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Discussing: Age of Military Service

Age of Military Service

Please excuse me if I have missed this somewhere, but is it ever mentioned how old boys in both Gondor and Rohan must be to begin serving in their respective militaries? For instance, how old might Boromir and Eomer have been when they began participating in campaigns or at least training with the other soliders on a regular basis? I would guess around 15 or 16, but perhaps in dangerous times they would have started sooner than that.

I would greatly appreciate any help.

 

 

Re: Age of Military Service

Please excuse me if I have missed this somewhere... Lanthiriel, if you've missed it somewhere, then so have I. Seriously, I do not recall anything definitive in LotR, the Silm., or UT that gives any specific age for Men entering military service. From the appendicies of LotR we know that by the time he was twenty Aragorn was already out on errantry with Elladan and Elrohir:
when Estel was only twenty years of age, it chanced that he returned to Rivendell after great deeds in the company of the sons of Elrond; and Elrond looked at him and was pleased, for he saw that he was fair and noble and was early come to manhood,
Also from LotR's appendicies we learn that Éomer was twenty-six when he was made Marsahl of the Eastfold (you have to do the math for this one - we know his birth year and the year he became Marshal):
When still young he [Éomer] became a Marshal of the Mark (3017) and was given his father's charge in the east marches.
Speaking of the House of Eorl, his age is the youngest one mentioned, and that is because his father, Léod, was killed when Eorl was only sixteen. In the story of Cirion and Eorl in UT it says:
The message was addressed to Eorl son of Léod, for Cirion knew that he had succeeded his father some years before, when he was but youth of sixteen, and though now no more than five and twenty was praised in all such tidings as reached Gondor as a man of great courage and wise beyond his years.
These are the only ages I have been able to locate so far that relate specifically to military service in any way. But I think you can use real world models of pages and esquires from the Middle Ages to estimate when a youth would begin training for military service. And in Minas Tirith (Chapter I of RotK) we learn that Bergil, a lad of ten, had remained in the city, though all the women and children had been sent to the countryside in anticipation of the seige. Later, following the battle, Pippin encountered him again as Bergil was running errands for the Healers. I think from these bits of information that you could infer that boys of that age would do service as pages. It would be reasonable to assume that by the time he is in his teens a boy like Bergil would begin training to become a soldier, serving the same function as squire (Tolkien wrote of a number of esquires in M-e, like Isildur's esquire, Ohtar, and Elendur's, Estelmo - both described as "young men"). Sorry this is so rambling. Your question caught me a little off guard as far as canon facts are concerned. This is one of those things that you think must have been mentioned in the books, but when you go looking you find that it wasn't - at least not so that you could point to a particular passage and say, "Ah, ha! That's the age..." ~Nessime

 

 

Re: Age of Military Service

Hi Lanthiriel

I believe "Estel" was 17 when he first went out with the rangers.

I haven't found any other canon information than that cited by Nessime either.

I am currently revising an essay on Gondorian military organisation for the research section which includes a lot of source information on very youthful mediaeval military leaders (Richard of Gloucester - later Richard III - was leading armies for his brother when he was eleven!)

I hope to get this essay back up on HASA in the next few days - if it looks like it will be longer, I can e-mail you a copy off list if you like.

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Age of Military Service

I believe "Estel" was 17 when he first went out with the rangers.
Hi, Liz! Do you remember where you found this? I'm not doubting you - I just haven't found that bit of info yet - or more likely I missed it. I would love to have the source for future reference.
I am currently revising an essay on Gondorian military organisation for the research section...
This sounds great. As noted before, it does seem reasonable to assume that M-e military orgainzations would be based more or less along the same lines as those of our own medieval time. There's a fair amount of info in UT re: the military structure of Rohan with its éoreds and marshals, but aside from some of the strategic maneuvers described in The Disaster of the Gladden Fields in UT I haven't seen a lot that relates to Gondor's. I'm eager to read what you've put together for this. ~Nessime

 

 

Re: Age of Military Service

Hi, Liz! Do you remember where you found this? I'm not doubting you - I just haven't found that bit of info yet - or more likely I missed it. I would love to have the source for future reference.

Ooo, may I double this humble request? That reference would be quite useful to me also. I'm only familiar presently with what's in the ROTK Appendix.

-AE

 

 

Re: Age of Military Service

...we learn that Éomer was twenty-six when he was made Marsahl of the Eastfold

And since Marshal of the Mark was the highest rank among the Riders, surely this means that Eomer had been serving in some regular capacity in either the King's Company or perhaps the Muster of the East-Mark for quite a few years. Which leads me to wonder how many ranks there are for Riders - I think captain and the title of "lesser marshal" are the only ones mentioned.

I think you are probably correct in assuming they would all start out as pages or squires. But, in the case of Eomer, this brings up another question. I know that he went with Eowyn to live in Edoras in 3002 (or, at least this is the year in which Eomund died) when he was 11. But in the UT it says that his home, from which he commanded the East-Mark, was at Aldburg in the Folde, which had passed to him from Eomund. I wonder if he took up residence there just when he became the Third Marshal or whether he went and lived there sooner, perhaps when he began serving in the army.

The reason for all my questions is that I am writing a story about Eowyn's young life prior to the War of the Ring - from about age 11 or 12 on through the years of Theoden's decline and Wormtongue's influence. I was planning on opening the story with Eomer just beginning his service - but if Eowyn were 11, that would make Eomer 15 - too young or too old to just be beginning service? Plus the question of Aldburg makes me wonder just how long Eomer lived at Edoras and how often Eowyn saw him between ages 11 and 24.

It may be that I will just have to "guesstimate" a reasonable age and beginning position - and so, in regard to that, I would really appreciate any advice or input. But many thanks, Nessime, for the help you have given me already!

 

 

Re: Age of Military Service

I hope to get this essay back up on HASA in the next few days - if it looks like it will be longer, I can e-mail you a copy off list if you like.

I look forward to reading it! There is no rush really, but if you would like to send it to me I would be greatly indebted!

 

 

Re: Age of Military Service

I believe "Estel" was 17 when he first went out with the rangers.

Hi, Liz! Do you remember where you found this? I'm not doubting you - I just haven't found that bit of info yet - or more likely I missed it. I would love to have the source for future reference.


OK, I could be totally hallucinating this, in which case I apologise. Either that or it's a fanon - but I really think I believed this before I started reading fanfic, so in that cae it's a personal fanon! But I'm sure somewhere it says Estel had spent three years with the Rangers and the Twins before hecame back to Imladris and met Arwen when he was twenty.

Can't find a reference right now, but I will keep looking. Until I do, you should probably ignore it as my ravings.

 

 

Re: Age of Military Service

that would make Eomer 15 - too young or too old to just be beginning service?

Well, if it is any help I generally have Boromir and Faramir beginning their service at around 16 but currently have a 15 year old Eomer having just started to ride out with his cousins's eored - my logic being shorter lifespan and less emphasis on education. Personally I don't think you have to follow medieval history too closely - from memory Tolkien himself said it wasn't set in any Earth time period - unless you want to, of course. It's a bit like the pirate code, IMO, more guidelines-like ;-) So if you want them to start at 14 or 21 or whenever and it makes sense to you in your universe I reckon go for it.

Cheers,

Avon

 

 

Re: Age of Military Service

Gondorian Military Organisation and Government: some thoughts is now back on list (with new canon and RL sources). It can be found here

 

 

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