Tuesday 20 September 2016

Populations of Middle Earth - The Isle of Numenor (through the 2nd Age)

The population of Numenor was derived from the Three tribes of the Edain that dwelt in Beleriand before Morgoth overran the continent after the Battle of Unnumbered Tears in 472 FA. These were the Beorians, Hadorians and the Haladin, to whom can be added the somewhat separate Druedain who lived among the Haladin, and presumably survivors of the people of Bor, the Easterlings who remained faithful at the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. In my article on the populations of Beleriand at their height around 450 FA, just before the Dagor Bragollach, I estimated that the Edain numbered around 150,000 at their greatest, divided between the three tribes and a mixed group who remained in Estolad. In the century between this point and Morgoth's destruction their population certainly declined catastrophically through battle losses and their lands being overrun by Morgoth's minions. But a remnant of the Hadorians and Beorians survived as thralls in Dor-Lomin, and some of the Haladin clung on in Brethil, as well as presumably some who fled to the Isle of Balar or the southern forests with the last free Elves. These peoples never accepted Morgoth and when the Valar came in power the surviving Edain alone of the remaining peoples of Beleriand joined their armies and fought against Morgoth's hordes.

If we assume the Edain population declined by about 80% during this period, that leaves a mixed population of around 30,000 remaining at the time of liberation by the Valar and the raising of Numenor, including a tiny community of Druedain. These formed the initial population of Numenor after its raising in Year 32 of the Second Age. In HoME 12 'The Peoples of Middle Earth' Tolkien states that the first fleet of refugees lead by Elros numbered about 200 ships carrying "between five thousand or at the most ten thousand" people, but also that there was a smaller steady migration of people over the next 50 years. From this we can be reasonably confident that most if not all of the 30,000ish survivors eventually made their way to Numenor.

Numenor's history spanned about 3300 years from its founding and while we can't exactly state its population at specific points we can identify likely trends. Numenorean history hinges around the falling of 'the Shadow' on Numenor: the turning of its people away from loving loyalty towards the Valar and Eru to bitterness towards the Valar and thirsting to escape death. Tolkien repeatedly stated that in this latter period Numenoreans had fewer and fewer children as they focused on preserving themselves from death and brooding on their ancestors, though in the Akallabeth he also states that even before the Shadow they had few children. It seemed characteristic of Tolkien's culturally higher peoples that many chose not to marry in order to pursue arts and crafts, and this may also explain the slow increase of Numenor's population, despite the fact they didn't suffer from disease until after Sauron came to Numenor in 3260 SA.

Numenor's population growth would be affected by the long-life the Numenoreans enjoyed compared to other men. Numenoreans were granted a life three times that of other men, or about 200 years (apart from the Royal Family -The House of Elros- who lived even longer). It makes sense to assume this affected childbirth and I think a length of 50-100 years between generation is reasonable. Tolkien explicitly states (in the Unfinished Tales) that Numenoreans didn't grow much more slowly than other men i.e. at 30 years old they didn't resemble a normal 10 year old, it's just they endured longer as mature adults before old-age set in. We know that there were 25 generations of Kings but we would expect more generations of ordinary citizens than the Royal Family. For my purposes here I assume there were almost twice as many generations of ordinary Numenoreans, reflecting that Elros' House lived twice as long (until the Shadow deepened). This gives about 45 generations.

Numenor's history can be roughly divided into the following periods. Firstly, from 32-600 the period of isolation from Numenor's foundation to re-establishing contact with Middle Earth. Then from 600-1600, the early years of Numenorean contact and settlement on the mainland. From 1600-2020, Numenor goes to war against Sauron and begins building greater settlements or colonies along the shores of Middle Earth. 2020-2900, the Shadow falls on Numenor, the Numenoreans begin to exact tribute from the men of Middle Earth, conquer territory and build a great Empire. 2900-3320, the Shadow deepens on Numenor leading to the eventual confrontation with Sauron, the disastrous assault on Aman itself, and the complete Downfall of Numenor forever.

Estimating Numenor's population presents a very different challenge to my other posts because those were static estimates, screenshots of what the population was at a specific point in time, whereas here we need to estimate Numenor's population dynamically by working out how it grew over 3000 years. It's good Tolkien introduced reasons why Numenor's population growth was comparatively slow because otherwise the huge length of time it existed, over 3000 years, should've produced an astonishingly high population that doesn't seem to fit with the descriptions of its society. We know the starting population, around 30,000 people at Numenor's founding, and then in theory the population at each point is just a simple exponential function of the growth rate, or the average child-birth per woman. However over 45 generations our assumption for Numenorean childbirth rates massively effects the overall population figures we get, particularly at the end.

We have some information to calibrate these with as well after our starting figure. In 600-800 when Numenor first began to make contact again with Middle Earth it was still relatively sparsely populated, as recounted in the tale of Aldarian and Erendis, with even large areas of the centre mostly inhabited only by sheep. Centuries later in 1700 Numenor's decisive intervention in the 'War of Sauron and the Elves' seems to suggest a much more developed and powerful state. This intensifies over the following centuries as Numenor seems capable of not just exploring across the world but colonising and conquering huge areas of Middle Earth, particularly to the South and East of the lands familiar from LOTR. Presumably by this period Numenor was increasingly crowded and this encouraged the kind of massive emigration familiar from European societies in the industrial 19th and early 20th Centuries. By the time Sauron arrived in the 33rd Century Numenor seems a rather grim and over-developed place, though retaining a certain icy beauty, with violence and strife increasingly breaking out, presumably partly driven by the difficulty of accommodating so many people within its area, though certainly encouraged by Sauron. We can combine these vague images with our knowledge of Numenor's area of 168,000 square miles, twice the size of Britain, and between Germany and France in area, to provide a check on our simple exponential growth model.

For the early period of Numenorean history I estimate an average childbirth rate of 2.4 children per woman. This is obviously just an average, and takes into account Tolkien's statements about Numenoreans having relatively few children, and also that quite a few women would've chosen not to marry at all. For ease I assume this reflects the number of children each woman had that survived into adulthood and bore children, on average, rather than strictly the birth-rate. Numenor was a land without disease or war (for a long time) but Tolkien implies elsewhere child-birth was still painful and potentially deadly, though presumably in proportions more like our modern world than the middle ages.

This model suggests that by 600 SA 8-ish generations would've passed and the Numenorean population would be about 130,000. By 800-900 when 'Aldarion and Erendis' is set there would've been around 250,000 people. At this stage we can assume large parts of Numenor outside the central regions would still be basically uninhabited. By the time of Tar-Minastir's great armanent that decisively turned the tide of the 'War of Sauron and the Elves' around 1600-1700 this model gives a now much greater population of around 2.5-3 million people. The difference from Aldarion's time is dramatic, as would be expected over a thousand years. Whereas in 850 it was considered a great voyage for Numenor to send a few ships to Lindon, now Tar-Minastir sends a great fleet and army of, probably, many thousands of soldiers and sailors on scores of ships. Moving further forward we reach the time of Tar-Atanamir the Great, about 2100 SA, the King under whom the Shadow first fell, and Numenor reached "the zenith of its bliss, if not yet of its power". At this point the population reaches about 7 million.

From this time the Numenoreans increasingly establish colonies along the coasts of Middle Earth that grow steadily until they form virtual kingdoms of their own, conquering surrounding territory and including populations of Numenorean colonists and the native men of those areas. These come into continual confrontation with Sauron dominion over most of the inner lands of Middle Earth south and east of Mordor and absorb the excess population as Numenor became more crowded with the passing centuries. My calculations can only give the total Numenorean population descended from the original settlers, and so include both the population of Numenor proper, and the descendant population in the colonies. This whole period can be compared to the rapid imperialist colonisation of the 18th through 20th centuries in our real world. We also have the division in Numenorean society between the King's Men (anti-Valar, Elves) and the Faithful (Pro-Valar, Elves). We are told most people were King's Men, and the Faithful were concentrated in the west where the Eldar visited from Tol Eressa. Both groups steadily emigrated from Numenor, but the Faithful came to the North-West, the lands of LOTR, to Pelargir, and Eriador where Gil-Galad, High-King of the Eldar, held back the influence of Sauron. The King's Men sailed away to the Numenorean colonies and empire in the un-mapped lands of the South and East of Middle Earth that "left many rumours in the legends of Men", but apart from Umbar were anonymous.

I assume around 80% of Numenoreans were King's Men, and about 20% Faithful, though the proportion of Faithful in Numenor itself certainly declined steadily as the divide deepened, persecution grew, and many were driven to emigrate to the Elven lands of the North West, leaving more King's Men on Numenor itself. By the time of Elendil's departure from Numenor we are told he gathered all that remained of the Faithful he could on nine great ships, implying the rest were almost all gone. During this period of the Shadow, covering about a thousand years after Tar-Atanamir, I assume the average population increase over the whole period slowed to only slightly above the replacement rate (for maths purposes I use an average birthrate of 2.05 per woman). This also represents increasing losses in warfare in Middle Earth as well, where it is implied there was continual conflict with Sauron's forces. Still this proportion is enough that by 2500 SA it predicts a population of some 10 million people, mostly on Numenor but also in its colonies, of which about 2 million would've been the Faithful, and by 3000 SA the population has increased again considerably to 15 million.

At this stage the proportion of the Numenorean population that lived outside Numenor would be steadily rising as Numenor itself grew more crowded, driving emigration, and natural population increase occurred in the colonies themselves. We have no way of determining exactly what proportion of the Numenorean population dwelt abroad but I think give Tolkien's tendency to discuss the Numenoreans as though they were an aristocracy among wilder men in Middle Earth, it's reasonable to assume even at a late stage it formed a minority of the population. I think it reasonable to suggest that by year 3000 perhaps 5 million Numenoreans were living in kingdoms and colonies scattered across Middle Earth. These would not all be 'pure Numenoreans', many would be of only partial Numenorean blood as over the centuries Numenoreans married men and women of Middle Earth.

From this point around 3000 SA the shadow continued to deepen on Numenor until, after Sauron was brought to the island, civil strife broke out, disease began to plague Numenor, and the Faithful were violently persecuted, leading up to the final cataclysmic destruction of Numenor itself. The Faithful increasingly shrank in number as some fell away and others fled to the areas of the North-West that would later form Arnor and Gondor. I assume over this period population growth in Numenor slowed further falling to a complete halt in the period after Sauron's arrival. This suggests a 'final' Numenorean population of around 18 million shortly before the Downfall. We can perhaps sensibly estimate that in this final period there were around 12 million people on Numenor itself and around 6 million spread through its colonies. I think we can justify a continuing assumption that around 25% of the colony population would be Faithful on the basis that while many would've fallen away under persecution, the same persecution would encourage a higher proportion of Faithful to emigrate.

This suggests that in Numenor's final days there were around 1-2 million Faithful of Numenorean and partial descent in the lands around Eriador, Pelargir and the Anduin. There would also have been some 4 million Black Numenoreans spread across Middle Earth, as well as 12 million on Numenor itself, by the end basically entirely Kings Men. According to the Akallabeth at the Downfall Elendil gathered almost all the remaining Faithful who would depart onto this nine ships. We can assume these were enormous vessels, among Numenor's great ships at the height of its power, more like modern Cruise Ships than tiny medieval galleys. But still along with a great store of goods we can't imagine more than around a thousand people fitted on each ship. This means around 9 thousand Dunedain arrived with Elendil, but these figures show they joined a population of Numenorean descent many times larger already in Middle Earth. These people accepted Elendil's right to rule because with the loss of his father, the last Lord of Andunie, he was the hereditary leader of their people, and presumably the most senior surviving descendant of Elros.

These figures are purely illustrative but I think they are in the right ball park, which is as close as we can hope to get. The 1-2 million Faithful of Eriador and Gondor can be compared with my calculation that at the time of LOTR at the end of the 3rd Age, the population of Gondor was around 2 million, and that of Rohan around 500 thousand. There would've been probably equivalently sized populations (or even more) of native men in Eriador and Gondor as well. These provided the populations of early Gondor and Arnor and the manpower that created the Last Alliance of Men and Elves, that according to Elrond was, with the Elves and others, the greatest host in the history of the 2nd and 3rd Ages of Middle Earth. It also brings into stark clarity the sheer scale of the loss of the Downfall, especially if we assume there were also large losses in the cities of the King's Men spread across the shores of Middle Earth. The result would've been like the destruction of Pompei magnified a thousand times over, combined with the greatest Tsunami the world has ever seen.

A brief word in defence of these estimates. In order to disagree dramatically your first option is that Numenorean fertility was only barely above (but conveniently not below) the replacement rate even before the Shadow and even in the colonies on Middle Earth, such that the population barely increased at all from generation to generation. But this gives ridiculously low population figures for the time of Aldarion and Erendis and even Tar-Minastir.  Or you assume fertility must've been higher, but that produces humungous population figures over the extremely long time-frames Tolkien described Numenor as existing, in a blessed land without disease or contraception to control the population.

Nonetheless, I would love to hear your thoughts on these estimates and any suggestions for improving them. They are naturally rough, for we have only the thinnest actual information to go on, but I think they are the best that can be done.


Picard578 said...

Sounds about right. Also, the description of Ar-Pharazon's armies at capturing Sauron and attacking Valinor suggests very large military, which would then require large population. I would like you to do a post about that as well BTW.

Anonymous said...

This is superb. I love this article and always look at LOTR through these 'spectacles' as if they were real countries.

Unfortunately, LOTR IS meant as fairytale and as such lots of things don't really add up as it should. It is very interesting though - I'd love to read an assessment on population of Gondor v Arnor and also Osgiliath during it's height!

Luca luca said...

This calculation is superbly done.
But you doesn’t take into account immigration and slavery.
In the Akallabeth is told that the numenorean ships of the Az-Pharazon fleet can count on a lot of rowers slaves (thousands) and is told there were a lot of pleasures the wealth requires. It means a lot of labourforce.
In Imperial Rome slaves were 20-25% of the population. Most of them foreigners.
Is reasonable that a lot of Numenor’s slaves are captured in Middle Earth. Probably at least 20% of population, given the wealth of the rich aristocracy, the military capabilities of the Numenor army and the existent of their oversea colonies. And to the simple fact that was more easy to satisfy the slave’s demand with imported slaves, then enslaving other Numenorean itselves.
So the slave population in Numenor in the 3.000 S.A. Year could be around 2.4 million.
Adding to the 12 millions of Numenorean natives it goes to 14.4 millions.
Then, a part from slaves there could be other foreigners; such as realeased slaves and slaves descendants; people that came from the colonies, some of them from intercourses with Numenorean colonies and indigenous people, increasing the base of the “Numenorean locals”. Even if there is not direct proof in Tolkien works, and so mere speculation, the (early) intense friendship with Eldar could have brought groups of them to live among the Numenorean and (even if not recorded) to cause hundreds of intercourses (many of them choosing to be humans), expecially in the early years of Numenor, and so to increase the base population. Given the mighty power and wealth of the Numenorean and their love for art craft and machinery I would not be surprised if a little group of dwarves lives in Numenor.
Given the wars against Sauron enslaved goblin and orcs war prisoners could live in Numenor at the time of Az-Pharazon (from 10.000 to 100.000), useful for a lot of jobs, from building (goblin are small, agile natural climbers) to entertainment, such as fight or sexual depravate games, given the depravation of the Melkor followers. There could be even enslaved dwarves.
All this phenomenons May increase a little the population (expecially backup immigration from colonies and intercourses), increasing the population from (12+2.4) 14.4 million to 15 million, considering even the greater fertility of lower man and mixed-blood men.
Slaves could be object of programmed breeding to increase their number fastly.

Mach's Corner said...

1) Elf-Human intercourses are always told of and they are very few.
2) Numenoreans were a quite racist people (even Dunedain of Gondor in XV century Third Age were) and I strongly doubt that in the midst of Second Age any Numenorean would have considered as part of their homeland population any foreigner.
3) There is no mention of Numenorean-Dwarves wars.

Unknown said...

Very nice article. After reading this, the numbers you state just seem or feel high to me and I'm not arguing against it with your math at all, but having populations in the millions let alone 10 million + doesn't seem to fit into Tolkien's world to me. Never has Middle Earth been depicted as a sort of Europe in population densities, there but a handful of distinct kingdoms and they pretty much stick to themselves: Elven, Arnor, Gondor etc and within each it seems rather sparse. The armies in Middle Earth never reach close to Medieval sizes let alone Roman sizes. There just isn't enough population to sustain such large armies. I believe Numenor would have been filled to the gills with people even at 7 million during Tar-Ancalimon's reign. Did your initial population assumptions of 30k making it to Numenor assume a 50/50 male female split? I would think the male population would have been decimated in the 1st Age wars so that ratio would not be equal or close to it IMO. I am not sure how you figured 168k square miles with the shape of Numenor (I'm no calculus guru) but I eyeballed it with google maps and Numenor seems to be about the size of Spain/Portugal but in a star shape (roughly 130k square miles of land), and sits about where Puerto Rico / Haiti is at latitude wise.

Let's say the initial population of 30k that landed in SA 1st century was a 6-4 or 7-3 female to male ratio and of the males there must have been more old men and young boys of the males who survived the fighting. What would that do to your numbers? If you want to email me direct I'd love to indulge a bit offline.

Thanks for the post!


Stephen Wigmore said...

Thanks for the comment. I think your response is a relatively common one, but I believe unnecessary. Tolkien specifies that the Army of Gondor and Rohan that went out to the final battle in RotK was 7,000 strong, and that was after heavy losses at the Pelennor Fields, and leaving thousands more troops back in Minas Tirith, but still that 7k would have been the size of only a vanguard in the days of Gondor's might.

7,000 is very comparable to medieval European armies, whether the British army at Agincourt (5k-ish) or the Armies at Hastings (7k-ish each). That suggests in the days of Gondor's might their army would've been more like 30-50 thousand, very comparable to the larger Roman armies of the more developed period. The English army of 5k at Agincourt, or 7k at Hastings would have been drawn from a population of 2 million or so, so again, very comparable to the figures I give in my other articles.

Regarding Numenor specifically, the figure for area comes from the excellent Atlas of Middle Earth by Karen Fonstad. We have very little description of Numenor in its later years, but it was clearly very different to its early years, and far more industrialised and mechanised, and it's only in this later periods that Numenor begins to top 10 million. I think this is credible, it still represents a far lower population density than modern European countries. For example, Germany has a population density of 600/sq mile and France 300/sq mile, but even at 12 million Numenor has a density of only 71/sq mile, which is actually very comparable to medieval England.

If you've read my articles on Elvish Kingdoms I do estimate much lower populations for most Elvish kingdoms tens or low hundreds of thousands. But I see no reason to assume Tolkien's Mannish kingdoms wouldn't have comparable populations to real-world analogous civlisations.

Anonymous said...

You're not far off from what Tolkien imagined Numenor's population at the time of the Downfall would be (15 million).

Μάηος said...

Crazy. You made all these calculations years ago, yet the recent "The Nature of Middle-earth" that was released in September 2021 does tell us almost exacly the same thing! You say that there were 18 million people by the end of the Second Age, while the text tells us that "Before the Downfall the population of Númenor itself may have been as many as 15 million."!!! Amazing.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that 30,000 edain could survive the War of Wrath, which went on for 42 years! Also it's unlikely the women or children would fight, but most children would be men at the end, and the first men would be dead of old age if they had not been killed. If there were 30,000 at the start, I think there would be no more than 15,000 by the end.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering about generation length in your calculations, I think the rate of 2.4 is about right judging from Tolkien's description of family sizes and allowing for childless couples, etc. But judging from nobles such as Aragorn and Faramir they also started their families MUCH later than middle ages people - looks like parents were typically 40 to 80. Given the lifespans of Gondorian men is slightly less than ordinary Numenoreans then a generation is about 60 years give or take a decade. Do your numbers reflect that?

Stephen Wigmore said...

Hi there,

I take this into account in the paragraph below. I work backwards from the stated number of generations for the Royal Family (25) but to assume 45 generations for ordinary Numenoreans, which would work out at a generation of roughly 70 years.

"Numenor's population growth would be affected by the long-life the Numenoreans enjoyed compared to other men. Numenoreans were granted a life three times that of other men, or about 200 years (apart from the Royal Family -The House of Elros- who lived even longer). It makes sense to assume this affected childbirth and I think a length of 50-100 years between generation is reasonable. Tolkien explicitly states (in the Unfinished Tales) that Numenoreans didn't grow much more slowly than other men i.e. at 30 years old they didn't resemble a normal 10 year old, it's just they endured longer as mature adults before old-age set in. We know that there were 25 generations of Kings but we would expect more generations of ordinary citizens than the Royal Family. For my purposes here I assume there were almost twice as many generations of ordinary Numenoreans, reflecting that Elros' House lived twice as long (until the Shadow deepened). This gives about 45 generations."

John said...

Hey Stephen, just curious about how you got your numbers for Gondor's army at its height. To my knowledge, a vanguard isn't a fixed percentage of any medieval army. In my opinion, the army size might be over 100,000 since Tolkien said in one of his letters that Gondor at its height was "almost a reflection of Numenor". I'm also curious about your estimates of the size of the Numeran army, given that Numenor was confirmed to have a population of 15 million before its downfall. Sidenote: great post, Stephen

Stephen Wigmore said...

I assume you're referring to the number in the comment above that "in the days of Gondor's might their army would've been more like 30-50 thousand"?

That figure is just a guess, based on a vanguard of 7k. I agree a vanguard isn't necessarily any fixed amount, hence the large range. I'd draw a distinction though between the total size of Gondor's armies and the size of any one field army.

If by analogy Gondor resembled the Roman or Byzantine Empires then at its peak it would field multiple armies and garrison forces. Individual armies probably wouldn't be more than 30-50k because pre-modern forces tended to hit logistical limits above that level. The total armed forces available to Gondor though would probably hit 100k, and I'd expect Numenor to be higher than that. Note Tolkien's says "almost a reflection of Numenor", he doesn't actually say they were the same size.

John said...

Hey Stephen, thanks for you're response. I agree with everything you said but just a couple of things:

Regarding the Byzantine Empire comparison, couldn't they field over 300,000 total forces at some point, so couldn't Gondor also reach those numbers? Also, what percentage of the population do you think Numenor could field for its armies? I'd expect a fairly high percentage compared to other medieval societies since their men are of fighting age for hundreds of years.

Stephen Wigmore said...

Quite possibly so. Gondor at its height would be about 1000 TA, any attempt to quantify their total army and naval manpower at that point would be a total guess given how little information we have, but I'd assume they're drawing from a considerably larger population than the 2 million I estimated at the end of Third Age, perhaps 10 million or more.

Numenor is interesting because they would have probably prioritised Naval force rather than land armies, but would still have fielded considerable forces. Across their various colonies and home region this would perhaps have totalled into the hundreds of thousands.

AlexB said...

Fertility is a strange thing. Looking purely at the tree Early Generations of the Line of Elros, we see he had four children, the males of which at the very least also had sons. We don't know about the daughter. His eldest, Vardamir, also had four children, and it's much the same set up. Two of his sons have three children, and one of each of those also has three. By Aldarion's time only one of the male lines doesn't appear to have at least one male heir, and we know very little about many of the female lines. But it does appear that, at least among the line of Elros, in the first few generations that there is a much higher level of fertility than one would expect for such long lived people. Of course the easy answer for this is the first generations might still be working off the hardship of the late First Age, and as they become generationally acclimatised to the life of ease they start having fewer children.

As for how many generations between the founding and the Downfall: the House of Bëor are shorter lived (according to Line of Elros note 1). Compare Erendis' old age at 214 when she died by water vs Vëantur being 276 on returning from Aldarion's first (and his own final) voyage to ME. There is nothing to suggest Vëantur is from Elros' line from a cadet branch, and the spans of the Lords of Andúnië suggest such a thing would not account for an old age close to 300 anyway. I'd guess that there would be different generational tiers early on between e.g. Bëorians and Hadorians, though over a few more generations these might sort themselves out provided people didn't decide to stick within their own lifespan band following Aldarion's catastrophic marriage, for which he blamed Erendis' shorter life.

There's also the issue of the Lords of Andúnië, who continue to live longer lives when the lifespan of the royal house dwindles, as evidenced by Elendil being the 24 generation from Elros, and a year younger than Ar-Pharazôn of the 25th generation (and also his father's generation, because different lifespans make weird multi-generational match ups) . He had two sons, 10 years apart, and (assuming no earlier children not mentioned) starts at age 90. He's killed age 322. Isildur has 4 children, the first at age 90. Anárion has his fourth child at age 99.

While this is admittedly not much to go on, even assuming Elendil is an only child and only has two children himself rather than unmentioned siblings and offspring not relevant to the texts, there does appear to be a shift towards having children younger even with the longer lifespan. If Isildur and Anárion are not atypical, it suggests to me that the Lords of Andunië and their offshoots on average may have started having more and earlier children as a result of the persecution of the Faithful. Perhaps this was true of the Faithful as a whole, as often happens in times of hardship (see speculation about early the line). This could be a recent phenomenon—around Ar-Gimilzôr's time, or it could have started with Ar-Adûnakhôr's ban on the elven tongues. It could have even started earlier under Tar-Ancalimon when the rift starts growing and Sindarin stops being spoken among the royal house and King's Men.

I don't think any of this alters your reckoning, as there isn't enough meaningful data here to extrapolate anything worthwhile. The overall result remains the same, and any difference in numbers is probably allowed for in your averages. But even if everything I stated was not intended by Tolkien, I don't think any it is out of place against what's happening in the text, so I thought I'd share as points of consideration. I like to think at the very least it adds extra flavour, that Tolkien was thorough enough such things could be read into it.

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