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Thread: The Most Long Lived Man

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[Grondmaster began this thread with the following post.

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In Valedhelgwath's Historical Quiz IV, he asked, "41) Which Man was said to have had the longest lifespan?" Along with my answers I sent him the following:

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: I have always assumed Elros was the most long lived, but finally found the text in UT Part Two, Section III, Paragraph I.

On a similar note, how old was the Witch-king of Angmar when he was no longer considered a man or was he never of Mankind? Did his ring also extend his mortal life? He invaded Arnor in 1409 TA and was defeated at Farnost in 1975 TA, which makes him older than 566 years. And then of course he wasn't de-crowned until 3018 TA, but of course by then he was a wraith. Has anyone ever considered this or am I ploughing virgin ground here? Should I post this question in the Forum, before or after your quiz deadline, or am I showing my ignorance again?


To which Valedhelgwath replied:

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: That's a very good point, Grondy. I went with what I read in that section you mentioned in UT, but you have a valid point with the witchking. The Nazgul were said to have first appeared in SA2251 (and by Nazgul, I am assuming wraith rather than a man with a ring). As Sauron took the 9 rings in SA1697 it is possible the witchking was quite old before he became a wraith (potentially 500 years plus whatever he was when he was given the ring.)

What is likely, however, is that the Mouth of Sauron has lived longer as a man (as opposed to wraith) than either the witchking or Elros. If anyone gives me this latter as an answer I won't mark them wrong for it. As for the forum, I don't really mind if you raise this question now. It's only one question and could raise an interesting debate


To which I replied:

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: Okay. So the Witch-king could have been 554 plus years old and I just chose the wrong M-e age, but had the right idea. And you are probably right about the Mouth of Sauron being older, but if even he can't remember who he is, how will we ever know?


Today I finally got around to posting the above. Does anyone else have any ideas or comments they would like to add to this discussion?


Mellie replied

I was debating that point with someone while we were working on the quiz. We were not sure if the Mouth of Sauron or the Witch King could be considered human or not. We also debated about Elros, because he was still half-elven. Therefore, we went through several men, of ME and we finally decided that Elros was the oldest.

Well I put Tom Bombadil for that one at the quiz because I didn't have a clue, but I don't suppose you can count him as a "man". But is Elros? I wonder... It's a very good question though.
Of course Elros is a man! He accepted the Gift of Men.....that makes you a MAN!!! And Elros was a great and long lived man!

[Edited on 29/4/2003 by Aulë]
Where does Tuor fit into the picture? If he was allowed into Valinor and counted among Eldar, does that mean he is no longer a Man? If he is still a Man, how long did he live? Elf Confused Smilie
Hey about Tuor....if he was counted amongst the elves did he grow pointy ears or what??
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Hey about Tuor....if he was counted amongst the elves did he grow pointy ears or what??
Naw, I think he had to settle for just a pointy beard. Elf Winking Smilie
Or maybe a pointy head. Tongue Smilie
Hehehe.....well...then he must be an odd looking elfTongue Smilie round earsBig Smile Smilie
The 'Published Silmarillion' rather vague on Tuor's fate. However Letter #153 (Letters of Tolkien) says;

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Túor weds Idril the daughter of Turgon King of Gondolin; and 'it is supposed' (not stated) that he as an unique exception receives the Elvish limited 'immortality': an exception either way


Of course this quote is little help, it continues the ambiguous nature of the statement in the 'Published Silmarillion', but later on Tolkien states;

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"...it must be assumed that no alteration of their fundamental kind could be effected by the Valar even in one case: the cases of Lúthien (and Túor) and the position of their descendants was a direct act of God."


So here Tolkien explicitly states Tuor became a Elf.

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Hey about Tuor....if he was counted amongst the elves did he grow pointy ears or what??


Tolkien never candidly says that Elves had pointy ears.

We also get this quote from the 'Etymology' from HoME 5.

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LAS(1)- *lasse leaf: Q lasse, N lhass; Q lasselanta leaf-fall, autumn, N lhasbelin (*lassekwelene), cf. Q Narqelion [KWEL]. Lhasgalen Greenleaf, Gnome name of Laurelin. (Some think this is related to the next and * lasse 'ear' . The Quendian ears were more pointed and leaf. shaped than [?human].)


But some of this quote was hard to decipher and C.T often made his own additions to the 'Etymology' so we don't know if Tolkien or C.T wrote it.


In 'Letter 27; Letters of Tolkien, Tolkien states:

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I picture a fairly human figure, not a kind of 'fairy' rabbit as some of my British reviewers seem to fancy: fattish in the stomach, shortish in the leg. A round, jovial face; ears only slightly pointed and 'elvish'; hair short and curling (brown).


The 'Elves' mentioned here are not the ones of Tolkien’s legendarium, since they were not widely known but it was the widely held picture of 'Elves' in those times. The 'Elves' of popular legend then were of course wholly incongruent from the ones in Tolkien's legendarium. The creatures 'Elfs' were used by Shakespeare and Keats, in some poems.

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Well I put Tom Bombadil for that one at the quiz because I didn't have a clue, but I don't suppose you can count him as a "man".


Tom isn't a 'Man', he was around before the race of Men came into existence. He is a enigma.

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Of course Elros is a man! He accepted the Gift of Men.....that makes you a MAN!!! And Elros was a great and long lived man!


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In this account, only Elros was granted a peculiar longevity, and it is said here that he and his brother Elrond were not differently endowed in the physical potential of life, but that since Elros elected to remain among the kindred of Men he retained the chief characteristic of Men as opposed to the Quendi: the "seeking else-whither," as the Eldar called it, the "weariness" or desire to depart from the world. It is further expounded that the increase in the Númenórean span was brought about by assimilation of their mode of life to that of the Eldar: though they were expressly warned that they had not become Eldar, but remained mortal Men, and had been granted only an extension of the period of their vigour of mind and body

Line of Elros; U.T

Elros is a man and probrably is the longest living man, because, he had a choice from the Valar to which race that he and Elrond could choose to be, Elrond chose to be an elf, and Elros chose to be a man, thus sealing his fate to be mortal, and became the first king of the Numenors, but his and his kinds lifespan were THREE times of that of humans in the west.
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I was debating that point with someone while we were working on the quiz. We were not sure if the Mouth of Sauron or the Witch King could be considered human or not.


I'm positive the mouth of sauron was at once a human. He would be ancient in years if he arrived in Sauron's domination, but if we was still considered a man for all those years i'd be surprised.

'The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr he was, and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it, and he said: "I am the Mouth of Sauron." But it is told that he was a renegade, who came of the race of those that are named the Black Númenoreans; for they established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Sauron's domination, and they worshipped him, being enamoured of evil knowledge. And he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again, and because of his cunning he grew ever higher in the Lord's favour; and he learned great sorcery, and knew much of the mind of Sauron; and he was more cruel than any orc.' (b.III p.191)

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I'm positive the mouth of sauron was at once a human. He would be ancient in years if he arrived in Sauron's domination, but if we was still considered a man for all those years i'd be surprised.
Surprise!!! Tolkien considered him as such, for he wrote in the 'The Black Gate Opens' Chapter 10, Book V, RotK in the sentence preceeding your quote:
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The rider was robed all in black, and black was his lofty helm; yet this was not Ringwraith but a living man. (the emphasis is Grondy's)
i was wonderin, could Elros have recieved the gift of men but not technically have axtually been a man? I mean Elrond chose elf-kind and yet he and his offspring are still referred to as the peredhil, the half-elven?
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i was wonderin, could Elros have recieved the gift of men but not technically have axtually been a man? I mean Elrond chose elf-kind and yet he and his offspring are still referred to as the peredhil, the half-elven?


The way I understood it (the choice of Luthien and the concequences) is that once you choose, it is final. Elros choose to become a man, so that is what happened. Elros' offspring never had to make a decision between man or elfkind. They were always edain/men. The children of Elrond still had to make that decision, such as Arwen had to make. Her kids don't get the choice. They are mortal.
yeh your probably right, but does it actually say naywhere in Tolkien that Elros actually became a man? everywhere ive read it just says "gift of men"
I think recieving the "gift of man" means you become a mortal man. Sorry, but i fail to see the problem here. It's not the use of words which is important, but the underlying meaning.
but was not "the gift of men" something that was given to men rather than that being the thing that made them men? im just trying to understanf better is all
The "Gift of Men" was the gift to men, given by Eru. Eru's gift had death as a consequence. Recieving the gift of men, means you become mortal.

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'Behold I love the Earth, which shall be a mansion for the Quendi and the Atani! But the Quendi shall be the fairest of all earthly creatures, and they shall have and shall conceive and bring forth more beauty than all my Children; and they shall have the greater bliss in this world. But to the Atani I will give a new gift.' Therefore he willed that the hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and should find no rest therein; but they should have a virtue to shape their life, amid the powers and chances of the world, beyond the Music of the Ainur, which is as fate to all things else; and of their operation everything should be, in form and deed, completed, and the world fulfilled unto the last and smallest.


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It is one with this gift of freedom that the children of Men dwell only a short space in the world alive, and are not bound to it, and depart soon whither the Elves know not
yeh i understand this, the gift of men made them mortal, but wos that the thing that made them human? could not Elros have been peredhil but have recieved the gift of men? would that have immediately "turned" him into a human?
Before Manwë decided that the descendants of Eärendil and Elwing had to choose to what race they'd belong (Elf or Human) it was just unsure to what race they belonged.

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But Ulmo said: 'For this he was born into the world. And say unto me: whether is he Eärendil Tuor's son of the line of Hador, or the son of Idril, Turgon's daughter, of the Elven-house of Finwë?'


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But when all was spoken, Manwë gave judgement, and he said: 'In this matter the power of doom is given to me. The peril that he ventured for love of the Two Kindreds shall not fall upon Eärendil, nor shall it fall upon Elwing his wife, who entered into peril for love of him; but they shall not walk again ever among Elves or Men in the Outer Lands. And this is my decree concerning them: to Eärendil and to Elwing, and to their sons, shall be given leave each to choose freely to which kindred their fates shall be joined, and under which kindred they shall be judged.'

So after that, Elrond chose to be counted among Elves, and Elros chose to be counted among Men : hence Elrond became immortal and Elros mortal. But still they were both called half-elves as they were still descendants of both elf and human.

But yes, the gift of men wasn't only mortality, it was a consequence of the gift. Eru granted gifts to Elves and gifts to Men, and both made them what they were. I think the quote i posted in my previous post makes that clear.
yes i read that passage but manwe says "fates shall be joined, and under which kindred they shall be judged" he doesnt actually say they become elf or man, so just becasue Elros's "fate was joined" with that of men, and made him mortal did that really that make Elros a man? i know im being pedantic and i apologise if im annoying you.
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yeh i understand this, the gift of men made them mortal, but wos that the thing that made them human? could not Elros have been peredhil but have recieved the gift of men? would that have immediately "turned" him into a human?
I think you are confusing "Mankind" and "humanity". IMHO all the Children of Iluvatar (Eru) were human: Elves, Dwarves, and Men (including hobbits). Even the Ents could fit under this tent. I consider humans were any sentient beings who practiced the humane qualities of being kind, tender, considerate, merciful, etc. The Goblins, Orcs, Trolls, and Dragons didn't display these qualities and though sentient, were more beastlike in their dealings with others. Of course I may be wrong. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Well, biologically they wouldn't lose all their "elven" characteristics and abilities suddenly, yes (like pointy ears, for instance - heh). So technically, from the purist point of view, it's true they didn't suddenly become a Man.

It's the same with Arwen : she was born as an Elf, because Elrond chose to be counted among Elves 2700 years ago, but still she could choose to be counted among Men --- and i'm sure she didn't suddenly lose her pointy ears then.

But of course, it's not known how Eärendil and any of the other half-elves looked; we don't know whether they looked more like Elves or like Men. Perhaps their characteristics would be split in half - slightly pointed ears, etc. I don't know.

And Grondy, Dwarves were NOT children of Illuvatar. They were Aulë's children. Eru only adopted them.

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But Ilúvatar spoke again and said: 'Even as I gave being to the thoughts of the Ainur at the beginning of the World, so now I have taken up thy desire and given to it a place therein; but in no other way will I amend thy handiwork, and as thou hast made it, so shall it be. But I will not suffer this: that these should come before the Firstborn of my design, nor that thy impatience should be rewarded. They shall sleep now in the darkness under stone, and shall not come forth until the Firstborn have awakened upon Earth; and until that time thou and they shall wait, though long it seem. But when the time comes I will awaken them, and they shall be to thee as children; and often strife shall arise between thine and mine, the children of my adoption and the children of my choice.'
well in that case read "human" for "man" thats quite an interestin theory in itself, dunno if i totally agree, but interestin to think about
yeh virumor thats kinda wot i was talkin about but the point behind my endless ramblin wos whether Elros was actually the longest lived "Man" or rather the longest lived mortal peredhil
Adopted children point taken Virumor. Happy Elf Smilie

Anyway, all this still leads us back to the Mouth of Sauron now being foremost in the running as the longest living Man.
Some may have noticed I have a habit of finding ancient arguments long forgotten, some firmly decided, some anything but, and kicking over the ant hill just to see what crawls out of it. Well. I will stipulate for the record that the Mouth of Sauron was human (at least to the extent it devolves on me to so, which is essentially to the extent I wish to debate the issue and no further.) However, while he was from the race of the Black Numenoreans, others contemporary with Frodo and under no enchantment could make the same claim, the Corsairs of Umbar, for example (from whence I always understood the Mouth of Sauron to have come.) If he entered Saurons service when Barad-dur was REbuilt, that would have been in 2951 TA, making him at least 68 (and more likely in the range of 90 or more,) but he'd have to go a long way to match Elros, who still gets the title (this has the added advantage of being what Tolkien actually said. Tongue Smilie ) If the Mouth of Sauron entered the service of Sauron in his youth, coming from Umbar perhaps as an "ambassador" he would have been at the time of the War of the Ring an old, if not elderly, man by the fallen standards of the most fallen Numenoreans, but not remarkable in age. Needless to say, I clicked on this expecting a discussion of Elros; boy was I in for a surprise.
Help Me Out

Question Smilie Earendil Question Smilie

He was half elven. Did he choose to be a man or elf? If man...He is easily the oldest. I think. He lives for ever as the star of Earendil. I don't really remember, and I only read the Silm once, and I don't have time to read it all now. Help me out. I was thinking Earendil was the oldest man.
Never mind. I made time and found it. Earendil choose to be held among the first born only for Elwings sake. But it does say that his heart was rather with the kindred of Men and the people of his father. So he was very very close to being a man. I think he should still win the oldest man competition. Big Laugh Smilie

You should really learn how to make time. It comes in useful.
I found owning a time machine is much more energy efficient than trying to manufacture time. Too much power is expended just obtaining the first nanosecond, obtaining the next takes exponentially even more power. With my time machine I just plug and play. Elf Winking Smilie Of course the initial cost of a time machine is quite exorbitant and even with an extended warranty there is no guarantee it will last forever. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
At the risk of drifting even further off topic, if you haven't already, Grondy, you might enjoy a look at Asimovs "The Red Queens Race." I don't have the anthology handy, so I forget which 'zine had it, but it's enshrined for posterity in The Early Asimov, not too far after thiotimoline. It's premised around a nuclear pile that was completely drained to do exactly what you're saying, for exactly the reasons you state.

Oh, um, the longest lived man... er, who was second if Elros is first?
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Oh, um, the longest lived man... er, who was second if Elros is first?

Methuselah was #1, actually. 969 years !
"But who calls that living, if no gal would give in, to no man what lived nine hundred years?" - from the opera Porgy and Bess by George Gerswin

It isn't the length of time that encompasses our lives, but the quality of that time, and how we spend it. - Somebody must have said this ever so much better than I have tried to do here.
Tesla. Although there was a dead Greek said something like "No man loses any life other than that that he leads, or leads any life other than that that he loses." It's a chapter head in one of Joel Rosenbergs Gaurdians of the Flame books (very entertaining, but not great art) but I'm too lazy to dig it out now. Besides, I'm really only posting so I can catch up and pass Miruvor (seventeen to go Wink Smilie .)
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Besides, I'm really only posting so I can catch up and pass Miruvor (seventeen to go .)

Quality, not quantity, my friend. Just like with life. Teacher Smilie

Having said that, why dost thou not post in the WOT thread ?
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Besides, I'm really only posting so I can catch up and pass Miruvor (seventeen to go .)


I'm surprised Miruvor didn't mention how in a previous incarnation as Virumor, he suddenly lost 2000 posts overnight when his account mysteriously disappeared. Sad Smilie He was in grave danger of catching up with me.

The powers that be are still working on recovering the old account.... fingers crossed.
The most long lived man is bilbo baggins. Smile Smilie
No - that'd be the most long lived Hobbit.
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VirumorIt's the same with Arwen : she was born as an Elf, because Elrond chose to be counted among Elves 2700 years ago, but still she could choose to be counted among Men --- and i'm sure she didn't suddenly lose her pointy ears then.

So now i've seen a few people post something similiar to this. Any offspring of Elrond can choose their fate if they wish to become mortal or not? Does that go for any Elf such as Luthien did the same?

It has probably been mentioned a dozen times but to my knowledge Elros was the longest lived complete Man but Earendil may be the longest living of beings with man in them.

I am not sure about Tuor however. I do not know much about him (whether he is counted amoung the Eldar but did not get immortality or is counted amoung the Eldar becuase he got immortality etc).
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Does that go for any Elf such as Luthien did the same?

It applies for all descendants of Eärendil & Elwing, as instated by the Valar.
What about Elves that aren't from the Offspring of Earendil and Elwing? Such as Luthien?
Lúthien was given the choice in the Halls of Mandos, and she chose to return to Beleriand as a mortal woman...
ya i know that, but i was just curious how come it seems some elves are given the choice and others are not. I can understand why the decendants of Earendil and Elwing are given the choice.
Probably because not all Elves desire a union with mortals... this was quite rare.
ya i understand that, it's only known in 3 cases. Notice how there has never been a recorded case of a male Eldar desiring a female Edain. I better drop this whole subject since the thread is about the longest living man.
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Notice how there has never been a recorded case of a male Eldar desiring a female Edain.

Yes, there is. There's Aegnor & Andreth, but he never married her because he had a feeling that the Doom of Mandos would get the better of him.
This Mouth of Sauron who I thought was very poorly depicted in the movie, I cannot get a handle on him.
So if it is possible he was the oldest living MAN and men only lived so many years, not many in the big picture would he have not had to have been half elven at one point in order to make a choice to stay a man and thus the long life.Or did Sauron have the ability to keep him living, and if so would that not negate his being a man, would he not have been diminished into a wraith type of being.
I thought only Illuvatar could actually give length of days.
I am so confused. Dunce Smilie
Ya i thought the Mouth of Sauron was depicted very badly in the movie too. In the books he sounded so bad ass riding in on his black steed with flaming nostrils, or were they eyes? i can't remember.

In the movie he looks like a big clown with horrible teeth and a funny hat.
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So if it is possible he was the oldest living MAN and men only lived so many years, not many in the big picture would he have not had to have been half elven at one point in order to make a choice to stay a man and thus the long life.Or did Sauron have the ability to keep him living, and if so would that not negate his being a man, would he not have been diminished into a wraith type of being.
I thought only Illuvatar could actually give length of days.

The Valar could lengthen the lives of Men, which they did with the descendants of the great Houses of Men at the end of the First Age, but they could not grant immortality. That was up to Eru only.

Since the Mouth of Sauron was a Black Númenoran, and considering how the lives of Númenorans had been waning ever since Tar-Atanamir scorned the Valar and longed for immortality, I take it he cannot be the longest living Man.
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