Shannara Wiki - Exploring the Magical World of Shannara
Shannara Wiki - Exploring the Magical World of Shannara

The Race of Man is one of the five main Races depicted in Terry Brooks' Shannara series. Like the Dwarves, the Gnomes, and the Trolls, Men are descended from humans who survived the Great Wars. However, unlike these other Races, they were not altered or mutated by the effects of the Great Wars. The Race of Man mostly lives in the Southland.

Physical Characteristics

Physically, the Race of Man is no different to human beings as we know them today.


The Race of Man was not physically affected by the Great Wars because they were sheltered in the deep Southland. This is in contrast to Dwarves, whose human ancestors took shelter from the cataclysm of the Great Wars below ground; Gnomes, whose human ancestors found shelter in the dense forests; and Trolls, whose human ancestors survived the apocalypse above ground and were therefore directly exposed to dangerous radiation.


The Race of Man is the most populous Race and the only one to boast multiple large cities, like the fortress city of Arishaig. It also tends to be the Race that is the most xenophobic and the most hostile to magic and its users.

A deep, longstanding distrust has existed between Man and the other Races since the First War of the Races, in which the Warlock Lord incited Man to rise up against the other Races in an attempt to achieve dominion over the Four Lands. Indirectly, the war also led to the isolationist policy of the Federation, the principal governing body of the Southland.


The Federation began as an alliance among the various city-states of the Southland, most notably Dechtera, Sterne, and Wayford. The alliance was born out of fear after hearing about the Warlock Lord and his demise in the Third War of the Races. The Federation quickly became a unified government and the highest authority in the Southland. However, some cities and kingdoms refused to join, with the most notable being the Callahorn, also known as the Borderlands.


The Callahorn is known as the Borderlands because of its position at the center of the Four Lands, separating the Northland from the Southland and the Westland from the Eastland. It is also called the Borderlands because of its committed resistance over the centuries to attempts by the Federation to annex the region.

Although residents of the Callahorn tend to be primarily of the Race of Man, the Borderlands' traditional role as a place for contact and commerce between people of all Races means that the makeup of the population is more mixed than in the Southland. Generally, Bordermen and -women tend to be more cosmopolitan and accepting of difference than the average person from the Southland.


Rovers are a class of people who have no set home and sometimes serve as mercenaries. They wander the Westland in large caravans, and can sometimes be found in the Southland as well. They are of the Race of Man, though there have been rare exceptions like the Elf Queen Wren Elessedil.

Initial depictions of Rovers were based closely on stereotypes of Romani people and Traveler communities. Rovers are seen by other people as being dangerous thieves, a temperamental people without a strong moral compass. They wear brightly colored clothes, sashes, and jewelry.

Rovers also adhere to a sexist belief system called "The Way" where women and their needs are considered secondary to men and men's needs. Only women who are firstborn children seem to be valued: Eretria was a Rover woman with wide-ranging freedom as Cephelo's firstborn, whereas Lariana, who was not firstborn, was disowned by her father when she refused to be married off in trade.

Rovers bear no allegiance but were often friendly with Druids and their allies, particularly during the time of Walker Boh. In later years, Rovers are known to work as mercenaries, usually involved in the fighting between the Federation and its enemies. With the advent of airships, Rovers become experts in airship travel and are often hired out as airship crew.


Age of Faerie

In the Age of Faerie, the world was dominated by creatures of magic. Elves were created as servants and shepherds of the forests. Human beings were little more than animals at the time.

Age of Man

Faerie creatures had incredibly long lifespans, but these lifespans were coupled with incredibly low birthrates and for this reason they were all but overrun by the rise of human beings. In this evolution of the Races all Faerie creatures ended up vanishing, all except for the Elves, who managed to survive by retreating further and further into the forests, using their natural talent for hiding themselves away to avoid humans, and becoming merely myths in the imaginations of mortal people.

During the Age of Man, knowledge in the sciences advanced to the point where no one died anymore except from old age, and even then, science was on the verge of conquering that as well. Then, starting as minor disputes between small countries, tensions began growing and drawing in the entire world, culminating in the Great Wars in the early 22nd century.

The Great Wars were cataclysmic due to the use of nuclear and chemical weaponry; much of the world's geography was altered and nearly all of the human population was wiped out. When the Elves realized that the Great Wars were close at hand, they used what magic remained to them to seal themselves and a few treasures, like the Ellcrys, away from harm.

First Druid Council

Shirl Ravenlock and Janus Senpre support a weary Menion Leah as they finish their march into the city of Tyrsis, after evacuating the population of Kern. Painted by the Brothers Hildebrandt for the original edition of The Sword of Shannara.

After millenia, the Earth had more or less recovered from the cataclysm of the Great Wars. The population had been decimated, and except for the ruins of humankind's greatest cities and monuments, the world as everyone had known it had disappeared. Genetic mutation caused by radiation from the Great Wars brought about the appearance of new Races alongside the Race of Man. These mutant human races were named after the creatures from Man's ancient fairytales which they most closely resembled: Dwarves, Gnomes, and Trolls.

The surviving Elves also reemerged in the forests of the Westland, coming out from their magical concealment now that there was no longer a threat of being overrun by humanity or harmed by the Great Wars' aftereffects. However, they were greatly changed: No longer creatures of Faerie, they had evolved in the struggle to survive to become nearly identical to the other Races, with a shortened lifespan but an increased ability to give birth. As such, many believed that the Elves were merely another Race descended from humans.

Chaos ensued as the five Races fought for resources in the aftermath of the Great Wars and each tried to declare their power over the other. Fearing that the mayhem would lead to the end for all living creatures, the Elf Galaphile brought together a group of learned and liked-minded men and women from all the Races to form the first Council of Druids, a body of peacekeepers, historians, and scholars.

The Race of Man was brought out of a tribal and warlike existence by the First Council of Paranor. Under the order of the Druids, the known lands were divided up into the Four Lands, with roughly one territory for each race: Westland for the Elves, the Northland for the Trolls, the Eastland for the Dwarves, and the Southland for the Race of Man, with Gnome tribes scattered across the Northland and Eastland.

Wars of the Races

For a time the Druids' efforts to bring lasting peace and order to the land worked well. However, several powerful members of the Druid Order became convinced that magic, not science, should be the guiding force of the new world, and that it was their destiny as magic-wielders to shape the future of the Four Lands. These few left the Druids to form their own group, consisting of all Races and led by a Druid named Brona, who took with him the Ildatch, a book of unparalleled evil power that originated in the Age of Faerie.

Brona, who had become known as the Warlock Lord, orchestrated a rebellion against the Druids by causing a violent uprising in the Southland to incite the Race of Man into waging war against the Order. Attacking out of the Southland, the Warlock Lord and his forces attacked Paranor, beginning a conflict that soon widened into what became known as the First War of the Races, with the Race of Man pitted against all the races that were supported by the Druids—mainly the Elves and the Dwarves, but also the Trolls.

Eventually, the combined power of the Druids and their allies crushed the Southland force and the Warlock Lord escaped to rebuild his legion, leaving the Race of Man to rebuild their shattered lives. In the aftermath, the Race of Man was barred from entry into Druid's Keep. They withdrew into the Southland cities to lick their wounds, leaving only fledgling outposts in the Borderlands.

The Southlanders began pursuing an isolationist policy from the other Races, forgetting the true course of events that had led to their separation. The city of Dechtera swelled to become the second greatest industrial center of the Four Lands. The Borderlands became the frontier of the Southland, with the Kingdom of Callahorn emerging as a superbly defended coalition of the three cities: Tyrsis, Kern, and Varfleet. The legendary Border Legion withstood many incursions of Gnome and Rock Troll raiders.

Most Southlanders barely noticed the Second War of the Races, so deep were they in their isolation, with only the Borderlands being majorly impacted by the Warlock Lord's troops.

In the Third War of the Races, the Southlanders again avoided the brunt of the conflict, refusing to aid the other Races while the Callahorn bore the full might of the Northland army. The Warlock Lord placed a spy within Tyrsis who poisoned King Ruhl Buckhannah and manipulated his unstable younger son Palance into disbanding the Border Legion. Kern fell before the Northland onslaught, but its populace escaped to Tyrsis, aided by Prince Balinor Buckhannah and Menion Leah. The siege of Tyrsis was broken only when Shea Ohmsford slayed the Warlock Lord, which also destroyed the Skull Bearers commanding the assault on Tyrsis.

Restoration of the Ellcrys

In keeping with their isolationist attitude, the Southlanders offered no support to the Elves in the fight against the Demons. Only the Borderlands offered token support, in the form of the Free Corps.

Rise of the Federation

After the formation of the Federation, the Federation and Callahorn became inexorably drawn into conflict as the Callahorn, after rebuilding Kern, continued to strive to maintain its independence while the Federation sought to bring the Borderlands under their control. Over the decades and centuries, the amount of control the Federation would have over the Borderlands would vary.

Just before the time of the Druid Walker Boh, the Federation had come to dominate the entire Race of Man, save for the nomadic Rovers. The Federation's Coalition Council and their organization of Seekers, the force ostensibly dedicated to eradicating magic from the Four Lands, had become corrupted by the Shadowen, who used their position to poison the Four Lands and wage war upon the other Races, dropping the Federation's traditional stance of isolationism. The Federation waged a brutal war upon the Dwarves using Creepers and ultimately enslaved their people, intent upon eventual genocide. Most of the Gnome tribes fell in line with Federation decrees, while the Elves disappeared from the Westland altogether to avoid being targeted by the Federation.

When Wren Elessedil returned the Elves to the Four Lands, the Federation declared an all-out war upon Arborlon. This assault was broken only when Walker Boh, Coll Ohmsford, and Par Ohmsford overcame the Shadowen at Southwatch, destroying the Seekers who were commanding the army battling the Elves. Callahorn was retaken by the Free-born resistance, and Leah was likewise declared a independent state once more. The might of the Federation was broken once more.

Third Druid Council

The Federation built a new city as the capital of their empire, called Arishaig, "the jewel of the Federation." Two centuries after they were routed in their battle against the Elves, the Federation resumed their assault on other races. When the airship was invented, they gained new weapons in the form of mighty flying vessels, which were used in the war between the Southland and an alliance of Dwarves, Elves and the Free-born.

Sen Dunsidan, Prime Minister of the Coalition Council, allied himself to those with magical powers, working first with Grianne Ohmsford during her time as the Ilse Witch, and then later with Shadea a'Ru and Iridia Eleri, mutinous Druids within the Third Druid Council, which was led by a reformed Grianne as their Ard Rhys. Under the influence of a Demon called the Moric, Sen Dunsidan's authority over the Federation was used to launch an attack on Arborlon and the Ellcrys, which was only foiled when Pen Ohmsford used the darkwand to banish the Moric back to the Forbidding.

After its failed attack on Arborlon, severe restrictions were placed upon the Federation. In particular a deadly new airship weapon utilizing diapson crystal technology was universally banned under treaties spearheaded and negotiated by Grianne Ohmsford. By the time of the advent of the Fourth Druid Order, diapson crystal weapons are commonplace in the Southland, indicating that the ban is either ignored or was only found to be applicable to airships.

Alphabetical List of Men and Women