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Old 09-02-2022, 09:39 AM   #1
Spirit of Mist
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tol Eressea
Posts: 3,266
Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
The Last Alliance and its Army

Considering that we will likely be seeing a portrayal of the army of the Last Alliance on Amazon at some point in the future, I began to ponder the (realistic) makeup of this army.

The Last Alliance of Elves and Men, which resulted in the overthrow of Sauron at the end of the Second Age, is treated summarily in LoTR, its appendices and the Tale of Years. The Alliance gathered together the peoples of the West, Elves, Men and Dwarves and others and sundry (The Last Alliance of Elves and Men is a bit of a misnomer) of all descriptions to assault Sauron's domain and lay siege to Barad-Dur.

Numenor's armaments were clearly extensive. Sauron's armies fled before Ar-Pharazon's armada in SA 3261. Having had tens of centuries to assemble his forces we can only guess at the size of Sauron's armies. AND he had the Ring. Numenor's armada and army must have been truly impressive.

But the Mannish forces available to fight as part of the Alliance were not Numenor's armada. Ar-Pharazon's fleet and forces, likely much expanded beyond even their size in SA 3261, were destroyed in the assault upon Valinor. Yes, Tolkien wrote that Numenor established outposts and ports in Middle Earth. Some were likely populated by the Faithful, who began fleeing into the East to escape Pharazon. Others were populated by Black Numenoreans and were likely under the sway of Sauron. And yes, the Numenoreans likely allied with local Men (but it seems that western Middle Earth was relatively sparsely populated by Men).

Elendil, Anarion and Isildur arrived in Middle-Earth in SA 3319. The Last Alliance was formed a mere eleven years later, in 3430. Certainly insufficient time to "breed" an army. Elendil had nine ships. The largest ships of the line during the Age of Sail, had crews of less than 1000 (the HMS Victory, concededly not the largest of that time, but large) crewed 600 to 850 men. Let's assume Numenorean ships were REALLY huge, having crews of up to 1500. What about women and children. Let's further assume that the 9 ships were stuffed with people, say 2000 per with 1/2 being women and children. That leaves 9000 men (not just warriors but men) to join up with such militias that the Numenorean outposts and their allies may have raised. So a Mannish army, gathered quickly, might number 30-40,000 at the end of the Second Age. But wait, some must stay behind to guard the towns and raise food (not only towns need to eat, but also armies). So let's say 25,000 Men march off. Candidly, I think this number is high. Moreover, only a fraction would be true military and bear arms and some semblance of gear (I will not reawaken the mail versus plate debate). Most will be non-military, hastily and perhaps poorly armed at best.

Dwarvish populations expand slowly. No doubt there were plenty of Dwarves in Khazad-Dum and the Blue Mountains (and likely elsewhere). Elves congregated in Lindon, Greenwood (later Mirkwood), and likely in Lothlorien (together with groups and companies wandering on their own). But Eregion had been destroyed. Nonetheless, the Elvish and Dwarvish populations of Middle-Earth had some 3000 years to grow from the end of the First Age.

Two observations. First, and this probably cannot be seriously debated, what we saw in the beginning of Jackson's LoTR and what we will likely see on Amazon, ranks upon ranks of tens of thousands of well (and identically) armed and armored soldiery is seriously inaccurate. Ignoring the numbers depicted, the gear is simply wrong. For every fully armed and armored Man, there would likely be four or five farmers, blacksmiths, coopers, lumberjacks, you name it. Perhaps the Elves and Dwarves might be better armed.

Second, it seems to me that Men might be the smallest component of the army of the Last Alliance, likely outnumbered by Elves and probably by Dwarves (and yes I recall that some Dwarves may have fought on the side of Sauron).

Your thoughts?
Beleriand, Beleriand,
the borders of the Elven-land.
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