View Full Version : What is a Variag

Gwaihir the Windlord
12-14-2000, 01:14 AM
In RotK it is said that 'great Variags of Khand' fought against Gondor. I know where Khand is; but what is a Variag?

12-14-2000, 08:04 PM
I don't think it is ever clearly stated,but I would assume the Variags of Khand were simply another race of Men as were the Haradrim. They certainly weren't elves,and if they were orcs or trolls it would seem they would have been named as such. Maybe Variag was just the name they had for themselves. Just a thought.


Gwaihir the Windlord
12-14-2000, 09:50 PM
Welcome, Inziladun, to the Downs. You say it is nowhere else stated what they are? Then I would also assume that they are Men; thankyou!

Mister Underhill
12-14-2000, 10:47 PM
For what it's worth, the usually well-researched I.C.E. Middle-earth RPG book makes Variags out to be Men also.

Grand Admiral Reese
12-16-2000, 06:44 AM
Maybe Variag is the name that the Men of Khand give to their soldiers.

12-16-2000, 04:02 PM
When I read LotR, I think I placed them as some sort of beast. But that might have been something else, seeing as none of you brought that up.

The Barrow-Wight
12-16-2000, 04:20 PM
I always tought they were something like Centurions. Military units of some kind.

12-17-2000, 04:27 AM
From the historical point of view, variag was a name that slavs were applying to vikings. There even was such a term as putÜ iz variagov v greki wich meant trade route from Scandinavia to Bizantium. I always thought that JRRT was inspired by that name.

12-17-2000, 03:22 PM
So would they be something along the lines of a Norse Berserker or what?

Gwaihir the Windlord
12-17-2000, 06:38 PM
I don't beleive that Variags were military units, RK. In the description of the battle of the Pelennor Fields, Trolls, Haradrim, Orcs and Easterlings are mentioned along with the Khand Variags. So I take it that they were a kind of person.

The Barrow-Wight
12-17-2000, 10:16 PM
Well, the Variags of Khand were certainly acting militarily when they were mentioned. But if they were from Khand they were Men.... so why not call them Khandians? Haradrim from Harad, Easterlings from...umm.. the east, Rohirrim from Rohan, Dundlendings from Dunland, Gondorians, etc.

12-22-2000, 02:07 AM
they do sound like some type of military unit or something of that sort like the Roman Legion. After all the men in the Roman Legion weren't really known as Romans, they were known as the Legion.

12-22-2000, 05:38 AM
I doubt that. Suppose you are a German villager in 2th century A.D., and, just walking around you notice legion approaching your village. What would you cry running home? Legion is coming or Romans, Romans are near?

The Barrow-Wight
12-22-2000, 06:51 AM
Centurions! Centurions in the valley! We're doomed!

12-23-2000, 12:47 AM
The British soldiers were known as redcoats, meatheads are the names of the guards in the tower of london, why can't Variags just be another name for warrior of Khand, it is shorter.

Grand Admiral Reese
12-24-2000, 12:45 PM
Exactly, Durelen, exactly.

12-25-2000, 11:19 PM
I just love it when people agree with me, it makes me feel like I actually know something.

05-05-2003, 06:28 PM
Ok this is just my mind's eye working here, but when I read through the Lord of the Rings the first time so many years ago, I pictured Variags of Khand as similar to the Ghurkas from the Himilayans. A rather elite yet vicious & brutal brigade of military men from Khand. They also were in the army of Sauron that attacked Gondor in TA 1944 when the Wainrider Easterlings also attacked Gondor in the northern part of Ithilien.

05-06-2003, 03:25 AM
I think HerenIstarion was probably on the right track, guys. Another word that JRRT would have known. I think "the Variags of Khand" could be a phrase akin to "the Highlanders of Scotland" or "the Rangers of the North" if you want something LotR. A group of people, probably warlike, who come from Khand, but are separate from the Khandanese or Khandadhrim or Khandish in general... smilies/wink.gif

05-06-2003, 05:25 AM
In the land of Khand, south of Mordor, there lived a fierce folk called the Variags during the Third Age of the Sun. They were allied to the evil Easterlings and Haradrim and were servants to the Dark Lord Sauron. The histories of the West tell how twice the Variags came forth at the bidding of Sauron against Gondor. In the year 1944, with the Men of Near Harad, the Variags fought the army of Earnil of Gondor and were deafeated at Poros Crossing. More than a thousand years later the Variags, with the Haradrim and Easterlings, came to the aid of Sauron's armies from Morgul and Mordor in the War of the Ring. But this was the last time they fought Gondor, for an end came to Sauron's power and so to the alliance between Sauron and Variags, who remained within their own lands for many years of the Forth Age.

05-06-2003, 12:42 PM
I think that the Variags were a race or tribe of people. Perhaps other peoples also lived in Khand. It would not be unlike Germany in Roman times...you had the Teutons, Osgtrogoths, Visigoths, Gauls etc.
The Variags were just a fierce group of people from Khand who went to war for Sauron.
I always imagined Khand to be a place similar to India perhaps.

Hans Markus Rod
05-06-2003, 02:03 PM
In the Unfinished Tales it says that the Variags were fierce tribesmen living on the high-land plataue of Khand. They were men akin to easterlings and people further south in the Harad. during the war of the ring they allied themselves with Sauron and fought gondor as they did when the Wainraiders attacked Gondor 18th century of the third age. I have always imagined the variags as simmilar to Mongols or Arabs.

05-07-2003, 05:54 AM
meatheads are the names of the guards in the tower of london

Rofl. They are actually called Beefeaters, but I will think of them as meatheads from now on.
As somebody mentioned, the Russians and Slavs knew the Vikings as vaeringjar or Varangs, and the Varangian Guard were the handpicked (Viking) bodyguard of the Byzantine emperor. However, the people of Khand would I think have been the ME equivalent of Asians.

05-07-2003, 07:42 AM
If we're putting it into this world's terms, I always pictured the Haradrim from Near Harad as an arabic nomadic folk with all the desert there. Far Harad is where the darker-skinned Haradrim came from with the Oliphants, and the people of Khand were more Asiatic and were good martial arts fighters. Just how my mind's eye sees them and are images i got since the first time I read the books.

the guy who be short
05-13-2003, 11:51 AM
i also thought they were just a type of men, but i have found evidence otherwise: here is a quote, rotk, pg 829:
East rode the knights of Dol Amroth, driving the enemy before them: troll-men and Variags and orcs that hated the sunlight.
note that orcs and trolls are monsters, not humans. he didnt put in the haradrim or the easterlings, whom we know are men. so maybe the variags should be classed among the monsters.

Keeper of Dol Guldur
05-13-2003, 02:02 PM
I always assumed that the strange bearded men who appeared with axes during the Battle of the Pelennor were the Variags, and that since they were 'dwarf-like' they were vikings or mongolians, or huns, or something along those lines out of the east invading.

05-14-2003, 09:06 AM
The people of Khand
A little-known people dwelling in the land of Khand, east of Mordor, at the time of the War of the Ring. They were allied to Sauron, and their warriors were seen at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

This is what The Encyclopaedia of Arda had to say about it.