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The Northmen, also known as the Free Men of the North, were Men that lived in the north of Rhovanion in Middle-earth, and were friendly to Gondor.


Men of lake town

Northmen in Lake-town

The Northmen who dwelt in the Greenwood and other parts of Rhovanion were friendly to the Dúnedain and were, after the Dúnedain, some of the most noble Men in Arda. They were known as Middle Men by the Dúnedain, and were believed to have been descended from the same group of Men as the Edain, the Atanatári. The only difference was that they didn't cross the Blue Mountains into Beleriand, and therefore did not journey to Númenor. The result of them not participating in the War against Morgoth was their considerably shorter lifespan; the lifespan of the Dúnedain being lengthened by the Valar after the War of Wrath. They were important allies of Gondor and served as a buffer against the Easterlings and other foes. For a time many of them even became subjects of Gondor, as the realm extended beyond the river Anduin.

East of Greenwood the Great was the kingdom of Rhovanion, and this became the most important nation of the Northmen. In the fourteenth century of the Third Age, King Rómendacil II of Gondor sent his son Valacar as an ambassador to Vidugavia, the so-called "King of Rhovanion". Valacar loved Rhovanion and the daughter of the King, Vidumavi. He married her and she bore him a son whom she called Vinitharya in her mother tongue. In Gondor, Vinitharya became known as King Eldacar and caused a civil war- the Kin-strife- because of his mixed Dúnedain/Northmen blood.

Shortly after the death of Vidugavia, a small group of Northmen moved to the vales of the Anduin between the Gladden Fields and the Mirkwood, probably to flee from the Wainriders, who had enslaved much of the people of Rhovanion. After the evil Kingdom of Angmar was defeated by Gondor and the remains of Arnor in TA 1977, these Northmen moved north and began to call themselves the Éothéod. They were skilled horse breeders and horsemen. In TA 2510 they responded to a plea of help from the trapped Gondor army at the Field of Celebrant. After they helped Gondor win this important victory, they were rewarded the province of Calenardhon and became known as the Rohirrim. The Men of Rohan who fought on foot were called 'Yeomen'.

The Men of Dale and Lake-town were also counted under the Northmen, as were the woodsmen of Mirkwood. Most of Rhovanion had been depopulated after the wars of the Easterlings and the Great Plague. Their range was extremely wide; the Men of the North ranged to the western eaves of Mirkwood to the southern slopes of the Grey Mountains and from the Long Lake to Dorwinion on the Sea of Rhun.

In the Hobbit, these men carved out a potentially precarious living in the eaves of Mirkwood, living as hunters, loggers, trappers, and fishermen on the Anduin and its tributaries. They also lived in constant fear of attack from Dol Guldur.


The larger, more established kingdoms of the North (such as Dale and Laketown) would have at least some semblance of a regular standing army. These would have mostly consisted of a force of dismounted men-at-arms, armed with a sword and a wooden shield. The Men of the North might have received some help from Gondor in metalworking, along with their Dwarven allies nearby. A militia or town guard would have also been used extensively, for the majority of the humans in the north were farmers and thus needed their full attention kept on the all-important harvest.

Further up the military hierarchy would be a force of axemen, for many of the woodcutters and loggers in Mirkwood would have learned to use the axe from adolescence.

A force of mounted knights and light cavalry would probably have been available for scouting and other duties, for the terrain from Dale to Dorwinion is mostly flat and featureless, except for a few trees, shrubs, and ponds scattered randomly.

By contrast, the rural, less established kingdom of Rohan trains almost every legitimate soldier it has to fight from horseback, while the infantry division is left to be composed of not soldiers but, as Gamling states in The Two Towers, "every villager able to wield a sword".


Being human means that the Northmen spoke the Common Speech. However, they also have native languages. For example, the Rohirrim spoke Rohirric, for which Tolkien appears to have been inspired by Old English, seeing names like "Éowyn" and "Thengel". Whereas the Bardings and Wood-men speak a similar language to the men of Rohan in terms of gross language group, as seen in Old Norse names (akin to Old English and Norse being in the same language group), i.e. the name "Brand" translating to "torch". The language was not similar to Dwarvish; rather the Dwarf names appearing in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are Dwarf names given in the language of the Men of Dale, not the native Dwarf language.  They never shared languages with the Elves or with their Western, Southern, and Eastern counterparts; other than Westron.

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Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Noordelike mense
Albanian Njerëzit e veriut
Amharic ሰሜን ሰዎች
Arabic أهل الشمال
Armenian Հյուսիսային մարդիկ
Azerbaijani Şimali insanlar
Basque Iparraldeko jendea
Belarusian Cyrillic Людзі Поўначы
Bengali উত্তরাঞ্চলের মানুষ
Bulgarian Cyrillic Северни хора
Cambodian ប្រជាជនខាងជើង។
Catalan Homes del Nord
Chinese 北方人
Croatian Sjeverni ljudi
Czech Severní lidé
Danish Nordlige mennesker
Dutch Noordelijke mensen
Esperanto Homoj de la Nordo
Estonian Põhjainimesed
Finnish Pohjalaiset
French Hommes du Nord
Frisian Noardlike minsken (Western)
Galician Homes do Norte
Georgian ჩრდილოელი ხალხი
German Nordmenschen
Greek Άνθρωποι του βορρά
Gujarati ઉત્તરીય લોકો
Hausa Mutanen Arewa
Hebrew אנשי הצפון
Hindi उत्तर के लोग
Hmong Cov neeg qaum teb
Hungarian Északi emberek
Icelandic Norðmenn
Indonesian Orang utara
Irish Gaelic Daoine ó thuaidh
Italian Uomini del Nord
Japanese 北部の人々
Kannada ಉತ್ತರ ಜನರು
Kazakh Солтүстік халықтар (Cyrillic) Soltüstik xalıqtar (Latin)
Korean 북부 사람들
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Эли Түндүк
Laotian ປະຊາຊົນພາກ ເໜືອ
Latvian Ziemeļnieku cilvēki
Lithuanian Šiaurinis žmonių
Luxembourgish Nërdlechen Leit
Macedonian Cyrillic Луѓе од Северот
Malagasy Olona avaratra
Malaysian Orang utara
Marathi उत्तर लोक
Mongolian Cyrillic Хойд хүмүүс
Nepalese उत्तरी मानिसहरु
Norwegian Nordlige mennesker
Pashto شمالي خلک
Persian مردم شمالی
Polish Północny ludzie
Portuguese Homens do Norte
Punjabi ਉੱਤਰੀ ਲੋਕ
Romanian Oamenii din Nord
Russian Северяне
Scottish Gaelic Muinntir a tuath
Serbian Северни људи (Cyrillic) Severni ljudi (Latin)
Sinhalese උතුරු ජනතාව
Slovak Severné ľudia
Slovenian Severni ljudje
Spanish Hombres del Norte
Swedish Norra människor
Tajik Cyrillic Мардуми шимолӣ
Tamil வடக்கு மக்கள்
Telugu ఉత్తర ప్రజలు
Thai คนเหนือ
Turkish Kuzey insanlar
Ukrainian Cyrillic Північні люди
Urdu شمالی لوگ
Uzbek Чимолий одамлар (Cyrillic) Shimoliy odamlar (Latin)
Vietnamese Người miền bắc
Welsh Gogledd pobl
Yiddish צאָפנדיק מענטשן
The People of Middle-earth

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