nearing its end.  When it came to an end, if they persisted in living, then decay would proceed, as growth had done, no more slowly than among other Men.  Thus a Númenórean would pass quickly, in ten years maybe, from health and vigour of mind, to decrepitude and senility.

[16] “For though a long span of life had been granted to [the Númenóreans], in the beginning thrice that of lesser Men, they must remain mortal, since the Valar were not permitted to take from them the Gift of Men (or the Doom of Men, as it was afterwards called).”  The Return of the King, Appendix A

[17] Amandil was the 18th Lord of Andúnië, while Ar-Pharazôn was the 25th King of Númenor.  Cf. The Peoples of Middle-earth, “The History of the Akallabêth”, ‘”Note on the Marriage of Míriel and Pharazôn.”  See also Unfinished Tales, “The Line of Elros”, XXIV Tar-Palantir (Ar-Inziladûn).  This assessment assumes that the lordship of Valandil, son of Silmariën and first Lord of Andúnië, covered roughly the same period and lasted as long as the reign of Tar-Aldarion, sixth King of Númenor, and that similar correspondence continued between the lordship of subsequent Lords of Andúnië to the reign of the ninth (unnamed) Lord of Andúnië, who would have been a contemporary of Tar-Ancalimon. 

[18] Based upon Elendil’s birth in II 3119.  The Peoples of Middle-earth, “The Heirs of Elendil”.  Note that in Unfinished Tales, "The Line of Elros", Ar-Pharazôn was born in II 3118, and Míriel in II 3117.  Before age 200, Ar-Pharazôn "felt the shadow of death approach, as his days lengthened", and committed Númenor to several years of armament and preparation before his assault upon Aman.  Elendil, his cousin, lived another 122 years and with Gil-galad, Elrond, Círdan and Isildur, was still able to do battle with Sauron.

[19] The Silmarillion, “Akallabêth”:

There was a lady Inzilbêth, renowned for her beauty, and her mother was Lindórië, sister of Eärendur, Lord of Andúnië in the days of Ar-Sakalthôr father of Ar-Gimilzôr.  Gimilzôr took her to wife, though this was little to her liking…

[20] Ibid.  While the Lords of Andúnië aided the Faithful as they could, “for long they did not declare themselves openly.”

[21] Strictly speaking, this excludes Tar-Anducal, who usurped the throne from his son, Tar-Alcarin, after the death of his wife Tar-Vanimeldë, the third Ruling Queen.  Tar-Anducal lived longer than Tar-Vanimeldë, but not longer than her father, Tar-Telemmaitë.  So despite this “exception” – he outlived his wife and immediate predecessor – Anducal still enjoyed a shorter lifespan than his immediately receding generation.

[22] The Silmarillion, “Akallabêth”

[23] Unfinished Tales, “The Line of Elros”, footnote 1

[24] See for example Tolkien's comment that "The story of Ar-Pharazôn and his impious armada was all that remained generally known [of the history of Númenor] in later ages.”  Unfinished Tales, “A Description of the Island of Númenor”

[25] This quote is from Letter 211 to Rhona Beare, apparently written in 1958 or 1959.  The passage reads,

In the Tale of Years … you will find hints of the trouble: ‘the Shadow falls on Númenor’.  After Tar-Atanamir (an Elvish name) the next name is Ar-Adûnakhôr a Númenórean name. … The change of names went with a complete rejection of the Elf-friendship, and of the ‘theological’ teaching the Númenóreans had received from them.

There is an associated endnote (endnote 2) to the effect that “the King of Númenor preceding Ar-Adûnakhôr was Tar-Calmacil: the mention here of Tar-Atanamir seems to be no more than a slip.”  However, the Tale of Years for II 2251 shows “Tar-Atanamir takes the sceptre”, and the next king mentioned is Ar-Adûnakhôr in II 2899, 648 years later.  I believe that what Tolkien is saying in this passage is that during this time, the Númenóreans fell from grace.  Tar-Atanamir died at age 421, while Ar-Adûnakhôr died at age 253, a decline in lifespan of 40%.

[26] These attacks are outlined in Appendix B of The Return of the King, “The Tale of Years”, and in more detail in Appendix A.

[27] Aragorn spoke to Frodo about this in “The Great River” in The Fellowship of the Ring shortly after the Company left Lórien and was on the Anduin in the Brown Lands: 

‘It is still winter, and we are far from the sea.  Here the world is cold until the sudden spring, and we may yet have snow again.  Far away down in the Bay of Belfalas, to which Anduin runs, it is warm and merry, maybe, or would be but for the Enemy.

[28] Consider Faramir’s statements in The Two Towers in “The Window on the West: “’It is not said that evil arts were ever practised in Gondor, or that the Nameless One was ever named in honour there; and the old wisdom and beauty brought out of the West remained long in the realm of the sons of Elendil the Fair, and they linger there still. …’”  Now this is not an accusation that the Dúnedain themselves worshipped the Darkness, but certainly same cannot be said of the “evil lord of the Hillmen [of Rhudaur] who was in secret league with Angmar”, as described in Appendix A of The Return of the King, “The North-kingdom and the Dúnedain”.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Aragorn II’s age is listed variously as 198 or 210 years.  I have used 210 years, since it is the age calculated from “The Tale of Years” in The Return of the King.

[31] The Return of the King, “Appendix A”, “(ii) Eriador, Arnor and the Heirs of Isildur”, very end

[32] The Return of the King, “Appendix A”, “(v) … The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen”

[33] Unfinished Tales, “Aldarion and Erendis”, and footnote 11 to that story.  It is quite possible, perhaps even quite likely, that Erendis was a close kinswoman to Elatan of Andúnië, who married Aldarion’s cousin, Silmariën.  In that case, such a marriage would have represented an intermingling of the Third House of the Edain, represented by the Kings and Heirs of Elros (Elros and Elrond were technically members of the Third House of the Edain through Eärendil, son of Tuor of Gondolin, son of Huor, who was a member of the Third House) and the First House, represented by Elatan and Erendis.  Since he was a suitable husband for Silmariën, the royal princess of Númenor, we may safely presume that Elatan was a leading nobleman of the First House, if indeed he was not the leader of the surviving remnant of the First House in Númenor. 

As an afterthought to this matter, you might well consider that the Kings of Númenor were in fact the descendants of the rulers of the Third House, while the Lords of Andúnië and their descendants the Kings of Arnor and Gondor were the rulers of the First House.  This was first suggested to me by Alvin Eriol at SF-Fandom’s forum on Tolkien and the Inklings.  The result is that Aragorn is the leader of the First House and the heir of Beren, and like Beren he also wandered after Sauron’s minions destroyed the home of his fathers.  Aragorn found Arwen under the trees of Rivendell just as Beren found Lúthien under the trees in Doriath. 

[34] Ibid., and footnote 27 to the story.  I think this rather implies that other kings of Númenor married outside the House of Elros after Tar-Aldarion’s time.

[35] Gimilkhâd, the brother of Tar-Palantir and father of Ar-Pharazôn, died at age 198, “which was accounted an early death for one of Elros’ line even in its waning”.  The Silmarillion, “Akallabêth”

[36] The Return of the King, Appendix A, “(i) Númenor”

[37] In The Silmarillion, “Akallabêth”, Tolkien writes that “Death … came sooner and more often, and in many dreadful guises.”  This however was after the arrival of Sauron, and the Númenóreans had begun to worship Morgoth under his tutelage, practicing human sacrifice.  I do not believe that it pertains to the lifespans of the Faithful Númenóreans, but to those who had fallen, the party of the King’s Men, called Black Númenóreans in Middle Earth.

[38] Data from The Peoples of Middle-Earth, “The Heirs of Elendil”.  The data for the Stewards is from the C-text of “The Ruling Stewards of Gondor”, which is printed first in the chapter.  Data is reproduced for this graphic in my webpage “The Ruling Stewards of Gondor and the Lords of Dol Amroth”.

[39] The Peoples of Middle-Earth, “The Heirs of Elendil”, “The Ruling Stewards of Gondor”

[40] The Peoples of Middle-Earth, “The Heirs of Elendil”, “The Ruling Stewards of Gondor”, B-text

[41] The Return of the King, “Appendix A”, “The Stewards”.  Imrahil’s sister, Denethor’s wife, and Boromir’s and Faramir’s mother, was Finduilas.

[42] The Peoples of Middle-Earth, “The Heirs of Elendil”, “The Ruling Stewards of Gondor”

[43] Three of these four Lords of Dol Amroth died in the Fourth Age, beginning with Imrahil.  Only his father Adrahil died during the Third Age.  Again, see the description in “The Ruling Stewards of Gondor and the Lords of Dol Amroth”.

[44] Letter 176 to Naomi Mitchison, 8 December 1955

[45] Dates taken from Unfinished Tales, “The Line of Elros”

[46] There were 18 Lords of Andúnië.  There are no names recorded in published material from the second Lord of Andúnië through the fourteenth lord, nor is there one recorded for the sixteenth lord.  Elendil the Tall was not Lord of Andúnië, but he became the High King of the Dúnedain kingdoms in exile in Middle-earth.  Although I have marked Amandil, his father, as having died in II 3119, I believe that is more reasonable to assume that his mission to the Valar to plead for mercy for the Faithful of Númenor was successful, that he was not permitted to return to mortal lands, and that he died a natural death among the Eldar of Tol Eressëa or Valinor when he reached the end of his mortal days.

[47] My calculations comparing the length of the lives of the Kings of Númenor to the Lords of Andúnië indicate that Elendil should have been born in 3111 instead of 3119, as the texts state.  Had Elendil lived to the end of his natural life, he should probably have lived to something a bit short of 350 years.

[48] Data from Appendix A of The Return of the King, “(ii) The Realms in Exile”, and from The Peoples of Middle-Earth, “The Heirs of Elendil”, “The Southern Line of Gondor”

[49] I originally input Eärnil II’s death as 1960.  “Valandil” of The Tolkien Forum and Entmoot found this error.  I have corrected the table and the chart of the lives and reigns of the Kings of Gondor.  Thank you, “Valandil”.  This corrects the interregnum to 1 year from 16 years.

[50] Data from Appendix A of The Return of the King, “(ii) The Realms in Exile”, and from The Peoples of Middle-Earth, “The Heirs of Elendil”, “The Northern Line of Arnor”