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How did the Men of the West keep from being defeated at the Battle of the Black Gate?

BalrogRingDestroyer

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Even with Sauron himself being defeated, it was pretty well stated that the armies of Mordor and its allies greatly outnumbered the armies of the West.

While I can understand, if Sauron's armies of orcs and trolls might be weakened or killed if they were vulnerable to sunlight, surely the Easterlings, Haradians, Rhun people, etc could wipe the floor with the warriors of Rohan and Gondor.

I'm curious if they were only fighting on Sauron's side because they were afraid of him (though I have a feeling that, to quote Aragorn or was it someone else, as they stated to the Dunlandings after the Battle of Helms Deep, that they had sided with the enemy and had fought them and got death as their reward, but that they would have gotten little better had they succeeded and won the battle) or if they were controlled by him (meaning that they weren't even acting of their own free will) or if there was some other reason they decided to sue for peace rather than try and take down Gondor and Rohan.
 

Merroe

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As regards the part of the army strictly belonging to Mordor (trolls and orcs), their will was broken as soon as Sauron's sole attention was no longer on them but on the presence of the Ring at Mount Doom:

The Power that drove them on and filled them with hate and fury was wavering, its will was removed from them; and now looking in the eyes of their enemies they saw a deadly light and were afraid.

The ensuing demise of Sauron was apparent for all to see:

And as the Captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor, it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky. Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it, and it was all blown away, and passed; and then a hush fell.

The resulting panic broke the ranks of Easterlings and Southrons:

But the Men of Rhûn and of Harad, Easterling and Southron, saw the ruin of their war and the great majesty and glory of the Captains of the West. And those that were deepest and longest in evil servitude, hating the West, and yet were men proud and bold, in their turn now gathered themselves for a last stand of desperate battle. But the most part fled eastward as they could; and some cast their weapons down and sued for mercy.

Why did they not fight on, you're asking? Their strong ally and dominator was no more. What's the point of trying to win 1 battle, when the whole war is already lost... so, following Sauron's demise, they could choose their options with renewed free will.
 

Olorgando

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Sauron must have ruled over much of Middle-earth (especially in the east and south?) for much of the Second Age. After his downfall at its end, he would probably (in whatever form) have retreated to his "strongholds" there. The first invasion of Gondor, by Easterlings, is mentioned for the year 490 Third Age in Appendix B in RoTK. Strife with the (near) south at Umbar occurs a bit over 400 years later (933 TA), a conquest of (near) Harad for 1050 TA. So for many of these vassals of Sauron he must have seemed like a god from immense antiquity. And Barad-dûr must have been an absolutely awe-inspiring fortress (I think it would have been twice as high as the Burj Chalifa in Dubai?!?). 😲

To see this mountain of a building really, finally crash to ruins, and realize that those guys opposing them had somehow "killed" their god - probably as impressive to them as say some stone-age tribesmen watching an air fleet of B-52's engaged in carpet bombing. Or perhaps even that atomic mushroom cloud above Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You just want to bet the *bleeeeep* out of there. 🤯
 

BalrogRingDestroyer

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Are these Easterlings and Southrons more primitive than that of Rohan, Gondor, Bree, or Dale?

There seem to be more "civilized" Men like Rohan or Gondor and some more primitive ones like the Dunlandings or the "wild people".

Also, were they more afraid of/in awe of Sauron than they were haters of the Western Men? If they were more afraid/admiring of Sauron than hating the Men of the West, there really would be no reason to continue the War, especially if the Men of the West don't seem to be demanding their heads for attacking them, but seem merciful.
 

Olorgando

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I don't see a correlation between the levels of "civilization" and fighting prowess, except perhaps often a negative one.
Go ask the Romans, Chinese and other high civilizations about their experience with the regional barbarians (the Huns managed to annoy both the Chinese and the Romans).

I think the main point would be the (terrified) awe they had held Sauron in for generations upon generations.
So if it seems to you these guys you're facing have just managed to "off" your (demi-) god an trash his immense fortification, you might come to the conclusion that massing with them could be suicidal. Some did stay to fight (they just didn't like Gondor and its allies - perhaps descendants of Black Númenorans?), but there the Dúneidain may have had superior weapons and tactics.
 

Merroe

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Are these Easterlings and Southrons more primitive than that of Rohan, Gondor, Bree, or Dale?

There seem to be more "civilized" Men like Rohan or Gondor and some more primitive ones like the Dunlandings or the "wild people".
Here are some notes about Dunlendings, Easterlings and Southrons, taken from K. W. Fonstad's Atlas of ME and from R. Foster's Guide to ME.

Dunlendings

Location:
East of the Misty Mountains, South of the Glanduin.

Conflicts:
In the Third Age they hated the Rohirrim, who had driven them out of the northern valleys of the Ered Nimrais and the plains of western Rohan, and so they frequently attacked that country.

Characterization:
At the time of the WR neither prosperous, civilised, nor organised into a state, being a land of backward herdsmen and hillmen. The Dunlendings were tall and somewhat swarthy; they had dark hair. They were primitive, uncultured and superstitious.

Easterlings
Location:
around the Sea of Rhûn (Dorwinion).

Conflicts:
A major event was at the Battle of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, during which the Easterlings switched sides to Morgoth and attacked from the rear. In the TA they attacked Gondor repeatedly, in part pushed by Sauron.

Characterization:
The Easterlings were short and broad; they were dark of skin, eye, and hair. Their culture was rather primitive. They were motivated chiefly by hatred of Gondor and greed for her riches. Given the events of the former battle, I suppose they can be called treacherous as well ... and according to The Hobbit, the area where they lived produced famous wine!
Also called the Swarthy Men.
The Wainriders belonged to these Easterlings; they travelled in large wagons. Their chieftains fought in chariots, and in general they were better armed.
Also the Balchoth belonged to the Easterlings; this tribe disappeared after their defeat in the Battle of the Field of Celebrant.
The Easterlings who fought in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields were bearded and bore great axes, but they seem to have been atypical.

Southrons (Haradrim)
Location:
people from Harad, around Umbar.

Conflicts:
In the SA some of the Haradrim paid tribute to Númenor, but in the TA they were influenced by Sauron and were a constant threat to Gondor's southern borders. Their ships frequently attacked the coasts of Gondor from the harbor of Umbar.

Characterization:
primitive and savage, tall and dark-skinned, with black hair and eyes. They loved bright clothing and ornaments, and some tribes of Haradrim painted their bodies. In battle they used all weapons, but were noted for their use of Oliphaunts.
The Black Númenóreans (those Númenóreans loyal to the King and thus opposed to the Eldar and Valar) mixed their blood with the Haradrim over whom they ruled, but inherited undiminished their hatred for the Dúnedain of Gondor, the descendants of the Faithful.

PS - O yes, and some of those Southerners are squint-eyed! :);)
 

Olorgando

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A point in case might be how the Romans managed to conquer Gaul (dim memories of “De Bello Gallico by Julius C. in high school Latin class), Britain and some other areas. Training, discipline, tactics, and perhaps a slight edge in weaponry (superior steel for swords etc.) as well as the ability to lay sieges seem to have been their edge. In an open battle, even numerically superior enemy forces were often routed by Roman forces. Caesar never had more than ten legions in Gaul, meaning 60 000 men, but still managed to inflict that decisive defeat on the Gauls at Alesia in 52 BC (starting point of Europe’s probably favorite comic book series, “Asterix the Gaul”) against a much larger force of Gauls.

Rome’s most massive defeat came at the hands of Arminius, a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci tribe. He was made a hostage of the Roman Empire as a child. Raised in Rome, he was drafted into the Roman military at an early age, during which he was granted Roman citizenship and became a Roman knight. Thus, he had a very good insider knowledge of how the Roman army worked. So, for the site of the battle, into which he had lured the Roman commander Varus, he chose the Teutoburg Forest, where the three Roman legions were strung out along a relatively narrow path and were destroyed by constant guerrilla attacks and the fact that the terrain prevented them from taking their formations. Kind of makes you wonder how Gondor (would have) fared in southern Greenwood …
 

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