I agree with Thol for the most part, and I want to expand on a number of his points. But first, I think it is worth giving some consideration to the question of 'scope'. What are we considering to be part of the 'gift' that is under discussion? I think this is important, because of the question of the longevity of the Numenoreans which has been referred to by both sides already. Lets look at the quote given by Elfamari, as our jumping off point. This comes from Akallabeth, as I'm sure everyone has readily identifed. I want to give it in full (or at least closer to the full quote), and I'll highlight the parts that Elfamari did not give. What is important here is that Elfamari has LEFT OUT the question of the gift of longevity. This means that this can neither be claimed as a benefit by the Periaur, nor can it be used a negative by the Outcasts. This is a bit of a shame really, because it would make life so much easier for the Periaur. Longer lifespans were clearly of benefit to the Edain. But the Valar could have gifted that to the Edain but not given them Numenor to live on. Similarly the great wisdom and knowledge of the Edain, that came from Eonwe, will also have to be ignored. Even perhaps the flowers and fountains of Numenor? Dammit... it looks like this is a straightforward debate on geo-politics. With this in mind lets chalk up a few positives for Numenor: they should make good targets for the Outcasts to take pot-shots at. (1) Over 3000 years of security from attack and invasion. Thats by far the best period of 'homeland security' ever achieved by any of the Two Kindreds east of Elvenhome. (2) It gave them the base from which they became the greatest sea-power in three ages. So much so, that Sauron could never threaten their coastal strongholds in Middle Earth. (3) Numenor's power was sufficient to defeat Sauron's attack on Lindon in 1700, and drive him out of Eriador in 1701. (4) Numenor forced Sauron's unconditional surrender in 3262. Lets also look again Nom's list to see what is alive when the issues of knowledge, wisdom and longevity are removed. Certainly we can strike down 3) and 4) because the Edain would still have been 'lofty' given these gifts but no Numenor. Whats left? When you distill it down, the argument of Nom amounts to this: that in Middle Earth (presumably somewhere in Eriador) the Edain would have done more to defeat Sauron than they did from Numenor. She wants to stretch the argument way out into the Third Age. I guess the question says 'ultimately' so maybe this is fair enough although I must say the lack of population of Arnor seems a more complex question than purely being the fault of Numenor. Remember, Eriador was a vast forest at the start of the Second Age. It seems unlikely that the Edain would have settled there if they didnt have Numenor. The coast of Gondor is much more likely to have been the place they would have settled in eventually. But who knows? But the question has to be asked: what more could the Edain have done against Sauron than they did achieve? They defeated him twice in the second age... three times if you include the Last Alliance, which since we have extended the scope to include subsequent events seems fair enough. Numenoreans 3 Sauron 0. Not bad eh? Now sad to say, they never pressed home their advantage. In the first defeat, they were content with Saurons retreat back to Mordor. In the second, Ar-Pharazon's pride got the better of him. And in the third, Isildur got an attack of ring-lust. Are any of these the fault of Numenor, or are they in fact symptoms of the corruptable nature of Men? And so lets come down to a key point here. For three thousand years the Edain were beyond the reach of Sauron. He could not corrupt them. Century of bliss followed century of bliss. Yet if the Edain have remained in Middle Earth what then? If Sauron, in the guise of Annatar, had come amongst them how quickly would they have fallen under his spell? If Celebrimbor and the elven-smiths of Eregion were fooled, we cannot imagine that the Edain would have fared any better. Instead of the fleet of Numenor assailing Valinor, we might have had the armies of the Edain assailing Gil-Galad.