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Discussing: Ranks in the Gondorian military

Ranks in the Gondorian military

Hey Kids,

OK, we know that the very tippy-top commander in Gondor is the Captain-General, as that is Boromir's title.

We know there are Captains, as Faramir and Thorongil both carried that title. I've also read references to lieutenants.

Now, if I had a person who was the second in command to a captain (say, to Thorongil), what rank would this person be? Would this person be a lieutenant?

In a more general sense, what would officer ranks look like? How many ranks would there be between a captain and an ordinary foot-soldier?

Toodles - Ang,
who is, yes, writing up more political stuff

PS - still looking for any info about travel times between Henneth Annun and Minas Tirith.



Re: Ranks in the Gondorian military

Yes, please, SOMEBODY answer this question! I, too, am desperate! I'm also wondering where the Rangers of Ithilien fit in among the more general ranks of the Gondor military, and whether or not we think they would exist, say, two generations prior to Denethor II, during Turgon's time, while Mordor was still sleeping...

I probably need to scour RotK for particulars about who wears what design on what armor, too.



Re: Ranks in the Gondorian military

Um, nobody knows? ;)

I too have been pondering this question. There is very little information available, although a comparison to Rohan (which we do know a good deal about) may be helpful.

The truly supreme commander is of course the Steward (or King, in FA terms.) It's Ecthelion who gives 'Thorongil' permission for the assault on Umbar. And I'm fairly I read somewhere (UT or Peoples of Middle earth?) that originally the role of the Steward was to 'keep house' while the King was off at the wars, and that he (the Steward) was not permitted to leave Gondor. So in times when the King/Ruling Steward was young and able (like Turgon during the Ithilien invasion?) he himself might be the Captain-General - but that when he got older it was presumed he would have an heir who could take over this role.

Let me stick some sections of UT in here for reference to Rohan:

"Marshal of the Mark (or Riddermark) was the highest military rank and the title of the King’s lieutenants (originally three), commanders of the royal forces of fully equipped and trained Riders. The First Marshal’s ward was the capital, Edoras, and the adjacent King’s Lands (including Harrowdale.) He commanded the Riders of the Muster of Edoras, drawn from this ward, and from some parts of the West-mark and East-mark for which Edoras was the most convenient place of assembly. The Second and Third Marshals were assigned commands according to the needs of the time."

"In the days of Theoden there was no man appointed to the office of First Marshal. He came to the throne as a young man (at the age of thirty-two), vigorous and of martial spirit, and a great horseman. If war came, he would himself command the Muster of Edoras; but his kingdom was at peace for many years, and he rose with his knights and his Muster only on exercises and in displays; though the shadow of Mordor reawakened grew ever gream from his childhood to his old age. In this peace the Riders and other armed men of the garrison of Edoras were goverened by an officer of the rank of marshal (in the years 3012-3019 this was Elfhelm.)"
Unfinished Tales, 'Battles of the Fords of Isen'

Hama as "Captain of his Household" also get a mention.

The point here is that, when capable of the office, the King is also the Commander of the troops in the field - when not, another is appointed to that position - ususally the heir (as it is Theodred who is Second Marshal, and who assumes command with permission when it becomes apparent Theoden will take no action; or Boromir as Captain-General in Denethor's place.) But the King (or Steward) might not acutally perform the daily duties of the office - that can be foisted on a Marshal (or in the case of Gondor, presumably a Captain).

That was quite the digression. Gondor is, of course, not Rohan, but Rohan is the only army we get any details on. Like Rohan, Gondor probably has several types of troops - professional (the Citadel Guard, the Rangers of Ithilien, the Knights of Dol Amroth, and the Navy) and some sort of general muster (found in Rohan and the Shire (and therefore presumably Arnor), the city guard(?) which Beregrond joins in the march to Mordor, and where some of the troops that come into Minas Tirith seem to come from.)

My guess (and this is just a guess) is that, aside from the largely-independent principality of Dol Amroth, most lords have a duel obligation to provide funds to Minas Tirith for border defense and to raise and equip a particular-sized 'muster' , either to send to war at need or to do such duties as are required in their own lands. They might well also have a smaller personal force of professional soldiers. This is a fairly common structure. But I think that the over-all defense of the land is being directed from Minas Tirith - namely Cair Andros, Ithilien, Osgiliath, and Pelargir, which seem to be the major garrisons/patrolled areas. (In the T2 manuscript of 'The Tale of Years of the Third Age', Ecthelion is said to have re-fortified Cair Andros and strengthened Pelargir; plus we know Boromir and Faramir were at Osgiliath, and Faramir was Captain of the Ithilien Rangers.) I doubt Minas Tirith is supporting all of that, and the levies that arrive at Minas Tirith seem to be an extra force, not merely the arrival of extra of 'their' forces.

Beyond captain, the obvious rank is lieutenant. I believe Halbarad is referred to as Aragorn's lieutenant, and I think you are right that it is used of one of the Ithilien Rangers. And whilst on that point - Tolkien has this to say of the Ithilien Rangers - "They were Rangers of Ithilien; for they were descended from folk who lived in Ithilien at one time, before it was overrun. From such men the Lord Denethor chose his forayers, who crossed the Anduin secretly..."

I'll end my ramblings there...if my thoughts coallese more later, I'll try for something more coherent.




Re: Ranks in the Gondorian military

Thank you, Elemmire, for the well-thought out and explicated post.

I'll end my ramblings there...if my thoughts coallese more later, I'll try for something more coherent.

If you get more coherent, I'll think you're quoting back from the Encyclopedia of Arda!! I'll take all of this information to heart and go back through the first chapters in my story where I was making stuff up. Now, thankfully, I've gotten my characters out of Gondor and back to Rohan where I belong. I mean, where they belong.

Thank you again. Your insights and knowledge are most appreciated.




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