Lebennin (S."Five Rivers") was truly the heartland of Gondor, not only because it lay at its geographic center, but because it was the most populous province, as well as being the main grain producing region of the realm. But Lebennins preeminence derived also from its history, since its inhabitants were able to boast that theirs was the very first of the lands to have been colonized by the Faithful in Middle-earth. Whereas the fortunes of Pelargir, its capital, had risen and fallen over the years, the land and people of Lebennin as a whole had remained remarkably stable and prosperous Throughout their long history.
Beyond the immediate hinterland of Pelargir, the Númenórean settlement of Lebennin did not begin in earnest until the reign of Tar-Ancalimon, when the people of Númenór became polarized into the Faithful and King's Men factions. This ideological tension led many of the faithful to seek out a refuge where their views would not be in the minority; and so they rallied around Imrazôr and the descendants of the Venturers in Middle-earth. This emigration grew apace when Pelargir won official recognition as a colony in the year S.A. 2350 and continued for the next millennium to accelerate as the kings and their followers fell ever deeper into evil ways. The colonization of Lebennin abmptly ceased with ihe Downfall of Númenór in S.A. 3319, after which there followed a fairly substantial movement of the more recently-arrived immigrants out of the region, since Elendil the Tall'ss sons had opened their own domains of Anórien and Ithilien for settlement by any who would submit to their kingship. Nevertheless, Lebennin itself remained densely populated.
With the dissolution of the Pelargirean League in T.A. 754, Lebennin, along with the other territories of the former league-colonies, became a provincial domain. It was at this time that the region was divided into rural districts governed by royal Handor, who would be absorbed into the nobility much later in the age when Gondor became a feudal regime under the Ruling Stewards. Over the many centuries between these two political transformations, there was little (with the exception ot the Great Plague of T.A. 1636) to disturb Lebennin's countryside.The depredations of the Corsairs ravaged Methed Lebennin, the province's coastal district, but rarely reached more than a few miles inland. Lebennin remained the most populous region of Gondor late into the Third Age, due in part to the substantial numbers of refugees that settled there after the loss of Harondor and Harithilien to Gondor's enemies.
Lebennin's borders to the north were the Ered Nimrais, to the south and east, the sea until the Anduin, and to the west, the Glinduin. There were four main mountain valleys in northern Lebennin, created by the rivers Glinduin, Celos, Tumladen and Erui. The Rathon Gondor, the main road connecting northern and southern Gondor, ran from Minas Anor to Linhir by way of Pelargir, shaded by twin lines of call poplars. All of Lebennin's roads, from the Rathon Gondor to the smallest village roads, were well kept.
Lebennin has three basic types of terrain. Along the seacoast east of Fanuilond and along the Anduin, the land was low-lying and often boggy. Even though the ground was very fertile, it was unsuitable for cultivating the grains used in southern Gondor. The mountain valleys and foothills to the north were mostly covered by coniferous forests, and the ground was less fertile than on the plains: here, people lived mostly in the lower valleys. The fertile, central plains were the home of the majority of Lebenin's settlers.
There were often large areas of boggy ground close to the rivers which were not swamps, just land that was not properly drained and therefore unsuitable for cultivation. During the vears before the Kin-strife, some bogs were drained to put new land under the plow, but after the Plague that was no longer necessary, due to the catastrophic decline in the population. Between the plains and the Anduin there was a one-to-eight-mile wide bottomland. This was only marginally higher than the river, and was often flooded during spring and early summer, particularly the stretch between Pelargir and the sea. The bottomlands were very fertile and everything could take root deep into the marshy ground. Lebennin's climate was the same as in the rest of Gondor: warm summers and mild winters. In the Ered Nimrais the climate was harsher, and during cold winters even the foothills had snow.Even though most of Lebennin did not suffer from cold winters, these were still unpleasant; from Girithron to Ninui it rained almost daily, and the return of "real weather" at the spring equinox was often celebrated.
Olvar and Kelvar
In the lower mountain vallyvs, there was a mixture of hardwoods and stone pines, but higher up, the woods were mostly fir and pine. It was here that the rare and valuable Lebethron was found, a dark hardwood which was used to make the masts of Gondor's greatest ships and the lances for the knights of Belfalas. It was prized by woodworkers above all other woods. In the forest glens there were many flowers and herbs and it was especially in the western valleys that Athelas was found. Between the timberline and the rocky tops of the Ered Nimrais there were large, rolling meadows of grass and flowers; these bloomed in late spring and were truly a beautiful sight to behold. In the valleys there were still some large carnivores, such as wolf and brown bear, as well as deer, roe, wild boar and all smaller mammals that lived on the plains.
Politics and Power
Lebennin's lord, residing in Pelargir, was usually the king's eldest son, appointed to the position in order learn by practical experience how to rule the realm. (Since Lebennin was probably Gondor most valuable province, it was also important to ensure that no other noble family was able to use it as its power-base. Eldacars heirs learned from the experience of the Kin-strife.) The province was divided into four rural districts and the city of Pelargir. The Pelargir district incorporated all land within seven miles of Barad Aerhir; however, district and the city were two separate political entities. Arnach was the district in the northeast, bordered by the Erui and the Sirith, Celossien was the district in the northwest, and was bordered by the Sirith, the Glinduin and the Rathon Gondor. The southernmost district of [[Methed Lebennin]] encompassed the area between the Anduin and the Rathon Gondor.
The district council was the lowest level of authority, and long tradition had created slightly different versions of it throughout Lebennin. In many farming villages on plains the in its members were elected, while in the mountain vales heads of powerful families ruled the districts as they always had.The districts were responsible for the upkeep of local roads, bridges and fords. If necessary, the Hando lent, a skilled engineer to lead the work. Since the maitenance was a matter of civic pride for the villages, the roads wee in excellent shape. In southern Lebennin, the districts were responsible for watching for Corsair raids, for the restoring of food and water in the stone-towers, as well a for the liaison with the garrison at Fanuilond. The feudalization of Gondor had a great impact on Lebennin, because it turned the largest landkeepers into hereditary lords, reduced the importance of the districts, and enabled the nobility to exploit the peasants. While the Handor were originally appointed by the lord and were supposed to work for the good of the ditrict, the new arrangement placed feudal noblemen in Hando's position, and these were often primarily interested in the good of their own treasure vaults and those of their landholding friends.
Lebennin, together with Anórien and Ithilien, lacked any territorial corps, since it was already the recruiting ground the King's Corps, the main garrison of which was in Pelargir. There was also a Fanuilond garrison, responsible for the protection of the coast and the lower Anduin against Corsair attacks.
Lebennin was a province of a great Dunedain military importance, being a major source of manpower and revenue. The navy was mainly manned by men native to the province, and several army regiments were recruited from the inland villages. The main host had its origins in the ancient garrison of Tar-Minastir located in Pelargir. The strong military presence in Lebennin was actually one of the causes for Castamir the Ursurper's successful rebellion against King Eldacar. After the Kin-strife, Lebennins noblemen were bidden to build towers and forts along the Coast for protection against the Corsairs, whereas the villagers were ordered into militia contingents for self-defense. Later, when the King's Corps was established, many infantry units were recruited from and garrisoned in Lebennin. They frequently trained together with the knights of Belfalas, since the main threat of overland invasion emanated from Ithilien and Anórien. Lebennin was a suitable place for the mobilization of reserve forces, these could be sent swiftly to a threatened spot by Gondor's excellent road system. In the great military reforms after Eärnur's death, Lebennin received the main responsibility of equipping and manning the navy.
Settlements and Points of Interest
Aerthir Amon Anglebed Balimur Saltpans Camp of the Grey Host Erynos Ethillorn Ethir Fanuilond Glaniath Halach Hall of Lady Vanyalos Hata Kebir Hata Khezrat Lattacanuva lead-mines Lornost Malbarth Minas Brethil Minlos Ost Anglebed Pelargir Pile of River-stones Roamingstar's glade Sarnhad Serni Sirthanc Tamasûl Thama Aklam Tumladen
Lebennin about T.A. 1650
- Political Organization: Province.
- Rulers: Crown Prince Telumehtar;Hando Belechael; Hando Nimroch; Hando Elenaerion. Hando Súlannui.
- Administrative Organization: The Crown Prince oversees affairs in the province and appoints four Handor to administer laws and justice in their given region. The Handor come from the fifteen noble families of Lebennin, although for generations the posts have been hereditary.Some freeholders possess their own land, but most belongs to the Prince and the nobility.
- Population: 140,000 Dunedain.
- Military: 1,250 Regular Army.3.100 Levy Army (3-5 weeks to raise, attached to local municipalities).1.800 Regular Navy.1.100 Militia Navy (3-5 weeks to raise, supplements Regular Navy).
- Products: Fish, finished products, iron, silver, copper, trade.
Lebennin is, and always has been, the heartland of Gondor. The home of its most populous city and the most densely inhabited of all of the provinces. Lebennin traditionally has held a position of great authority in the internal affairs of Gondor. The port of Pelargir was among the first havens of the Númenoreans in Middle-earth, and the city eventually grew to a size far surpassing any other urban centers of the Dúnedain. Supposedly, the oldest quarters of the city rest upon a First Age Elven haven. Though Gondor's royal family often resides inland at Osgiliath and Minas Anor, many of Gondor's sea-kings have made Lebennin the center of their power.The usurper Castamir declared Pelargir to be his capital, and the city and the coasts around it remain the greatest prize for the raiders of Umbar. Lebennin serves as a model of the scheme envisioned by the creators of the original South Kingdom—Anarion himself divided it into four administrative districts, each ruled by a royal Hando. A member of the King's family usually governs the districts as an overlord and holds the city of Pclargir as his own. Though the Handor and the Prince have broad powers to administer justice within their territories, they have no authority to create laws of their Own. The King's Laws apply to all citizens, common or noble, which greatly enhances the stature of the royal court and diminishes the authority of the nobility in comparison with other realms. Nominally, the Handor are appointed by the King himself. but various deals struck with the nobility through the centuries and the difficulty of administration during the years of the Plague have caused many of the offices to become hereditary in nature. King Tarondor worries that hereditary royal offices combined with noble blood might make his aristocracy too powerful, but he cannot spare the time or resources to check them at the present time. Perhaps the richest of Gondor's provinces. Lebennin sends off finished Gondorian products to every comer of the world. Items from clothing to mirrors to jewelry to leather goods to metalwork depart in abundance upon the small craft of independent merchants. Foodstuffs, hides, and wool must be imported, for although Lebennin is rich in natural resources, its vast population places a strain on its ability to feed and supply itself. Some mines in the White Mountains produce iron for the local smiths and silver and copper for the mints at Minas Anor, Linhir and Lond Ernil. Lebennin's ports bustle with the brisk seagoing trade with other regions of Gondor and beyond. Customs agents vigilantly watch the coast for signs of the illicit trade in weapons, spices, and drugs that originates in Umbar. Some of the smugglers are agents of the Oligarchs of Umbar themselves, while others are privateers who risk arrest and execution for their own profit. Taxes are high in central Gondor even for honest folk, and the common population has mixed emotions about the privateers. Most of the people of Lebennin live in well-planned villages of stone, or pleasant little agricultural manors. Families are usually large, since land is well-organized and children have greater educational and profit opportunities here. Many citizens of Lebennin maintain ties to the Guilds and Fellowships of Gondor's great cities. Family ties are more important among the Gondorians then they are in more provincial regions of Endor, partially because the traditions of its government maintain a public code of honor to combat the negative effects of business and politics. Few Daen remain in the foothills of the White Mountains, most having departed to somewhere further away from direct Gondorian influence.
TA CA. 3018-19
Ainur: Grey-eye Lone Lady Roamingstar Truetongue
Men: Aerin Amarien Amerian Amrúngal Angbor Arthamon Arvaeth Arvellon Baraniel Baranor Barchir Celairoth Doliel Erianir Faltharan Fendir Firiondur Glassiel Glathril Gorhir Hador of Glaniath Imladir Irodon Lendithil Lothwen Maerien Malthellim Melawen Milbalan Mileth Milonnen Nembadir Nimbath Nimithil Othor Reniadir Sirgon Terenis Thorgant Thurineth Tornir Tucharn Vanyalos