Difference between revisions of "Kingdom of Gondor of the Reunited Kingdom (Arnor-Gondor)"

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Southern Gondor is the very heart of the Reunited Kingdom. Here lie the fertile fields which feed the armies of the Steward. Shipyards and smithies furnish the military with the tools it needs to defend the realm against its enemies.  
 
Southern Gondor is the very heart of the Reunited Kingdom. Here lie the fertile fields which feed the armies of the Steward. Shipyards and smithies furnish the military with the tools it needs to defend the realm against its enemies.  
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== Society ==
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The Gondorian society is based upon a balance between a thriving agricolture and a significant, yet secondary, web of town and cities.
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=== An ancient urbanised society ===
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The most urbanised area of the West is undoubtedly the central nucleus of Gondor, between the Lefnui River in the West, the Great Anduin River in the East and the White Mountains in the North. The fertile coastal plains, in Anfalas, Lamedon, Lebennin and Lossarnach, are dotted with cities and towns that function as agricultural commercial centres, while the coasts, including those in Belfalas and Dor-en-Ernil, have numerous sea ports and river. In particular, the large and ancient city of Pelargir is the main commercial center of Gondor, being also the southern terminus of the Great North-South Road.<br>
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In Harondor, the cities are essentially coastal, although there is no shortage of agricultural centers along the main rivers. Lastly, Umbar dominates trade in the far south, representing an exchange center between trade routes from Harad (and even beyond) and those bound for Pelargir.<br>
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The Gondorian cities are almost all ancient. Many of the coastal cities, and some in the interior (especially along the course of major rivers), date back to the Second Age, such as Dol Amroth, Edhellond, Minas Anor, Osgiliath, Pelargir, sometimes based on even earlier Elven settlements.<br>
 +
Other important cities all date back to the first half of the Third Age, and in particular to the period between the tenth and fifteenth centuries of the Third Age. After the civil war of T.A. 1432-1448, and especially after the Great Plague of T.A. 1636, urban growth stopped and in many cases the cities decreased their population, or were even abandoned in favour of the countryside, which was healthier and less exposed to war and ruin.<br>
 +
The decline of the population of Gondor effectively prevented other cities from being built until the end of the Third Age; in the occasional growth periods, established settlements experienced a modest increase. In the first decades of the Fourth Age, a clear demographic recovery allowed to repopulate the countryside and the greater security of trade revived the fortunes of urban centers. In Fo.A. 91, the first city was founded for several centuries South of the Ered Nimrais: Minas Leinas, the current capital of Ithilien.
  
 
== Council of Gondor ==
 
== Council of Gondor ==

Latest revision as of 04:40, 16 January 2020

Gondor
Arnad i Gondor
Southern Kingdom
—  Constituent Kingdom  —
Kingdom of Gondor

Flag

Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Stoneyland
Map of Gondor
Country Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor
Founded S.A. 3320
Return of the King T.A. 3019
Reunited Kingdom T.A. 3020
Capital Minas Anor
Provinces Andrast, Anfalas, Anórien, Belfalas, Drúwaith Iaur, Harondor, Ithilien, Lamedon and Ringló Vale, Lebennin, Lossarnach, Tolfalas, Umbar.
Government
 • Type Absolute Monarchy
 • King of Gondor Arathorn II Tar Eldarien Telcontar
Area
 • Total 2,155,530 km2 (832,254 sq mi)
Population (Fo.A. 273)
 • Total 4,500,000
 • Density 2.1/km2 (5.4/sq mi)
Demonym Gondorian

The Kingdom of Gondor is the Southern Kingdom of the Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor. In the first three centuries of the Fourth Age, Gondor has been the actual seat of the High King and the most developed part of the vast realm of the Men of the West.

Geography

Within the Reunited Kingdom, Gondor lies south the line of Adorn-Angren (Isen) river in the north, which separates it from both Enedwaith (part of the Kingdom of the West but not of Gondor) and the allied land of Rohan; south a relatively segment of the Ered Nimrais range, which separate Gondor from the Eastfold; east the Mearing Stream and the Falls of Rauros, which separate Gondor and Eastfold and East Emnet respectively; south the Dead Marshes, which mark the border between the Western Middle-earth and the Rhovanion (part of which under the control of the High Kings); west the Ephel Duath, which separate Ithilien from Plateau of Gorgoroth (the ancient Mordor) and Nurn; north the Harnen (except for some coastal possessions), which divides Harondor from Near Harad.

Southern Gondor is the very heart of the Reunited Kingdom. Here lie the fertile fields which feed the armies of the Steward. Shipyards and smithies furnish the military with the tools it needs to defend the realm against its enemies.

Society

The Gondorian society is based upon a balance between a thriving agricolture and a significant, yet secondary, web of town and cities.

An ancient urbanised society

The most urbanised area of the West is undoubtedly the central nucleus of Gondor, between the Lefnui River in the West, the Great Anduin River in the East and the White Mountains in the North. The fertile coastal plains, in Anfalas, Lamedon, Lebennin and Lossarnach, are dotted with cities and towns that function as agricultural commercial centres, while the coasts, including those in Belfalas and Dor-en-Ernil, have numerous sea ports and river. In particular, the large and ancient city of Pelargir is the main commercial center of Gondor, being also the southern terminus of the Great North-South Road.
In Harondor, the cities are essentially coastal, although there is no shortage of agricultural centers along the main rivers. Lastly, Umbar dominates trade in the far south, representing an exchange center between trade routes from Harad (and even beyond) and those bound for Pelargir.
The Gondorian cities are almost all ancient. Many of the coastal cities, and some in the interior (especially along the course of major rivers), date back to the Second Age, such as Dol Amroth, Edhellond, Minas Anor, Osgiliath, Pelargir, sometimes based on even earlier Elven settlements.
Other important cities all date back to the first half of the Third Age, and in particular to the period between the tenth and fifteenth centuries of the Third Age. After the civil war of T.A. 1432-1448, and especially after the Great Plague of T.A. 1636, urban growth stopped and in many cases the cities decreased their population, or were even abandoned in favour of the countryside, which was healthier and less exposed to war and ruin.
The decline of the population of Gondor effectively prevented other cities from being built until the end of the Third Age; in the occasional growth periods, established settlements experienced a modest increase. In the first decades of the Fourth Age, a clear demographic recovery allowed to repopulate the countryside and the greater security of trade revived the fortunes of urban centers. In Fo.A. 91, the first city was founded for several centuries South of the Ered Nimrais: Minas Leinas, the current capital of Ithilien.

Council of Gondor

The Council of Gondor is the select royal advice and support body. The King of Gondor (as conceptually separated by the High King) is aided by the Council of Gondor, which meets in a separate capacity from the Council of the Sceptre. Some Gondorian lords who do seat in the Council of Gondor, do not seat into the Council of the Sceptre and vice versa.

The High King is monarch, with the power of unquestioned decision in debate; but he governs the realm with the frame of ancient law, of which he is chief administrator and sole interpreter, but is the its maker in the sense that he finds in the universal justice the dictates of the law. In all debatable matters of importance domestic, or external, however, the High King has the moral duty to listen to Lords and the Captains of the Forces have to say.

The Council of Gondor is composed of princes and lords of each of the Gondor's thirteen provinces, of the High King's heir, and of the Steward and the Great Officers of the Realm as well. The Councillors in their capacity have no power save that of advice and counsel.

The Council of Gondor is the Gondorian consultative body, embodiment of the Southern Kingdom itself. It consists of 300 great lords. The Council convenes under certain religious restrictions. Its sessions could only proceed after an invocation prayer to Eru Ilúvatar and Valar. The Council could also only meet between sunrise and sunset, and it could only meet in a consecrated place, originally the Dome of the Stars (Rond Giliath) in Osgiliath, nowadays the Dome of the Sun on the Sixth Circle of Minas Anor. The Council gathers at Erukyermë, Erulaitalë and Eruhantalë each year, and whenever the High King summons the Council using a royal writ. The Council of Gondor's most significant task is to function as the King's council, and while the King could ignore any advice it offers, Council's prestige makes the advice that it offers difficult to outright ignore. Only the King makes new laws, although he often involves Councillors in the process.

Functions

The Council's most significant task is in its capacity as the king's council, and while the king could ignore any advice offered to him by the Council, the council's prestige helps make the advice that it offers difficult to outright ignore. Only the king could decree new laws, although he often involves both the Council and his personal cabinet in the process.

Membership

The Council of Gondor consists of three categories of Men. The first group is represented by members by virtue of their birth: the King's Heir, all Hîratarin of Gondor, all members of the Herenya of Gondor, and certain houses of the Bŷrin, i.e. of vassals sworn directly to the King of Gondor. The second group consists of members who represent a given territory; this group therefore includes magistrates of important cities and all heads of the provinces. The third group includes all those are involved in the central administration of Gondor as Great Officers of the Realm, as well as King's trusted men outside their specific duties.

Hereditary members

In core of the Council of Gondor is revered aristocracy of Herenya: all heads of the households of the Herenya of Gondor and certain houses of the Bŷrin, i.e. of vassals sworn directly to the King of Gondor, have the right to sit in the Council of Gondor. Extinct families may be replaced by aspiring new ones and favourites of the Kings.

Great Officers of the Realm

In the Kingdom, the Great Officers of the Realm are the Crown ministers, who are appointed to exercise certain functions as part of the government. Such positions are not transmissible nor hereditary. The Reunited Kingdom inherits its Officers from both Gondor and Arnor. While some of them are hereditary, most offices are appointed. Some offices are put into "commission"; that is, multiple commissioners are appointed to collectively exercise the office.

Great Officers of the Realm are shared by Arnor and Gondor, and therefore they sit in all the three Councils. As of Fo.A. 273, they are:

  • The Steward of the Realm; currently Arodion of the House of Húrin (since Fo.A. 240).
  • The Captain General of the Royal Hosts; currently Berthir Edraithion Panastion.
  • The Shipmaster (Ciryatur): commander of the royal navy; currently Berthîr Ceiriath Taurimion Berennaithion.
  • The Spymaster (Ethirtur): the spymaster and the head of intelligence; currently Hîr Narvinyo of the House of Sairweg.
  • The Master of Coin (Miriantur): head of the treasury and finances of the kingdom; currently Hîr Daglarion.
    • Master of Rents and Taxes; currently Hîr Goriadon.
    • Master of the Office of Bursary; currently Hîr Gondion.
  • The Master of Laws: overseer of the law and justice for the kingdom; currently Hîr Fairod.
    • Curate of Númenórean Law; currently Arthîr Meneldil Falmathil.
    • Curate of Common Law; currently Eorl Alfwine.
    • Office of Decrees; currently Hîr Arodion
  • The Loremaster (Golodh): the head adviser on matters of lore and wisdom; currently Hîr Denethor.

Steward of the Realm

The Stewards of the Realm are at first the chief of the high councilors to the High Kings. Steward is therefore the traditional title of the chief counsellor to the High Kings. Stewards are of pure high Númenórean blood. Soon after the death of Denethor II, Aragorn II Tar Elessar Telcontar was crowned High King. The Steward Faramir, son of Denethor II, surrendered to the High King his rod of office, but it was returned to him. King Elessar confirmed in Faramir and his descendants the office of Steward of Gondor, which soon became Steward of the Realm, and granted him in addition the Princedom of Ithilien, ensuring his line a position as counsellor of the King.

Provinces

The Kingdom of Gondor comprises the thirteen most southern lands and provinces (Sûza): Andrast, Anfalas, Anórien, Belfalas, Drúwaith Iaur, Harondor, Ithilien, Lamedon and Ringló Vale, Lebennin, Lossarnach, Tolfalas, Umbar. Each of these lands enjoys of a different form of government, according to its own customs and traditions.

Gondorian provinces are classified as either internal or royal, meaning that their heads are either appointed within the local aristocracy or drawn from King's trusted advisors and companions, also a nobleman. The core function of a provincial head, whatever form the position may take, is to be the representative of the High King and of its government, to act as the highest magistrate of judge, and manage the taxation and public spending in his area. The head of a province has usually a large staff of other officials: procurators, judicial advisers and reeves.

In a general way, Royal Provinces (Arnendor) are unstable, newly conquered or particular territories: Andrast, Drúwaith Iaur, Harondor, and Umbar all have a King-appointed Lord Lieutenant (although duties and responsibilities vary according each province).
The remaining provinces are called "internal provinces" (Mityandor). These provinces are governed by High Councils, made up of all significant lords and representatives of major autonomous cities and towns. At the head of the High Councils are generally high-ranking nobles, but the High King may appoint a commoner as personal legate. Usually, the provincial heads are the principal landowners in their own Province, the head of the leading families; but they are appointed to their positions at the gift of the High King (and in late Third Age of the Ruling Steward), who could in principle revoke his gift. The only exception is the High Council of Belfalas, which is presided over by the Prince of Dol Amroth due to an hereditary privilege granted in ancient times.

To this division there are two exceptions: Ithilien is under the firm rule of the Prince of Ithilien of the House of Húrin, and Anórien is under the direct rule of the King.

As personal representative of the King, the provincial head is in charge of the mustering of troops in his own province.

Districts

The thirteen Gondorian provinces are further subdivided into numerous Districts (Sindarin: Drann, pl. Drannin), which in turn include fiefdoms, cities and towns, each enjoying its own degree of autonomy, according its history and granted privileges.

Each District is governed by a magistrate (Condir i Drann) appointed by the King for ten years. Such magistrates have the duty to oversee subordinate fiefdoms and cities, as well as to deliver the King's High Justice, manage the collection of taxes and revenues, and ensure the establishment of the local military forces. As a rule, an urban settlement is included with its surrounding into a larger Drann. In some special cases, however, a particularly important city may constitute a district of its own.

Responsibilities of Districts consist in the building and upkeep of "district roads", other building plans which cover more than one local authority's area, caring for King's reserves, demesnes and direct royal possessions, building and upkeep of palaces of lore and of healing.

Fiefdoms and cities

Gondor is home to a deeply-rooted nobility and to long-standing cities and towns. Both fiefdoms and lordships, on one hand, and cities and towns, on the other hand, have the right to administer on their own the small justice, i.e. all laws not pertaining the King's High Justice.

A lord or an autonomous city (i.e. its government) has delegated authority over all inhabitants resident on its territory, subjects and estates. This power of rule is basically all-encompassing, but it is limited by the royal laws and edicts, by customary rights, by contracts with non-resident persons or agreements with other lords and autonomous cities, but also by equity, justice and by divine law. It is possible that subjects or estates bring before the High King a complaint against their lord.

While fiefdoms, such as the Princedom of Dol Amroth or the Lordship of Emyn Arnen, are ruled by King's vassals according hereditary rules, autonomous cities and towns are governed through several institutional forms, ranging from an urban aristocracy to a direct democracy. However, the most common forms of government are oligarchic in nature.

Those cities and towns which are not autonomous or which are not granted their own charter of rights and privileges are governed and administered by an Ostherdir (Sindarin for Town-Prefect), who is appointed directly by the High King (for Umbar, Harondor and Andrast, as well as for Anorien) or by the head of the relevant province. Tenure of an Ostherdir lasts five years, if not extended by his appointer.

Royal City

In the Reunited Kingdom, a Royal City (Arnen Caras) is a city which has a special government due its own great importance. A Royal City is not part of any province and, and as such, is subordinate only to the High King, as opposed to a territorial city or town, which is subordinate to a Province, to a District or even to a territorial lord (in this case is not technically a city but a town).

Within the borders of the Kingdom of Gondor, there are two Royal Cities: Osgiliath, which is the southern capital of the Reunited Kingdom, and Pelargir, which was the most prominent haven and the very first base of the Faithful in the southern course of the Anduin.

Andrast

Andrast is a province in western Gondor. Although part of the Kingdom of Gondor, it is not inhabited by Dúnedain, but only by lesser Men.

Andrast is a long cape in the south-west of Gondor, separated from Anfalas by the river Lefnui. At the end there is a great headland called Ras Morthil. Andrast is a rugged region characterized by bare peaks and steep valleys. The White Mountains end at Andrast, and as such they form an effective barrier to invaders from the north for Gondor because there are no passes over the western bend of the White Mountains, so all offensives would have to venture around the Ras Morthil. On the other hand, this and the dangerous currents around the cape slow the exploitation of the region in order to ensure mass effective links between Gondor and the coast north the Isen. Along the coast, there is however a regular maritime traffic, which is to be protected by the Royal Navy due the fact that corsairs an pirates exploit the cape's remoteness to carry out raids.

Population

Andrast is not inhabited by Dúnedain, but only by lesser Men who do not intermingle with foreigners, of the same origin of the coastal people of Enedwaith and southern Minhiriath. The only Gondorian presence is in the fleet ports and havens and in fortresses. Local peoples have not been influenced by the Gondorian culture, but they do accept Gondorian suzerainty, its protection and minimal oversight that Gondor has always carried out over Andrast.

While there are several tribes and clans in Andrast, six ethnic groups are prominent and a common cultural milieu exists between them. The cultural traits common to the six peoples consist in their being mainly devoted to agriculture, fishing and herding, immersed in a communion with nature that is not found in other coastal areas further north.

The most populous people is known in their language (related to the coastal languages of Enedwaith) as Cumhachdaines, which roughly translates in Gondorian Sindarin as Belaithrim. However, they are known to Gondorians as Forlefnuirim. This people is settled in the high course of the Lefnui and its right-bank tributaries, reaching the slopes of the southern spur of the White Mountains. The relatively large and semi-nomadic population is known for herding and fishing, mostly trading with nearby Anfalas regions. Despite remaining highly independent, they occasionally provide militia troops (mostly light infantry units) to Western armies when formally requested.
Immediately south to Cumhachdaines, there are the Rhunlondrim, who live long the low course of the Lefnui and around the southern end of the southern spur of the White Mountains. They are the people which is most influenced by the Gondorian culture, and come so far to identify themselves with a Gondorian Sindarin word. While being essentially an agricultural culture and economy, they are famous for fishing and for having a ship-building tradition of some relevance. In Fo.A. 87, they willingly ceded the area of today-Rhûnlond-imi-Andrast to the Reunited Kingdom, in order to allow the establishment of the fortress and of its garrison.
Between the Rhunlondrim and the fortress of Lond Normin there is a tribal confederation known to Gondorians as Blue Stripes due to the ritual paintings that their warriors wear before the battle. The Blue Stripes are a collection of tribes residing mostly in the interior, both in the plains and on the hills of the central region of the large ark which makes up the cape of Andrast. Culturally speaking, they are a fierce people which united itself in order to repel Corsairs' raids even without the intervention of the forces of the Reunited Kingdom. Blue Stripes are known to be proven riders and relatively famed horse-breeders, occasionally exporting their horses to Anfalas or to regions further north.

The three most Western peoples, in spite of maintaining cultural ties with peoples further east, are considered by scholars to be part of a different and closer to the Drúedain/Drúath. Generally speaking, they are more reclusive peoples, less influenced by the Westerner way of life, and more in contact with nature.
Information about them is scarce. The Yellow People reside in the western curve of the great bay, and it is what is considered the most civilized. Beyond the Westerner port, in the lands of the Yellow People there are only small and scattered villages. The other two peoples, much smaller and in fact considered sometimes only tribes by scholars, are almost unknown and many consider them as just more settled and civilized Drúedain/Drúath.

Government

Andrast was made a full-fledged province in Fo.A. 29. Until then, the post of Lord Lieutenant of the Steward (and, between T.A. 3021 and Fo.A. 28, of the King) was little more than a court sinecure. Nowadays, the local governor is styled as Lord Lieutenant. He essentially is in charge of governing the civilian communities around the seven Gondorian military posts, as well as to carry out the oversight over local tribes in order to avoid their rebellion or sympathy for Corsairs. Andrast is subdivided into six Drannin. As of Fo.A. 275, the incumbent Lord Lieutenant is Hîr Garafanion of the house of Haretapuc. There are seven Gondorian military fortresses, as well as several towns and villages inhabited exclusively by local people. These fortresses are also havens for the Royal Navy, and are (west to east): Annuilond, Arnothrad, Harlond-imi-Andrast, Lond Malen, Lond Normin, Calond, and Rhûnlond-imi-Andrast.

Belfalas

Belfalas, also called Dor-en-Ernil (i.e. Land of the Prince), is a Province of southern Gondor, encompassing the coast from the mouth of the Gilrain to the Ringló 1Vale. South of the Belfalas lays a great Bay, which is named after it: the Bay of Belfalas.

Geography

Belfalas itself is a large mountainous peninsula departing from the main mountain range of Ered Nimrais. The west coast of Belfalas includes the Dol Amroth peninsula on the north and a series of coastal islands near the end of the west coast. On the east coast, there is another peninsula, the Cape of Toldil, with a coastal Island, Toldil proper. Mountains occupy the central part of the peninsula, while the northern and southern areas are plains. However, while within the physical region of Belfalas, the Ringló Vale is outside the Province. On the other hand, plains along the right bank of the Gilrain are included within Belfalas' borders with the exclusion of the city of Linhir.

The main city of Belfalas is the Prince's residence of Dol Amroth. Other important cities are mainly on the coast: the rebuilt Elven port of Edhellond, Endil, Methrast (the most southern city of Belfalas), Eregost and Toldil (in the Cape of Toldil, jut before the Island of Toldil). Galibur is a city on the southern slopes of the Belfalas' mountainous spine, the Ered Tarthonion, and Tarnost lies on the southern slopes of the Ringló Vale.

The climate hovers near the moderate and the extreme with mild winters and hot, dry summers and the terrain consists of scattered woodlands.

History

Although Pelargir and Lebennin have always been the heart of southern Gondor, the neighbouring lands of Belfalas and Dor-en-Ernil has been the only dwelling of the Dúnedain-in-Exile where the legacy of the Faithful never grew dim throughout all the long tribulations of the Third Age.

In the Elder Days, Belfalas was home to an old Elf-haven called Edhellond which was first founded by Elven remnants of Doriath who did not wish to remain in Lindon due to their dislike of the Noldor still held by these Teleri Elves.

This region was settled by an independent group of Faithful Númenoreans in the late Second Age, some centuries before the Downfall of Númenor and the establishment of Gondor by the sons of Elendil. This family of Númenóreans were akin to the Lords of Andúnië, and thus related to Elendil. Over time the realm evolved in the Princedom of Belfalas (ruled from Dol Amroth) and in the early centuries of the Third Age was a strict and faithful ally of the Kingdom of Gondor, to whom it recognized the overlordship over the southern lands inhabited by the Faithful. In T.A. 121, the Treaty of Dol Amroth sanctioned the incorporation of the Princedom in Belfalas in Gondor.

After the ending of the Kings in T.A. 2050, Princes of Belfalas became virtually independent lords, ruling over Belfalas, but they were at all times loyal to the Steward as representing the ancient crown. The line of Princes of Belfalas ended in T.A.2076, having lasted for more than two millennia, when Galador, son of Prince Imrazôr, became the first Prince of Dol Amroth, choosing as his seat the promontory of Dol Amroth, until T.A. 1981 home of an Elven stronghold.

The Prince of Dol Amroth ruled over the Princedom of Dol Amroth as sworn captain of the realm and over the Belfalas as Feudal Governor until T.A. 2593, when Ruling Steward Hallas reorganised the provincial administration, managing to establish the High Council of Belfalas; however the feudal bonds remained. Nonetheless, the Prince of Dol Amroth has presided over the High Council ever since.

High King Aragorn Elessar made no effort to dismantle the existing system of southern Gondor based on nobility; rather, the new king confirmed the power of the nobility that had survived the War of the Ring and Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth was summoned to the re-established Council of the Sceptre.

Population

Differently from other region, in Belfalas the Númenorean element has historically been predominant; peoples of the mountains and Dúnedain remained relatively separate and unmixed.

Pre-Downfall Númenoreans and early Dúnedain remained concentrated on the coast, not enacting a cultural influence process and therefore the creation of a single culture and induced Hill Men to retreat to highlands in the interior. Therefore, things evolve differently from other regions. While in Lebennin or in other southern regions already in early centuries the peasantry was a mixed people, in Belfalas even the lower classes have always consisted of Dúnedain. This strict ethnic division among the peoples of the peninsula was also encouraged and subtly enforced by the hereditary administration.

The Hill Men of Belfalas are closely related to the Oathbreakers, but the five Belfalas tribes and clans (Ochilbeni, Roșinți, Armînse, Cuțicrate, Ingoteli) did not follow their people in the betraying of Isildur and remained as a largely peaceful folk in their ancestral territories through to the end of the Third Age, and remained relatively untouched by that of the surrounding Dúnedain.

Government

Dor-en-Ernil is the oldest feudal domain in Dúnedain history and the only one currently in existence. Although it is part of the Kingdom of Gondor, aside from matters of national importance, it is largely autonomous. Edhelion, lord of Belfalas at the time of arrival of Anarion and Isildur, was instrumental in the acceptance of the Heirs of Elendil's rule. Isildur and Anarion's grant of Belfalas to Edhelion was more akin to a mere acknowledgment of a de facto situation and of a close ally, than a benefit freely given to a subordinate.
Only in T.A. 121 Tar-Meneldil and Prince Edhelion signed the Treaty of Dol Amroth, shifting the status of Belfalas from an autonomous polity to a fiefdom granted to Edhelion and his descendants. The reciprocal quality of this agreement subsequently became the essence of power in Belfalas under the prince. The mutual obligations of the King of Gondor and of the Prince were replicated at the lower levels with enfeoffed retainers and knights. In order to prevent the breakup of family estates, an essential component of the feudal oath is that an enfeoffed knight names only a single inheritor to his estate, and that remaining sons should be sworn into the prince's service household knights. This policy also provided the prince with a self-replenishing military force.
The T.A. 2593 shift interested only the stately feature of the Prince of Dol Amroth's rule: from a merely advisory organ, the council of nobles and of the few King's magistrates of Belfalas became an organ which was required to approve most important acts of the lords ruling from Dol Amroth but very little changed in practice.

The Province of Belfalas is governed by the Prince of Dol Amroth in his capacity as Lord President of the High Council of Belfals. As provincial head, Prince' functions are to be the representative of the High King and of its government, to act as the highest magistrate of judge, and to manage the royal taxation and spending in Belfalas. As feudal overlord and liege lord of the whole region, the Prince of Dol Amroth is a vassal of the High King, as well as the one from which vassal lords and sworn knights of Belfalas hold lands, estates or manors and keeps.

The High Council of Belfalas consists of the Prince's feudal tenants-in-chief (including magistrates of enfeoffed cities), of the magistrates of the cities not enfeoffed to the Prince of Dol Amroth and outside any Drann (Edhellond, Toldil and Eregost) and of the warders of the Royal Domains within Belfalas. The High Council has the function to formulate formal suggestions and to formally approve major acts of the provincial head. Being formed for the major part by vassals of Prince of Dol Amroth, the High Council rarely stands against wishes and deeds of the feudal overlord of the province.

Belfalas as a Province is subdivided into seven Drannin. Heading each Drann there is a Condir appointed by the High King choosing among three candidates proposed by the Prince of Dol Amorth with the consent of the High Council. The only exception is the Drann of Dol Amorth, whose Condir is the Prince himself.

Dol Amroth

Dol Amroth (Sindarin for “Hill of Amroth”) is a city on the coast of Belfalas in Gondor. It is named after Amroth, an Elf who drowned in the nearby waters. The city is the home of the line of the Princes who rule the domain of Dol Amroth and the province of Belfalas under the authority of the High King of the Reunited Kingdom.

Dol-Amorth is the largest city in western Gondor and is situated on a hill along the edge of the Bay of Belfalas just south of the mouth of River Morthond. Dol Amroth is a mountainous promontory on the western coast of Belfalas named after the Sinda lord Amroth son of Amdír, who founded Tirith Aear upon its cliffs during the mid-Second Age. Later, the name was extended to refer to the whole Númenórean settlement of the promontory. The city guards one of Gondor's safest harbours, holding the largest fleet command in the Bay of Belfalas outside of Pelargir. Due to their craftsmanship, ships built in Dol Amroth have been more than a match for any enemy vessel. Dol Amroth functions as a main trade hub, the largest in Gondor west of Pelargir. Muslin, cotton. and canvas fabric are common exports out of Dol Amroth to distant location, even up to Rhovanion and the Longlake.

The promontory extends westwards, with thee highest point roughly at the centre of the small peninsula. The north coast is slightly inclined, creating a closer bay than the south coast. The resulting bay is called "Bay of the Prince" and hosts the three harbours: Old Port, Middle Port and New Port. Old Port is the most external one, and is the haven of the ships of the Royal Navy, while Middle Port and New Port are dedicated to shipbuilding and commercial activities according the needs.

The west coast faces the bay of Belfalas, and is roughly divided in half by a small cape, which in turn is the site of the sea-ward tower (Tirith Aear) built by Amroth in Second Age. The tower has been used since the departure of Amroth as lighthouse and watch tower. The city of Dol Amroth extends on the north coast (White Town, Middle Port and New Port), while some fishermen villages still exist on the south coast. In the interior, the Prince's citadel occupies the highest plains and the Old Town and Gates Town lie on the slopes towards the mainland.

The city is directly ruled by the Prince of Dol Amroth. Usually, the Prince's heir is in charge of running daily businesses in order to train in government difficulties. The city is divided into seven districts, each of them headed by a Captain (Sindarin: Hest, pl. Hist) appointed at the Prince's pleasure. Districts are:

  • White Town (Nimost), which holds the Naval Harbour and serves the military; the
  • Middle Port (Ened Lorn), which is a bustling area of ship-building and fishing;
  • New Port (Sainûb), wherein one can find the city’s commercial and open harbour, as well as the main area of commerce;
  • Gates Town (Ostennyn), just inside the city’s landward gates, where off the main roads one can find what passes for a seedier side of the city (the criminal element in Dol Amroth being rather tame compared to other locales);
  • Old Town (Iauros), the heart of the city, full of all manner of local trade and business, city officials and residents. The Squire (or mayor) of Dol Amroth runs most of the town’s affairs from this district;
  • The Prince’s Citadel (Minas Ernil), including the fortress, inner and outer baileys, gardens and pastures;
  • The Sea-ward Tower (Tirith Aear), an ancient Elf watchtower looking out across the Bay of Belfalas. Said to be connected to the Citadel by underground passages.

Dol-Amroth supports an inner-city police force called the City Watch which handles day to day business. The current Prince of Dol Amroth is Prince Erannion, who has ruled since Fo.A. 250. His eldest son, Imrahil, is currently 25 years old.

Drúwaith Iaur

Drúwaith Iaur is the home of the Drúedain. The land is comprised between the line of the Isen-Adorn, the coast and the Ered Nimrais. While the interior is inhabited by Drúedain, the coast is inhabited by civilised Middle Men, although only in villages and small towns. As of Fo.A. 273, the five towns are: Ossirion, Lain Forlond, Rasg Nossost, Razan and Caran Orod; the nine villages are: Lithcef Bagarthost, Gaerlond, Cairlond, Hastandor, Talf Cordof, Mothost, Haedos, Cinnogim and Bar Gwastar.

At the onset of the Reunited Kingdom, High King Aragorn II Elessar formally excluded Drúwaith Iaur from being a province, only proclaiming it and its peoples under his own protection. In Fo.A. 230, in order to cope with the rising danger of increasing tensions between coastal folk and Drúedain, Tar Eldarion established the Province of Drúwaith Iaur and its Lord Lieutenant in order to protect the right of Drúedain to live in peace and to keep for themselves.

The Lord Lieutenant is in charge of the five port towns and nine fishermen villages in Drúwaith Iaur. Today the role is a sinecure and an honorary title, and 14 towns belong to the Cinque Ports confederation. The Lord Warden is responsible for the return of all writs to the Crown, along with the collection of taxes and the arrest of criminals and of those who dare go beyond five mile inland. His court is held in the capital town of the coastal region, Lain Forlond. The Province consists of only one Drann, which is held by the Lord Lieutenant itself.

The descendants of the original occupants of this region, the Drúedain, are now few, dwelling in small, scattered villages in the hills about the mountains, well in the interior. Their allegiance is to themselves, though they are no friends of wild, barbaric Men of Darkness or of the evil. To the north, near the Isen, dwell those of mixed blood, being of Dunlending-Gondor stock.

Pelargir

Coat of arms of Pelargir (granted by Tar-Telemmaitë in S.A. 2401.

Pelargir is the greatest port of Gondor, situated above the delta of Anduin in southern Lebennin; its name means "garth of royal ships" in Sindarin. With a population of circa 100,000 by Fo.A. 270, Pelargir is a city located on the right bank of the Anduin, at the confluence with the Sirith. Well connected by important roads, Pelargir is mainly built on the fluvial banks of the Sirith, resulting in a series of vast stone stilts and harbours. Before the Sirith banks, there are several islets which are urbanised too, and are connected by more than 100 bridges. The resulting canals, as well as the two main canals, serve the function of roads. The classical Pelargir boat is the limlug, although boats and ships of all sizes and types may be found. The population of Pelargir is, apart from the many foreigners, of the same Dúnadan-Gwathuirim mixture as those of Lebennin.

Aside the military and strategic role of Pelargir, the city also is a trading hub. Goods coming from the south along the Harad Road come to Pelargir, and in turn are redirected towards Osgiliath and the regions along the course of the Anduin beyond Gondor. From Osgiliath, flows also take the great North-South Road. Goods and trade flows also are redirected towards central and eastern Gondor, as well as towards thriving shores. Pelargir merchants and mariners are famed in all the Reunited Kingdom and are known even in distant places such as Dorwinion or Rhovanion.

History

Pelargir is the most ancient city of Gondor. It was built in S.A. 2350, almost a millennium before the Downfall of Númenor, as a haven and stronghold of the Faithful. In its early days it had been a city only a few miles away from the coasts, but after the Downfall of Númenor the coasts along the Bay of Belfalas had retreated a great distance and the city was left far inland. Pelargir was one of the cities that assembled Gondor when it was founded in S.A. 3320 by the Faithful. Since its foundation, Pelargir has been the main base for the Gondorian (and later Western) navy and has always played a crucial role in the fortunes of Gondor: it became the main naval base during the Ship-kings' conquests, and often rivalled in importance even Osgiliath. During the Kin-strife, Castamir the Usurper planned to make Pelargir the capital, and after his defeat his sons and followers retreated to this town and withstood a siege for a year, before fleeing to Umbar; in T.A. XVI Century, Númenoreans attacked Pelargir. From that time, the city was almost on the frontier and under constant threat from Umbar and Harad. After the War of the Ring, Pelargir rose back to its former importance, being the main military centre for expeditions to Harondor, both sea and ground based.

Geography and structure

The city is built on the estuary of the Sirith with an artificial island at the centre of the estuary, almost in the river bed of the Anduin. The island, called Tol Vórima, is a triangle with a large basin at its centre; in reality, each of the points of the triangle is a separate islet, connected with the other two islets. Pelargir divided into 6 boroughs: Arceleth, Arcun, Bostharn, Minyalondë, Rindbain, and Iaurost. Iaurost, Rindbain and Minyalondë are the boroughs on the island; Arceleth and Arcun are on the left bank and Bostharn is on the right bank of the Sirith. Each borough of the banks also extends over shore islets and resulting canals, and it is administered by a magistrate and his staff. The boroughs are divided into wards – initially 96, but reduced through the centuries and now numbering just 48. These wards predate the boroughs. Each ward exhibits unique characteristics but also belongs to an integrated network. Each community stages its own festivals, congregates around its own market center, constructs its own bell towers and develops its own customs and has been doing so since the foundation of the earliest settlements.

The boroughs on the river estuary are protected by high walls and, on the right bank, there is the large military garrison, called Forvenost, just north to Bostharn. Soldiers' families live separate, in the city proper. On the Anduin banks there are the civilian/mercantile harbours (Hobasmanadh, on the right bank of the Anduin) and the military port (Cyriannath Vagor Lorn, on the left bank of the Anduin).

Government

Due its importance, Pelargir has always been governed according a particular system. The city governor is appointed by the High King for ten years among local nobles, and is styled Warden of the Garth of the Royal Ships, mirroring the Sindarin name of Pelargir. The Warden is assisted by the Council of the Garth, consisting of prominent local patrician families (sometimes present in the city even before than Elendil) and of the six magistrates of its boroughs. However, artisans and merchants of the city have a standing and influence one rarely sees in the countryside.

The City Watch of Pelargir (Garost Pelargir), also known as the blue cloaks, are the defenders of the city and the enforcers of the law, sworn only to the High King. They are not as well trained as the City Watch of Minas Anor. There are three sets of barracks for the City Watch: the East Barracks in Arceleth, the West Barracks in Bostharn, and one in Iaurost. The City Watch wear cloaks, usually made of heavy wool, dyed blue. They are equipped with mail armor, iron cudgels, iron spears, dirks, and occasionally arming swords. Their armour, boots, and gloves are traditionally black. Officers (such as the Captains of the gates of the city) wear black breastplates ornamented with four golden disks. They can be used as guards, foot soldiers, or in some cases, as mounted lancers. Nonetheless, the watchmen are not true soldiers, and their discipline in a pitched battle shows this fact Of the six thousand watchmen, usually only a quarter of them are reliable as actual soldiers, meaning that the City Watch is ordinarily considered as being a single heavy infantry Company.
The Commander of the City Watch is a Senior Captain (Autherdir), and commands six 1,000 troops-strong Companies, each of them led by a Second Captain (Condir). Each Company contains a Battle Band and three Watchmen Bands. In battle, the six Battle Bands (which train together) form the Company of the City Watch, commanded by a separate Second Captain. However, all the City Watch is sworn and trained to defend the city, which in turn is also garrisoned by other military forces.

Culture

The common livelihoods of Gondorians of Pelargir are a water-faring folk, whether river boats, barges, sea-faring vessels as shiphands, fishermen, traders, and movers of products and men. Service to the Royal Navy is very common and, in times of war, often merchant galleys and high seas ships are mustered in the defence of the Kingdom. Other pursuits of those of Pelargir are farmers in the countryside of Lebennin. The pastoral fields north and east of Pelargir in Lebennin are well known for being farmland for many crops and herds of livestock.

Boxing and fighting is a common sport as well as a means to settle many arguments in Pelargir and used readily in both common and nobility classes; while boxing for settlement is highly respected, arranged bouts of boxing for sport or entertainment is acceptable means for wasting money. Also card, dice, and board games, in general, are a much-loved sport of those in Pelargir and are used as ways to pass the time.

The veneration of Valar has always remained particularly strong in Pelargir, and in recent centuries (Fo.A. II-III Centuries) a steep and strange increase has taken place. In elargir, even commoners have a working knowledge of the Valar, including former Dark Lord Sauron. Given their livelihood attached to the sea and the waters, Men of Pelargir often focus on their attention on Uinen, Lady of the Seas much as the mariners of Númenór did in Ages of old. They pray for her assistance and mercy in calming the rages of her husband Ossë and their master Ulmo, Lord of Waters. Mariners tend to wear or at least keep trinkets and tokens in her image and offer veneration and remembrance.

Osgiliath

Osgiliath is the southern capital city of the whole Reunited Kingdom and, as such, it is traditionally included within the Kingdom of Gondor, but it is directly governed and ruled by the King. Due to its sheer importance, the city is not part of any province. Instead, it is governed by an Ostoher (Sindarin for "Lord of the Citadel") who is invariably a King's younger son or brother.

The city was rebuilt by High King Elessar and by his son Eldarion. In Fo.A. 12, the Great Bridge on the Anduin was rebuilt, and the city was cleared of its ruins. In late Fo.A. 34, the Ward of Osgiliath was established as a body tasked to oversee the clearing process and the limited rebuilding. While the vast majority of descendants of Ithilien reclaimed the eastern region, some settled down in Osgiliath. In Fo.A. 45, the forst River Port of Osgiliath was completed, and by Fo.A. 51 also the second port was done, enabling the city to become once again the arrival port for trade routes of the Anduin form the North, or the first stage of some importance from Pelargir. In Fo.A. 77, the city was given an its own charter. By Fo.A. 100, however, only the immediate area surrounding the river was rebuilt, and not the suburbs.

While Elessar kept Minas Tirith as his southern and main capital, High King Eldarion moved his official seat in the Southern Kingdom to Osgiliath in 175.

See also