The Great Houses of Arnor

The Hîrath (S."Lords") or Hîredair (sing. "Hiradar": S."Lord Father") were the heads of the noble families of Arnor. Especially in Cardolan, Hîr became the common title for the ruling lords of the land after the practical end of it’s royal line. In Gondor, Malko was the title of a provincial lord or any of the greater liege-Lords. The title was basically a loose translation of the ancient Númenórean title Bar or Barûn. Therefore Hîradar was also translated as "Lord" or "Baron". Originally the title Hîr, as a royal vassal, was opposite to that of the Ernil, a formally independent "Prince" (Ad."Er"). The Great Families were also known as the Belegvair (S."Mighty Houses"). Among the Sindar, Hîr designated any greater leader or master of a craft, without referring to an explicit title of nobility or vassal-status. In Rhudaur the heads of the Great Families were known as the Airain or Tirath, and were more similar in status to petty kings (there had never been more than five at one time).

In Arnor, each Belegvar ruled their own piece of land or heirdom (S: "Hirdor").

Arthadan Hîrdyr:

Cardolandren Hîrdyr:

Rhudaurian Airain:

The Noble Houses of Gondor

While Gondor, as Arnor, was a realm of the Faithful, the political and historical situation was quite different. At the height of it’s power Gondor was home to more than 160 families of civil and military nobility; however few of these could trace their history back to the old days of Númenor. The War of the Last Alliance had ended the lines of most of the oldest houses, while new Houses descending from loyal retainers who had fought in the Wars against the Dark Lord emerged - not all of these of pure high Númenórean descent. And many of these families died out or fell into disgrace during the Kinstrife, during which many of the most conservative nobles sided with the Castamiri and were eventually forced into exile to Umbar – where, after a few generations, they were forced to accept political marriages with houses of local Umbarean, mixed Haradron descent, or were absorbed later by the Haruze conquerors who took the city after TA 1944. Meanwhile in Gondor new families arose, many of mixed Northron blood, trustworthy allies of Eldacar.
Worse than in Arnor, Gondorian nobility suffered from the Great Plague of 1636, and as many of the older Great Houses died out, smaller Houses rose in importance and power. The third great change came with the rise of the Ruling Stewards, who pacified the coastal and inland provinces by giving full Gondorian citizenship to those men not of Dúnadan heritage, also by raising smaller local liege lords and military veterans to high nobility. By the late Third Age Gondor was essentially ruled by nine Great Houses of which only two, The House of Dol Amroth and the House of Húrin, were considered elder nobility, while House Anfalas, House Pinnath Gelin, House Ringló, House Lossarnach, House Morthond, House Lamedon, House Ethir, and House Lebennin were considered new Houses. Various other lesser Houses and local families existed, but Anfalas, Pinnath Gelin, Ringló, Lossarnach, Morthond, and Lamedon had de facto become autonomous principalities, though their rulers still held the title Lord, and not Prince.

Gondorian Noble Houses of note:

The Noble Houses of Rohan

See also


  • MERP: Rangers of the North - the Kingdom of Arthedain
  • MERP: Arnor
  • MERP: The Shire
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