|"Can you see anything?" "Nothing. There's nothing." |
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The Dúnedain (singular: Dúnadan) were Men descended from the Númenóreans who survived the fall of their island kingdom, Númenor, and migrated to Eriador in Middle-earth, led at first by Elendil and his sons. They were known as the "Men of the West" and the "Men of Westernesse" (direct translations of the Sindarin term). They settled mainly in Arnor and Gondor.
The term Dúnedain designated the "Men of the West", the Númenóreans, although the term came out of use amongst the King's Men and came to denote especially the descendants of the Elendili, the Númenórean Colonists in Arnor and Gondor or Dúnedain of the North and Dúnedain of the South. The Noble Families of high-blood continued to consider themselves Dúnedain, while denominating the mixed-blooded common people as "lesser Dúnedain".
After the fall of Arthedain during the war with Angmar in TA 1974, some of the Northern Dúnedain became the Rangers of the North in Evendim. The surviving Dúnedain population of Arnor retreated to the Angle south of Rivendell. In the meantime the Southern Dúnedain intermarried more and more with so-called Middle Men, except in some regions (such as Dol Amroth).
During and even before the War of the Ring, Dúnedain Rangers went through a variety of different duties. Some were stationed around the Shire, protecting it from the forces of darkness. Others simply patrolled the northern lands, hunting and defeating any enemies they found. In general, Dúnedain Rangers mainly took care of themselves and of lands of the Free Peoples, though if they were called upon to battle (by Gondor or some other land in need) they were quite willing to do so.
Direct descendants of the Dúnedain are known to have lived longer than normal Men. A good example is Aragorn who, in the movies, tells Éowyn he is 87 years old, although he appears to be relatively young. It is said that Dúnedain live three times longer than normal men. That would translate that the Dúnedain's average lifespan is up 140 to 250 years, given normal human lifespan.
Weapons and Tactics
Rangers were an elite force and used a variety of weapons to achieve victory in battles. Non-canonical information hints that they preferred bows and archery as their primary weapons, though this is not always the case (Aragorn, for example, used a sword). They also used swords to engage in close combat if necessary. The Dúnedain mainly rely on stealth as an advantage rather than an actual face-to-face confrontation. It is also hinted that their battle skill was greater than that of the average Gondor soldier or archer.
The Westron name for Dúnadan was simply Adûn, "westerner", but this name was seldom used. This name was reserved to those Númenóreans who were friendly to the Elves:
Tergil (Sgl."Targil" Q."Tarkil") or Torfiriath were the descendants of Dúnedain who had intermarried with other peoples (usually middle-men). They were also known as Lesser Dúnedain. Most Men of Gondor and of Eriador were of this race.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Irish Gaelic||Fear Thiar (West Man)|
|Kazakh||Дұнедаін (Cyrillic) Dunedain (Latin)|
|Scots Gaelic||Siar Duine|
|Serbian||Дунедаин (Cyrillic) Dunedain (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Дунедаин (Cyrillic) Dunedain (Latin)|
The People of Middle-earth