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Easterlings

Other Names:
Men of the East, Men of Rhûn, Wild Men
1st Age: Swarthy Men, Incomers, Wolf-folk
3rd Age: Wainriders, Balchoth
HoME V only: Rómenildi

Location(s):
Origins: Sea of Rhûn and eastwards
Migrations: Beleriand (1st Age), Rhovanion (2nd & 3rd Ages)

Race/Species: Man

Type/Kind: Men of Shadow

Dates: 1st - 4th Age

Description:

Table of Contents:

Description
— Physical Appearance
Origins
— First Age
— Third Age
Skills
History
— First Age
— Second Age
— Third Age
— Fourth Age
Language
Etymology
Notes

Description

... many savage tribes in the East (of old corrupted by Morgoth)....

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

... for the 'Easterlings' were mostly Men of cruel and evil kind, descendants of those who had served and worshipped Sauron...

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 2, Ch 10, Of Dwarves and Men: Notes, Note 60

... as a thrall Tuor had seen only the proud and barbaric women of the Easterlings, who treated him as a beast....

Unfinished Tales, Part 1, Ch 2, Narn I Hîn Húrin: Notes, Note 31

The Wainriders were a people, or a confederacy of many peoples, that came from the East; but they were stronger and better armed than any that had appeared before.

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

In the wide lands of Rhovanion ... a fierce people now dwelt [after the Wars with the Wainriders], wholly under the shadow of Dol Guldur. ... These Balchoth were constantly increased by others of like kind that came in from the east....

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

Description: Physical Appearance
These Men were short and broad, long and strong in the arm; their skins were swart or sallow, and their hair was dark as were their eyes.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin

... countless companies of Men of a new sort.... Not tall, but broad and grim, bearded like dwarves, wielding great axes. Out of some savage land in the wide East they come....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 4, The Siege of Gondor


Origins

'... the stewards [of Gondor] made a truce with the proud peoples of the North, ... our kin from afar off, unlike the wild Easterlings....'

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

Origins: First Age
... at this time [after the Dagor Bragollach] the Swarthy Men came first into Beleriand. Some were already secretly under the dominion of Morgoth, and came at his call; but not all, for the rumour of Beleriand, of its lands and waters, of its wars and riches, went now far and wide, and the wandering feet of Men were ever set westward in those days.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 18, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin

... Morgoth sent thither the Easterlings that had served him [in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad], denying them the rich lands of Beleriand ... and he shut them in Hithlum and forbade them to leave it.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 20, Of The Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad

Origins: Third Age
But the forces of Gondor had inflicted such losses on the Wainriders [during the Battle of the Plains] that they had not strength enough to press their invasion, until reinforced from the East, and were content for the time to complete their conquest of Rhovanion.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 5

[Before the Invasion of Calenardhon by Balchoth and Orcs:]
... new and dangerous enemies coming out of the east were steadily drifting in [between Mirkwood and Dagorlad] from beyond the Sea of Rhûn. They were slaying or driving north up the River Running and into the Forest the remnant of the Northmen ... that still dwelt east of Mirkwood.

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


Skills

They journeyed in great wains, and their chieftains fought in chariots.

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

... the [Wainriders] had not left their homes undefended: their youths and old men were aided by the younger women, who in that people were also gained in arms and fought fiercely in defence of their homes and their children.

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

... out of the East Men were moving endlessly: swordsmen, spearmen, bowmen upon horses, chariots of chieftains and laden wains.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 10, The Breaking of the Fellowship

... the Easterlings were strong and war-hardened and asked for no quarter.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 6, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields


History

History: First Age
458
Easterlings Begin to Settle in East Beleriand

472
Nirnaeth Arnoediad
Easterlings Subjugate Hithlum
... the Easterlings that came into Hithlum despised the remnant of the people of Hador, and they oppressed them, and took their lands and their goods, and enslaved their children.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 21, Of Túrin Turambar

550—597
War of Wrath
But a great part of the sons of Men, whether of the people of Uldor or others new-come out of the east, marched with the Enemy....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 24, Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath

Sinking of Beleriand
In the fall of the Dark Power and the end of the First Age most of Beleriand was overwhelmed by the waters, or burned with fire.

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

History: Second Age
The [Northmen of Rhovanion] were involved in war not only with [Orcs] but with alien Men of evil sort. For Sauron had acquired dominion over many savage tribes in the East ... and he now urged them to seek land and booty in the West.

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

1701
Sauron is driven out of Eriador
Sauron was defeated by the Numenoreans and driven back into Mordor, and for long troubled the West no more, while secretly extending his dominions eastward.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 2, Ch 10, Of Dwarves and Men: Notes, Note 35

History: Third Age
More ominous were rumours from the further East: the Wild Men were restless. Former servants and worshippers of Sauron, they were released now from his tyranny, but not from the evil and darkness that he had set in their hearts. Cruel wars raged among them, from which some were withdrawing westward, with minds filled with hatred, regarding all that dwelt in the West as enemies to be slain and plundered.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, Appendix B, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves

490—500
1st Invasion of Gondor by Easterlings
Tarostar Defeats the Easterlings

541—542
2nd Invasion of Gondor by Easterlings
Tarostar, King Rómendacil I of Gondor, Slain
Turambar Defeats the Easterlings

circa 1000
The vague tradition preserved by the Hobbits ... was that they had dwelt once in lands by a Great River, but long ago had left them ... when they no longer felt at ease in their homes because of the multiplication of the Big Folk and of a shadow of fear that had fallen on the Forest. ... The increase in Men was not the normal increase of those with whom they had lived in friendship, but the steady increase of invaders from the East, further south held in check by Gondor, but in the North beyond the bounds of the Kingdom harassing the older 'Atanic' inhabitants, and even in places occupying the Forest and coming through it into the Anduin valley.

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

1247—1248
3rd Invasion of Gondor by Easterlings
Minalcar Defeats the Easterlings

1636—1637
The Great Plague
When the Plague passed it is said that more than half of the folk of Rhovanion had perished ... They were slow to recover; but their weakness was not tested for a long time. No doubt the people further east had been equally afflicted, so that the enemies of Gondor came chiefly from the south or over sea.

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

1851
Wars with the Wainriders (1851—1944): Overview
Wainriders begin their attacks on Gondor
Northmen of Rhovanion Ally with Gondor against the Wainriders

1856
Battle of the Plains
Narmacil II, King of Gondor, Slain
Marhari, Lord of the Northmen, Slain
Northmen Enslaved by the Wainriders
Marhwini Gathers the Éothéod in the Vales of Anduin
The people of eastern and southern Rhovanion were enslaved; and the frontiers of Gondor were for that time withdrawn to the Anduin and the Emyn Muil.

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

1899
Battle against the Wainriders at Dagorlad
Northmen Revolt against the Wainriders
The revolt planned and assisted by Marhwini had indeed broken out; desperate outlaws coming out of the Forest had roused the slaves, and together had succeeded in burning many of the dwellings of the Wainriders, and their storehouses, and their fortified camps of wagons. But most of them had perished in the attempt; for they were ill-armed, and the enemy had not left their homes undefended....

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

circa 1900—1943
Wainriders Launch Raids against the Éothéod
Wainriders, Haradrim, and Variags Ally against Gondor
... the Wainriders ... plotted their revenge. ... in lands east of the Sea of Rhûn from which no tidings came to [Gondor's] Kings, their kinsfolk spread and multiplied, and they were eager for conquests and booty and filled with hatred of Gondor which stood in their way. ... they feared the might of Gondor, and ... believed that its realm was larger and more populous than it was in truth at that time. On the other hand the eastern Wainriders had been spreading southward, beyond Mordor, and were in conflict with the peoples of Khand and their neighbours further south. Eventually a peace and alliance was agreed between these enemies of Gondor....

... it [later became] clear that the hatred of Gondor, and the alliance of its enemies in concerted action (for which they themselves had neither the will nor the wisdom) was due to the machinations of Sauron.

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

1944
Invasion of Gondor by Wainriders and Haradrim: Overview
Battle against the Wainriders at the Morannon
— — Ondoher, King of Gondor, Slain
— — Ondoher's Heirs Slain
Battle of the Camp ends the Wars with the Wainriders

2510
Invasion of Calenardhon by Balchoth and Orcs: Overview
Muster of the Balchoth for the Invasion of Calenardhon
Cirion Sends for Aid from the Éothéod
— — Ride of Eorl
Cirion Defends Calenardhon against Invasion
Battle of the Field of Celebrant
The people of that region [Calenardhon, later called Rohan] had become few since the Plague, and most of those that remained had been slaughtered by the savage Easterlings.

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

2545
Attack on Rohan by Easterlings
Eorl the Young, King of Rohan, Slain
Brego defeats the Attack on Rohan by Easterlings

2758—2759
Invasion of Rohan from West and East: Overview
Long Winter
— — Days of Dearth: Famine Follows the Long Winter
— — Helm Hammerhand, King of Rohan, Dies
— — Rohan Suffers Great Floods after the Long Winter
Gondor Aids Rohan against the Invasion
Rohan Repels the Invaders from West and East

3018
Sauron's Forces Attack Osgiliath

3019
'It is reported to us that many kings have ridden in from the East to the service of Mordor. From the North to the field of Dagorlad there is skirmish and rumour of war.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 3, The Muster of Rohan

Battles of Dale and Erebor in the War of the Ring: Overview
Battle of Dale
— — Brand, King of Dale, Slain
— — Dáin II Ironfoot, King under the Mountain, Slain
Siege of Erebor

Siege of Minas Tirith: Overview
Sauron's Forces from the Morannon Invade Anórien
— — Sauron's Forces Blockade Roads
Sauron's Forces from Minas Morgul Assault Osgiliath
— — Sauron's Forces Breach the Pelennor Wall
— — The Pelennor Is Overrun
Siege of Minas Tirith Begins

Battle of the Pelennor: Overview
Charge of the Rohirrim Begins the Battle of the Pelennor
Éomer Takes a Last Stand
Sauron's Forces Defeated in the Battle of the Pelennor
Siege of Minas Tirith Broken
Rohirrim Rout Sauron's Forces from Anórien

Battle of the Morannon
But the Men of Rhûn1 and of Harad2, Easterling and Southron, saw the ruin of their war and the great majesty and glory of the Captains of the West. And those that were deepest and longest in evil servitude, hating the West, and yet were men proud and bold, in their turn now gathered themselves for a last stand of desperate battle. But the most part fled eastward as they could; and some cast their weapons down and sued for mercy.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 4, The Field of Cormallen

Crowning of King Elessar
In the days that followed his crowning the King sat on his throne in the Hall of the Kings and pronounced his judgements. And embassies came from many lands and peoples ... And the King pardoned the Easterlings that had given themselves up, and sent them away free....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 5, The Steward and the King

History: Fourth Age
... though Sauron had passed, the hatreds and evils that he bred had not died, and the King of the West had many enemies to subdue before the White Tree could grow in peace. And wherever King Elessar went with war King Éomer went with him; and beyond the Sea of Rhûn ... the thunder of the cavalry of the Mark was heard, and the White Horse upon Green flew in many winds until Éomer grew old.

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


Language

In ancient days the Naugrim dwelt in many mountains of Middle-earth, and there they met mortal Men (they say) long ere the Eldar knew them; whence it comes that of the tongues of the Easterlings many show kinship with Dwarf-speech rather than with the speeches of the Elves3.

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

Of the speech of Men of the East and allies of Sauron all that appears is múmak, a name of the great elephant of the Harad. A carbon copy of F 4 is extant, and here my father in a similar addition named beside múmak also Variag and Khand....

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


Etymology

[Balchoth:] So these people were then called in Gondor: a mixed word of popular speech, from Westron balc "horrible" and Sindarin hoth "horde," applied to such peoples as the Orcs. [Author's note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 24

hoth 'host, horde' (nearly always in a bad sense) in Tol-in-Gaurhoth; also in Loss(h)oth, the Snowmen of Forochel ... and Glamhoth 'din-horde', a name for Orcs.

The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names


Notes

1. Rhûn 'East', used generally of the lands of the further east of Middle-earth.

Unfinished Tales, Index

2. Harad 'The South', used vaguely of countries far south of Gondor and Mordor.

Unfinished Tales, Index

3. ... in the unrecorded past some of the languages of Men — including the language of ... the Atani from which Adûnaic [and therefore Westron] was derived — had been influenced by Khuzdul.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 2, Ch 10, Of Dwarves and Men: Notes, Note 4

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 6Dec04
added quotes: ET 9Dec04, 15Dec04, 18Dec04, 21Dec04, 27Jan05, 5May05

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