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Topic: The Wildmen and Easterlings

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Orc Warrior - Rank 2
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Date: Sep 12, 2010
The Wildmen and Easterlings

I'm fairly sure that the 'wildmen' were men, but I'm not so sure what these 'Easterlings' were.

Do these peoples have a history, or did Tolkien just throw them in for additional flavor?
From the movies, it appears that the Easterlings were a sovereign state with a controlled, uniformed army (as versus orc rabble).  Did Gondor never pursue an alliance? I can't believe that the only decent people were in Gondor and Rohan and that everyother man-sort were basically bad-guys. I mean what ruler in his right mind would want to ally with Sauron. Better to ally with the resistance.

-- Edited by Saba on Sunday 12th of September 2010 05:11:02 PM

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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In the Third Age the Easterlings were the men of Rhun, a region north of Mordor and a long distance east of Mirkwood (the region around the Sea of Rhun). They were a sovereign people with their own ways. They fought many times with Gondor throughout the Third Age before actually becoming part of Sauron's forces when he came back to Mordor later on in the Third Age.

All men in their origin were the same, of course, they awoke at the very start of the First Age (when Fingolfin arrived in Middle-earth from Valinor, and with the Rising of the first Sun) in a place called Hildorien in the far east of Middle-earth. However Morgoth came to them first, as is revealed in the Tale of Adenel, and some men broke away and fled to the west of Middle-earth. These men later form the various groups of the Edain (basically, the Good Men). The remaining men likewise did the same but much slower and did not form any long lasting abodes in Beleriand. These men were under the control of Morgoth, and even when he was defeated they were ever after swayed by Sauron when he returned on two seperate occasions.

I suppose it is because of their early days of darkness that these men never came over truly to the good side. At best they were a people unto themselves, at worst they were servants of the enemy (and of Numenor, at one point).

In short it is a very broad question ith alot of information pertaining to it. Much information can be gleaned from the Silmarillion regarding this.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Sep 13, 2010
Saba,
There were a couple of different answers for both "Wildmen" and "Easterlings."


First "Wildmen" ~
Dunlendings ~ Dunlending Wildmen were the ferocious, stunted and vicious men that lived in Dunland, close to Rohan. They were a reclusive folk, dark-haired but smaller in stature than the Bëorians or the Marachians. They kept separate from the other Men. Their language was different from the ones that used by the other Edain.  Also called the Wild Men of Dunland, they were long been enemies of the Rohirrim, becuase they are jealous that the rich lands of the old Númenórean province of Calenardhon were granted by the Gondorians to the Rohirrim instead of them.
After King Elessar took the throne of Gondor, the Dunlendings agreed never to trouble the free peoples of Middle-earth again, and their old and evil power was finally broken.

Drúedain ~ Drúedain Wildmen of the Woods inhabited  the Drúadan Forest, also known as The Grey Wood, was a forest north of Gondor.  The appearance of the Drúedain is entirely different from the appearance of the other races of the Middle-earth legendarium. They are a bit like Dwarves in stature and endurance, stumpy, clumsy-limbed (with short, thick legs, and fat, "gnarled" arms), had broad chests, fat bellies, and heavy buttocks. According to the Elves and other Men, they had "unlovely faces": wide, flat, and expressionless with deep-set black eyes that glowed red when angered. They had "horny" brows, flat noses, wide mouths, and sparse, lank hair. They had no hair lower than the eyebrows, except for a few men who had a tail of black hair on the chin. They were short lived and had a deep hatred of Orcs. They were known to have certain magical powers and to be still in meditation for long periods of time.
The men of Rohan passed through the Drúadan Forest on their way to Minas Tirith, guided by Ghân-buri-Ghân a Drúadan headman.  Ghân-buri-Ghân's clan came to the aid of the Rohirrim.  A large company of Orcs had been sent to the Drúadan Forest to waylay the host of Rohan as it made its way to the aid of Gondor. It was the Drúedain who held off the Orcs with poisoned arrows whilst they guided the Rohirrim through the forest by secret paths. Without their help the Rohirrim would not have arrived at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and Sauron would likely have triumphed. As a result the Drúedain gained the respect of other Men, and King Elessar granted the Drúadan Forest "forever" to them in thanks.

Second "Easterlings" ~
"Easterlings" were generic terms for Men who lived in the east of Middle-earth, who mostly fought under Morgoth and Sauron, not directly but rather on behalf of their own High Lord.
The Easterlings were low and muscular; they were tan-skinned, dark-eyed, and dark-haired. In the First Age there were also beige-skinned Easterlings. Some were of the same stock as  later men, but all were dark-skinned and broad.
During the First Age, the term was applied to the Swarthy Men who came from the east and moved into Beleriand  much later than the other Edain. (Edain = Men) They were of different tribes, which were sometimes on the edge of strife.
During the Third Age, the term was applied to those Men living beyond the Sea of Rhûn, who were allied with Sauron and frequently attacked Gondor.

Here are a few of the "Easterling" tribes or peoples;

"Wainriders" ~
The Wainriders were a confederation of Easterling tribes who were united by their hate of Gondor, fuelled by Sauron. Following the Great Plague which weakened Gondor, they started their raids in 1851 of the Third Age and attacked in full force five years later, defeating the Gondorian army and killing King Narmacil II. They rode in great wagons and chariots (which gave them their name), and raided the lands of Rhovanion, destroying or enslaving its people. Gondor gradually lost all of its possessions east of Anduin, save Ithilien, to them. The thirtieth king of Gondor, Calimehtar son of Narmacil, defeated the Wainriders in battle on the Dagorlad, buying some rest for his land.
However the Wainriders struck back in 1944, allying themselves with the Haradrim of Near Harad (Haradrim were also known as Southern Men) and the Variags of Khand. They managed to kill King Ondoher and both his sons, but instead of riding on to Minas Anor and taking the city, they paused to celebrate. Meanwhile, general Eärnil of Gondor's southern army had defeated the Haradrim and rode north to defend his king. He came too late to rescue Ondoher, but managed to surprise and defeat the Wainriders in the Battle of the Camp. Eärnil was crowned king a year later. After this defeat the might of the Wainriders was broken, and their confederation collapsed.

"Balchoth" ~

The Balchoth (Sindarin for "cruel people") were an entire people group of Easterlings, complete with women and children who migrated towards eastern Gondor due to overcrowding. In 2510 they began to settle the plains of Calenardhon and almost sent running the army of the Ruling Steward Cirion, but were all slaughtered by the Éothéod under Eorl the Young at the Battle of the Field of Celebrant. Like the Wainriders they rode in chariots and wagons, and they may have been descendants of this people.

"Variags of Khand" ~
The Variags were from Khand, and they first appeared to the east and south of Mordor in 1944 of the Third Age, fighting alongside the Wainriders. They were also present during the battle of the Pelennor Fields, over a thousand years later. Little was known about them.

"Easterlings with axes" ~
During the War of the Ring itself, Easterlings are described as perhaps belonging to more than one culture, plus the Variags of Khand. One group is described as a "new" kind of Easterling that the men of Gondor had previously not encountered; fierce bearded men with axes.

What I have given you are the gleanings from the internet and my own interest in "Wildmen" and "Easterlings."
With the many revisions, notes, and working manuscripts there may be other groups of men deserving these titles.


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Orc Warrior - Rank 2
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Date: Sep 18, 2010


-- Edited by Saba on Saturday 25th of September 2010 04:22:05 AM

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Orc Warrior - Rank 2
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Date: Sep 24, 2010


-- Edited by Saba on Saturday 25th of September 2010 04:22:39 AM

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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This is bringing in real world information, but I always thought that the Easterlings were a stand-in for the Huns, Mongols, Turks and other peoples of the east that invaded Europe at different times from late antiquity into the early modern era. This is idea probably occurs to most people who read the Lord of the Rings. What I find interesting is how they fit with some of Tolkien's other theme ins Lord of the Rings.

Tolkien tells a story with an age of grandeur drawing to close, with the age of heroism becoming mundane. In the real world, invasions by Mongols included several battles in which the knights attempting to fight a heroic melee (as was how battles were fought in much of medieval Europe) were slaughtered en masse and the countryside was ravaged in total war (see the battles of Legnica and Mohi http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Legnica , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mohi). The Turks were big early adopters of gun powder, and thus their conquest of southeastern Europe marked the end of one era of warfare on the continent and the beginning of another.

Wars against the "Easterlings" in Europe can be thought of as marking the end of a glorified era (knights on horseback and melees) and the beginning of another (total war and gunpowder). It's not a perfect similarity, but it "kind of rhymes", which is more Tolkien's style of relating to the real world anyway.



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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There seems to be some relationship between the peoples of north western Middle-earth fighting back the invading hordes from the east and south to what we experienced in Europe in the past. Of this there can be little doubt. I wonder if there are any real-world comparisons to the First Age scenario of a great evi lin the north with the free peoples holding it back in the south.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Well, the Vikings were notorious raiders from the north who struck far deep into the south,  but for the most part it seems that Nordic imagery is reserved for the "good guys", so I don't think it really fits.  



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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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I don't know about on a global scale but England suffered for a long time from the 'Viking marauders coming south of the border'. Not sure this has any relevance to Middle-Earth though.

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