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Discussing: Demographics of the Greenway

Demographics of the Greenway

Do we know if there were any towns built alongside the North-South Road? I know of Tharbad, and its abandoning about a century before the War of the Ring, but, was there anything else between Bree and the Gap of Rohan? If one thinks about the way the East-West road was constructed - i.e., there is only the Forsaken Inn between Bree and Rivendell (which is quite the journey) then the same assumption could be made for the Greenway... but at the same time, going from Fornost to Minas Tirith without being able to stop and resupply for the journey - because it certainly would have been a long one - seems illogical and counterproductive. The trip would have been so expensive, in terms of hauling food for the road, that it seems to imply that there would have been *something* alongside the road every few leagues, especially when considering that it linked the northern and southern capitals of the realm - one would expect the road to have seen a reasonable amount of travelers in its heyday.

And if there were villages, what sort of people would inhabit them? Tharbad was home to men, but to what extent would these have been Dunedain, and to what extent lesser men? How would the demographics change with latitude?

Any suggestions/ideas/corrections/links I should look at?

Thanks muchly,



Re: Demographics of the Greenway

Around Bree, there's Archet and Combe, and doubtless some scattered affiliated hamlets that aren't worth mentioning in the text. But if I'm not mistaken, it's stated that there were no Men living in settled communities within 300 miles of the Bree Hill. Michael Martinez over at uses this figure to help argue for the Angle as the sole homebase of the Dúnedain.

I imagine that there might have been some smaller towns between Orthanc and Tharbad along the road, but once Tharbad was deserted, one imagines that they declined, and especially after Saruman started covert orc raids on Rohan. They'd probably have been a Rohirrim/Eriadorian mixture of peoples--there probably was a lot of Dúnedain blood in Tharbad, though it might have been very mixed and diluted compared to the isolated and more northerly population in the Angle.

but at the same time, going from Fornost to Minas Tirith without being able to stop and resupply for the journey - because it certainly would have been a long one - seems illogical and counterproductive.

Remember that after Smaug's fall, the peoples between Erebor and Imladris were at least not actively opposed to each other and were able to help each other out--cf. Glóin's account to Frodo of the journey to Imladris. So Imladris would be a pit stop, and Bree as well on the way to the Blue Mountains if you're a Dwarf.

However, it would've been a dicey business, crossing Eriador.* We don't have any indication that outside trade is at the heart of Bree's relative peace and prosperity, so caravans were probably not particularly common. Isolated travelers tended to be Dwarves or Rangers, or perhaps hobbits (the 'tramps' who dug holes in any convenient bank, and stayed for as long as it suited them), and they weren't common or necessarily viewed as welcome, either.

In the old days when Fornost was a major center of civilization, there would've been stops all along the road, doubtless, but Arnor's been dead for a long time: more than 500 years. The only people with business to Fornost would've been the Rangers, and they were experienced travelers and warriors. Even so, there were probably quite a few who didn't survive the journey between Fornost and the Angle.

*This is where I start hypothesizing that Rangers were the main caravan guards that took merchants from Erebor over the Misty Mountains and through Eriador. It would've been a great way to keep up with the news East of the mountains, provided experience for the younger men that was a little more 'gentle' than hunting orcs in the mountains, and it would've helped to keep coffers filled so that the Dúnedain could keep their people supplied with the necessary coin to stay in civilized regions. And given that anyone in Eriador not in Bree or the Shire or the Blue Mountains would've been on the road, it would've been one way for the Rangers to keep their promises to protect the North. After all, you're most likely to be attacked if you have something that other people want. The road would be both a major benefit to traders in terms of ease of transport, but also a major trap--your enemies know you'll be coming that way, so they'd just wait off to the side and let you walk into their hands.



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