Would the Black Númenóreans have called themselves ‘Black Númenóreans’ or did they simply think of themselves as 'Númenóreans'? 'Black' seems to me to be a pejorative given by the men of Gondor for their enemies, but I can't find a source on this.

In either case, how plausible is it that the descendants of Castamir the Usurper would have considered themselves to be ethnically the same as the original Númenórean colonisers of Umbar, despite the fact that that line was, as far as we know, broken, and the original Númenóreans of Umbar dispersed?

1 Answer 1


To dispel one inaccuracy that appears to be in your question (please correct me if I'm wrong about this): the descendents of Castamir were not the Black Númenoreans.

Black Númenoreans come far earlier, from the time of Sauron's captivity in Númenor until his overthrow at the end of the Second Age, and a footnote to Return of the King Appendix A gives their history:

The great cape and land-locked firth of Umbar had been Númenorean land since days of old; but it was a stronghold of the King's Men, who were afterwards called the Black Númenoreans, corrupted by Sauron, and who hated above all the followers of Elendil. After the fall of Sauron their race swiftly dwindled or became merged with the Men of Middle-earth, but they inherited without lessening their hatred of Gondor.

This doesn't say who it was called them the Black Númenoreans but it seems clear that it was a given, rather than chosen, name.

It also mentions that they were the King's Men of Númenor, and this is defined in the Akallabeth as follows:

Then Tar-Ancalimon, son of Atanamir, became King, and he was of like mind; and in his day the people of Nœmenor became divided. On the one hand was the greater party, and they were called the Kings Men, and they grew proud and were estranged from the Eldar and the Valar.

It therefore seems most likely (although it's nowhere confirmed as far as I'm aware) that Black Númenoreans would have self-identified as "King's Men".

The descendents of Castamir considered themselves ethnically purer, because the line of the kings of Gondor had become intermingled with lesser Men of Rhovanion in the time of Eldacar, thus precipitating the Kin-strife, as we read in Appendix A:

After the return of Eldacar the blood of the kingly house and other houses of the Dunedain became more mingled with that of lesser Men. For many of the great had been slain in the Kin-strife; while Eldacar showed favour to the Northmen, by whose help he had regained the crown, and the people of Gondor were replenished by great numbers that came from Rhovanion.

Since the King's Men were also (in origin) ethnically pure Númenoreans (although that didn't last long), the descendents of Castamir would have that much in common with them.

  • 1
    Thank you! This is a helpful answer; I like the suggestion that they would have identified as 'King's Men'. I think my phrasing was unclear, so I'll just clarify what I meant by the reference to Castamir: I know that he was not himself a Black Númenorean, but as the Black Númenoreans are referenced as late as the end of the Third Age (the Mouth of Sauron, specifically) I was curious as to whether the Black Númenoreans displaced by Gondor's conquest might have returned to intermarry with Castamir's descendents, OR if, to the people of Gondor, the name continued to be used. What do you think?
    – cynisca
    Feb 28, 2015 at 22:21

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