Friday, July 13, 2012

Culture



The inhabitants of Númenor, usually called the Númenóreans or Men of the West, were descended from the Edain, a group of Men that dwelt in the north-west of Middle-earth and became the most advanced mortal culture. After their settlement in the isle, their knowledge and skills were further developed through the teaching of the Valar and of the Elves of Tol Eressëa.


The majority of the Númenóreans, descended from the original Folk of Hador, were fair-haired and blue-eyed. The settlers of the western regions, especially of the Andustar, came mostly from the Folk of Bëor, resulting in their darker hair and grey eyes. It is also recorded that a few remnants of the Folk of Haleth had journeyed to Númenor, and that they were accompanied by several families of the Drúedain. The latter, though at first increased in number, departed back to Middle-earth over time.


As a result, the common language of the Númenóreans — Adûnaic — was mainly derived from the speech of the Hadorians. According to some of Tolkien's writings, the descendants of the people of Bëor spoke an accented form of Adûnaic, while in others it is stated that they had dropped their own tongue before coming to the island and used the Grey-elven Sindarin as daily speech in Númenor. All texts, however, agree that Sindarin was known to the majority of the Númenóreans, and was widely used in noble families; the latter also knew the High-elven Quenya, employing it in "official documents", works of lore and nomenclature. The situation changed when the friendship with the Elves was broken. The usage of both Sindarin and Quenya gradually lessened, until at last King Ar-Adûnakhôr forbade to teach them, and the knowledge of the Elven-tongues was only preserved by the Faithful.



The Númenóreans were extremely skilled in many arts, but in later centuries their chief industries were shipbuilding and sea-craft. They became great mariners, exploring the world in all directions save for the west, where the Ban of the Valar was in force. They often travelled to the shores of Middle-earth, teaching the men there the arts and crafts, and they introduced farming to improve their everyday lives.



The Númenóreans, too, became skilled in husbandry, breeding great horses that roamed the open plains of Mittalmar.

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