Considering it is highly unlikely that the Mouth of Sauron is a pure black Númenórean, due to the that fact Tolkien said black Númenóreans dwindled and mixed with lesser men.

Is it possible there were black Númenórean equivalent of the Dúnedain and that the Mouth of Sauron was one?

  • 3
    For those who don't know, "Dúnadan" is the proper singular form of the plural word "Dúnedain".
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 22, 2015 at 3:20

4 Answers 4


First of all, "Dúnedain" simply means "Númenórean". Bilbo explains this to Frodo in Rivendell:

I thought you knew enough Elvish at least to know dún-adan: Man of the West, Númenorean.

(Lord of the Rings, Book II, Chapter 1, "Many Meetings")

Thus there's no "Black Númenórean equivalent of 'Dúnedain'"; "Black Númenórean" is a subdivision of "Dúnedain".

As far as the Mouth of Sauron: All we're ever told of him in The Lord of The Rings is that people said that he "came of the race of those that are named the Black Númenóreans" (Book V, Chapter 10, "The Black Gate Opens").

  • I think you're making it too black and white. "Man" means "human", including women, but "man" can also mean the opposite of a woman. I think Black Númenóreans and Dúnedain are simultaneously sort of the same, but mostly opposites of each other.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 21, 2015 at 8:11
  • I think I understand what you're saying, but I have no idea how you think I could improve my answer based on that. Jul 21, 2015 at 10:39
  • What I mean is that "Dúnedain" is a complimentary term, and "Black Númenórean" is not. Yes, they both came from Númenor, but that is the only similarity between them. I don't think a Dúnadan can be a Black Númenórean, or vice versa.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 22, 2015 at 2:55
  • I don't see it that way. I see "dunadan" as primarily a descriptive term,though I agree with you that "Black Numenorean" is a pejorative. Jul 22, 2015 at 2:57
  • 1
    At least originally. By the end of the Third Age, people did tend to have good opinions of the Dunedain. But they usually didn't call them that. Jul 22, 2015 at 2:59

The only thing that is ever told of the Mouth's origin is given in the chapter The Black Gate Opens:

But it is told that he was a renegade, who came of the race of those that are named the Black Numenoreans; for they established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Sauron's domination, and they worshiped him, being enamored of evil knowledge.

It is possible that he is of mingled blood, but it's also possible that he's not: we just don't know any more than what Tolkien wrote, so everything else is speculation.

  • 11
    Adding to this answer, black is used here as a synonym for evil, and does not refer to the color of the man's skin. (And in modern terms race might be better written clan. There was a subpopulation of the Numenoreans who worshiped Sauron, and probably they mostly married among themselves, but their origins and genetics are not distinct from the run of the mill Numenorean, if you see what I mean?)
    – zwol
    Feb 18, 2015 at 18:25

By definition, no, he can't be a Dúnadan. However, he is probably equal in stature and power to the Dúnedain.

Tolkien's Description of the Mouth of Sauron:

From the text:

The rider was robed all in black and black was his lofty helm, yet this was no Ringwraith but a living man. The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dur he was, and his name is remembered in no tale for he himself had forgotten it: "I am the Mouth of Sauron." But it is told that he was a renegade, who came of the race of those that are named the Black Númenórean; for they established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Sauron's domination, and they worshiped him, being enamored of evil knowledge. And he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again...
- The Return of the King, The Black Gate Opens

Who Are the Dúnedain?

From the blog "Ask Middle-earth", explaining the term "Dúnedain":

The name Dúnedain, or the Men of the West, referred to the Men of Númenor and their descendants who survived the destruction of their kingdom. Led by Elendil and his sons, they fled to Middle-earth at the Downfall of Númenor, settling in Arnor and Gondor. The name Dúnedain was reserved for Númenóreans who remained on friendly relations with the Elves, as opposed to the Black Númenóreans that worshipped the Darkness.

The descendants of the Númenóreans in Middle-earth were thus divided into the Dúnedain of the North (Arnor) and the Dúnedain of the South (Gondor).

After the fall of Arnor, some of the Dúnedain of the North became the Rangers of the North. Some of them protected the Shire from forces of darkness, while others patrolled the northern lands. The remaining members of the northern Dúnedain retreated to the Angle south of Rivendell.

As for the Dúnedain of the South, they intermarried with Middle Men; until they became as one people, except in some regions such as Dol Amroth.

In the Fourth Age, under the rule of king Aragorn II Elessar (also known as the Dúnadan), the Dúnedain of Gondor and Arnor were reunited.

So it basically boils down to this: Dúnedain and Black Númenóreans share the same heritage, but the ancestors of the Dúnedain were faithful, while the ancestors of the Black Númenóreans worshipped Morgoth and were a bunch of jerks. They appear to have similar powers and stature, but a Dúnadan can't be a Black Númenórean and a Black Númenórean can't be a Dúnadan.

Who Are the Black Númenóreans?

From another post on "Ask Middle-earth":

First off, for those who don’t know who the Black Númenórean were, they were those Númenórean who worshipped Sauron, and survived the drowning of Númenor because they were already settled in Middle-earth. They lived mainly in Harad and Umbar, south of Gondor. They ruled over the men who already lived in these places, and were generally considered to be pretty tyranical. They also hated Gondor and Arnor, since they were populated by those Númenórean who fought against Sauron.

Now, as for how long the line lasted - we know that the Black Númenórean started declining after Sauron’s defeat at the end of the Second Age. To be more specific, it’s said “After the fall of Sauron their race swiftly dwindled or became merged with the Men of Middle-earth.”

But there’s mentions of the Black Númenórean causing trouble for Gondor and Arnor as late as 1050. ((EDIT: And Queen Beruthiel was an example of a Black Númenórean in this period with enough political power to warrant a marriage to the king of Gondor.)) So they must have stayed in power at least another thousand years after Sauron’s defeat. After that, they really aren’t mentioned again, so we can’t be sure.

Well, that’s not entirely correct. The Black Númenórean are mentioned one more time, and this is especially relevant to your first question. The Mouth of Sauron, the messenger that talked to Aragorn and Gandalf at the Black Gate, was said to be a Black Númenórean. So, technically, the line did last all the way to the end of the Third Age. However, we don’t know if he was the last Black Númenórean. The Mouth of Sauron’s age is hard to calculate. Based on comments made in the text, but he’s probably about 70 years old. So, we know that there were at least two Black Númenórean alive only 70 years before the end of the Third Age.

Are We Sure that the Mouth of Sauron is a Black Númenórean?

Almost sure, but not totally sure.

From The Encyclopedia of Arda:

A Man of great power and importance in the land of Mordor, the ambassador of Sauron. His lineage was Númenórean, and he was descended from those people who came to Middle-earth during the Second Age to learn from Sauron, and who thus became known as the Black Númenóreans. When he heard that the Dark Tower had been rebuilt, he was quick to ally himself with the Lord of Mordor. He committed himself so completely to Sauron's cause that it was later said he had forgotten his own name and he grew in stature to become the Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr by the time of the War of the Ring...

It is said that the Mouth of Sauron entered the service of Mordor after the Dark Tower was rebuilt, which would have been in 2951 [of the a Third Age] or soon afterwards. That would be some sixty-eight years before he rode out as ambassador at the Gates of Mordor so, even allowing that he might have been very young when he entered Sauron's service, he would probably have been eighty years old or more during the War of the Ring. The effects of this might have been mitigated by his Númenórean heritage, however, so he may not have appeared quite so aged as this suggests.

From the invaluable Tolkien Gateway:

Not much is known about the Black Númenóreans after their defeat by Ciryaher in T.A. 1050. A "Renegade", The Mouth of Sauron, had entered the service of Sauron in Mordor. He mocked the army of King Elessar in front of the Morannon.


It seems pretty clear that the Mouth of Sauron was a Black Númenórean, and since Black Númenóreans can't be Dúnedain, he was almost certainly not a Dúnadan.


Dwindling and mixing with lesser men does not mean one is no longer a Dúnadan. Take for example King Eldacar who was the 21st King of Gondor. His mother was a Northwoman. If one were to look at dwindling of the the peers of the Black Númenóreans in Gondor and in Arnor I'd say they dwindled because they did not have a lot of children, had children late in life, or none at all, and because their homeland was destroyed. The dwindling of the Númenóreans

was not a normal tendency, shared by the peoples who proper home was Middle-earth, but do to the loss of their ancient land far in the West, nearest of all mortal lands to the Undying Realm. [Númenórean Linear Measures]

Death from war and disease would also contribute to their dwindling as a people. Most, if not all of the Dúnedain at the end of the 3rd Age were mixed to some degree, including Aragorn. Perhaps with Sauron whispering in their ear the Black Númenórean who had been under his sway from the beginning somehow avoided this.

Generally the Black Númenórean would be those who were part of the King's Men faction in Númenor. They "sailed far away to the south; and the lordships that they made have left many rumours in the legends of Men." [Akallabeth] They abandoned speaking Eldarin tongues and spoke Adunaic [Appendix F: Of Men].

During the Kin-strife in Gondor those who escaped were also what you call Black Númenórean. These rebel kings

never ceased to make war on Gondor since the death of Kastamir, attacking its ships and raiding its coast at every opportunity. They had however become much mixed in blood through admission of the Men of Harad, and only their chieftans, descendants of Kastamir, were of Numenorean race. [Heirs of Elendil]

In 1448 they took Umbar for themselves and almost 400 years later in 1810 Telumehtar destroyed the last descendants of Castamir. Interestingly some of Castamir's kin mixed with non-Dúnedain women after fighting their cousins in the royal house for mixing with non-Dúnedain.

There was also a royal wedding between a Black Númenórean and the 12th King of Gondor. This is also slightly significant, if you did not know better, because the Kings of the Dúnedain only married other Dúnedain up until Valacar who married a Northwoman named Vidumavi.

it was a thing unheard of before that the heir to the crown , or any son of the King, should wed one of lesser and alien race. [Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion]

Valacar was the 20th King of Gondor and was the first to take a wife not of Dúnedain descent and hence the onset of the Kin-strife. Beruthial, who was a "Black Númenórean" was accepted because she was also of Dúnedain descent.

Beruthial married Tarannon and she was his "nefarious, solitary, and loveless wife" [Unfinished Tales; The Istari; Note 7]. She was eventually put out to sea with her cats and her name erased from the Book of the Kings.

The Mouth of Sauron himself may simply have been another of these renegade Gondorian Dúnedain,

But it is said that he was a renegade, son of a house of wise and noble men in Gondor, who becoming enamoured of evil knowledge entered the service of the Dark Tower, and because of his cunning [and the fertile cruelty of his mind] [and servility] he grew ever higher in the Lord's favour [The War of the Ring: The Black Gates Open].

There are thus the King's Men who took up in the South and East, Castamir's kin who fled the Kin-strife to Umbar, other nobility taking up with Sauron like his Mouth, and also members of the royal house heading South to join the rebels to escape the watchful and threatening eye of their kin who held the throne.

the descendants of the kings had become few. Their numbers had been greatly diminished in the Kin-strife; whereas since that time the kings had become jealous and watchful of those near akin. Often those on whom suspicion fell had fled to Umbar and there joined the rebels; [Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion]

More likely than not the Black Númenóreans were also mixed to some degree, but those who had avoided what some of Castamir's kin did in "married the women of Harad and had in three generations lost most of their Númenórean blood" [The Heirs of Elendil] were the genuine Black Númenórean. I do not think I've come across someone in the tales with the appellation Númenórean or Dúnedain who was not actually one of the Men of the West. For example, Éowyn's grandmother Morwen was a Dúnadan woman, but Éowyn and her brother are not Dúnedain themselves. They are quite too mixed for that although she resembled her grandmother, and all of Morwen's descendants were taller than the other Rohirrim.

Númenórean (Quenya) and Dúnedain (Sindarin) mean they same thing, people/men of the west. Númenor means Westland or Westernesse. So a Númenórean is a Dúnedain, as mentioned in Akallabeth, "that people that in the Grey-elven speech are called the Dúnedain: the Númenórean, Kings among Men." These two terms are interchangeable. They mean the same thing in different languages, Númenórean = Dúnedain = Men of the West.

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