Castamir "The Usurper"


Gondor (Pelargir, Osgiliath [Temporarily])
Time Period
T.A. 1259-1447
(N) = non-canon

Castamir of Pelargir was bom in T.A. 1274, the same year Vidumavi gave birth to his cousin, Prince Eldacar. His father, Calimer, was the son of Prince Calimehtar, the younger brother of King Minalcar (Rómendacil II). His mother was Lady Arthíriel from Dol Amroth. Thus, Castamir possessed a pure Dúnadan ancestry of noble blood.
Calimir was one of the wealthiest landowners in Lebennin, and doted on his son throughout Castamir's childhood. He encouraged young Castamir to be proud, independent, and daring. More importantly, he kept his son by his side during his frequent sea voyages, hoping that Castamir would some day follow in his calling. A powerful Captain, Calimer succeeded Calimehtar as the commander of the Royal Fleet during the early years of King Valacar's reign, and he wanted to keep the exalted office in the hands of his family.
Castamir enjoyed life on the seas and proved to be an exceptional seaman. He had little trouble mastering the skills that Calimer taught him, and when he came of age he received a ship. In the years that followed, he distinguished himself as one of the greatest Captains Gondor ever produced.
Castamir's father and grandfather cultivated a large number of friends and patronized numerous influential institutions in Ithilien and Lebennin, providing their family with a strong base of political support. This enabled them to control local affairs and insure their plan to maintain control of Gondor's navy. They believed that the South Kingdom was first and foremost a sea-power, since Gondor was an offspring of fair Númenor and Elendil's people had come from the sea. As the Gondorian Kings turned their attentions to their northern and eastern frontiers, Castamir's kinsmen felt both concerned and slighted. In their anger, they noted that the decline of Gondor's fortunes began with the death of Ciryaher (Hyarmendacil I), the last of the Ship-kings, in T.A. 1141. Like many of the coastal folk, Castamir's associates were concerned about the security of seaborne trade and the expansion of their markets. They also disliked the idea of their taxes fueling wars which provided them with few tangible returns. The ports of the south levied tolls and duties that comprised a disproportionately large part of the royal income, and the Sea-lords expected a considerable return for their contributions.
Royal policy was at odds with many of the southerner's demands. The Court looked upon subject folk as allies and the King refused to exploit them in the same manner that the Sea-lords privately abused the peoples of Harad. While the Captains of Pelargir looked at the realm in an imperial light, the nobility in Osgiliath retained the view that Gondor was a just Kingdom. The ascension of Valacar in T.A. 1366 raised additional concerns about royal views. Vidumavi, Valacar's wife, was a Northman woman, and Valacar's heir possessed Northman blood. Given the separation of races in southern Gondor, and the powerful and pure Dunadan aristocracy of the area, the Lords of the South reacted to the prospect of a part-Northman King with horror. Queen Vidumavi's death in T.A. 1374 did little to reassure them about the longevity of future monarchs born of Valacar's line. When Castamir succeeded his father as Lord-captain of the Fleet and Lord of Lebennin in T.A. 1384, the schism between the northern and southern parts of the Kingdom was growing into a gulf. The Army — which, like the Court, was based in Osgiliath — no longer received the cooperation it expected from the fleet, and a full-fledged rivalry had developed between the services. Taxes from the seacoast regions frequently stayed in local coffers, rather than flowing north to the King's Treasury. The political situation in Gondor was strained, and the relatively passive administration of Valacar did little to stifle the crisis. Castamir, on the other hand, promoted the discord. A popular leader because of his fiercely local loyalties and near-legendary seamanship, he enjoyed widespread support in the South. Even the patriotic citizens of Dor-en-Ernil appeared somewhat divided regarding their support for the Crown. The stage was set for civil war.
In T.A. 1432, the last year of Valacar's reign, a rebellion broke out in Linhir, Pelargir, Fanuilond, Methir, and Tir Ethraid. Royal authorities attempting to collect taxes and control the minting of money were rewarded with riots. As troops arrived to suppress the agitators, fighting erupted. Although Valacar responded by calling up the levy, the local citizenry refused to serve his cause and lobbied for a new King. Ironically, Valacar died and Eldacar, his son, came to the throne. The coronation of Eldacar infuriated the already rebellious Sea- lords and polarized support for Castamir. Castamir's lineage provided him with a viable, if somewhat strained, claim to the throne, and his might grew with each passing day. With full control of the Royal Fleet, he held the upper hand. He began mobilizing, and the bloody Kin-strife (T.A. 1432-47) began. From the very outset of his reign, Eldacar's forces were too far- flung and too few to contest the rebels, so the new King established a defensive line along the River Erui. It held for nearly a year but, in T.A. 1433, Castamir's fleet sailed up the Anduin and landed armies in Ithilien and Anórien. The rebels surrounded and be- sieged Osgiliath. The King's days appeared numbered. In T.A. 1437, Osgiliath fell. Eldacar fought valiantly to defend the capital, but the attackers put the city to flame. The great Tower of the Stone fell into the Anduin, and the Master-palantír was lost in the river. The King was forced flee north to find assistance for his cause.
Castamir captured and executed Eldacar's eldest son, Ornendil, and had himself crowned King of Gondor. He had successfully ruined Osgiliath and slain many of the South Kingdom's best warriors. Above all, he had usurped the throne. The people of Gondor's northern provinces wept; the citizens of the maritime regions rejoiced.
Castamir proved to be a haughty and insensitive King. He favored his supporters in the South and neglected the needs of the people who had aided his rival. Worse, he brutally suppressed those who dared disagree with his ambitious plans for reordering the Kingdom. Osgiliath remained largely ruined, while the Usurper completed plans to remove the Court to Pelargir. Eldacar had his own plans, however, and after ten years of exile, he stormed out of the north at the head of an army composed of Northman and loyal Dúnedain warriors from Gondor's garrisons in Rhovanion. Castamir went south to raise a trustworthy force to contest Eldacar's invasion. The tide turned.
The people of Calenardhon, Anórien, and Forithilien welcomed Eldacar's arrival and flocked to his side. His army grew as he moved through Gondor's northern provinces, drawing men from local militias and guard units. Retired soldiers left their farms to march for his cause, and soon his legion outnumbered Castamir's defenders.
Counting on his professional troops and the advantage of defense, Castamir marched north to meet Eldacar at the Crossings of Erui. Unfortunately, though, he never counted on the swiftness of his opponent's Northman cavalry; so when he arrived at the ford, the heights were already occupied. Eldacar's army crossed the river unimpeded and met the Usurper's southerners on open ground. In the battle that followed, Eldacar slew Castamir in a sword duel, and the dying King's army retired to the safety of Pelargir's walls. Eldacar was once again King of Gondor. Castamir left an awful legacy, however. Led by the Usurper's son, Castaher, his army survived a brief siege in Pelargir and took to the ships. Seizing most of the Gondorian fleet, they sailed down the Anduin and fled the South Kingdom. Eldacar had no navy with which to pursue them, and the rebel leaders escaped. They conquered Umbar in early T.A. 1448 and founded the Corsair state. Thus began a new rivalry.


Castamir stood 6'6" tall and carried himself with a regal gait. He had deep black hair, pale grey eyes, and strong, sharp features. His large, flat nose suggested his remote Adan heritage. Like the rest of his House, he favored dark blue pants and a sea-green shirt emblazened with the family symbol, a silver Númenorean Swanship on a white pentagonal field.


Castamir's wife, Mûrabêth, escaped the Kin-strife with Castaher. She bore Castamir's only daughter, Castariel, on the voyage to Umbar. Castaher, their eldest son, became a leading figure in the Corsair state. His grandsons, led by Castamaite, continued the Corsair State but at the times of his great-grandsons Angamaite and Sangahyando, the Castamiri Dynasty had already been forced to intermarry with Near-Haradan Nobility to be able to withstand Gondorian pressure, despite the Castamiri's original ideology of Númenórean supremacy. The Castamirian rule ended in TA 1810 when Castamir's last direct descendants were killed in a Gondorian attack. The future rulers of the Corsairs of Umbar were a Haruze dynasty with only remote blood relationship to the Castamiri clan and the royal family of Gondor.

Castamir's Principal Items

  • Ring — (Knight-captain's Ring)
  • Sword of Castamir — Shortsword.
  • Castamir's Spear — lebethron spear with an ithilnaur point.
  • Dagger of Castamir — gold inlaid Man-slaying Assassin's Knife (which would not affect anyone of Dúnadan blood).
  • Lord-captain's Armor — Breastplate
  • Helm of the Lord-captain

The following items were the hereditary possessions of the Kings of Gondor. All of them except the "Helm of Elendil" were lost when King Eärnur disappeared in TA. 2050.

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