(S. 'land of kings')

(founded II 3320 – divided III 861)

Brief Description

The northern Kingdom of Elendil (c.f.: Gondor), which he founded SeA 3320 together with his sons Isildur and Anárion. The first Capitol of Arnor (where Isildur himself ruled) was Annúminas, but before ThA 861 Fornost became capitol. Unlike the southern Kingdom Gondor, Arnor did not prosper but slowly began to fall apart after the Battle of the Gladden Fields and Isildur's death.

ThA 861 Arnor was split among the three sons of the tenth King into three kingdoms: Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur. The royal lines of Cardolan and Rhudaur did not last long, and in ThA 1349 Arthedain again claimed lordship all over Arnor, but was soon attacked by Angmar and Rhudaur. The kingdom fell 1974 and only a small remainder of the Dúnedain survived (c.f. Rangers of the North), their chieftains were the heirs of Isildur.

Detailed History

Founded by Elendil after the destruction of Númenor, the northern and senior of the Two Kingdoms in Exile (the other was Gondor), while he was King of both. Arnor at its greatest, Arnor encompassed almost all Eriador between Bruinen, Gwathló and Lhûn, and the region which would later be known as the Shire. Arnor's population was composed by Dúnedain in western-central regions and mixed or indigenous (and reluctant as citizens) peoples and its capital was Annûminas near the lake Nenuial. Unlike Gondor, Arnor never prospered but the lineage of the Kings remained unbroken through the centuries. The dwindling began at the War of Last Alliance to which Arnor contributed with the largest military force and suffered proportionaly the greatest losses. Elendil fell in that War and Isildur his eldest son who would have taken the rulership was lost in the Gladden Fields with his 3 eldest sons. Valandil however was kept in Rivendell and became the third King of Arnor (although Isildur never ruled actually). Arnor continued to thrive in relative peace, compared to Gondor. After the death fo Earendur, the tenth king of Arnor, his three sons made claims of succession and this led to the breaking of Arnor in 3 kingdoms: Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur.

Whatever the basis of the case his brothers brought against his fitness to rule, it is likely that the matter was judged by the Council of Arnor. With the King dead and the succession disputed, it would be the duty of the chief ministers, princes and lords of the realm to act on behalf of the crown. On such a council the regional and political differences of Arnor would be represented, but without the dominant voice of the king to determine the final say. A majority of the council seem to have supported Amlaith as heir, to judge by the larger share of the crown’s possessions which he inheirited. How then were the two other candidates able to win separate crowns ? They may have possessed personal resources (lands & warriors), but how could these match those of the crown-prince and the captains of the realm ? They must have had supporters on the Council who refused to accept Amlaith as their new king. The kingdom was therefore faced with civil war.

It is possible the dispute in the royal family only served as a focus for existing tensions within the realm between the crown and the fiefs. A look at the map shows that it was the lands furthest from the capital at Anuuminas that defied Amlaith (but also the area of Tyrn Gorthad). The fact that Amlaith retained the royal cities of Fornost and Annuminas, all three Palantiri, and the royal demesne between the Tower Hills and the Old Forest, would also suggest a division along the lines of crown / rebel lordships. The dispute between the sons allowed independent-minded lords to exercise their ambitions with a shield of legitamacy: they were not defying the High-kingship but acting on behalf of its rightful occupant. Such a defence was important in a society where rebellion was unheard of and oaths of fealty were sworn by lords to their king. Even when many lords of Gondor rebelled against the Crown in the15th century Kin-strife, the war was fought over who would be king and was not a rejection of the Crown.

Civil war was averted in 861 but the three new kingdoms of Arthedain, Rhudaur and Cardolan did not exist in peace with one and other, whose rulers have succumbed to struggles for power and glory. Arnor was divided into petty realms and lordships, further disintegration occurred in Rhudaur and Cardolan, with lords reducing or totally defying royal authority. The passing of the Line of Isildur in the latter kingdoms was probably hastened by political marriages for the survival of the crown and by conflict with their vassals. This weakening of royal authority and growth of war was a sign of decline in Northern Dunedain society, of which the end of the High-Kingship? was an early symptom.

After this the capital was moved to Fornost Erain so that the king can be nearer at hand to deal with the new threat posed by the rival kings of Rhudaur and Cardolan. The fact that the first King of Arthedain's name in the Line of Kings is given as 'Amlaith of Fornost' adds colour to this invention: he is remembered by later generations as the king who moved the royal seat to Fornost.

Arthedain was the kingdom of Amlaith, Earendur's eldest son, and contained the main core of Arnor and the most important fortresses, like Fornost, the new capital. The other kingdoms soon dwindled and in III 1349 Arthedain claimed dominion over the ancient regions of Arnor. After this time, the names Arnor and Arthedain became synonymous. Angmar and Rhudaur used this claim as pretext to attack Arthedain which was already weakened by the battles against Angmar, and it fell in III 1974. The name Arnor passes to history, but the heirs of the kingdom and the Line of Isildur was preserved through the Chieftains of the Dúnedain of the North, descented right from Arvedui, the last King of Arthedain. Arnor and Annúminas as a capital, were reestablished with the ReunitedKingdom by King Elessar after the War of the Ring.

Arnor was alo called Arnanóre in Quenya and North(ern) Kingdom.

See: Arthedain

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