In the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, Númenor is an island distinct from the Ground of the Medium strictly speaking. The name derives from the Quenya Númenórë (litéralement “Grounds of the West”), translated by Tolkien into Westernesse ( Ouistrenesse or Occidentale in French, according to the translations). In Adûnaic, the name of the island east Anadûnë .
The island of Númenor is located in the Grande Sea, between the Ground of the Medium and the Immortal Grounds. It is worked by the Valar at the beginning of the Second Age in gifts with the three human houses which fought Morgoth with the First Age. This is why one of the names of the island east Andor , “Country of the Gift” in quenya. Another name that one gave him was Elenna , “Towards Star”, because the Dúnedain were led to it by Star of Eärendil, and because the island had the shape of a star with five branches. The island is divided into six areas, corresponding to each branch plus the central area:
the Forostar in north;
- the Andustar in the west;
- the Hyarnustar in south-west;
- the Hyarrostar in south-east;
- the Orrostar in the east;
- and the Mittalmar in the middle of the grounds.
In its center draws up its culminating point, the Meneltarma (“Pillar of the Skies”). This mountain is crowned for Númenóréens, which made of it a sanctuary with Eru Ilúvatar. Only the kings of the island are authorized with speaking in its top, and no construction is drawn up there. At its base, the slope soft and is covered with grass: the five Tarmasundar , “Roots of the Pillar”, ramify in direction of the five peninsulas; however, close to the top, the unevenness is more important and the more difficult rise; however, its top was flat and slightly in depression towards its center. At the beginning of the Second Age, the kings make build a road in spiral leading to the top, starting with the southern slope of the mountain and climbing to the edge of the northern top side. The tombs of the kings were with the foot of the mountain, in the valley of Noirinan, located between two of Tarmasundar.
The flora of the island includes several non-existent plants in Ground of the Medium, gifts of Yavanna to the Dúnedain. The principal one was the White Tree which pushed in the House of the King with Armenelos. One can also quote the oiolairë , the lairelossë , the nessamelda , the vardarianna , the taniquelassë or the yavannamirë . The Mallorn also pushes on the island, in particular in the area of Nisimaldar, between Andustar and Hyarnustar, around the port of Eldalondë.
The other areas of Númenor contained many types of plants, each one clean with the area of the island. The Andustar contained birches and beeches in its highest zones, and in the lower zones, of chenes and the elms. In Hyarrostar the laurinquë pushes, that Númenoréens appreciate because of its flowers and that they believe, wrongly, being resulting from Laurelin, one of the Arbres of Valinor.
First king de Númenor is Elros, the son of Eärendil. He takes the name of Tar-Minyatur and reigns four hundred and ten years, of year 32 at year 442 of the Second Age: at the same time as a country where to live, the Dúnedain received from Valar an increased life expectancy. They become a seafaring nation raftered, putting back the foot in Ground of the Medium in 600 S.A., but Valar prohibit to them never to sail towards the west at the point where them island would not be visible any more for them, so that they do not pose the foot in Valinor. Out of Ground of the Medium, Númenóréens then have generally friendly relations with the less Men, their teacher agricultural and medical techniques.
Relations between Númenor and the Eldar, as well those of Eressëa as Earth of the Medium, are friendly during many centuries. At the beginning of the XVIII century, Dúnedain fight Sauron at the sides of Gil-galad. King Tar-Minastir sends powerful to a armada to the help Elves who pushes back Sauron, giving birth to at this last the hatred of Númenóréens.
After this war, the jealousy of Númenóréens towards Eldar and their desire of immortality grow, and they start to rebel against the authority of Valar, seeking how to reach the eternal life which had been to them, believed they, prohibited. Their Ground policy of the Medium hardens: they begin a vast company from colonization, reducing the autochtones in slavery. Their empire does not know soon any rival, if it is not Sauron which, since his bastion of the Mordor, extended its influence inside the grounds. Númenóréens are divided then into two factions: the principal one, the Men of the King, entirely approves these events, while a minority, the Faithful ones, wishes to return to the friendship towards Eldar and Valar. They are listened little, even persecuted.
In 3255 S.A., the king de Númenor Ar-Pharazôn unloads out of Ground of the Medium, with Umbar. Impressed by the capacity of Númenor, the armies of Sauron flee without delivering combat and this one pretends to capitulate. It is taken along to Númenor like hostage, but is not long in becoming the adviser more listened of the king. He promises in Númenoréens the eternal life and the growth to venerate Melkor. A temple dedicated to the Lord of Darkness is built in Armenelos, and Sauron proceeds to it to human sacrifices.
Under the impulse of Sauron, and fearing death, it growing old Ar-Pharazôn makes build a large fleet and carries out it towards the west to make the war in Valar and to take possession of the Immortal Grounds where, believed Númenóréens, they would become immortal. In 3319 S.A., Ar-Pharazôn poses the foot on banks of Aman. The Valar refusing to intervene against him, Manwë, their lord, fact call to Eru which gives birth to a gigantic cataclysm: Aman is definitively separated from the rest of the world, which becomes spherical, Ar-Pharazôn and the men who unloaded with him are buried while Númenor and the fleet of invasion is absorbed by water in fury. Only the Faithful ones, carried out by Elendil, manage to flee and rejoin the Earth of the Medium.
After its fall, Númenor is called Atalantë , “Absorbed”, Akallabêth in Adûnaic (which is also the name of the account reporting the history of the island and its fall), but also Mar-naked-Falmar “the Earth under the Waves”.
The population of Númenor is primarily made up men; before the Shade does not extend on the island, in the cities more in the west like Andúnië, in Andustar, live some Eldar coming from Tol Eressëa. The people of Númenor, Númenóréens, also known under the name of Dúnedain, maintain during first half of the Second Age of the friendly bonds with the Eldar, and they thus speak the Quenya and the Sindarin, but also their own language, the Adûnaic.
Númenóréens are very advanced in the fields of science and the craft industry, in particular naval construction. They are also of good stockbreeders, in particular of horses and sheep. Peaceful people, they are nevertheless excellent warriors. During their last centuries, they are dedicated particularly to medicine, obsessed by the idea to prolong their lives.
One of the characters of the series Ulysses 31 bears the name of Numinor, name perhaps derived from Númenor.
- the novel of C.S. Lewis This hideous power (1945) refers to “Numinor and the True West”, that Lewis explained like belonging to a creation of J.R.R. Tolkien still not published. It is one of the many examples of bringing together between the novels of Lewis and Tolkien, members both of the Inklings.
Kings de Númenor
See the article on the Kings de Númenor.
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