Easterlings (S.Rhúnedain Q. Rómenildi or Hrónatani) was a vague term for the wild tribes of eastern Middle-Earth. In the First Age the name was applied to the Peoples of Bor and Ulfang in Beleriand, the first ones who were faithful to the Eldar, the latter ones who were traitors and in secret allegiance with Morgoth became known as the "Wolf-folk". The surviving Easterlings fled back in their eastern homelands after the drowning of Beleriand and became rulers of the indigenous tribes, most of whom were their distant kinsmen, among these men were the original populace of the Lands surrounding the Rhûnaer but also men north of Eriador who possibly were the ancestors of the Lossoth and the Angmarrim.
In the Second Age Khamûl was a fallen Easterling King who became a Nazgûl. In the Third Age the term Easterlings was used for the many tribes of Rhûn, maybe to some part relatives of the Easterlings of the first and second Ages. The original Easterlings of Rhûn were early enemies of Gondor who were defeated by Rómendacil I in 500 TA and finally conquered by Rómendacil II in 1248 TA. But later new peoples arrived from the unknown eastern lands. At first the Wainriders, who were at war with Gondor between 1851 TA and 1944 TA; later the Balchoth who made war on Gondor in 2510 TA. At the Time of the war of the ring in 3019 TA a new unnamed people had arrived: small and stout men with long beards like dwarves who fought with great axes.
In the First Age Easterlings were identified with the Arrónai, a group of wandering peoples which also included the Daen peoples.In Beleriand the Easterlings were also known as the Baradhrim or "Swarthy men", the treacherous faction of which became known as the Ulbarim or Wolf-Folk. After the drowning of Beleriand the surviving Ulbarim and Baradrim fled to Rhûn where they subjugated related tribes, from these arose the Easterling peoples known as the Shrel and Vulzsev. The later Easterlings were identified with the Talataerim or Plainsmen, a large group of peoples in central middle-earth in the first Age which was part of the Asrabi, the part of the Hildor which had stayed in the Wild Lands east and South in the first Age, although they might have been more closely akin to the Arrónai than the other Asrabi splinter-factions. The Talataerim, by the second Age, had split into eight language-groups: the Firasfrathig (ancestors of the Variags and the Balchoth), the Ulgath (ancestors of the wainriders), the Tyr (a group of tribes in central middle-earth), the Khailûzan (a group of tribes in south-central middle-earth and eastern Harad), the Sháyan (a group of tribes in southeastern Middle-earth),the Ahar (a group of tribes in eastern-central Middle-Earth) and the Ibav (also in southeastern middle-earth) (a possible ninth group may have been the Fale in the utter east, who were also considered Easterlings). In the Far east, the Far north and the South-eastern Regions however many other less known groups and cultures prevailed, among them the more civilized Avatani, the rather primitive Men of the Orocarni and Woodmen of the Far east, the coastal Brâric-Hillfolk, the Eastern Lake-peoples the snow-dwelling Mornârim and peoples possibly related to the Black Men of the South as the Yôpi, Ts'dan and similar tribes.
Easterling Culture was as diverse as their tumultuous history.In the wide plains of central Middle-Earth the Talataerim prevailed whose culture was largely nomadic or semi-nomadic, while the Eastern Lake-peoples were more sedentary farmers.In the Far North Nomads, Fishermen and Hunters reigned the lands although smaller communities of settled fishermen, farmers and traders were not uncommon.In the farthest East farming and stock breeding were more common and the peoples close to the Romeneär were quite urban and civilized, but more primitive Herders and Hunter-Gatherer Tribes still existed in the Red Mountains and the Wild woods. The Men of the Southeast were divided into the nomadic Folk of the Great Plateau and the sedentary farmers and fishermen of the Coasts of the Inner Seas as well as the wild Woodmen.
The Easterlings spoke a large number of tribal dialects.Most of their languages were alien to the tongues of the Westlands, having been influenced to varying degrees by Khuzdul (Talataerin in central Middle-Earth]]), the Dragon-Speech (Avatanin in the Farthest East and southern Talataerin), Orcish and Melkian (in the Far North) and the Avarin tongues of the East-Elves (in the Farthest East and the Southeast).
see: Easterling Languages
The Easterlings had a number of different cults.Many mannish peoples had preserved memories from the First Age, legends about a Voice and a mighty Man, a first temple and various Spirits and Demons. Additionally, some early mannish tribes had been pupils of Avari and Orcs, and had learned rumors about the Powers of the West. This had led to some superstitious ideas and cults among the early Men, many of which prevailed among the Wild Men of the East.
The Men of the East continued their own primitive spirit-worship and remnants of the old Dark Worship, but also added a kind of nature-worship, which included indistinct memories of the Entwives who had taught their forefathers agriculture and various magical cults and arcane traditions brought to the East and South by the Ithryn Luin.
In the north, East and South of Eastern Middle-Earth however myriads of other local and superstitious cults existed, from primitive animistic reverence of local Nature-Spirits and the ancestors to various descendants of the Dark Cults and newer Idol-worshiping followers of the Dark Lord.
A Genealogy of the Easterlings:
- Lintanoi (Westwanderers)
- Arrónai or Swarthy Men
- Men of northern Eriador
- Easterlings of Rhûn or Nardhrim
- Easterlings of Beleriand or Baradhrim
- Asrabi (Men who stayed in the Eastlands)
- Avarim (akin to the Beorians; in the Farthest East)
- Men of the Orocarni
- Woodmen of the Far east
- Sûrk Kaelân
- Eastern Drûghu (relatives of the Drúedain)
- Linerim (Eastern Lake-peoples)
- Mornârim (akin to the Lossoth and Bórians)
- Narnerim (ancestors of the Haradrim); partially akin to the Beorians)
- Talataerim (Plainsmen of Central Middle-earth; akin to the Daen and Uldorians)
- Kykuria (intermixed with Tyr)
- Nûriags (in Nûrad)
- Núrniags (in Nurn)
- Variags of Khand
- Tyr (related to the Hadorians)
- Ulgath (later Wain-Easterlings
- Northern Ulgath
- Southern Ulgath
- Avarim (akin to the Beorians; in the Farthest East)
- Lintanoi (Westwanderers)
The Easterlings in the Lord of the Rings role-playing game:
The Lord of the Rings role-playing game mentions an Easterling lord named Gartog, a noble character who grew up as a hostage at the gondorian court and who was a childhood friend of Denethor who still had vague hope his former friend could be convinced not to join Sauron's forces with his men.
The Easterlings in LOTRO:The Lord of the Rings Online has several Easterling Tribes.Two of these, the Jangovar and the Khundolar, are described as descendants of the Balchoth who are supported by a caste of blue Sorcerers,implied to be one of the strange cults founded by the Ithryn Luin.A Third clan, the Sûhalar are identified with the Axe-Easterlings, briefly described in the Books.Two tribes which are not portrayed as hostile but as refugees from the eastern wars are the Dorwinions and Chayasir.
The Easterlings in the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle-Game:The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle-Game remains close to the easterlings depicted in the Lord of the rings movie trilogy, but adds a few details.The Easterlings are described as a unified Culture.There still are many Kings or Kingdoms but they have been forged into one single power by Sauron before he took the role of the Necromancer of Dol Guldur. The Easterlings of Rhûn are ruled by an elite-warrior order, the Dragon knights and war-priests. A prominent Easterling leader is Amdûr the Lord of Blades, head of the Dragon Knights. The Easterlings of Rhûn are close allies of the Variags of Khand and are ruled by the nazgûl Khamûl.
Halls of Fire magazine:
The Halls of Fire Magazine mentions the Wainriders still as an existant tribal-alliance in 3019.Leader of one Alliance of Sagath-Wainriders is a man named Harizän.
The Easterlings in Middle Earth: Total War:
The Middle Earth: Total War Mod provides a background-story for the Easterlings of the late third Age: Of the three Istari who had gone to the Eastern lands Saruman had to retreat, Pallando was killed and Alatar became corrupted.After the fall of the Balchoth Realm, Alatar had finally become Sauron's highest lieutenant in eastern middle-earth and had long started to establish dark cults among the easterlings, one of these sects were the Lôke Egleria or dragon-worshippers who finally had taken root in the lands of rhûn and united the disparate tribes after several decades of war. The leading warlord became the Lôke-Khan or "Dragon-King", Alatar's puppet-ruler, who ruled by the force of Lôke-Rim or Golden Horde, whose members were a professional soldier-class.By 2980 it was the reign of the fourth Lôke-Khan Borthand.
The Lôke-Rim is divided into four hosts:
- The Lôke-gamp rim (heavy armored Pikesmen)
- The Lôke-flag rim (hevy armored elite-infatry equipped with maces)
- The Lôke-nar rim (heavy armored elite-archers)
- The Lôke-innas rim (heavy armored cataphracts)
The Elendor MUSH, set shortly before the War of the Ring, names the King of Rhûn "Zhamik". Elendor's Easterlings are presented as a single culture unified in service to Sauron. Their capital is Riavod, ruled by Zhamik and his queen, Meija'hyn of Harad, and controlled by Sauron through the Priesthood of the Eye, headed by the high priestess Cimura. In addition to Sauron (though forbidden by his priesthood), Easterlings also revere various animal spirits. The trade city of Mearingburg frequently trades hands between the Easterlings and Bardings. The Easterlings in Elendor are strongly inspired by the real-world Mongols, dwelling in yurts and fighting from horseback.
Nazgul´s SEE has additional Units as Spearmen or Pikemen, porters, heavy axemen, heroes as Xaradra and Sharikan and the Easterling king Lorgan.The fourth Age: set in 220 FA, mentions Khôragan and Brûdhan as Kings of the Easterlings, Heroes vas Sameel and has additional units as the Hastrûth (Elite-Axeman), light armed Spearmen, Cavalry armed with Spears and catapults.
Easterlings of Renown:
Abraiz Adajo Bom Ahârtal Akil Akûta Wân-Drâl Akshir Alafar Mem Amdûr Ana Anasa Fef Anasa Wem Argaz Asagáth Aslâ Khimash Avas I Avas II Avas III Avos of Igath Ayitula Chinta Kari Aôn Baisheuin Ban Bharâm Blodren Blothára Bór Borhan Bori Borlach Borlach II Borlad Borthand Borthan the third Hûz Boskhín Brôda Drâl Brodda Brodda II Brûdhan Calintz Chan Harijiil Chinta Kari (I) Cimura Khorthûl of Góak Khorthûl II Khorthûl III Khorthûl IV Dâsakûn Daurukh Demîk Drâl Demîk Drâl II Demîk Vûr Demîs Drâl Dendra Dwar Dendra Dwâr II Dendra Dwêm Dendra Wîm Derrim Din Ohtar Drúgred Dûrthin Edgu Erennis Ethacali Evit Fulgrim Gartog Gizik Gorovod of Medlóshad Gorovod of Medlóshad Grallon Grasty Grimburgoth Guton Harizän Hodya Hôs-Harf of Ilanin Hôs Harf IIHuil of Amôv Hungh Hurdriak Hûz of Amôv Hûz II Hûz III Hûz IV Iltish Jamukha Jax Joghul Juganoth Jyganoth Kadida Karamar Kargi Karm of Núrn Katrisel Kav-Makôw of Gathod Kav-Makôw of Mirkwood Makôw of the Khundolar Kavâtha Keeta-Skog Kemik Khamûl Khârsh Khilich Khirgi Khorakól Khorgul Khûrthan Klêa of the Shay Kustig Kuzu Lorgan Lorgan II Low Nose Mâlatuk Maran Maraz Mareke Margoz Mátskild Meonid-Ito the Assassin Meonid of Ashkirir Mîonid-Akhev Mîonid II Nafrati Namu the Rain-man Nevido-Bôm Nevido Smôd II Oerlis Ôerva Drâl Ôervîk Drâl Ogdei Ogedei Oldur Onree Oraishapek Oyan Parnelion Sey Pegan Soy Pell Vuk Pos Ari Pos Art Rakadsaol Ingi'inda Grey-cloaked Rof-Paku the Spy Rof-Paku the Magician Ros Bom Rozi Rûdaz Rurzaur Sadun Sameel Sarkan Sen Kay Seyran Shaark Shakal Draik Sharikan Sherkóz Shomushúk Skauril of Dol Guldur Skauril of Rhunaer Slovas St'e Swiftawulf Tabî-Kohin Taichu Tai-shan Tarean Taska Tezlik Thamûl Tigkiz Tiglin Tiliwini Totila T'revor Arain Tros Aran Tros Artri Trôs-Hesnef of Ilanin Ulda-Trosh Tros Mira Tuchik Cheyan Tuelik Cheyan Tumna Tupûrta Ulam Ulband Uldor Uldor II Ulduin Uldul Ulfand Ulfand II Ulfang Ulfang II Ulfast Ulfast II Ulrac Ulrath Ulruth Ulthug Ulwarth I Ulwarth the Protector Uma Kalcuna Urdrath the Banner Bearer Urdrath of Nûrad Ûrig-Urpov Urush Urunshar the Kine Usriev Utûkel Vacros Vargloth Vezely Voisiol Vorn Vulkhós Warlog Wôma Drâl I Wôma Drâl II Wômîs Drâl Xaradra Yaban Yanos-Kosvar Yobad Yumruk Yurin Zarhal Kôz Zhamik Zhója Zulal
The Easterling Background of the MERP Canon could be combined with the Storyline given by the Lotr SBG if the War-priests are actually the Theocracy of Kerkassk.The Dragon-Knights could be identical with the Dragon-Worshippers of ME-Total War. Zhamik and Amdûr could be interpreted as Lôke-Kans.