The highest of the Powers
Dates: Immortal; all existed before the foundation of Arda
Meaning: 'The Exalted'
Other Names: High Ones of Arda
"Among [the Valar] Nine were of chief power and reverence; butone is removed from their number, and Eight remain, the Aratar, theHigh Ones of Arda..."
The eight greatest of the Valar; Manwë, Varda, Ulmo,Yavanna, Aulë, Mandos, Nienna and Oromë. ThoughManwë was held to be the High King of Arda, all theseeight were held in equal reverence, and were said to possess amajesty that surpassed even the other Valar.
It seems clear from the quotation above that the Aratar wereoriginally nine, and included Melkor (probably as the greatest ofthem), but he was removed from this 'order' after his rebellion.