Black Númenóreans

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Black Númenóreans

Postby RangerofAngmar » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:27 am

So given that Rangers are decedent of the Númenóreans and that Black Númenóreans exist.

would we assume that the Black Númenóreans had a separate culture and even a different version of the Rangers of Arnor?

and if so what would these rangers be like compared to their counterparts?
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Re: Black Númenóreans

Postby Elleth » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:06 am


My thinking is that the role of "Ranger" as we know it fell out from the circumstances of Arnor's decline and the re-wilding of Gondor and Eriador. Thus there's no reason to think anything like them would have appeared in the regions in which the Black Numenorians settled. Thus, I don't think they'd look at all like the "Ranger" archetype as we know it. Surely they had some kind of sneaky-spy irregulars, but I suspect they looked, dressed, and acted quite differently.

I don't know as there's any reference to the military structure of the Black Numenoreans, but I imagine a fine combing of the Histories of Middle Earth would pull out a few anecdotes. It would be a long slog, but I suspect something's buried there that might help.

Absent any text documentation and forced to look at historical analogues, I'd probably start researching Mehmed II's scouts and maybe the Indian thugee as a starting point, and extrapolating from there.

Culturally, I imagine the best way to go is start with Ar-Pharazon's vanity and self-idolotry and extraoplate from there. Thus the early Egyptian scribal caste and fighting elite is probably also a fertile ground to look for inspiration.
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Re: Black Númenóreans

Postby Eofor » Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:11 pm

Welcome to the boards!

It's an interesting question.

Looking at what we do know the Black Númenóreans were centered around the city of Umbar in the south (I note your name but as far as I'm aware Black Númenóreans are not specifically named among the inhabitants of Angmar)
Two Black Númenórean lords are named Herumor and Fuinur rose power amongst the Haradrim.
The power of the Black Númenóreans declines after the last alliance.

RangerofAngmar wrote:would we assume that the Black Númenóreans had a separate culture?

I think that it's reasonable to assume that over time the Black Númenóreans would have had developed a different culture from the Faithful simply as a result of the people and lands they were now rulers of. For example the Black Númenóreans are unable to keep pace with the naval might of Gondor and even lose the port of Umbar which surely would have seen a decline in the naval tradition of their people.

Looking at the limited evidence we have of the warfare and tactics used by their people (the Haradrim) we see them favouring cavalry and of course the Mûmakil, we see too the style of weapons change from the traditional Númenórean swords to scimitars.
Taking from our our limited sources they adopted other cultural traits such as clothing and so, though this change would have taken a long time I'm sure it occurred.

RangerofAngmar wrote: and even a different version of the Rangers of Arnor?

It may depend on where in the timeline you look.

In the earlier days before too much assimilation had taken place it is likely that the Black Númenóreans military structure would have been a bit more traditional had some sort of scouting group.

Based on later evidence it seems highly unlikely that the Haradrim had any sort of effective scouting or skirmishing troops. Faramir and the rangers of Ithilien are easily able to ambush the army en route to the Morannon. Likewise the Riders of Rohan are able to pass through the Rammas Echor without detection.
Even as a fighting force they don't seem to be equivalent the Rangers of the North. Theoden and his knights cast down the Southron chieftain despite their numbers whereas the smaller grey company are described as men without peer.

Looking at the Rangers of Arnor, they formed out of the survivors of Arthedain, before that they were more than likely a conventional fighting force. Their ranger skills and woodcraft would have been developed and honed in the subsequent years as they adapted to their new method of warfare.
The Rangers of Ithilien however form a more traditional commando unit, able to effectively operate behind enemy lines and yet also able to serve as front line troops, I think it likely that the pre fall Arthedain rangers were a similar force which makes it possible that a common unit existed amongst the Black Númenóreans before too much assimilation had occurred.

RangerofAngmar wrote:if so what would these rangers be like compared to their counterparts?

So while I don't think that the Black Númenóreans would have had a version of the Rangers we see in the Faithful I'm not one to stifle creative thought.

Looking at the location they settled and the people they came to rule I think that for warfare they most likely would have used mounted scouts or spies.

The corsairs of Umbar though are famous for their coastal slave raids so they very well could have used scouts to find where the softest targets were.
I could imagine them as a sort of Isma'ili assassin, certainly the description of the Haradrim clothing seems to match the mental image this brings up. Dressing in a lot of black and scarlet like the rest of the Southrons, perhaps even silk. If you move away from ridiculous Assassins creed cosplay you could manage something quite unique and well within the bounds of credibility.


I also think this would suit the culture of Harad, the people of that land are regarded as cruel and often quarreled among themselves which seems a perfect place for a group of skilled assassins.
Where the Northern Rangers are essentially a roaming band of knights errant and the Ithilien rangers are part of a larger Gondorian military, the Harad rangers would not need to be a defensive force.

Some food for thought, possibly not the answer you were looking for but I hope it helps.
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Re: Black Númenóreans

Postby Udwin » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:10 pm

Greetings RangerofAngmar and welcome to the forum. I'd be curious to know what is behind your interest in the Black Numenoreans re: rangering? Are you planning to assemble a kit, write a story, run an RPG, &c.?

Couple quick notes to help situate Umbar and their culture:
(I know Middle-earth doesn't match up 1:1 with a world map (believe me I've tried), but I think we can get a rough analogous sense of things from his comments on Pauline Baynes' map.
Tolkien informs us that if "Hobbiton is assumed to be approx. at the latitude of Oxford", then "Minas Tirith is [about?] Has latitude of Ravenna [Italy]"... but is actually "more near Belgrade". (Interestingly this would put Mordor somewhere in the vicinity of Romania and Mt Doom roughly in the Transylvanian Alps.)
He then notes that the latitude of the "City of Umbar Corsairs about that of Cyprus."

I didn't realize it until this week, but Umbar is actually southwest of Minas Tirith. If you head west at the same latitude as Cyprus, the first land you'll come to southwest of Belgrade is Tunisia. Seen through the mythic-history lens, I think it's good evidence to view Umbar as mythically analogous to Carthage, opposed to Roman Gondor. (I'm wrapping up my ancient Rome unit at school so I've been drawing parallels like crazy lately).

I don't know how closely you want to lump the Umbarans in with the Southrons/Haradrim, but here's the fragments I've gleaned about that culture:

-Corsair ships have "Red sails [with] a black star or an eye"
-as noted earlier, they use scimitars, and are frequently mentioned riding horses...although we know Near Harad had both camels and elephants.

-"[The Southron] ... arrow-feathers sticking from his neck below a golden collar. His scarlet robes were tattered, his corslet of overlapping brazen plates was rent and hewn, his black plaits of hair braided with gold..."

-“'More Men going to Mordor,' ... `Dark faces. We have not seen Men like these before... They are fierce. They have black eyes, and long black hair, and gold rings in their ears; yes, lots of beautiful gold. And some have red paint on their cheeks, and red cloaks; and their flags are red, and the tips of their spears; and they have round shields, yellow and black with big spikes. Not nice; very cruel wicked Men they look. Almost as bad as Orcs, and much bigger. Smeagol thinks they have come out of the South beyond the Great River's end: they came up that road.” [Tolkien's map shows the Harad Road going off southeast, away from Umbar, so perhaps this is not very representative of that culture.
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Re: Black Númenóreans

Postby RangerofAngmar » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:14 am

Thanks for to input guys, it has given me a few things to think about.

time period i am thinking of of the time of Númenór or not long after is destruction.

my belief is that Rangers were not the "sneaky" rangers like we see in D&D, but were a military unit that carried on with Númenór traditions over time.
the only real ranger we get any idea of is Aragorn and at that point of time he is sneaking around so lends to that stereo type.

but i think they are a group made up with the decedents of Númenór. i am pretty sure it is stated that the rangers are decedents, and we do not hear of any other peoples or races within the Rangers ranks.

i also believe they would have been very well equipt and armoured due to being a military unit and not "sneaks"

and in saying that i would also draw the conclusion that the Black Númenóreans would be pretty much the same as the Rangers due to the same origins. the breeding with the other races of men over time would water this out as it would have done with the Númenóreans, but i do not believe that would have become this assassins creed type thing.

my assumptions based on very little available evidence is that the Black Númenóreans would have operated in much the same way as the rangers but in a more war like and for lack of better term "Evil" manner and their items would have been Númenórean in design with elements of Melkor and Saurons style with burn iron armour as they worshiped Melkor and seen him as the powerful god that he was.

As for the Name i have chosen.

yes there are no mentions of Black Númenóreans in Angmar as any point of time, but the Black Númenóreans were allied with the forces of Mordor and we can assume that due to the wars against the rangers from Angmar that Black Númenóreans would have operated from Angmar to fight against their relatives, as they would have known them better then anyone due to being the same peoples

i know that alot of it is guesses from little evidence but given that they are not mentioned much at all in the Silmarillion as their story wasnt relevant to the over all story of the Silmarils, guesses have to be made but also have to make sure it is all still in keeping with the themes and patterns of Tolkiens works
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Re: Black Númenóreans

Postby Eofor » Wed Apr 29, 2020 7:50 am

I fear you might be facing an uphill battle trying to draw parallels between the military structure of the Black Númenóreans and the Rangers of the North. I've put my reasoning below but if I understand it right it seems more like you want to create a well armed and armoured Black Númenórean soldier from just after the fall?
If that's the case then there is no need to try and link the two. Elleth gave some good advice for a starting point - "Culturally, I imagine the best way to go is start with Ar-Pharazon's vanity and self-idolotry and extraoplate from there"
I'd love to see a really well done Black Númenórean at the height of their craft.

As to my reasoning, LoTR Appendix A reads

The great cape and land-locked firth of Umbar had been Númenórean land since the days of old; but it was a stronghold of the kings men, who were afterwards called the Black Númenóreans, corrupted by Sauron, and who hated above all the followers of Elendil. After the fall of Sauron their race swiftly dwindled or became merged with the men of Middle-Earth, but they inherited without lessening their hatred of Gondor

It certainly seems to suggest that the decline of the Black Númenórean race happens quite quickly. Considering that it's 1976 years later that The Rangers of the North are formed after the fall of the Northern Kingdom it's highly unlikely that the two groups would have co-existed and any similarities would have been coincidental.

RangerofAngmar wrote:my belief is that Rangers were not the "sneaky" rangers like we see in D&D, but were a military unit that carried on with Númenór traditions over time.
the only real ranger we get any idea of is Aragorn and at that point of time he is sneaking around so lends to that stereo type.

There are other references throughout Tolkiens work which all lend themselves to the Ranger archetype exemplified in Aragorn and here are but a few

Few now remember them ... yet still some go wandering, sons of forgotten kings walking in loneliness, guarding from evil things folk that are heedless. - Tom Bombadil; The Fellowship of the Ring

Rangers - The Dúnedain of the North after the fall of the North Kingdom, secret guardians of Eriador - Index; Unfinished Tales

the Dúnedain of the North, a strange people wandering secretly in the wild, and other men knew not their homes nor the purpose of their journeys. - Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age; Silmarillion

When the kingdom ended the Dúnedain passed into the shadows and became a secret and wandering people, and their deeds and labours were seldom sung or recorded. - Appendix A; Lord of the Rings

There at least one other solid reason why it's unlikely that the Rangers function as a normal military unit, assuming that the rangers had some sort of home base (in the Angle is the most commonly thought location) and that is that there simply weren't enough of them.

If we look at the Lord of the rings Halbarad is only able to gather 30 Rangers to ride in haste to Aragorns aid (presumably those at home or close to at the time) and the loss of these 30 is enough to completely compromise the protection of the Shire and Bree.
Aragorns father Arathorn - 'Went riding against the Orcs with the sons of Elrond and was slain by an Orc arrow that pierced his eye". His father Arador in turn was "Taken by hill trolls" These simply aren't large scale engagements but small skirmishes.
The only other Ranger engagement i'm aware of is the battle of Sarn Ford described in Unfinished Tales - The Hunt for the Ring, and it reads as though most of the Rangers had gathered in one place to defend the Ford

Night was waning on the twenty-second day of September when drawing together again they came to Sarn Ford and the southernmost borders of the Shire. They found them guarded for the Rangers barred their way. But this was a task beyond the power of the Dúnedain; and maybe it would still have proved so even if their captain, Aragorn, had been with them. But he was away to the north, upon the East Road near Bree; and the hearts even of the Dúnedain misgave them. Some fled northward, hoping to bear news to Aragorn, but they were pursued and slain or driven away into the wild. Some still dared to bar the ford, and held it while day lasted, but at night the Lord of Morgul swept them away, and the Black Riders passed into the Shire; and ere the cocks crowed in the small hours of the twenty-third day of September some were riding north through the land, even as Gandalf upon Shadowfax was riding over Rohan far behind.

So while we do have limited evidence what we do have supports the image of the classic Rangers who come into being after the fall of their kingdom. Also we have a rather glaring 2000 or so year gap between them and the Black Númenóreans.

I'm not saying that it can't be done, we have no real references to Dwarf Rangers and yet it's something I'm pursuing but I'm doing so in the knowledge that it's all pretty conjectural and deliberately looking for ways to steer away from large discrepancies like the ones above.

I hope this helps RangerofAngmar.
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