Númenor was a great island brought up out of the sea by the Valar for the Edain in the early Second Age after the final ruin of Beleriand , and was where the Numenoreans came from. From the Quenya Númenórë: "West-land", which Tolkien translated as Westernesse (it was Anadûnê in the Númenórean language).
Númenor was a rather large island in the middle of the Western Sea. The island itself was in the shape of a 5-point star, each point having its own unique geological and physical features. Each point, therefore, was considered a separate region of Númenor and had separate names:
- Forostar (Northlands)
- Andustar (Westlands)
- Hyarnustar (Southwestlands)
- Hyarrostar (Southeastlands)
- Orrostar (Eastlands)
- Mittalmar (Inlands)
The island had a mountain in the centre known as Meneltarma. Meneltarma was the highest location on the entire island and was considered sacred by the Númenóreans as a shrine of God, Eru Ilúvatar. Only the Kings of Númenor were allowed to speak on the summit. It was said that on a clear day, Tol Eressëa, an island on the outer shores of Valinor, could be seen from the summit.
Meneltarma itself was a tall mountain in the centre of the island (in the region of Mittalmar) that, when translated, means Pillar of the Heavens. The lower slopes of the mountain were gentle and grass-covered; however, near the summit the slopes became more vertical and could not be ascended easily. The kings later built a spiraling road to the peak, beginning at the southern tip of the mountain and winding up to the lip of the summit in the north. The summit, however, was unique in that it was flattened and somewhat depressed, and was said to be able to "contain a great multitude". It was considered the most sacred spot of Númenor; no one ever set foot there and nothing was ever built there throughout the entire history of the island.
The island itself was tilted southward and a little westward; the southern coasts were all steep sea cliffs.
The population of Númenor chiefly consisted of men (the Edain); although before the Shadow fell on the island, the westernmost cities such as Andunie contained a small population of elves because of the frequent visits from Tol Eressëa. They were known as the Númenóreans, or rather, Kings among Men.
The Númenóreans were extremely skilled in arts and craft, with the forging of weapons and armour; but the Númenóreans were not warmongers, hence the chief art on the island became that of shipbuilding and sea-craft. The Númenóreans became great mariners, exploring the world in all directions save for the westward, where the Ban of the Valar was in force. They often travelled to the shores of Middle-earth, teaching the men their art and craft, and introduced farming so as to improve their everyday lives.
The Númenóreans, too, became skilled in the art of husbandry, breeding great horses that roamed across the open plains in Mittalmar. Although the Númenóreans were a peaceful people, their weapons, armor, and horse-riding skills could not be contested anywhere else in Arda, save for the Valar.
- Main article: Plants of Númenor
Númenor contained many species of plants that could be found nowhere else in Middle-earth, for many of them were given to the Númenóreans from the Valar in Aman. Most important of these was the White Tree that dwelt in the King's Palace at Armenelos; it was the symbol of Men thereafter, in Númenor, Arnor, and Gondor.
The other parts of Númenor contained many types of plants, many unique to each of the promontories of the island. Andustar contained great forests of beech and birch at higher altitudes, and oak and elm forests on the lower.
The greatest delight of the Númenóreans, however, were the flowers given to them by the Eldar. They grew mostly in the Western portion (Andustar). They are oft remembered in poems and lore, and few have flowered east of Númenor.
Númenor was the kingdom of the Dúnedain, located on an island in the Great Sea, between Middle-earth and Aman. The land was brought up from the sea as a gift to Men. It was also called Elenna or the Isle of Elenna ("Starwards") because the Dúnedain were led to it by the star of Eärendil, and because the island was in the shape of a five-pointed star. At the center of the island the mountain Meneltarma was used by the Dúnedain as a temple to Ilúvatar. The largest city and capital of Númenor was Armenelos.
Númenor had only two rivers: Siril which began at Meneltarma and ended in a small delta near the city of Nindamos, and the Nunduinë, which reached the sea in the Bay of Eldanna near the haven Eldalondë.
Elros son of Eärendil was the first King of Númenor, taking the name of Tar-Minyatur ("First King"). Under his rule (year SA 32 to SA 442 of the Second Age), and those of his descendants, Men rose to become a powerful race. The first ships sailed from Númenor to Middle-earth in the year SA 600 of the Second Age.
Decline of NúmenorEdit
Over time the Númenóreans came to resent the Ban of the Valar and to rebel against their authority, seeking the everlasting life that they believed was begrudged them. They tried to compensate this by going eastward and colonizing large parts of Middle-earth, first in a friendly way, but later as tyrants. Soon the Númenóreans came to rule a great but terrorizing maritime empire that had no rival, but a few (the Faithful) remained loyal to the Valar and friendly to the elves.
But in Middle-earth in the year SA 1600 the Dark Lord Sauron (former servant of Morgoth), enemy of the Valar, deceived the elven smiths of Eregion and forged a master ring. By SA 1693 the elves and Sauron were at war and in SA 1699 the elves were overrun. Númenor took notice and Tar-Minastir, King of Númenor sent a fleet to save Lindon and by SA 1701 Eriador was reconquered. Around SA 1800 Númenoreans started settling on the coast of Middle-Earth in places such as Umbar. But Sauron extended his power and his shadow fell on Númenor.
In the year SA 3255, the 25th king Ar-Pharazôn sailed to Middle-earth. Seeing the might of Númenor, Sauron agreed to be the king's captive, and he was brought back to Númenor. Sauron then became an advisor to the King and soon corrupted the Númenóreans, promising them eternal life if they worshipped Morgoth. With Sauron as his advisor, Ar-Pharazôn had a 500 foot tall temple to Morgoth erected in which he offered human sacrifices.
During this time, the white tree Nimloth the Fair, whose fate was said to be tied to the line of kings, was cut down and burned as a sacrifice to Morgoth. Isildur rescued a fruit of the tree which grew to become the White Tree of Gondor, preserving the ancient line of trees.
Prompted by Sauron and fearing death and old age, Ar-Pharazôn built a great armada and set sail into the west to make war upon the Valar and seize the Undying Lands (Sauron remained behind). In the year SA 3319 of the Second Age, Ar-Pharazôn landed on Aman and marched to the city of Valimar. Manwë, chief of the angelic Valar, called upon Ilúvatar, who broke and changed the world, taking Aman and Tol Eressëa from the spheres of Arda forever, changing the world's shape from flat to round, sinking Númenor and killing its inhabitants, including the body of Sauron who was thereby robbed of his ability to assume fair and charming forms.
Elendil, son of the leader of the Faithful during the reign of Ar-Pharazôn, his sons and his followers had foreseen the disaster that was to befall Númenor, and they had set sail in nine ships before the island fell. They landed in Middle-earth, and founded the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor.
After its fall Númenor was called Atalantë, meaning "the Downfallen", in the Quenya language. (The similarity with Atlantis is obvious, although Tolkien described his invention of the name as a happy accident when he realised that the Quenya root meaning "fallen" could be incorporated into a name referring to Númenor.) Other names after the Downfall include Mar-nu-Falmar ("Land under the Waves") and Akallabêth ("the Downfallen" in Adûnaic).
The story of the rise and downfall of Númenor is told in the Akallabêth.
It is unknown what will happen to Númenor in the future and whether it will remain forever under the sea or, like Beleriand it, will be recovered as suggested by the final words of Galadriel to Treebeard at their parting at Isengard "Not in Middle-earth, nor until the lands that lie under the wave are lifted up again. Then in the willow-meads of Tasarinan we may meet in the spring. Farewell!". It is possible that after the Dagor Dagorath, when the world will be broken and a new one will be created, Númenor will then be recovered since Arda Healed will be like Arda Marred but will also include all the good things of Arda Marred, maybe even Númenor.
- C.S. Lewis' novel That Hideous Strength makes a reference to "Numenor and the True West", which Lewis credits as a then-unpublished creation of J. R. R. Tolkien. This is one of many examples of cross-overs between the novels of Lewis and Tolkien, both of whom were members of The Inklings, a literary discussion group at Oxford University.
- "Numenor" is pronounced with a rolling r.
- Númenor's corruption and eventual fall bears a parallel with Charn, a world from C. S. Lewis's works, where the rulers of Charn were initially benevolent and wise but later became corrupted, cruel and evil, where, in an act of selfishness, the last queen of Charn and future White Witch, Jadis caused the destruction of Charn by uttering the Deplorable Word.
Coincedence on "Atalantë"Edit
"Atalante" was the name of Númenor after it fell into the Belegaer, making it a downfallen island. The naming for this may have been influenced by the tales of the legendary greek civilization and island of Atlantis, which was sunk and became a downfallen island.
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