Dark Men ~ The Savage Easterlings
“The weapons that the Easterlings used were primarily crude,
jagged spears, making them especially effective against cavalry, as well as a shorter,
odd, glaive-like version used for close combat.”
LOTR: Apendix A
The Easterlings were Dark Men who lived in the far Eastern regions of Middle-earth. They fell under the evil influence of the Dark Lord of Mordor and became known as the enemies of the Free Peoples. The term ‘Easterling’ encompassed a vast swath of unknown lands that lay to the East. Various regions, kingdoms and tribes existed within this immense, unexplored area. The dark men of Rhûn and the Wainriders came also from these lands.
During later years of the second millennium of the Third Age, tribes of Easterlings formed the confederacy known as the Wainriders. They made war with the Kingdom of Gondor and the Northmen of Rhovanion for over one hundred years, but were finally defeated.
After the fall of the Wainriders, the remnants of these people known as the Balchoth gathered in the southeastern regions of Mirkwood and fell under the power of Dol Guldur. They were a savage and fierce race, that came once more under the sway of Sauron when he took on the guise of the Necromancer. They fought in many battles with the people of Rhovanion, who lived between the Misty Mountains and dark forest of Mirkwood. The people of Éothéod were the Balchoth’s most bitter enemies.
The lands of Calenardhon north of Gondor had been laid waste after the Great Plague and was overrun with the Dunlendings from the North and the Balchoth from the East. After Eorl the Young helped turn the tide of battle against the Orcs of the Misty Mountains and Dark Men from the East upon the Field of Celebrant, the Steward of Gondor granted them this lands of Calenardhon as their own. They would name themselves the Rohirrim and their lands Rohan.
In 2545 of the Third Age, the Easterlings renewed their attacks upon the newly founded kingdom of Rohan and Eorl fell fighting to save the Wold. For many years the Easterlings withdrew into the East, but in the later years of the third millennium, they renewed their attacks with the help of Orcs from the Misty Mountains. During these struggles, Sauron reclaimed Mordor unnoticed in 2941.
During the War of the Ring the savage men of Balchoth joined with the other Easterlings coming to the aid of Sauron in his war upon the West. Some went south to fight in the lands of Gondor, while others joined the Dark Men of Rhûn at the Battle of Dale. Still others joined with Dol Guldur and the Orcs of the Misty Mountains in their attacks upon Lothlorien.
The savage Men of Balchoth were said to be barbaric in battle, taking on many of the fighting techniques and customs of the Uruks of Dol Guldur. Like the orcs they fought with, they would often feast upon those they killed in battle and enslave those that survived. It was rumored, that to be caught and enslaved by one of the Balchoth was a fate worse then death.