|Motto: “In Valinor We Trust.”|
- High King
|Foundation||May 1st, 3019 T.A.|
The Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor is a realm located on the western part of Middle-Earth.
The Realm includes the areas of influence and domain of Dùnedains: the costituent realms of Gondor (south) and Arnor (north), the most part of Eriador region between the two realms, and the plains between the Ered Lithui and the Sea of Rhûn, belonging to the southern parts of Rhovanion.
The Reunited Kingdom lays on western shores of Belager, the Great Sea: its most northern shore is on Bay of Forochel, while its southern-most part consists of the city of Umbar.
The Reunited Kingdom is a feudal and unitary state, governed under an absolute monarchy, with its seat of government is Minas Anor. It consists of two constituent countries: Arnor and Gondor. Each of the constituent countries has its own local administrations, but both of them are ruled by the High King of Gondor and Arnor.
Associated with the constituent countries, but not part of it, are the two Common Regions of Enedwaith and of Rhovanion.
The Name "Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor" was introduced in 1 F.A. by King Aragorn II-Tar Elessar of the House Telcontar. It reflects the restoration of the Kingdom of Arnor and the reunification of dominions of Dùnedains. Upon Sauron's defeat, Aragorn II was crowned as Tar Elessar of the House of Telcontar. He became the twenty-sixth King of Arnor, thirty-fifth King of Gondor and the first High King of the Reunited Kingdom. However, the royal authority was actually reestablished in Arnor between 35 and 47 F.A. Following decades were marked by both a re-colonization effort, aimed to re-settle at least the most important northern cities and streets, as well as Enedwaith main strong-places like Tharbad and Isengard) and a series of military campaigns. King Elessar died in the year 120 F.A., just after having passed the throne to his son Eldarion.
Roads are normally safe enough, especially major ones, because they are protected by garrisons scattered along their route. However, the Reunited Kingdom stretches over a territory so immense and journey times for some journeys are long and well versed in the territories so wild that no one is really safe when traveling, if he has with him a "greedy loot" for bands raiders or if it has, for some reason, leave the main routes to unusual paths.
- 1 Geography
- 2 Government
- 3 Military of the Reunited Kingdom
- 4 The Laws of Númenor
- 5 Languages
The country occupies the major part of the western regions of Middle-Earth. It lies between the Ice Bay of Forochel and the southern shores of Bay of Belfalas.
Most of the country consists of lowland terrain, with mountainous terrain representing part of southern (Ered Nimras between Gondor and Rohan and Ephrel Dúath between Gondor and former Mordor) and central borders (the southern part of the Misty Mountains between Dunland and Rohan).
The principal rivers are the Anduin, Gwathló (Greyflood) and Baranduin (Brandwyne).
The Reunited Kingdom is a feudal and unitary state under an absolute monarchy. High King Arfalor I is the head of state. The High King exercises ultimate governing authority; his powers are not limited by the law, although he has not the right of reigning against natural law as established by Valar. The Monarchy is hereditary. The monarchy is counterbalanced by political groups from among the social classes and regions of the realm.
Each country of the Reunited Kingdom has its own system of administrative and geographic demarcation, which has origins that pre-date the formation of the Reunification itself.
The High King
The High King of Arnor and Gondor is the Kings of all Dúnedains. Elendil was the leader of the Elendili who survived the Downfall.
There has been five High-Kings of Arnor and Gondor since the sundering of the two Kingdoms. High Kings before the long sundering of both Arnor and Gondor were Elendil the Tall and his son Isildur. After the death of Isildur in T.A. 2, his son Valandil succeeded him as King of Arnor, while his brother Anárion's son Meneldil succeeded him as King of Gondor. Valandil never attempted to assert power over Gondor, and thus Isildur is counted as the last High King of both Realms, but the descendents of Valandil continued to use the title High King of Arnor. Later, after the death of Ondoher of Gondor, Arvedui of Arthedain claimed the Kingship over Gondor as the rightful heir of Isildur, but the Council of Gondor, influenced by Steward Pelendur refused Arvedui's claim, saying that Isildur forsook the Kingdom to Meneldil, and that only the heirs of Anárion could be King of Gondor. Arvedui would become the last King of Arnor, and his descendants, the Chieftains of the Dúnedain never attempted to claim the throne of Gondor, nor the High Kingship.
Only at the beginning of the Fourth Age, the two kingdoms came under one ruler again as the Reunited Kingdom under Elessar Telcontar and, later in the Fourth Age, under Elessar Telcontar's son, Tar Eldarion. Eldarion inherited his Kingdom in a manner that recalled the ancient traditions of Númenor: his father Aragorn Elessar gave him the tokens of his rule, and then gave up his life willingly, as his mighty ancestors had done thousands of years before. The new King's mother Arwen left him to rule alone, passing away to the now-empty land of Lórien, where her long life also came to an end.
The incumbent High King, Tar Arfalor I Eldarien, is the Eldarion's eldest son.
The High King, also styled King of the West, fulfills three roles.
The first and foremost of these is the priestly function: to act as the Valar's chosen mediator between Eru Ilúvatar and the people by presiding over the annual ceremonies. The High King's second traditional role is as Dùnedains' chief jurist. He serves as the upholder, arbitrator, and executor of the Laws of Númenor. While this function extends well beyond the performance of ritual stipulations, it is nevertheless inbued with religious authority; for the monarch possesses the power to bind oaths by the names of Eru Ilúvatar and the Valar, and so to bless those who fulfill their word and to curse oathbreakers. Finally, in his juridical role, the monarch has the task to enact new laws as need arose.
The third duty of the monarch is the governance of the Kingdoms in times of peace, and the leadership of its hosts in times of war. This function is much less rigid than the other two roles, in part due to the strength of the traditional aristocracy.
Council of the Sceptre
The Council of the Sceptre is the restrict royal advice and support body. It is composed of princes and lords of each of the Kingdom's separate lands, of the High King's heir, and of the Steward and the Great Officers of the Realm as well. The Councillors in their capacity have no power save that of advice and counsel.
Great Officers of the Realm
In the Reunited Kingdom, the Great Officers of the Realm are the Crown ministers, who are appointed to exercise certain functions as part of the government. Such positions are not transmissible nor hereditary. The Reunited Kingdom inherits its Officers from both Gondor and Arnor. While most of them are hereditary, some offices are appointed. Some offices are put into "commission"; that is, multiple commissioners are appointed to collectively exercise the office.
Steward of the Realm
The Stewards of the Realm are at first the chief of the high councilors to the High Kings. Steward is therefore the traditional title of the chief counsellor to the High Kings. Stewards are of pure high Númenórean blood.
Soon after the death of Denethor II, Aragorn II Tar Elessar Telcontar was crowned High King. The Steward Faramir, son of Denethor II, surrendered to the High King his rod of office, but it was returned to him. King Elessar confirmed in Faramir and his descendants the office of Steward of Gondor, which soon became Steward of the Realm, and granted him in addition the Princedom of Ithilien, ensuring his line a position as counsellor of the King.
Gondor is the South Kingdom of the Reunited Kingdoms. In the Fourth Age, Gondor is the actual seat of the High King. The King of Gondor is aided by the Council of Gondor, which meets in a separate capacity from the Council of the Sceptre. Some Gondorian lords do not seat into the Council of the Sceptre.
Geography and subdivisions
Within the Reunited Kingdom, Gondor lies south the line of Adorn-Angren (Isen) river in the north, which separates it from both Enedwaith (part of the Kingdom of the West but not of Gondor) and the allied land of Rohan; south a relatively segment of the Ered Nimrais range, which separate Gondor from the Eastfold; east the Mearing Stream and the Falls of Rauros, which separate Gondor and Eastfold and East Emnet respectively; south the Dead Marshes, which mark the border between the Western Middle-earth and the Rhovanion (part of which under the control of the High Kings); west the Ephel Duath, which separate Ithilien from Plateau of Gorgoroth (the ancient Mordor) and Nurn; north the Harnen (except for some coastal possessions), which divides Harondor from Near Harad.
Therefore Gondor comprises the ten most southern lands: Umbar, Harondor, Ithilien, Anórien, Lossarnach, Lebennin, Belfalas, Lamedon and Ringló Vale, Anfalas and Andrast. Each of these lands enjoys of a different form of government, according to its own customs and traditions: while, for instance, Ithilien is under the rule of the Prince of Ithilien, Andrast is governed by a King-appointed Lord Lieutenant, who has no more than little authority over the Drúedain who inhabit this land, and Anórien is under the direct rule of the King. However, in a general way, Umbar, Harondor and Andrast all have a King-appointed Lord Lieutenant (although duties and responsibilities vary according each province), Ithilien is under the firm rule of the House of Húrin and Anórien under the direct rule of the High King; the remaining provinces are governed by High Councils, made up of all significant lords and representatives of major autonomous cities and towns. At the head of the High Councils are generally high-ranking nobles, but the High King may appoint a commoner as personal legate. The only exception is the High Council of Belfalas, which is presided over by the Prince of Dol Amroth due to an hereditary privilege granted in ancient times. The ten Gondorian provinces are further subdivided into numerous fiefdoms, cities and towns, each enjoying some degree of autonomy, according its history and granted privileges. While fiefdoms, such as the Princedom of Dol Amroth, are ruled by King's vassals according hereditary rules, autonomous cities and towns are governed through several institutional forms, ranging from an urban aristocracy to a direct democracy. However, the most common forms of government are oligarchic in nature.
Gondor is administered according a common law system. There is no major codification of the statutes enacted by the Sovereign, and judicial precedents are binding as opposed to persuasive. The justices and judges are responsible for adapting the Writ system to meet everyday needs. However, royal decrees overtake judicial law making so that judges are only able to innovate in certain areas.
The doctrine of precedent requires similar cases to be adjudicated in a like manner.
The highest appellate court in Gondor is the King's Hearing and its decisions are binding on every other court in the hierarchy which are obliged to apply its rulings as the law of the land. The High Court of Justice binds the lower courts, and so on.
In every fiefdom and autonomous city or town civil and criminal justice is administered through a court system established in each jurisdiction according to its specific needs. Lords and cities are entitled to administer civil law and minor criminal offences, while serious criminal offences, established by immemorial law, case law or royal statute, are dealt with by specific royal courts, which are present in each jurisdiction.
Both lordish and royal rulings can be appealed at the High Court of Justice, whose see is in every provincial capital. Under some circumstances, rulings of the High Court of Justice can be further appealed at the King's Hearings. The King's Hearings are royal hearings dedicated to appeals, when the King, who is himself a fine jurist, provides the ultimate ruling. When the Sovereign is absent, the King's Hearings are not held.
Military of the Reunited Kingdom
The military of the Reunited Kingdom is formed by the military of Gondor and by military units and formations of Arnor. However, the backbone of the military consists of southern forces, which are designed to be integrated with the Rohan's forces.
The Royal Army is the primary military body of the armed forces of the Reunited Kingdom, serving alongside the Royal Navy. The Royal Army maintains an high level of discipline, strategic prowess and organization.
There are two ground forces types: the Central Armies, a standing army of professional soldiers under High King's permanent and direct commaand, and the territorial forces, raised, maintained and organized by local lords or captains, such as the Rangers of Ithilien. The latter ones have the task of immediate border defence and resistance against the enemy, while the central armies have the task of conducting major war operations. However, during major wars, territorial forces can be put under High King's direct command.
Compared to Gondor, the northern Arnorian armies make less use of mounted troops. Footmen are the most numerous part of the army.
The Royal Navy constitutes the sea defence force of the Reunited Kingdom: it is a fully unified force and, although its core lays within the Bay of Belfalas, several squadrons are headquartered at Arnor's seaports and harbours. Gondor maintained a considerable navy from the time of the first of the "Ship-Kings".
The main military seaports of important strategic meaning are Pelargir, Umbar and Linhir in the South, while the northern most important harbour are Mithlond and Lond Daer.
Chain of command
The military chain of command is focused mainly around Gondorian forces: however, there are several forces and formations within Arnor: most of them are comprised under regular Cavalry or Infantry, although some units, such as Rangers of the North or others, are framed within the Royal Hosts.
- High King Arfalor I: he is the supreme commander;
- Steward of the Realm
- Quartermaster general
- Captain-General of the Royal Hosts
- Captain-General of the Reunited Kingdom: Commander of Central Armies
- Captain-General of Arnor: Commander of Central Armies in Arnor
- Captain-General of Gondor: Commander of Central Armies in Gondor
- Generals: Commanders of a Central Army
- Captains: Commanders of companies, both of horse and foot.
- Generals: Commanders of a Central Army
- Captain of the Ships
- Lord-Captains of the Reunited Kingdom: Commanders of naval commands
- Captains-at-Sea: Commanders of vessels and ships
- Lord-Captains of the Reunited Kingdom: Commanders of naval commands
- Steward of the Realm
The Laws of Númenor
The Laws of Númenor comprise a sacred corpus of religious law which the Faithful inherited from their forefathers, and which forms the basis of all legal traditions adhered to within the Realms-in-Exile and, therefore, within the Reunited Kingdom. They form the constitution ordained by the Valar and include all the just and fair royal decrees whose memory survived the events recorded in the Akallabêth.
Taken together, this body of ancient law serves as the norm and standard against which all other sources of law must be measured and evaluated.
The original laws were given to the Three Houses of Men by Eönwë, the herald of Manwë. The laws were inscribed upon seven bronze tablets and preserved in Armenelos. They stipulated sacred order - the worship of Ilúvatar, obedience to the Powers, respect for oaths, and observance of ritual prohibitions. The king's primary duty was to see to it that the Dúnedain adhered to their place in this order. As for the ordering of the Númenórean society itself, the Law of Seven Tablets covered little. The Three Houses could decide (in concert with their king) their own internal affairs in the Gathering of Houses. After Númenor became a settled and urban society, the laws of Edain (Namnar Atanion) were collected and codified as non-religious law.
The Downfall wiped out the vast majority of written records in Númenor. So, Elendil commanded that his sons undertake to compile an exhaustive codex of Númenórean law. This compilation sprang from its extant surviving fragments, which would serve as the foundation for all future law-making and jurisprudence in Gondor and Arnor.
The task of compiling and ordering the Laws of Númenor took sixty years and was carried out in the Halls of the Faithful in Pelargir. The resulting codex became the sacred corpus of law in Arnor and Gondor.
Once codified the Laws of Númenor remained a fixed corpus, intended to serve as canon for the development of future laws, but never to be expanded or changed because no law created under the authority of the exile could ever equal or surpass the authority of the original. Nevertheless, a great deal of new law did come into use in Gondor over the two millenia following the Downfall.
The making and execution of law in the Reunited Kingdom
As in Númenor, the process by which laws were made in the the Reunited Kingdom is handled by the High King in concert with the Council of the Sceptre. This assembly convenes annually at the summer court of Minas Anor. They counsel the High King in matters affecting the realm as a whole, assist him in the adjudication of important cases, and confirm new laws formulated under the High King's supervision. It also has the highest authority in determining the royal succession, and joins the king in the three great annual supplications at mount Mindolluin.
The High King is responsible for upholding the Laws of the Seven Tablets, any breach of those laws has to be judged by the High King himself or by one of his appointed officers. Thus, political and military leaders frequently assume a juridical role. The laws of the Edain and their derivatives, including royal decrees, are the jurisdiction of the regular court system, separate from the political chain of command.
The Reunited Kingdom de facto official language is Westron, the language derived from contact between the Adûnaic tongue of Númenor and the languages of the western coastlands of the continent of Middle-earth.