"The inland city", south of Umbar

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Skauril 20/Dec/2006 at 06:13 AM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 467 Posts: 163 Joined: 13/Dec/2004

We know that the Numenoreans founded several colonies and settlements up and down the coasts of Middle-earth during the Second Age. Many of these were far to the South, far beyond Umbar, even. These southern colonies turned to the worship of Melkor after Ar-Pharazon was seduced by Sauron, and their inhabitants adopted all manner of occult practices and customs. They became known as the Black Numenoreans, enemies and betrayers of their northern kin, the faithful line of Elendil.

One of the southern colonies is mentioned by Tolkien, described as "The Inland City". This information can be derived from his letters pertaining to Queen Beruthiel, a Black Numenorean who was wed to a Gondorian king in a loveless union in the Third Age. Queen Beruthiel (who was a wicked woman, prompting the King of Gondor to exile her out to sea on a boat with her cats, and having her name erased from the Book of Kings) hailed from this "Inland City", which was supposedly located south of Umbar, and quite obviously, judging from its name, in the inland regions of that part of Harad.

Is there any information on this "Inland city" and its strategic importance? Or was it just one of those things that Tolkien mentioned in passing, leaving his readers hungry for more details?

It was obviously a Black Numenorean colony, but is there anything else we can glean from it?

At times like these I wish I could contact someone like Christopher Tolkien personally and ask him for more info.

Magradhaid 20/Dec/2006 at 04:02 PM
Imp of Umbar Points: 7957 Posts: 8204 Joined: 13/Sep/2008

>This information can be derived from his letters pertaining to Queen Beruthiel
Could you say where this information about "the Inland City" comes from? I have his Letters, and find nothing referencing it in any of the indexed letters for Umbar, Berúthiel, or Harad. The majority of your description of Berúthiel comes from UT, but that note says nothing about an "Inland City" either. However, if this indeed is a JRRT quote, then I suppose it would refer to the City of the Corsairs (the Havens of Umbar). Umbar was a "great cape and land-locked firth" or "peninsula and haven".

I just found that the quote "Well, Berúthiel went back to live in the inland city, and went to the bad (or returned to it — she was a Black Númenórean in origin, I guess)" was from a 1966 interview. It doesn’t mention south of Umbar; that was from other sources. Perhaps this meant south past the peninsula of Umbar and into the haven of the City of the Corsairs? See map by Christopher Tolkien. If not, then I have no idea of what it meant, I’m not aware of any information dealing with places south of the City of the Corsairs.

Skauril 21/Dec/2006 at 02:15 AM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 467 Posts: 163 Joined: 13/Dec/2004

I have several internet sources that place the "Inland City" south of Umbar (could this refer to the haven of the City of Corsairs? Seems somehow odd, seeing as it was very close to the coast.. and Tolkien never described Umbar as anything but Umbar or the City of the Corsars, in any other context). Of course, whenever dealing with internet information, one must place whatever he reads under extra close scrutiny.

However, I found this passage, among many others, that states (or claims to)  the location of the Inland City.

"Berúthiel was of Black Númenórean origin, from "the inland city", somewhere south of Umbar."

http://www.answers.com/topic/queen-ber-thiel

^ The references for this information:

  1. ^ a b J. R. R. Tolkien (1980). Christopher Tolkien (ed.) Unfinished Tales. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, note 7 to The Istari. ISBN 0-395-29917-9.
  2. ^ The Realms of Tolkien. originally published in New Worlds in November 1966, reprinted in Carandaith in 1969 and again in Fantastic Metropolis in 2001.
  3. ^ J. R. R. Tolkien (1965). The Fellowship of the Ring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, chapter "A Journey in the Dark". LCCN 67-12275.

I’ve seen several sources cite this "The Realms of Tolkien" as a source, whatever that is. I’ve never read it.

It has been speculated that King Tarannon married Queen Beruthile to reconcile the feuding and bad blood between the Black Numenorean colonies of the South and Gondor. Obviously his attempt failed because of the wickedness of the Queen.

geordie 21/Dec/2006 at 10:35 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Since Tyrhael has done the research on Letters and UT, I shan’t need to.

"Berúthiel was of Black Númenórean origin, from "the inland city", somewhere south of Umbar."

I don’t know where this comes from; it does’nt sound like Tolkien. I’d ignore it.

I just found that the quote "Well, Berúthiel went back to live in the inland city, and went to the bad (or returned to it — she was a Black Númenórean in origin, I guess)" was from a 1966 interview

Yes - as has been said, it’s from an article called ’The Realms of Tolkien’, by Daphne Castell, based on an interview with Tolkien. [New Worlds SF Vol.50 n0.168, Nov.1966] I have a copy, natch!

Castell was a former student of Tolkien’s - the question of Beruthiel came up as part of the conversation. Tolkien was talking about allusions to older legends scattered about the tale, or summarized in App.A, then said ’There’s one exception that puzzles me - Beruthiel. I really don’t know anything about her... she just popped up, and obviously called for attention,... I have the notion that she was the wife of one of the ship-kings of Pelargir’. She loathed the smell of the sea, and fish, and gulls...’.

Then he went on about Skaldi and Jottunheim, said the bit about Beruthiel going back to the inland city, and that was that.

But I should point out that this is not Tolkien’s writing - it’s Castell, based on her notes and/or memory of the conversation. And Castell got some things wrong; when T. said he’d been working on his world before 1930, and parts of it during WWI, she assumed he meant LotR, not Silm. So we shoulf take this with a pinch of salt.
Skauril 22/Dec/2006 at 12:06 AM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 467 Posts: 163 Joined: 13/Dec/2004

Hmm.. interesting to know. So it wasn’t directly from Tolkien himself.

What DO we know for certain, then? Was she a Black Numenorean at all? Did this "Inland City" exist in any form? Or is the whole Queen Beruthiel legend built on a shaky foundation to begin with?

Bah, I hate it when questions concerning Tolkien’s more vague revelations about Middle-earth go unanswered.   

Durin of Moria 22/Dec/2006 at 01:33 AM
Scribe of Erebor Points: 467 Posts: 260 Joined: 24/Mar/2006
I never knew that the queen was a black Numenorean who lived somewhere south of Umbar. Where did you read it?
Ardamir 22/Dec/2006 at 01:16 PM
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The part of Castell’s interview that deals with Berúthiel is also printed on p. 284 in Reader’s Companion.
geordie 23/Dec/2006 at 04:22 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Thanks, Adamir, that’s brilliant - - saves me typing out the whole thing about Skaldi and all that. But I think we should point out that in this case the Reader’s Companion to which you refer is in fact ’The Lord of the Rings - A Reader’s Companion’ by Wayne G.Hammond and Christina Scull [2005]. This being a volume of annotations for LotR. [H&S had wanted to do a sort of ’Annotated LotR, along the lines of Anderson’s ’Annotated Hobbit’, but found the material was too vast to put into the margins of an edition of LotR, and so had to produce an entire book].

This is to be distinguished from the latest of Hammond and Scull’s works [I should say ’Scull-Hammond’, for they put Christina’s name first this time.    ] - their latest is called ’JRR Tolkien: A Companion and Guide’, and comes in two fat volumes. All three are _essential_ reading for any true lover of Tolkien’s works; in fact, I paraphrased the blurb on LotR - ’The Tolkien-reading world is divided into those who have read the Companion and Guide, and those who are going to read them’. [same goes for the LotR Companion].

Anyway - there are some bits about Castell, and her visit to Tolkien, in the JRR Companion and Guide, too. But the one you quote there is very useful. Says it all.
Ardamir 23/Dec/2006 at 11:13 AM
Brewer of the Shire Points: 984 Posts: 532 Joined: 17/Oct/2003
I usually call the two volumes of the JRR Tolkien: A Companion and Guide Reader’s Guide and Chronology. But Reader’s Guide might easily be mixed up with Reader’s Companion, so maybe that should be called LOTR Companion instead.
geordie 23/Dec/2006 at 11:56 AM
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Ardamir -
Skauril 25/Dec/2006 at 03:06 AM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 467 Posts: 163 Joined: 13/Dec/2004

One more thing about this Inland CIty...

even if we cannot verify its exact location from a source straight from Tolkien himself (i.e. undisputable canon), what would be the most logical place for it? Queen Beruthiel was a Black Numenorean, wasn’t she? And Black Numenoreans had colonies in southern Middle-earth (and it’s possible they also had scattered colonies in even more remote parts of Middle-earth, relics of the days when they sailed around the southern tip of Endor and to the East in the Second Age).

Would it not be logical to assume that the "Inland City" lies somewhere in the less known regions of Middle-earth, even if Tolkien never specified it?

Ha!

Wait.. now I know where the "south of Umbar" bit came from. Tolkien later had one final thing to say on Queen Beruthiel’s fate. At first he said that the last that was seen of her was her ship sailing south past the cape of Umbar, with her cats on board. Tolkien later said, as stated in this thread, that she "went back the the Inland City". She sailed south past Umbar and returned to the "Inland City". Unless we assume that she turned her ship around and sailed back north, which would make little sense, seeing as ’back north’ would be back towards the realm of Gondor from whence she was exiled, it’s only logical to assume she kept her course. Ok, maybe we don’t know exactly where in the South, but still...

Makes sense to me, but then again, my methods of information processing are not always up to empirical standards.

Does this make sense to any of you? What do you all think?