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Gondorians

Meaning: People of Gondor

Other Names:
Men of Gondor
Dúnedain of the South
Stonehouse-folk
Stone-folk

Location(s): Gondor

Race/Species: Man

Dates:
II 3320 — IV

Parents:
Númenóreans
Men of the White Mountains
Northmen of Rhovanion

Siblings:
Dúnedain of the North

Description:

Table of Contents:

Origins
Description
— Physical Appearance
— Character Traits
— Cultural Beliefs
— Relations with Others
Skills
History
[See entry History of Gondor — Second Age]
[See entry History of Gondor — Third Age]
— —
[See entry History of Gondor — The Kings]
— —
[See entry History of Gondor — The Stewards]
[See entry History of Gondor — Fourth Age]
Language
Other Names
Etymology
Notes


Origins
Gondor was founded by Númenórean refugees from the Downfall of Númenor:
The last leaders of the Faithful, Elendil and his sons, escaped from the Downfall of Númenor with nine ships, bearing a seedling of Nimloth, and the Seven Seeing-stones (gifts of the Eldar to their House); and they were borne on the wings of a great storm and cast up on the shores of Middle-earth. There they established in the North-west the Númenórean realms in exile, Arnor and Gondor. Elendil was the High King and dwelt in the North at Annúminas; and the rule in the South was committed to his sons, Isildur and Anárion. They founded there Osgiliath, between Minas Ithil and Minas Anor, not far from the confines of Mordor.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Númenor

Gondorians also included non-Númenóreans who were dwelling in the area settled by Númenóreans at the time the kingdom was founded, or who were later immigrants into the territories controlled by Gondor:
[...] Isildur and Anárion were borne away southwards, and at the last they brought their ships up the Great River Anduin, that flows out of Rhovanion into the western sea in the Bay of Belfalas; and they established a realm in those lands that were after called Gondor, whereas the Northern Kingdom was named Arnor. Long before in the days of their power the mariners of Númenor had established a haven and strong places about the mouths of Anduin, in despite of Sauron in the Black Land that lay nigh upon the east. In the later days to this haven came only the Faithful of Númenor, and many therefore of the folk of the coastlands in that region were in whole or in part akin to the Elf-friends and the people of Elendil, and they welcomed his sons.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

[The] people of Elendil were not many, for only a few great ships had escaped the Downfall or survived the tumult of the Seas. They found, it is true, many dwellers upon the westshores who came of their own blood, wholly or in part, being descended from mariners and from wardens of forts and havens that had been set there in days gone by; yet all told the Dúnedain were now only a small folk in the midst of strangers.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 2, The Appendix on Languages: The Languages at the end of the Third Age

[It] came about that [...] the Númenorean settlements increased in power and extent and made contact with Men of Middle-earth (many of whom came under Númenorean rule and swelled their population) [... The] 'Realms in Exile' in Arnor and Gondor [...] penetrated far into Middle-earth, and their kings were recognized beyond their borders as overlords.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 2, Ch 10, Of Dwarves and Men: The Atani and their Languages

After the return of Eldacar the blood of the kingly house and other houses of the Dúnedain became more mingled with that of lesser Men. For many of the great had been slain in the Kin-strife; while Eldacar showed favour to the Northmen, by whose help he had regained the crown, and the people of Gondor were replenished by great numbers that came from Rhovanion.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion

[Faramir says the stewards] "recruited the strength of our people from the sturdy folk of the sea-coast, and from the hardy mountaineers of Ered Nimrais."

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

[The] herdsmen and husbandmen that dwelt [in the townlands of the Pelennor] were not many, and the most part of the people of Gondor lived in the seven circles of the City, or in the high vales of the mountain-borders, in Lossarnach, or further south in fair Lebennin with its five swift streams. There dwelt a hardy folk between the mountains and the sea. They were reckoned men of Gondor, yet their blood was mingled, and there were short and swarthy folk among them whose sires came more from the forgotten men who housed in the shadow of the hills in the Dark Years ere the coming of the kings. But beyond, in the great fief of Belfalas, dwelt Prince Imrahil in his castle of Dol Amroth by the sea, and he was of high blood, and his folk also, tall men and proud with sea-grey eyes.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 1, Minas Tirith

Rangers of Ithilien [...] were descended from folk who lived in Ithilien at one time, before it was overrun.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit


Description

Description: Physical Appearance
As noted in the Origins section, Gondorians are descended from a mixture of Númenóreans, Northmen of Rhovanion and Men of the White Mountains, and they therefore vary considerably in physical appearance.
The typical appearance of Gondorians of more pure-blooded Númenórean descent:

Four tall Men stood there. [...] their eyes [...] were very keen and bright. [...] Frodo saw that they were goodly men, pale-skinned, dark of hair, with grey eyes and faces sad and proud. [...] he knew then that they must be Dúnedain of the South, men of the line of the Lords of Westernesse.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

Gondorians from Dol Amroth or Belfalas:

... tall as lords, grey-eyed, dark-haired....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 1, Minas Tirith

Gondorians from Lossarnarch:

... grim-faced they were, and shorter and somewhat swarthier than any men that Pippin had yet seen in Gondor.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 1, Minas Tirith

[In the Third Age, the] wisdom and the life-span of the Númenóreans also waned as they became mingled with lesser Men.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

This mingling [with the Northmen of Rhovanion] did not at first hasten the waning of the Dúnedain, as had been feared; but the waning still proceeded, little by little, as it had before. For no doubt it was due above all to Middle-earth itself, and to the slow withdrawing of the gifts of the Númenóreans after the downfall of the Land of the Star.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion


Description: Character Traits
[Boromir says:] "The Men of Gondor are valiant, and they will never submit [...] Believe not that in the land of Gondor the blood of Númenor is spent, nor all its pride and dignity forgotten. By our valour the wild folk of the East are still restrained, and the terror of Morgul kept at bay...."

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

Pippin looked at [Beregond] tall and proud and noble, as all the men that he had yet seen in that land; and with a glitter in his eye as he thought of the battle.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 1, Minas Tirith

[The people of Minas Tirith] were gravely courteous, saluting [Pippin] after the manner of Gondor with bowed head and hands upon the breast

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 1, Minas Tirith

"Yet now, if the Rohirrim are grown in some ways more like to us, enhanced in arts and gentleness, we too have become more like to them, and can scarce claim any longer the title High. We are become Middle Men, of the Twilight, but with memory of other things. For as the Rohirrim do, we now love war and valour as things good in themselves, both a sport and an end; and though we still hold that a warrior should have more skills and knowledge than only the craft of weapons and slaying, we esteem a warrior, nonetheless, above men of other crafts. Such is the need of our days."

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, 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."

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

"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."

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

[The] high men of the South married late, and their children were few.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion

The people of [Minas Tirith] used horses very little and they were seldom seen in their streets, save only those ridden by the errand-riders of their lord.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 1, Minas Tirith

In Gondor tharni was used for a silver coin, the fourth part of the castar (in Noldorin the canath or fourth part of the mirian).1

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 2, The Appendix on Languages: On Translation


Description: Cultural Beliefs
Before they ate, Faramir and all his men turned and faced west in a moment of silence. Faramir signed to Frodo and Sam that they should do likewise. "So we always do." he said, as they sat down: "we look towards Númenor that was, and beyond to Elvenhome that is, and to that which is beyond Elvenhome and will ever be."

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

"Men now fear and misdoubt the Elves, and yet know little of them. And we of Gondor grow like other Men, like the men of Rohan; for even they, who are the foes of the Dark Lord, shun the Elves and speak of the Golden Wood with dread."

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

Each new Steward [...] took office with the oath 'to hold rod and rule in the name of the king, until he shall return.' But these soon became words of ritual little heeded, for the Stewards exercised all the power of the kings. Yet many in Gondor still believed that a king would indeed return in some time to come; and some remembered the ancient line of the North, which it was rumoured still lived on in the shadows. But against such thoughts the Ruling Stewards hardened their hearts.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion: The Stewards

When Belecthor II, the twenty-first Steward, died, the White Tree died also in Minas Tirith; but it was left standing 'until the King returns', for no seedling could be found.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion: The Stewards


Description: Relations with Others
[Even] when Gondor had no great or open war its borders were under constant threat.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion: The Stewards

"For so we reckon Men in our lore, calling them the High, or Men of the West, which were Númenóreans; and the Middle Peoples, Men of the Twilight, such as are the Rohirrim and their kin that dwell still far in the North; and the Wild, the Men of Darkness."

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

Since [Rómendacil] needed men, and desired to strengthen the bond between Gondor and the Northmen, he took many of them into his service and gave to some high rank in his armies.

Rómendacil showed especial favour to Vidugavia, who had aided him in the war. He called himself King of Rhovanion, and was indeed the most powerful of the Northern princes, though his own realm lay between Greenwood and the River Celduin. In 1250 Rómendacil sent his son Valacar as an ambassador to dwell for a while with Vidugavia and make himself acquainted with the language, manners, and policies of the Northmen. But Valacar far exceeded his father's designs. He grew to love the Northern lands and people, and he married Vidumavi, daughter of Vidugavia. It was some years before he returned. From this marriage came later the war of the Kin-strife.

For the high men of Gondor already looked askance at the Northmen among them; and it was a thing unheard of before that the heir to the crown, or any son of the King, should wed one of lesser and alien race.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion

[Faramir says:] "So it came to pass in the days of Cirion the Twelfth Steward [... The Rohirrim] rode to our aid and at the great Field of Celebrant they destroyed our enemies that had seized our northern provinces. [...] and we ceded to them the fields of Calenardhon that are since called Rohan; for that province had long been sparsely peopled. And they became our allies, and have ever proved true to us, aiding us at need, and guarding our northern marches and the Gap of Rohan."

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

The great cape and land-locked firth of Umbar had been Númenórean land since days of old; but it was a stronghold of the King's Men, who were afterwards called the Black Númenóreans, corrupted by Sauron, and who hated above all the followers of Elendil. After the fall of Sauron their race swiftly dwindled or became merged with the Men of Middle-Earth, but they inherited without lessening their hatred of Gondor.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion


Skills
Gondorians preserved much lore and skill from Númenor, but appear to have been particularly noted for their architecture, medicine and seafaring, especially naval warfare:
The chief city of this southern realm was Osgiliath, through the midst of which the Great River flowed; and the Númenóreans built there a great bridge, upon which there were towers and houses of stone wonderful to behold [...] Other strong places they built also upon either hand: Minas Ithil, the Tower of the Rising Moon, eastward upon a shoulder of the Mountains of Shadow as a threat to Mordor; and to the westward Minas Anor, the Tower of the Setting Sun, at the feet of Mount Mindolluin, as a shield against the wild men of the dales. [...] These were the chief dwellings of the Númenóreans in Gondor, but other works marvellous and strong they built in the land in the days of their power, at the Argonath, and at Aglarond, and at Erech; and in the circle of Angrenost, which Men called Isengard, they made the Pinnacle of Orthanc of unbreakable stone.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

[Ghân-buri-Ghân says:] Many paths were made when Stonehouse-folk were stronger. They carved hills as hunters carve beast-flesh. Wild Men think they ate stone for food.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 5, The Ride of the Rohirrim

[The Northmen] were little skilled in the arts of healing and medicine, of which much was still known in Gondor, preserved from the wisdom of Númenor.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Northmen and the Wainriders

[The] leechcraft of Gondor was still wise, and skilled in the healing of wound and hurt, and all such sickness as east of the Sea mortal men were subject to.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 8, The Houses of Healing

Though war never ceased on their borders, for more than a thousand years the Dúnedain of the South grew in wealth and power by land and sea, until the reign of Atanatar II , who was called Alcarin, the Glorious.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion

With Tarannon, the twelfth king, began the line of the Ship-kings, who built navies and extended the sway of Gondor along the coasts west and south of the Mouths of Anduin.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion


History

— [See entry History of Gondor — Second Age]
— [See entry History of Gondor — Third Age]
— — [See entry History of Gondor — The Kings]
— — [See entry History of Gondor — The Stewards]
— [See entry History of Gondor — Fourth Age]

Language
In the course of [the Third] age, [Westron] had become the native language of nearly all the speaking-peoples (save the Elves) who dwelt within the bounds of the old kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix F, The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age

After the downfall of Númenor, Elendil led the survivors of the Elf-friends back to the North-western shores of Middle-earth. There many already dwelt who were in whole or part of Númenórean blood; but few of them remembered the Elvish speech. All told the Dúnedain were thus from the beginning far fewer in number that the lesser men among whom they dwelt and whom they ruled, being lords of long life and great power and wisdom. They used therefore the Common Speech in their dealings with other folk and in the government of their wide realms; but they enlarged the language and enriched it with many words drawn from the Elven-tongues.

In the days of the Númenórean kings this ennobled Westron speech spread far and wide, even among their enemies; and it became used more and more by the Dúnedain themselves, so that at the time of the War of the Ring the Elven-tongue was known to only a small part of the peoples of Gondor, and spoken daily by fewer. These dwelt mostly in Minas Tirith and the townlands adjacent, and in the land of the tributary princes of Dol Amroth. [...] in Gondor whence it came the Westron kept still a more gracious and antique style.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix F, The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age: Of Men

[Mablung and Damrod] spoke together in soft voices, at first using the Common Speech, but after the manner of older days, and then changing to another language of their own. To his amazement, as he listened Frodo became aware that it was the Elven-tongue that they spoke, or one but little different; and he looked at them with wonder, for he knew then that they must be Dúnedain of the South, men of the line of the Lords of Westernesse.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

Many used some other tongue than the Common Speech2, but it was not long before [Pippin] learned at least what was meant by Ernil i Pheriannath and knew that his title had gone down before him into the City.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 1, Minas Tirith


Other Names
[Men of Gondor is used by Boromir:] "The Men of Gondor are valiant...."

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

Frodo recognises Mablung and Damrod as Dúnedain of the South. This name should perhaps properly be applied only to that subsection of the Gondorians who are of strong Dúnedain descent:

[Frodo] knew then that they must be Dúnedain of the South, men of the line of the Lords of Westernesse.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

Stonehouse-folk and Stone-folk are terms used by Ghân-buri-Ghân:

Many paths were made when Stonehouse-folk were stronger. [...] But none to see between here and Stone-folk's new walls.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 5, The Ride of the Rohirrim


Etymology
Gondor [means] 'Land of Stone'....

The Silmarillion, Index of Names

gond 'stone' in [...] Gondor....

The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names

dôr 'land' (i.e. dry land as opposed to sea) was derived from ndor; it occurs in many Sindarin names, as [...] Gondor.

The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names


Notes
1From the context of the quote tharni and castar appear to be Westron or Adûnaic words, while canath and mirian are in Sindarin (called Noldorin at the period of Tolkien's writings from which this quote is taken), as opposed to Quenya.
2From the reference to Ernil i Pheriannath it can be deduced this "other tongue" is a dialect of Sindarin.
3Some research articles which provide additional canon information or which offer speculation based on extrapolation from canon are:

Gondorians
Gondorian Military Organisation and Government
Real-World Politics and Economics in a Fantasy Setting
Time-line of Gondor and Rohan with respect to European history.

Contributors:

Loquacious 24Jan04
Tanaqui: 25Jan04, 12Nov04, 13Apr05-2May05
Elena Tiriel 6Jan10

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