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Old 11-23-2015, 06:16 AM   #1
Axbolt
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Tolkien Who are the 'wild men'?

In the LOTR move when the wild men swear allegiance to Saruman, he says that Rohan stole the land from them. I was there any truith in that or was it just one of Sarumans lies?
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Old 11-23-2015, 07:27 AM   #2
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I suppose it's not really explained in the films, is it?

In the books, the 'wild men' who serve Saruman are the Dunlendings, Men who inhabited Dunland, the region to the North of Rohan. They did live in "Rohan", or Calenardhon as it was then known, before the Éothéod (as the Men of Rohan were then known) came, but they effectively seem to have lived there as "squatters": although the Men of Gondor didn't really live there, Calenardhon/Rohan was technically the property of the Kingdom of Gondor and the wild men seem to have lived there without any real permission.

At the end of the war against the Balcoth (a group of Easterlings), the Éothéod were given Calenardhon/Rohan by Cirion, Steward of Gondor, in return for their aid, and they founded the Riddermark there, which is to say the Kingdom of Rohan. As such they drove the wild men back to Dunland. Over the history of Rohan there were a number of feuds between the Dunlendings and the Men of Rohan as a result, even before the Dunlendings started working for Saruman.

In that sense it might be argued that the Men of Rohan did "steal" the land from the Dunlendings, but given that it wasn't really their property in the first place they didn't have a very legitimate claim. That being said, it might arguably be the fault of Cirion for giving away territory that Gondor had long ceased to look after and had rather naturally become occupied by other people! Or perhaps the fault of Gondor's rulership in general for clinging onto the vestiges of an empire long after they had ceased being able to or interested in wielding any authority over it.
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Old 11-23-2015, 08:54 AM   #3
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So it wasn't exactly a lie, but Saruman definitely twisted the truth, thanks very much
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Old 11-23-2015, 05:20 PM   #4
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Well, we have to distinguish between a) the Dunlendings, one population of the widespread "indigenous" race of Eriador which also included the Dead Men of Dunharrow and the Men of Bree, and b) the people Tolkien calls wild men, the Wild Men of Druadan Forest, Ghan-buri-ghan and his folk, who were truly "wild men of the woods," stone age primitives. Their remote kinship was to the Drugs of the First Age (hence Dru-adan). These the Rohirrim apparently didn't recognize as human, and had at times hunted them for sport.
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Old 11-23-2015, 11:53 PM   #5
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The ones that appear in the film are meant to be the Dunlendings, wouldn't you say?

Oddly enough when I think about it, they don't seem to appear outside of agreeing to serve Saruman apart from perhaps a couple of scenes of raiding in Rohan.

One thing I've always liked about the book depiction of Saruman's armies is the seemingly rather eclectic nature of his forces: Dunlendings, Uruk-hai, lesser Orcs, and wherever the "Half-orcs" existed in that scheme. "The Battles of the Fords of Isen" in Unfinished Tales gives a particularly good sense of that, I think.
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:38 AM   #6
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White-Hand The best lies have an element of truth

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So it wasn't exactly a lie, but Saruman definitely twisted the truth, thanks very much
I think that the most convincing lies have an element of truth, worked on by the person making the lie, as Saruman did in this case.
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Old 11-24-2015, 03:53 PM   #7
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I think that the most convincing lies have an element of truth, worked on by the person making the lie, as Saruman did in this case.
I don't think it was a lie, per se. In practice, the Dunlendings did feel aggrieved by an age-old land squabble (and we certainly can put that sort of disagreement in a real and very modern historic sense). I think it was exactly what they wanted to hear, given impetus and gravity by Saruman's gift of gab.
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Old 11-24-2015, 06:10 PM   #8
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I don't think it was a lie, per se. In practice, the Dunlendings did feel aggrieved by an age-old land squabble (and we certainly can put that sort of disagreement in a real and very modern historic sense). I think it was exactly what they wanted to hear, given impetus and gravity by Saruman's gift of gab.
Knowing a king of Rohan once insulted one of their kin and punched him to death probably helped as well.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:49 PM   #9
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Knowing a king of Rohan once insulted one of their kin and punched him to death probably helped as well.
So much so that Dunlending mothers sent their children to bed with the stern admonition: "Better be good or Helm the Hammerhand will get ye if ye don't watch out!"
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Old 11-25-2015, 08:16 AM   #10
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Shield The 'Hornburg Strangler'?

According to Appendix A of LotR, after the death of his last surviving son:

Helm grew fierce and gaunt for famine and grief, and the dread of him alone was worth many men in the defence of the Burg. He would go out by himself, clad in white, and stalk like a snow-troll into the camps of his enemies, and slay many men with his hands. It was believed that if he bore no weapon no weapon would bite on him. The Dunlendings said that if he could find no food he ate men. That tale lasted long in Dunland.

I agree with you, Morthoron, that Dunlending mothers would calm down their children with that admonition; but they would also make very clear that Helm ate naughty children.
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Old 11-25-2015, 08:52 AM   #11
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According to Appendix A of LotR, after the death of his last surviving son:

Helm grew fierce and gaunt for famine and grief, and the dread of him alone was worth many men in the defence of the Burg. He would go out by himself, clad in white, and stalk like a snow-troll into the camps of his enemies, and slay many men with his hands. It was believed that if he bore no weapon no weapon would bite on him. The Dunlendings said that if he could find no food he ate men. That tale lasted long in Dunland.
Lovely find, Faramir! It also connects nicely to the Dunlendings' reaction to Erkenbrand's speech in which he grants them mercy after the Battle of the Hornburg:

"The men of Dunland were amazed, for Saruman had told them that the men of Rohan were cruel and burned their captives alive."
Relating back to my first post, here's a useful statement from Unfinished Tales regarding Gondor's attitude to the Dunlendings:

"Above all, the eyes of Gondor had ever been eastward, whence all their perils came; the enmity of the "wild" Dunlendings seemed of small account to the Stewards."
So it seems that they didn't give them much thought either way, which would presumably contribute to why a situation arose in which the Dunlendings felt that Calenardhon had been "stolen" by the Eorlingas: Cirion probably didn't even think of them or factor them into his considerations.

They also seemingly profited little from the period in which Durin's Folk dwelt in Dunland in exile, as by the time of the Battle of the Fords of Isen they generally lacked armour; they couldn't wear Orc armour as it didn't fit. By contrast, the armour of the Men of Rohan was made for them by the Men of Gondor. Presumably when the Dwarves lived in exile in Dunland it was to avoid, in their pride, having to live in the lands of other "civilised" people. Instead they retreated to a lightly-populated area (Dunland does not seem to me to be a very densely populated place) and perhaps had little to no contact with the Men in the vicinity. Then again, I can imagine that they probably traded with the Dunlendings for food, but probably did not trade weapons or armour. Dunland was perhaps a place where they could live in some peace and quiet and trade for their survival without the "shame" and (perceived) indignity of living such a life of exile among more "civilised" people with more established homes.
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Old 11-25-2015, 09:32 AM   #12
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In the books, the 'wild men' who serve Saruman are the Dunlendings, Men who inhabited Dunland, the region to the North of Rohan. They did live in "Rohan", or Calenardhon as it was then known, before the Éothéod (as the Men of Rohan were then known) came, but they effectively seem to have lived there as "squatters": although the Men of Gondor didn't really live there, Calenardhon/Rohan was technically the property of the Kingdom of Gondor and the wild men seem to have lived there without any real permission.
Were they squatters or were they the closest we could come to the original inhabitants of the area?

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They also seemingly profited little from the period in which Durin's Folk dwelt in Dunland in exile, as by the time of the Battle of the Fords of Isen they generally lacked armour; they couldn't wear Orc armour as it didn't fit. By contrast, the armour of the Men of Rohan was made for them by the Men of Gondor. Presumably when the Dwarves lived in exile in Dunland it was to avoid, in their pride, having to live in the lands of other "civilised" people. Instead they retreated to a lightly-populated area (Dunland does not seem to me to be a very densely populated place) and perhaps had little to no contact with the Men in the vicinity. Then again, I can imagine that they probably traded with the Dunlendings for food, but probably did not trade weapons or armour. Dunland was perhaps a place where they could live in some peace and quiet and trade for their survival without the "shame" and (perceived) indignity of living such a life of exile among more "civilised" people with more established homes.
It seems to me that somewhere Dunland was described as having little in the way of mineral resources, but I can't seem to find it. However, if that was the case it could be that was the reason why. The Longbeards may have gone there to try to start fresh with some nearby humans (a method that had worked well in the past) but the colony failed because of lack of mineral wealth and so the Longbeards moved on.
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Old 11-25-2015, 10:04 AM   #13
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Were they squatters or were they the closest we could come to the original inhabitants of the area?
It's a good question, especially if things are traced back to the Second Age and the Dark Years. I was merely using the term through the lens of Gondor's "ownership" of Calenardhon in a legal sense - an ownership no other inhabitants were ever consulted on, I suspect.
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Old 01-14-2016, 04:01 PM   #14
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The Dunlendings were the indigenous population of the area and the rightful owners of Calenardhon, they were there long before the Numenorians fell out of the sea onto the land. The Rohirrim were a colonial, interloping, land thieving population 'planted' by Gondor on Dunlending territory for military reasons, similar to what the British Empire did in various times and places in history. The Dunlendings were definitely right to be a bit annoyed about this and can hardly be blamed for their hatred of the horse folk, especially as countless of them were cruelly slain by the Rohan's kings like Helm Hammerhand who brutally murdered many of them like Freca.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:50 PM   #15
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I'm not entirely sure whether the Dunlendings were the indigenous population of Calenarhon, as opposed to Dunland; the description of Rohan, very steppe-like, doesn't sound to me like a place where anyone other than nomadic herdsmen could live. In "Cirion and Eorl" the place is described as unpopulated; and the one specific place we are told that there was a Dunlendish settlement was the Ring of Isengard, which they surely had no claim to.

The Dunlendings' alleged grievance might have been a piece of Sarumanic propaganda. Or maybe not: but Tolkien on the whole, in both his fiction and his letters, seems to be very much opposed to imperialism, including the British Empire. It would be surprising to me if he had not made more explicit the legitimacy of the Dunlendings' complaint if it had any, as he certainly did with regard to the Woses.
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:25 PM   #16
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The Dunlendings were also related to the Dead Men of Dunharrow, who weren't exactly remembered with love in Gondor.
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:25 PM   #17
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The Dunlendings' alleged grievance might have been a piece of Sarumanic propaganda. Or maybe not: but Tolkien on the whole, in both his fiction and his letters, seems to be very much opposed to imperialism, including the British Empire. It would be surprising to me if he had not made more explicit the legitimacy of the Dunlendings' complaint if it had any, as he certainly did with regard to the Woses.
A good point, although I don't think the Dunlendings were high on Tolkien's list of priorities when it came to fleshing out back stories.

Was there something written at some point about the Dunlendings being related to the Men of the Mountains?
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Old 01-14-2016, 09:00 PM   #18
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Was there something written at some point about the Dunlendings being related to the Men of the Mountains?
ROTK Appendix F is one place that touches on that.

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[The Dunlendings] were a remnant of the peoples that had dwelt in the vales of the White Mountains in ages past. The Dead Men of Dunharrow were of their kin.
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:20 PM   #19
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ROTK Appendix F is one place that touches on that.
So they did have an ancestral claim to at least a part of Rohan.
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Old 01-15-2016, 01:09 AM   #20
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The Dunlendings were the indigenous population of the area and the rightful owners of Calenardhon, they were there long before the Numenorians fell out of the sea onto the land. The Rohirrim were a colonial, interloping, land thieving population 'planted' by Gondor on Dunlending territory for military reasons, similar to what the British Empire did in various times and places in history. The Dunlendings were definitely right to be a bit annoyed about this and can hardly be blamed for their hatred of the horse folk, especially as countless of them were cruelly slain by the Rohan's kings like Helm Hammerhand who brutally murdered many of them like Freca.
I'm in agreement with this. And I think it's a brave post because it's not as permissive of Numenorean legacy and will be less popular an idea because of that (possibly).

When I first read LotR and the histories, I simply accepted that Numerean precedent founded on ideas about a 'chosen' people (and Tolkien chose terms like 'fairer' or 'sea grey eyes, fair skin and dark hair'). I've grown to realise that Numenorean imperialism, like any kind, disrupts culture, presumes authority, is ethnocentric and incites hatred.

It's only recently that I've come to accept that grievances over territorial ownership would have stirred great wrath in peoples with claims to lands of greater length of years. I understand the Dunlending position more because of this.

I also understand that Tharbad allied itself with Sauron in SA (or allowed Sauron passage) during the sack of the Mirdain, but this reminds me that Numenor was an imperialist, expansionalist power that claimed sovereignty 'because it could' (ie power- and Arnor/Gondor TA came 'afterwards'). I wonder if Tharbad was suspicious of Eregion and of the wealth and splendour of the Ost In Edhil. Well, in a way, they were correct. After all, the Ring haunted Middle Earth for another 3000 years after this and it was the Noldorin susceptibility to Evil by Saurnonic seduction (Annatar) that brought Sauron to the Ost In Edhil in the first place. Thus, (reasoning 'as though' we were of Tharbad for the time), those Elves cooked up that stupid magic stuff and that Annatar is coming to level them. So be it. We never liked that Celebrimbor anyway. He was rude. So there! His head's on a pike for his Elvish greed.

So, I imagine that Tharbad was wary of the rise of power of the Mirdain and of the somewhat 'off colour' influence of the Elves over this region. Celebrimbor, being Noldorin, a grandson of that spoilt brat Feanor brought memory of the blood feud and a curse to the whole area. Not to mention the broodings in the subtext in tensions between Galadriel, her allies and those of the Feanoreans (Galadriel was more aligned with the Teleri in the kinslaying). On a personal note - I have empathy for Celebrimbor. He tried very hard to repair his family's legacy and he strove to win Galadriel).

I don't see Rohan or Gondor or Arnor as legitimate 'owners' of Cardolan, Calenardhon, Rhun or any other part of the regions. They overreached and took no heed of prior people's presence. So, long-term grievances and wars over territory are expected. The human territorial instinct is strong and especially so when land ownership/access equates to 'survival' needs.
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Old 01-15-2016, 06:47 AM   #21
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I don't believe that there's a "natural" link between family relationships and a claim to a specific territory. From my point of view there's no such thing as "rightful" or "legitimate" owners simply by biological or cultural heritage. "Property" and "rights" are social categories which are tied to a political construct, i.e. a state and only make sense in that context. And those political constructs are always established and sustained by force.

So, I don't agree that the Dunlendings of 3019 T.A. can justify their war against the Rohirrim based on something that happened over 500 years ago. Or would you suggest that I have an inherent right and a claim to some territory my distant ancestors inhabited in the year 1516, wherever this may be?

Apart from the moral question, I think it's fair to assume that the "history" between the Rohirrim and the Dunledings created a highly ideologized feud and hatred between them.

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Old 01-15-2016, 08:09 AM   #22
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Where die the Notion come from that Tharbad let Sauron pass over Greyflood in the war against Eregion?
My understanding was that the numenorean settelment of Tharbad was defended by the small garnision against Sauron and his alleies. But Sauron did not need the Ford of Tharbad. He entered Eregion from the south coming out of Dunland over the Sirannon.

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Old 01-15-2016, 10:20 AM   #23
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I've grown to realise that Numenorean imperialism, like any kind, disrupts culture, presumes authority, is ethnocentric and incites hatred.
I may be misremembering, but I thought that Tolkien himself made this point in regards to the Numenoreans that they changed during their decline from traders who helped (materially, at least) uplift the people they interacted with to dominators who were interested in conquest.

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I also understand that Tharbad allied itself with Sauron in SA (or allowed Sauron passage) during the sack of the Mirdain, but this reminds me that Numenor was an imperialist, expansionalist power that claimed sovereignty 'because it could' (ie power- and Arnor/Gondor TA came 'afterwards'). I wonder if Tharbad was suspicious of Eregion and of the wealth and splendour of the Ost In Edhil. Well, in a way, they were correct. After all, the Ring haunted Middle Earth for another 3000 years after this and it was the Noldorin susceptibility to Evil by Saurnonic seduction (Annatar) that brought Sauron to the Ost In Edhil in the first place. Thus, (reasoning 'as though' we were of Tharbad for the time), those Elves cooked up that stupid magic stuff and that Annatar is coming to level them. So be it. We never liked that Celebrimbor anyway. He was rude. So there! His head's on a pike for his Elvish greed.
I agree with Findegil, what is the reference for the behavior of Tharbad during the attack on Eregion?

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I don't see Rohan or Gondor or Arnor as legitimate 'owners' of Cardolan, Calenardhon, Rhun or any other part of the regions. They overreached and took no heed of prior people's presence. So, long-term grievances and wars over territory are expected. The human territorial instinct is strong and especially so when land ownership/access equates to 'survival' needs.
In the case of Arnor in particular, I'm not sure this applies as the area seems to have been almost desolate population-wise before the Numenoreans settled. I may have the timeline messed up in my head, but were the Bree-folk (who were also from the same stock as the Dunlendings) already in Breeland at the time of the foundation of Arnor? If so, they do not seem to have experienced great disruption at the foundation of Arnor.
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Old 01-15-2016, 02:37 PM   #24
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Unfinished Tales makes mention of the local population hating the Numenoreans because of the Numenoreans tree-felling and vast devastation of the woods in that region. And this later caused issues, by aiding Sauron and ambushing Numenoreans when they got the chance. But as Findegil said, Tharbad and Lond Daer were Numenorean settlements. I'm not aware of any reference to the Numenoreans allowing Sauron to pass Tharbad and invade Eregion. In fact it was because of Tharbad that Ciryatur was able to lead a Numenorean force up the Greyflood and route Sauron's forces from behind.
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Old 01-15-2016, 08:41 PM   #25
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Hey there - yes, it's improper to use the term 'tharbad' to imply 'city of Tharbad' or 'city of Tharbad held by Dunedain', for the pre-Rohan history and also for the Numenorean presence pre-Third Age. Tharbad was a Numenorean stronghold, I just re-read. Joining Arnor and Gondor and the Greenway over the bridges of Tharbad. A region apparently drained by the Realms in Exile and a city plonked on stone above fens.

The Dunlendings, though I also just read were descended from the House of Haleth and were "distant" relatives of the Numenoreans. Described as tall and dark haired and jealous of Numenoreans. Enemies of Rohan. They occupied the lands surrounding and Numenor felled significant trees from the region.

I revise the entry I wrote to read:

Sauron sent forces that were coming in front the South East and were in Enedwaith

--at the crossing of Tharbad--

(at the time, that was prior to Numenorean engineering the causeway at Tharbad. I'm pretty sure there was no 'city of Tharbad' at this time, because it was mostly water and fens). At the time of the War of Elves and Sauron, that was only lightly held by Sauron. I re-read though that the gist of it all was that the Dunlendings were rather hoping Sauron would oust the Numenoreans from the region. I'm not sure if Dunlendings actually fought for Sauron. I need to brief myself on this last item
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Old 01-15-2016, 08:58 PM   #26
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I don't believe that there's a "natural" link between family relationships and a claim to a specific territory. From my point of view there's no such thing as "rightful" or "legitimate" owners simply by biological or cultural heritage. "Property" and "rights" are social categories which are tied to a political construct, i.e. a state and only make sense in that context. And those political constructs are always established and sustained by force.
On a personal note I don't adhere to ideas about land ownership, either, and would be quite happy if we didn't have passports but - no one agrees with me about this. I expected anti-Numenorean commentary to elicit objections from pro-Numenorean readers. Of late, I've grown rather anti-Numenorean, excepting Silmarien's line and excepting the poor fellas and women in the Forgotten Caves, who have to rot there until the End of Days I wonder if they're bored, annoyed, for example "if Ar Pharazon asks us one more time for a dinner invitation after what he's done to us, I'd scream except that we're all still screaming since the drowning of Numenor. I told everyone it was a bad idea to go along with his 'attack the west thing' and now look - our idiot cousins got away from Andunie". hahaha

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So, I don't agree that the Dunlendings of 3019 T.A. can justify their war against the Rohirrim based on something that happened over 500 years ago. Or would you suggest that I have an inherent right and a claim to some territory my distant ancestors inhabited in the year 1516, wherever this may be?

Apart from the moral question, I think it's fair to assume that the "history" between the Rohirrim and the Dunledings created a highly ideologized feud and hatred between them.
But, Leaf ownership, sovereignty, territoriality as characterise by Tolkien it seems to me were central tenets used to explain the tensions between the Dunlendings, the Dunedain, Numenor and Rohan. Longstanding gripes over land ownership. I wonder if the Dunlendings were expected to pay taxes to Gondor and Arnor for example, during -- as Dunlendings would have put it -- "the occupation".

Dunlendings were antagonistic to Rohan and Dunedain and the conflict emphasised jealousies and conflict over sovereignty of the region.
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Old 01-15-2016, 09:05 PM   #27
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Dunlendings were antagonistic to Rohan and Dunedain and the conflict emphasised jealousies and conflict over sovereignty of the region.
There was also a racial component to the mutual dislike between Dunland and Rohan. The Rohirrim made note of King Helm's eventual murder victim Freca's dark hair, seeing that as a sign of his Dunlendish blood. That was apparently a factor in the king's scornful words to him at the meeting where Freca met his death.

For their part, the Dunlendings were said to have been yelling "death to the strawheads" as they assaulted Helm's Deep.

Whether the racial difference merely compounded the territory issue or stood on its own, I could only guess.
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Old 01-15-2016, 09:29 PM   #28
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It's not quite that the Dunlendings were "descendants of the House of Haleth" so much as that they (and, generally, the population of Eriador from the Bree-land south) were part of a rather large race or tribe of Men of whom one branch crossed early into Beleriand and occupied Brethil. Similarly, the Northmen/Eotheod/Rohirrim were "cousins" of the Hadorians, but not descended from them.

On the other hand, maybe it was all because the Dunlendings were still ticked off over Turin and Hurin.....
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Old 01-15-2016, 09:32 PM   #29
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HI there Inziladun

and .....

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It's not quite that the Dunlendings were "descendants of the House of Haleth" so much as that they (and, generally, the population of Eriador from the Bree-land south) were part of a rather large race or tribe of Men of whom one branch crossed early into Beleriand and occupied Brethil. Similarly, the Northmen/Eotheod/Rohirrim were "cousins" of the Hadorians, but not descended from them.

On the other hand, maybe it was all because the Dunlendings were still ticked off over Turin and Hurin.....
hahahaha yes -

"Turn and Hurin hogged so much attention - suffer then all of them - Morgoth took notice and voila! At least they took the heat off us".
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Old 01-16-2016, 01:15 PM   #30
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So, I don't agree that the Dunlendings of 3019 T.A. can justify their war against the Rohirrim based on something that happened over 500 years ago. Or would you suggest that I have an inherent right and a claim to some territory my distant ancestors inhabited in the year 1516, wherever this may be?
The Irish curse Cromwell to this day, even though he died in 1658. The Irish hate for the English and for their usurpation of Ireland goes back to the Norman Invasion. There is still an undercurrent of animosity between the Republicans and Unionists in Northern Ireland.

So, I would say the Dunlending disdain for Rohan is not without real world precedent.
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:28 AM   #31
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The Irish curse Cromwell to this day, even though he died in 1658. The Irish hate for the English and for their usurpation of Ireland goes back to the Norman Invasion. There is still an undercurrent of animosity between the Republicans and Unionists in Northern Ireland.

So, I would say the Dunlending disdain for Rohan is not without real world precedent.
That's correct. Those ideologies do exist in the real world and I never argued otherwise.

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But, Leaf ownership, sovereignty, territoriality as characterise by Tolkien it seems to me were central tenets used to explain the tensions between the Dunlendings, the Dunedain, Numenor and Rohan. Longstanding gripes over land ownership. I wonder if the Dunlendings were expected to pay taxes to Gondor and Arnor for example, during -- as Dunlendings would have put it -- "the occupation".

Dunlendings were antagonistic to Rohan and Dunedain and the conflict emphasised jealousies and conflict over sovereignty of the region.
Yes, those categories are indeed important to understand the conflict. I merely wanted to point out that those categories are highly ideologized and man-made and not some sort of ontological law of (human) nature.

My goal was simply to shift the focus of the discussion away from alleged "legitimacy" of territorial claims.




There are some quotes from the Silmarillion I'd like to add to the discussion. They touch the subject of different ideas and concepts of ownership and sovereignty. The first bit is from the dialogue between Eöl and Turgon:

"But Eöl withdrew his hand. 'I acknowledge not your law,' he said. 'No right have you or any of your kin in this land to seize realms or to set bounds, either here or there. This is the land of the Teleri, to which you bring war and all unquiet, dealing ever proudly and unjustly.[...]"

Eöl denies Turgon's claim because he isn't a kinsman of the Teleri. He ties dominion and sovereignty to blood. Here's Turgon's response:

"'I will not debate with you. Dark Elf. By the swords of the Noldor alone are your sunless woods defended. Your freedom to wander there wild you owe to my kin; and but for them long since you would have laboured in thraldom in the pits of Angband. And here I am King; and weather you will it or will it not, my doom is law. [...]"

Turgon stresses the practical side of political rulership and elucidates Eöl about the conjunction between sovereignty and force.

There's another part with a similar topic, Thingol's message to the Noldor princes: "'Thus shall you speak for me to those that sent you. In Hithlum the Noldor have leave to dwell, and in the highlands of Dorthonion, and in the lands east of Doriath that are empty and wild; but elsewhere there are many of my people, and I would not have them restrained of their freedom, still less ousted from their homes. Beware therefore how you princes of the West bear yourselves; for I am the Lord of Beleriand, and all who seek to dwell there shall hear my word. Into Doriath none shall come to abide but only such as I call guest, or who seek me in great need.'"

Maedhros' answer: "'A King is he that can hold is own, or eke his title is vain. Thingol does but grant us lands where his power does not run. Indeed Doriath alone would be his realm this day, but for the coming of the Noldor. Therefore in Doriath let him reign, and be glad that he has the sons of Finwë for his neighbours, not the Orcs of Morgoth that we found. Elsewhere it shall go as seems good to us.'"

Last edited by Leaf; 01-19-2016 at 10:11 AM. Reason: correction and addition of a few things.
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Old 01-18-2016, 08:29 AM   #32
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White Tree A question of sources

The problem is the issue of the source material. We're using works compiled by hobbits of the Shire, whose history and legitimacy resulted from a decision by a Numenorean monarch to allow them to settle there. There's also the Rohirrim, whose title to their lands resulted from the Oath of Eorl, a decision of the ruler of another Numenorean state.

The overwhelming amount of material we have is either Numenorean or at least pro-Numenorean. In terms of what you said here, Ivriniel:

I wonder if the Dunlendings were expected to pay taxes to Gondor and Arnor for example, during -- as Dunlendings would have put it -- "the occupation".

Dunlendings were antagonistic to Rohan and Dunedain and the conflict emphasised jealousies and conflict over sovereignty of the region.


You may be right; but I don't think there's enough material to enable us to conclusively judge.

In terms of what might be done to settle the matter after the War of the Ring, we read what King Elessar did on 4 occasions. He granted the lands around Lake Núrnen in Mordor to the slaves who farmed them, whom he freed, although we don't know if they formed an independent state or states. He let the Drúedain be, declaring that none may enter their woods without their leave, which appears to be a recognition of their independence. Regarding the Shire, he declared that it was a free land under his protection, and forbade men to settle there. It appears, although it wasn't explicitly stated, that he did something similar to Bree. He certainly appears to have let it alone.

Perhaps the Dunlendings or other folk might have approached Eomer or Elessar, making offers of accepting their overlordship in return of an amount of autonomy, referring to what was done to the Shire and Bree as precedents?
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Old 01-18-2016, 08:03 PM   #33
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That's correct. Those ideologies do exist in the real world and I never argued otherwise.

Yes, those categories are indeed important to understand the conflict. I merely wanted to point out that those categories are highly ideologized and man-made and not some sort of ontological law of (human) nature.

My goal was simply to shift the focus of the discussion away from alleged "legitimacy" of territorial claims.
I would suggest that territorialism has been a part of human nature for several hundred thousand years, and it is also in the nature of very closely related primates. Whether this is part of the genetic code is something beyond an English Major's grasp, but, being a neophyte in such affairs, it would seem that way.

So, when you made the declamation:

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I don't believe that there's a "natural" link between family relationships and a claim to a specific territory. From my point of view there's no such thing as "rightful" or "legitimate" owners simply by biological or cultural heritage. "Property" and "rights" are social categories which are tied to a political construct, i.e. a state and only make sense in that context. And those political constructs are always established and sustained by force.
I would have to reply that biological and cultural heritage are very distinct and not synonymous at all. And just because you feel that way cannot erase the entire history of Mankind, which would certainly point to property being not a distinctly state or social category, but an individual one as well. Therefore, while there may not be a biological imperative for property, there certainly is one for territoriality.

And from a cultural heritage standpoint, the propagation of property by the individual or social group has been a practiced institution of humans since hunter-gatherers settled down to farming 25-30,000 years ago. You try to steal oats from a Neolithic farmer's field, he's going to bash your head in with a flint axe. Even in more recent history, hunter-gathering aboriginal tribes in the Americas would ferociously defend their Spring/Summer hunting grounds from trespass by Europeans and other tribes as well.

As far as property rights, such a construct has existed beyond the pale of States or governmental interference, regulation, taxation or politicization throughout history. Many settlers over the centuries staked claims to land beyond territorial borders because they wanted nothing to do with a state or society. You don't think there is a cultural heritage in the English, and later American traditions that hold ownership of property almost a fundamental Right -- like guns?

Read the Bible. It's one long battle for property rights that's still continuing thousands of years later. Even after several Diasporas, the intent of Jewish People was to return to Israel.

Tolkien, while not dwelling on this, would certainly have considered the Irish at last freeing the Republic of Eire from the Britain (the Free State in 1922 and adopting a constitution in 1937), the independence movement in India ( independent and partitioned from Pakistan 1947), and then the Jews finally creating a new Israel in 1949, as they were occurring within the continuum between The Hobbit and LotR. His references to Dunland and the dour mood of Dunlenders in regards to the usurping Rohirrim would be in the same category.
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Old 01-19-2016, 05:54 AM   #34
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You keep confusing my assessments to be descriptive even though I clearly stated that they are more of the normative type. I was simply expressing my opinion on a moral question and didn't try to make positive claims about the actual history of human existence. (cf. naturalistic fallacy, 'is-ought' problem. There's a difference between the way the world is, and how it ought to be.) I did this because I think that the affirmative devotion and identification with the cause of the 'wild men' is problematic and complicated. And I already agreed with you that the history of mankind is, of course, filled with similar or comparable conflicts. I know that people tend to take the ideas and concepts about property and territory very seriously. I know that people even fought wars over such categories. And I already said so in my last post. That's why I really don't understand why you are trying to foist such positions on me:

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[...]I would have to reply that biological and cultural heritage are very distinct and not synonymous at all. And just because you feel that way cannot erase the entire history of Mankind, [...] You don't think there is a cultural heritage in the English, and later American traditions that hold ownership of property almost a fundamental Right -- like guns?[...]
But never mind answering this. I would much rather talk about Tolkien's work and the actual texts instead of indulging in meta-discussions about the way we argue, primates or the Irish. That's why I provided (using the edit-feature) some interesting, at least in my opinion, quotations from Silmarillion in my last post. I think that they suggest that this topic is complex and more complicated when it comes to the different texts.

Edit

In fact I'm going to continue with this right now:

The way the Noldor justified their realms in Beleriand is comparable to the justification of the Númenóreans. The Noldor are claiming their domain based on the ability to defend it from Morgoth:

"By the swords of the Noldor alone are your sunless woods defended. Your freedom to wander there wild you owe to my kin; and but for them long since you would have laboured in thraldom in the pits of Angband."

"[...]Indeed Doriath alone would be his realm this day, but for the coming of the Noldor. Therefore in Doriath let him reign, and be glad that he has the sons of Finwë for his neighbours, not the Orcs of Morgoth that we found."

We all know that they ultimately failed in that regard. They were not able to keep Morgoth at bay and suffered greatly in the war against him. Yet they (especially Turgon) were able to sustain their realms long enough for the eventual "rescue" by the Valar. I think it's fair to point out that the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor played a similar role in the history of Middle-Earth. What would the situation have been like if there wasn't a kingdom like Gondor?

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Old 01-19-2016, 03:55 PM   #35
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Just to toss some more red meat into the dog-pit, I'll observe that the "fall" of Rhudaur (from the Numenorean standpoint) was effectively an Angmar-aided revolt of the native population against their minority Dunedain overlords.
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Old 01-19-2016, 04:11 PM   #36
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Just to toss some more red meat into the dog-pit, I'll observe that the "fall" of Rhudaur (from the Numenorean standpoint) was effectively an Angmar-aided revolt of the native population against their minority Dunedain overlords.
Gondor conquered swathes of Rhun and the Harad as well. Small wonder men from the Northern Waste to the Southern heats turned to Sauron to drive out their Numenorean oppressors.
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Old 01-19-2016, 04:25 PM   #37
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Gondor conquered swathes of Rhun and the Harad as well. Small wonder men from the Northern Waste to the Southern heats turned to Sauron to drive out their Numenorean oppressors.
Which begs an interesting question of what life under Sauron's domination was like?

Tolkien spoke of the Easterlings and Haradrim being relatively primitive until the Numenoreans and Sauron (under pressure from the Numenoreans and desiring to have tools at his disposal to compete with them) started uplifting their material culture. I suspect the Numenoreans and Sauron both only wanted to give them so much to help them, but only so much as to prevent them from getting "ideas."

I wonder, was serving Sauron a choice that the ordinary Easterling or Haradrim disliked and regretted or did the two not seem so different to them?
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:04 PM   #38
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Just to toss some more red meat into the dog-pit, I'll observe that the "fall" of Rhudaur (from the Numenorean standpoint) was effectively an Angmar-aided revolt of the native population against their minority Dunedain overlords.
Númenóreans were known as cruel tyrants during their years of colonization, so it's not surprising the Dúnedain leaf didn't fall far from the tree.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:25 AM   #39
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Númenóreans were known as cruel tyrants during their years of colonization, so it's not surprising the Dúnedain leaf didn't fall far from the tree.
Yes, but not all Numenoreans were the same, and the Arnorians were of the nicer variety.
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Old 01-20-2016, 11:57 AM   #40
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Yes, but not all Numenoreans were the same, and the Arnorians were of the nicer variety.
Nice enough that many of the Dunlendings and their kin had removed to Eriador to become willing subjects of the Northern Dúnedain settling at Bree, and going so far as to abandon their former language and customs.
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