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This is an old revision of GondorPoliticalOrganization made by SampsaRydman on 2009-10-28 21:07:39.

 

Kingdom of Gondor

Gondor's changing boundaries during the Third Age

Political organisation in Gondor

See also: Titles and Offices, Council of Gondor, Heren Requain, Great Families, Government

The political dynamics of Gondor are complex and many-layered. This complexity is due to the fact that Elendil's sons did not - indeed, could not - abolish pre-existing Númenórean leagues of independent colonies, which had entrenched itself in the hearts and minds of the Faithful for nearly a thousand years by the time that the Realms-in-Exile was founded. Even at the height of royal power under the Ship-kings, the sadow of the old confederacy still clung tenaciously to its ancient moorings. The Númenórean aristocracy that controlled the Pelargirean League forged its ultimate basis of power in lineage and the continuity of blood, and the enduring forms of its power underwent fundamental change only as aresult of the failure of lineage to survive the tribulations of the age.

THE SACRED ORDER

See also: Political parties of Westernesse

The Dúnedain become a people through the divine grace of the Valar, who gave to them a land to dwell in and a king to rule over them. The isle of Númenor was later taken away as punishment for their father's rebellion, but its royal line survived, and they continued to serve as an essential basis for the heirs of Númenórean culture and society. This was especially true for the Faithful; for the kingship was also their priesthood -- their sole link to Eru Ilúvatar. And to reject the rightful king was not therefore simply a breach of tradition or political choice, but a sacrilege against God the Creator.

The kingship, however, was not the only source of political and religious order among the Dúnedain of Gondor. The Covenant of Uinen, which the Lady of the Seas had established with the Guild of Venturers in Númenor, remained in force under the leadership of Imrazôr and his descendants. Though the temporal jurisdiction of that bond was later reduced to the lands and peoples that fell within the domain of Belafas' princes, the Gondoran monarchy recognized the traditions established by the Captains of the Faithful in Pelargir.

The exalted Namnar Númenórëo (Q. "Laws of Númenor") provided additional continuity. Enven the Dúnadan kings were subject to these statutes. The political expression of these laws was the Númenórean citizenship, a sphere of inalienable rights and obligations which all those who fell within the category enjoyed. The actual group of persons for whom these duties and privileges applied changed over time, but the principle was never abandoned; for integral to Laws of Númenor were the stipulations that defined the proper worship of Ilúvatar. However it may have fared in practice, the concept of citizenship was itself indispensable to the Faithful's spiritual adherences.

THE KINGSHIP


Although for much of its history southern Gondor enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy from direct royal rule, it was the authority of the kings which ultimately undergirded that autonomy. The grace of Uinen - essential though it was for forging the Pelargirean League - was no substitute for the priestly rule of the monarch, without whom the Dúnedain would be unable to maintain their special status as the Faithful. It was for this reason that, following the tragedy told in the Akallabêth, the restoration of a legitimate royal lineage was all-important to the League.

The king traditionally fulfilled three roles in Númenórean society. The first and foremost of these was the priestly function: to act as the Valar's chosen mediator between Eru Ilúvatar and the people by presiding over the annual ceremonies upon the hallowed summit of Meneltarma in Númenor. One important facet of this role on such occasions was for the monarch to ensure societal harmony and a good harvest through his prayers. The Covenant of Uinen included a similar prayer, but its scope was limited to Uinen's own sphere of influence.

The king's second traditional role was as Númenor's chief jurist. He served as the upholder, arbitrator, and executor of the Laws of Númenor. While this function extended well beyond the performance of ritual stipulations, it was nevertheless inbued with religious authority; for the monarch possessed the power to bind oaths by the names of Eru Ilúvatar and the Valar, and so to bless those who fulfilled their word and to curse oathbreakers. Finally, in his juridical role, the monarch had the power to enact new laws as need arose.

The third duty of the monarch was the governance of the realm in times of peace, and the leadership of its hosts in times of war. This function was much less rigidly defined than the other two roles, in part because its spesifics depended a great deal upon the contingencies of a particular situation, and in part due to the strength of the traditional aristocracy in relation to the monarch, both in Númenor and Middle-earth. Remember that Manwë did not institute the monarcy for its own sake, but rather to guide the Dúnedain in accordance with the will of the Valar. Since in was not the part of the Valar to determine how Men ought to govern their own affairs, few precepts restricted Elros and his descendants. As a result, the specifically political role of the monarch was subject to greater change over time than its religious and juridical counterparts.

THE MONARCHY IN EXILE


THE COVENANT OF UINEN

DÚNADAN CITIZENSHIP

THE LAWS OF NÚMENOR

FORMS OF GOVERNMENT

FEUDALISATION OF THE REALM




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