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III 13911 - III 1621 (lived 230 years); King of Gondor from III 1540 (ruled 81 years); ruled under the name Hyarmendacil II from III 1551
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 21 April 2023
  • This entry is complete


The original name of Hyarmendacil II

The son of King Aldamir of Gondor. In his father's time, war erupted between Gondor and the southern lands, and Aldamir was slain in that war. Vinyarion led Gondor's armies to avenge Aldamir's death, and overran the Haradrim. In token of this great victory, Vinyarion ruled under the name Hyarmendacil II, a name meaning 'South-victor'.

Early Life

A descendant of the royal line of Gondor, Vinyarion son of Aldamir was born in the middle years of the Third Age, during a time when his great-grandfather Valacar sat on the throne of the South-kingdom. Valacar was a controversial King, because he had chosen his Queen from among the Northmen of Rhovanion, rather than the Dúnedain as was traditional. This was a cause of dissent among the people of Gondor, who feared that Valacar's choice to marry outside his own people would see a waning in the Númenórean blood of his heirs.

King Valacar died in the year III 1432, when Vinyarion was forty-one years old, and was succeeded by Vinyarion's grandfather Eldacar. At that time, Vinyarion was not in the direct line of succession, his father being Eldacar's second son Aldamir. Eldacar's descent from the Northmen caused great unrest in Gondor, and on his accession the civil war of the Kin-strife broke out. The rebels were led by Castamir, the former Captain of Ships, and the conflict lasted for five years until at last King Eldacar was besieged in Osgiliath. In the fighting that followed, Eldacar's heir (and Vinyarion's uncle) Ornendil was captured and slain, and Eldacar fled from the burning city. He made his way to the people of his mother in Rhovanion, where he was sheltered by the Northmen. Vinyarion's movements during this period are not specifically recorded, but it seems inevitable that he must have followed his father Eldacar into hiding in Rhovanion with the rest of the surviving royal household.

The exile did not last for long. Castamir the Usurper proved to be a wilful and bloodthirsty King, and quickly lost his popularity with his people. Within ten years, Eldacar built up a great army of Northmen, and as they marched back to their kingdom they were joined by many Men of Gondor. Castamir was driven out of Osgiliath and slain at the Battle of the Crossings of Erui, and so Eldacar was reinstated. Nonetheless, many of Castamir's followers, including his sons, escaped to the haven of Pelargir. From there, they sailed away to Umbar, where they remained a continuing threat to the South-realm.

After the Kin-strife

Though the rightful King had now resumed the throne, Gondor was changed irrevocably by the events of the Kin-strife. One of these changes had a direct impact on Vinyarion's life: the death of his uncle Ornendil meant that his father Aldamir was now Eldacar's direct heir, meaning that Vinyarion himself was now in the line of succession. That line of succession was extended when, seven years after his grandfather's return to the throne, Vinaryion's own son Minardil was born.

The followers of Castamir who had fled to Umbar did not remain quiet. Their new regime became known as the Corsairs, and they threatened Gondor's seaward fiefs and harried its shipping. It was during this period that South Gondor, the land of Harondor between the rivers Poros and Harnen, fell out of Gondor's control and became a debatable land between Gondor and its southern enemies.

More than four centuries before the Kin-strife, the lands of the Harad had been subjugated by Vinyarion's ancestor Ciryaher, better known to history as Hyarmendacil the South-victor because of this feat. After that great victory, the Harad had been controlled by Gondor from the fortress of Umbar, and now that Umbar was in enemy hands, Gondor's power over the Haradrim was greatly diminished.

After the restoration, Eldacar ruled for another forty-three years. He was succeeded by Vinyarion's father Aldamir, and thus Vinyarion became heir to the Kingship of Gondor. These were troubled times for the South-kingdom, and during Aldamir's reign, the Haradrim joined with the Corsairs and moved to open rebellion against Gondor.3 King Aldamir led his own armies against the Haradrim, and in III 1540, after fifty years on the throne, he fell in battle.

King Hyarmendacil II

So Vinyarion inherited the Kingship of Gondor from his father, and he also inherited the southern war that had claimed his father's life. That war continued for another eleven years, but at last Vinyarion was able to lead his forces to a victory over the Haradrim, achieving vengeance for the slaying of Aldamir. Following his famous ancestor, Ciryaher, who had defeated the Haradrim long beforehand, Vinyarion also took the name of Hyarmendacil the 'South-victor'. In the histories, he is therefore usually referred to as King Hyarmendacil II.

After his defeat of the Haradrim, Vinyarion Hyarmendacil enjoyed a long reign of seven decades. History records little of this time in Gondor, and though no doubt there were still troubles with the Corsairs of Umbar, none were so significant as to warrant annals in the records of the time. Indeed, the most notable historical event of Vinyarion's reign took place far to the north, where Vinyarion's counterpart Argeleb II, King of Arthedain, granted a small land to a people known as the Halflings, thus establishing the Shire. If Vinyarion or his people were aware of this event at all, it would have held little relevance for them at the time.

Vinyarion the South-victor, called Hyarmendacil II, died in the year III 1621, having ruled Gondor for eighty-one years, and was succeeded by his son Minardil. Though he had defeated the Haradrim, Vinyarion left Gondor in a more perilous condition than might be imagined from his long reign. His heir Minardil would be murdered by the Corsairs just thirteen years later, and Vinyarion's grandson Telemnar would have an even shorter reign, succumbing to the Great Plague after just two years on the throne. It would not be until the time of Vinyarion's great-grandson Tarondor that Gondor would again see the stability of a long-lived ruler.



The date of Vinyarion's birth appears only in The History of Middle-earth volume XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth. It cannot therefore be considered completely reliable.


Vinyarion's name seems to combine the elements vinya 'new' and ion, 'son', possibly bridged by -ar-, 'royal' or 'king'. The whole name therefore seems to be either 'new son' or 'new royal son'. This is perhaps a reference to his father Aldamir, who only became King due to the death of his elder brother Ornendil in the Gondorian Kin-strife. Vinyarion would, therefore, have been the 'son of the new King'.

Though this interpretation describes Vinyarion's royal descent rather neatly, it does not quite fit the dating. Vinyarion was born in III 1391, but his uncle Ornendil was alive and well at that time, and would survive for another forty-six years. If Vinyarion's name was indeed intended to reflect the fact that his father founded a new line, then it must have been adopted later in his life to reflect the historic changes in Gondor caused by the Kin-strife.


Strictly speaking, we aren't told specifically when the wars against the Harad began, and all we know for certain is that they were fought during Aldamir's reign. The assumption here is that they began after the death of Eldacar, based on the fact that there is no mention of open warfare with the Harad during Eldacar's Kingship.


About this entry:

  • Updated 21 April 2023
  • This entry is complete

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