Titles and Offices in Gondor

See also: Military Ranks in Gondor, Political organization in Gondor

Gondorian noble titles originated from the seignorial system that arose in Kingdom of Gondor during the second millenium. Originally, men of Westernesse recognized only Chieftains and Heads of the Family. Nobility was tied to race; only those who had divine blood, through descendants of Elros, were above others. Furthermore, all Númenoreans were "Kings of Men" (due to their height, longevity and strength) and deemed superior to all other human beings.

Dúnedain of Gondor use Elven-tongue, and in very formal occasions, Noldorin, for styles and titles. Most actually refer to magistracies, offices, posts and commissions, granted by the King or his officials for a certain period of time. After the Dark Plague, many former offices became first life-long and then hereditary. Power of these dignities increased as the Kings granted tax rights and sold future revenues against immediate payments.

Noble Styles and Titles

Rochben (pl. Roechbin) (Knight) in Gondor is a member of the privileged class of Dúnedain, Heren Requain (Equestrian Order) in High Elvish. New members may be raised to the Order, if he or she meets property qualification of 2000 Crowns (40 000 Silver Royals) and testify that three of his or her four grandparents are of undiluted Dúnadan blood. Members of the Order have right to sit in the ruling Great Council of Gondor (Q. Alta Heren, S. Govadan Gondorim). Membership in the Order is either for life or hereditary. A body of privileges belong to the Order, their wives and their unremarried widows, including the right to be tried by fellow peers, the right to carry a long sword in public and the right to be exempt from civil arrest. It is unlawful to sentence any Rochben to death, even by Royal writ.
Hîr/Hiril (Lord/Lady) is both style and title. As a style, it is used in formal speech like "Your Lordship", "Milord" or "Milady" of all members of the Alta Heren, holders of a dignity, wardship of a royal domain, and in colloquial speech, of all landed gentry. The Law of Gondor states that no commoner can ever be a hîr, unless in the rare occasion that he is appointed to such position. The name of the title can either be a place-name or a surname, for instance Arahil Curimardin, lord of Tumladen, is addressed Arahil Hîr Tumladen.
Herenya (Fortunate, blessed). A style used by descendants of one of the 50 Númenorean patrician families who came to Gondor with Anárion. After the Great Plague and Kin-Strife, the number of extant patrician families in Gondor has declined to 33; nine families have relocated to Umbar.

Ranks and Order of Precedence

Royal Offices

Ostherdir (Town-Prefect) is an appointed official and magistrate who administers a city or town belonging to a royal ward, if the settlement does not have Charter of Township. In provinces, Ostherdirs may be appointed by wardens. Tenure of an Ostherdir lasts five years, if not extended by his lord.
Herdir (Master). Magistrates, legates and plenipotentiaries of Gondor hold this title. In order of precedence Herdir is one step below Hîr, unless the holder of the title is himself member of the Heren Requain. After retirement, those Herdir who have served as royal plenipotentiaries are usually granted epessë (honorific) lordship and a courtesy title of Condir. Rural districts in a territory or a province are headed by herdirin, appointed for five, ten or fifteen years.
Dorgon (Governor) is an executive military governor in charge of an outlying territory, usually chosen among lesser families or the military caste. He is directly responsible to the steward of the realm. Military governors are appointed either for two or five years. As in 1660 TA, Andrast, Anfalas and Harondor are under military governorship. To be appointed as a Dorgon, one is supposed to have held successive military commands in the area, and the rank of Herdir (general), either Master of Infantry or Master of Ships. In a social occasion with other Herdyr present, a Dorgon having a court is bumped up one rank and called Berthir.
Gwaron (Warden) is an executive civilian governor who is invested, by the king, the stewardship of a royal ward or a province. The core function of a Gwaron is to be the representative of King's goverment, to act as the highest magistrate of judge, and manage the taxation and public spending in his area. Gwaron's term of office lasts five years and he must be a member of the Council of Gondor, and thus he is always called hîr, not "master". Gwaron has usually a large staff of other officials: a procutaror (Brannon Garn), judicial advisers and reeves. although Gwaron has no military jurisdiction, in Lebennin and Lamedon he is responsible for raising the levy.
Canotar (Exarch or Viceroy) is the highest and most unusual office a commoner can tend to. He is highest commander in an distant and disputed but important area, with full judicial and military authority and power to rule by decree in King's absence. Canotar is directly responsible to the King.

Noble Offices

Condir (Squire, Magistrate, Signore). A confusing title, which is used in several differing contexts. As a dignity conferred by the king, it ranks below Rheinhîrs, being the lowest rank in the peerage. Wife of a Condir has the honorific of Hîril (Her Ladyship). When a chartered township is not ruled by a council but by a seigneurship, the lord of the town is called Condir. Some cities have lord-mayors who are also called Condir by tradition. Finally, several members of the Royal Cabinet and Court have courtesy rank of Condir. As a military rank, Condir equals roughly banneret or cavalry squadron commander.
Rheinhîr (Margrave) is a member of the Heren Requain who has been granted jurisdiction over a border area, with obligation to raise and maintain certain number of troops there. The grant is for life, but is hereditary only if renewed by the King. This arrangement came to being in the 17th and 18th century, when the King's ability to personally rule his whole realm declined with his waning resources.
Hîratar (Count) is the highest rank of Gondorian peerage. He is a major landholder who has received a perpertual right of jurisdiction over his lands in lieu of services rendered to the Winged Crown. Beginning from the late 17th century, the King routinely appointed the eldest son of a deceased lord to his father's position, and counts became hereditary peers. In Arnor, Hîratars were hereditary feudal vassals from the beginning.


Ernil (Prince) is a Dúnadan title for sovereign of a principality. It is also a courtesy title for a male member of the ruling house. When, as custom dictates, the Heir Apparent is also Captain of the Ships, he is called Prince-Admiral. Female members of the royal family are called princesses. Some principalities are historical and their traditions harken back to the Second Age (Principality of Dor-en-Ernil), some are more recent (like principalities in Lost Realm of Cardolan or grand principality of Sangahyandion in Harondor).

Aran (King). A title of a sovereign that only a true descendant of Isildur (Arnor) or Anárion (Gondor) could claim. There have been only four Dúnadan kingdoms: Gondor, Arnor and her successor states Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur. Aran is supposed to be of undiluted Dúnadan blood and as such, have special talents (Healing Hands, gift of foresight, ability to use Palantír). Aran is styled as His Royal Highness to commoners; Lord to his noble peers. although Númenor had Ruling Queens, Realms in Exile have had none.

The old lore says that “The hands of the king are the hands of a healer,” as Ioreth reminds Gandalf, “[a]nd so the rightful king could ever be known” (Tolkien, LOTR 3:136)

"How many hundreds of years needs it to make a steward a king, if the king returns not?" asked Boromir, and Denethor replied, "Few years, maybe, in other places of less royalty … In Gondor, ten thousand years would not suffice" (Tolkien, LOTR 2:278)


Political Rank
Salutation Honorific
Elvish English Finnish Elvish English Finnish
Aran Meletyalda ("your majesty") or Aranya (my king)
Hîr nin (my lord)
Hiril nin (my lady)
Teidän korkeutenne
Aran King Kuningas
Arandur Steward Käskynhaltija Nîr nin (my lord) Valtias Berthir Lord and Steward Valtias ja Käskynhaltija
Hîratar Count Kreivi Hîr nin (my lord) Valtias Aratar Lord Ruhtinas
Rheinhîr Margrave Rajakreivi Hîr nin (my lord) Valtias Aratar Lord Ruhtinas
Condir Squire,
Kaupungin Herra Hîr nin (my lord) Valtias Aratar Lord Ruhtinas

Canotar Exarch, Viceroy Varakuningas Condarth (exalted commander) Komentaja      
Gwaron Warden-Prefect Maaherra Hîr nin (my lord) Valtias      
Dorgon Governor Kuvernööri Herdir (master) Mestari      
Herdir Legate   Herdir (master) Mestari      
Ostherdir Town-Prefect Kaupunginprefekti Herdir (master) Mestari      

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