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This article includes several chronologies relating to J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium.

In Tolkien's cosmology, Arda (the Earth) is at first created without the Sun and Moon to illumine it, and its earliest history is measured in Valian Years (V.Y.). After the creation of the Trees of the Valar, a new tally of Years of the Trees is begun in V.Y. 3501. At about V.Y. 4550, the First Age of the Children of Ilúvatar begins with the Awakening of the Elves.

The Years of the Sun begin with the Awakening of Men in about V.Y. 5000. From this time, the First Age lasts for another 590 years. The Second Age extends to 3441 years, beginning with the foundation of Mithlond (the Grey Havens) under Círdan, and Lindon as the Noldorin Kingdom under Gil-galad, and ending with the defeat of Sauron at the hands of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. The Third Age extends to 3021 years, ending with the final defeat of Sauron in the War of the Ring and the establishment of the Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor. The Fourth Age is mainly outside the scope of Tolkien's legendarium, beginning the suggested transition to the historical period, but Tolkien gives a summary of the first two centuries of the Fourth Age.[1]

Timeline entries are based on The Annals of Aman (published 1993) and The Grey Annals (published 1994) and Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings (published 1955) unless otherwise noted.

Contents

SummaryEdit

Tolkien revised his chronology numerous times. The Annals of Valinor were written in the early 1930s. In this early version, a Valian Year corresponds to 10 solar years, and the time from the creation of Arda until the creation of the Moon and Sun is 3,000 Valian Years. In a revision dated c. 1937, the earlier timeline is mostly left intact, with the addition of the explicit statement that "It is said that the Valar came into the world 30,000 Sun-years ere the first rising of the Moon".

The chronology underwent major revisions after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, in about 1958. In this revision, published as the Annals of Aman, Tolkien defined a Valian Year as equal to 9.582 solar years,[2] and the Valian Year of the creation of the Moon and Sun was now given as 5000, so that the time between the creation of Arda and the rising of the Sun and Moon was now the equivalent of 47,910 solar years instead of 30,000.

Late in his life, Tolkien planned to again revise chronology, now assuming one Valian Year as the equivalent of 144 solar years. This is consistent with his earlier decision (published in 1955 in Appendix D of The Lord of the Rings) that the Elves would reckon time in "long-years" or yéni equivalent to 144 solar years (thus equating the yéni and the Valian Year), but Tolkien never finished this final revision.

Elder Days (Valian Years)
Annals of Valinor (1937)
1 V.Y. = 10 solar years
Annals of Aman (1958)
1 V.Y. = 9.582 solar years
Creation of Arda, Years of the Lamps 1 1
Destruction of the Lamps 500 3450
Birth of the Two Trees 1000 3500
Awakening of the Elves 2000 4550
Destruction of the Two Trees 2990 4995
Creation of the Moon and Sun and Awakening of Men 3000 5000
The Ages of the Children of Ilúvatar
First Age 450 Years of the Trees + 590 Years of the Sun
Second Age 3,441 Years of the Sun
Third Age 3,021 Years of the Sun
Fourth Age of unspecified length, suggested as overlapping with Earth's protohistory

Valian YearsEdit

Before the making of the Sun, dates are given in Valian Years, and not all events can be precisely dated. In such cases events are given in chronological order between known dates. Although all dates prior to the first sunrise have been given in Valian years, these can be converted to Years of the Lamps by subtracting 1900, Years of the Trees by subtracting 3500, or Years of the Trees in the First Age by subtracting 4550.

The conversion between Valian Years and Years of the Sun is not clear, depending on the choice of conversion factors (among many that Tolkien used at different times), the First Age may have lasted anywhere between 4,902 and 65,390 sun years. The greater number is supported by the Appendices to The Lord of the Rings and later writings, the lesser by earlier writings. In Morgoth's Ring, Christopher Tolkien cites a passage stating a Valian Year being "longer than are now nine years under the Sun."[3]

  • 1: After many ages completing labours in the halls of , including Varda's crafting of the stars, the Valar descended into Arda at the time of its origin.
  • First War: Melkor assaults his brethren and disrupts the ordered symmetry they seek to build within Arda.
  • 1500: Tulkas arrives, the last of the Valar to descend into Arda: Melkor runs from him and hides in the halls of Eä.
  • The Valar begin their labours anew and order the lands and seas to their liking.
  • 1900: The Two Lamps, Illuin and Ormal, are set upon vast pillars in Middle-earth to provide light for Arda.
  • Ordering of Arda by the Valar. They form the isle of Almaren to dwell upon, at the centre of Middle-earth.
  • Spring of Arda: first forests grow, and non-humanoid animals are awakened.
  • Melkor's spies and secret friends, chief among them a great craftsman of the folk of Aulë, later named Sauron, inform him that the Valar are weary from their labours.
  • 3400: Wedding of Tulkas and Nessa. Melkor returns in secret with followers from Eä and begins building Utumno in the far north of Middle-earth.
  • Melkor begins to corrupt the lands and living things of Arda, turning them into sickly or monstrous shapes.
  • The Valar become aware of Melkor's return and begin seeking his stronghold.
  • 3450: Destruction of the Two Lamps and the isle of Almaren by Melkor and his followers; Spring of Arda ends. The Sleep of Yavanna begins in Middle-earth.
  • Melkor retreats to Utumno while the Valar save what they can from the cataclysm.
  • The Valar establish a new home in Aman and raise the Pelóri to defend it.
  • 3500: Yavanna makes the Trees of the Valar.

Years of the TreesEdit

In some cases, after V.Y. 4580, exact chronological order cannot be determined and the placement of undated entries is estimated.

First AgeEdit

During the Years of the Trees the First Age of the Children of Ilúvatar begins, at the Awakening of the Elves.

  • 4550: Eru Ilúvatar awakens the Elves in Cuiviénen, in the east of Middle-earth. Melian the Maia departs for Middle-earth.
  • 4580: Melkor discovers and begins capturing Elves in secret. Melkor begins breeding the Orcs from captured Elves, and the Trolls.
  • 4585: Oromë first learns of the Elves.
  • 4586: Oromë returns to Valinor, informs the other Valar of the dangers faced by the Elves, and then returns immediately to Cuiviénen.
  • 4590: The Valar march to war against Melkor on behalf of the Elves: the War of the Powers.
  • 4592: The Valar lay siege to Utumno.
  • Melian begins dwelling in Nan Elmoth and caring for the living things that have been awakened in Beleriand.
  • 4599: Melkor is captured, and bound in the great chain Angainor; Utumno is destroyed. Sauron escapes capture and remains in Angband, breeding Orcs and Trolls for Melkor.
  • 4600: Melkor is taken to Valinor in chains and sentenced to serve a term in the Halls of Mandos for three ages: the Ages of the Chaining of Melkor.
  • 4601: The Valar decide to summon the Elves to dwell with them in Aman.
  • 4602: Oromë brings three ambassadors of the Elves to Aman: Ingwë of the Vanyar, Finwë of the Noldor, and Elwë of the Teleri.
  • 4604: The three ambassadors return and work to convince the Elves to accept the summons of the Valar. They accumulate many followers.
  • 4605: Great Journey of the Elves: The Elves depart towards Aman. (Not all answer the summons — see Sundering of the Elves.)
  • 4615: The Elves reach the great river which would later be called Anduin. A group of Teleri under Lenwë (or Dan), wary of crossing the Misty Mountains, abandon the March near the Anduin and become the Nandor.
  • Fathers of the Dwarves and first Ents awakened by Eru Ilúvatar; Elves discover the Ents and begin teaching them language.
  • 4625: The Vanyar and Noldor arrive in Beleriand, in the north-west of Middle-earth.
  • 4628: The Teleri arrive in Beleriand after tarrying in the great forests of Eriador.
  • 4630: Elwë meets Melian and is entranced.
  • 4632: Ulmo is unwilling to wait until Elwë is found, and the Vanyar and Noldor are ferried across the ocean on the island of Tol Eressëa, while the Teleri stay behind in Beleriand, looking for their lord.
  • 4633: The Vanyar and Noldor settle in Eldamar and begin building Tirion.
  • 4640: Tirion is finished, Mindon Eldaliéva is built. Ingwë and many of the Vanyar leave Tirion to dwell with Manwë in Valimar.
  • 4642: Yavanna gives the White Tree, Galathilion, to the Noldor.
  • 4649: Ulmo finally returns for the Teleri, but many stay behind because Elwë is not yet found, and become the Sindar. Another group remains behind at the request of Ossë, and together with those who came too late they become the Elves of the Falas under Círdan.
  • 4651: The majority of the Teleri are ferried across on Tol Eressëa, which is anchored in the Bay of Eldamar. They take Elwë's brother, Olwë, as lord.
  • 4652: Elwë awakes from slumber and reunites with the Sindar. He becomes known as Thingol, settling in Doriath.
  • 4661: The Teleri of Tol Eressëa learn the art of shipbuilding, and ferry across the bay of Eldamar to Aman, where they found the city of Alqualondë.
  • 4665: The last Vanyar abandon Tirion and settle in Valimar proper. The Noldor remain in Tirion under their lord, Finwë.
  • 4669: Fëanor is born. Rúmil invents writing. Nogrod and Belegost founded by Dwarves; Khazad-dûm founded by Durin the Deathless.
  • 4670: Míriel dies.
  • 4672: The Valar issue the Statute of Finwë and Míriel
  • 4685: Finwë and Indis are married.
  • 4690: Fingolfin is born.
  • 4700: Lúthien is born.
  • 4730: Finarfin is born.
  • 4750: Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost are met by the Sindar, establishing trade. Fëanor develops the Tengwar.
  • 4780: Finarfin and Eärwen are married.
  • 4800: Turgon and Finrod Felagund are born. Menegroth is built by the Dwarves of Belegost and the Sindar. Daeron devises the Cirth.
  • 4830: Orcs begin to appear in Beleriand. The Dwarves of Belegost make weapons for the Sindar.
  • 4850: The Nandor, under Denethor, arrive in Beleriand, becoming known as the Green Elves of Ossiriand. The Halls of Menegroth are finished.
  • 4862: Aredhel and Galadriel are born.
  • 4900: Melkor is freed from his sentence.
  • 4910: Melkor begins corrupting some of the Noldor.
  • 4949: Fëanor begins to make the Silmarils.
  • 4950: Fëanor completes the forging of the Silmarils, capturing some of the light of the Two Trees.
  • 4950–70: Melkor spreads lies among the Noldor and talks of weapons.
  • 4990: Fëanor, deceived by Melkor, draws arms against his brother and is banished from Tirion: his father, Finwë, and many of the Noldor follow him in exile to Formenos.
  • 4992: Fëanor argues with Melkor at Formenos. Melkor hides from capture by the Valar and joins forces with Ungoliant.
  • 4995: The Darkening of Valinor. Manwë tries to heal the feud of the Noldor, and summons Fëanor to a festival in Valimar. Melkor and Ungoliant destroy the Two Trees, kill Finwë, steal the Silmarils, and flee to Middle-earth. Fëanor becomes High King of the Noldor, renaming Melkor as Morgoth. Fëanor and his sons swear an oath to regain the Silmarils and the majority of the Noldor depart from Valinor; Noldor kill many Teleri and seize their ships in the First Kinslaying.
  • 4996: Doom of Mandos: the Noldor are banished from Valinor and face great doom. Finarfin turns back and returns to Valinor.
  • 4997: Morgoth returns to Angband, and tries to take Beleriand: First Battle of Beleriand is fought; Denethor of the Green-elves slain and the Havens of the Falas are besieged. The Noldor arrive at Helcaraxë; Fëanor and his host betray the sons of Indis and sail across, then burn the ships at Losgar. Death of Amrod at Losgar. Return of the Noldor to Middle-earth. Morgoth's army attacks Fëanor. Dagor-nuin-Giliath ("the Battle under Stars") is fought. Fëanor is slain by Balrogs in sight of Angband. Maedhros becomes High King of the Noldor; he feigns to treat with Morgoth, but is ambushed and taken captive. The Hiding of Valinor: the Valar conceal Valinor behind the Shadowy Seas and raise the Pelóri mountains to greater heights. They begin devising the Moon and Sun.
  • 4998: Maedhros is hung upon Thangorodrim. The Noldor camp around Mithrim, refusing to depart as Morgoth demanded
  • 5000: The host of Fingolfin arrives in Middle-earth; the Moon arises. Battle of the Lammoth and death of Argon.

Years of the SunEdit

Years of the Sun in the First AgeEdit

From this time on years are of normal length. Events from Valinor during the Years of the Sun cannot be accurately dated. All entries are derived from The Grey Annals (see references) unless otherwise noted. The dating begins anew at 1, although these years are still held to be part of the First Age.

From this point the entries are derived from The Tale of Years of the First Age (see references) unless otherwise noted.

  • 502: Reforging of the Nauglamír and quarrel of Thingol (king of Doriath) and the Dwarves. Thingol is slain.[13] Melian returns to Valinor in grief.
  • 503: Doriath is sacked by Dwarves of Nogrod. Beren and the Laiquendi destroy the Dwarves, with the help of the Ents who prevent the Dwarves' escape; Lúthien receives and wears the Silmaril, Dior Eluchíl (the heir of Thingol) travels to Doriath and tries to restore it. Eärendil and Elwing are born. Final deaths of Beren and Lúthien; Dior receives the Silmaril in autumn.
  • 505: Sons of Fëanor demand the Silmaril from Dior.
  • 506–7: Sons of Fëanor attack Doriath at Yule. Doriath is destroyed in the Second Kinslaying; Dior, Nimloth, Celegorm, Curufin, and Caranthir are all slain, and Eluréd and Elurín are abandoned to die by the cruel servants of Celegorm. Maedhros searches for them, but does not find them. Elwing escapes for the Mouths of Sirion with the Silmaril.
  • 509: Maeglin captured by Morgoth's spies.
  • 510: Gondolin is betrayed by Maeglin and sacked; Glorfindel slays a Balrog in the Echoriath, and Ecthelion and Gothmog slay each other. Turgon is killed; Tuor and Idril escape. Gil-galad son of Orodreth becomes High King of the Noldor.
  • 511: Tuor and Idril bring Eärendil and the refugees of Gondolin to the Mouths of Sirion which prosper as 'New Havens'.
  • 512: Maedhros learns that a Silmaril is at the Havens of Sirion, but forswears his Oath.
  • 525: Eärendil marries Elwing. Tuor feels 'Unquiet of Ulmo' and sails into the West in the ship Eärrámë with Idril.
  • 527: Maedhros, Maglor, and Amras are tormented by their unfulfilled Oath.
  • 532: Elrond and Elros are born to Eärendil and Elwing.[14]
  • 534: Eärendil begins his great voyages.
  • 538: Third Kinslaying: while Eärendil is away the remaining Sons of Fëanor attack the people of the Mouths of Sirion trying to claim the Silmaril. Elwing casts herself with the Jewel in the sea but is brought to Eärendil upon Vingilótë by Ulmo. Amras dies. Of the Sons of Fëanor only Maedhros and Maglor now remain. Maglor takes Elrond and Elros captive and raises them.
  • 540: Morgoth destroys the dwellings of Fëanorians upon Amon Ereb. The last inhabitants of Beleriand flee to the south or to the Isle of Balar. Morgoth's triumph is complete.
  • 542: Eärendil arrives in Valinor and delivers the errand of the Two Kindreds. Aided by the Valar he then sails into the sky with his Silmaril to become a bright new "star" (Venus).
  • 545: The Host of the Valar arrives in Beleriand.
  • 545–587: The War of Wrath.
  • 587: Ancalagon killed by Eärendil. Morgoth is defeated; the remaining two Silmarils are stolen by Maedhros and Maglor, but are lost in the earth and in the sea; suicide of Maedhros;[15] most of Beleriand and the lands to the north are sunk.
  • 590: Morgoth is cast into the Void; the Elves are summoned to Valinor and settle in Tol Eressëa; a small part of the Noldor and Sindar remain in Lindon (previously part of Ossiriand) or depart east and establish realms.

Second AgeEdit

The Second Age was 3441 years long. Most dates relating to Númenor derive from part 2 of Unfinished Tales; all other entries are derived from Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings unless otherwise noted.

Third AgeEdit

The Third Age was 3,021 years long; virtually all its recorded events take place in Middle-earth. All entries are derived from Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings, except for the following or otherwise noted:

  • birthdates of Dwarves (derived from Appendix A part III)
  • dates of the Kings of Rohan (derived from Appendix A part II)

Note on Shire Reckoning: Year 1601 of the Third Age, in which the Shire was founded, is year 1 of the Shire Reckoning. Thus, Third Age years can be converted into their Shire equivalents by deducting 1600.

"The Great Years"Edit

All entries are derived from Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings unless otherwise noted.

3018Edit
3019Edit
3020–21Edit

Fourth AgeEdit

Length uncertain. All entries are derived from the Appendices to The Lord of the Rings, unless otherwise noted.

In the reckoning of Gondor, the Fourth Age began on 'March' 25, T.A. 3021. Since most of the following events had been dated according to the Shire-reckoning, their years in the Fourth Age cannot be stated with certainty. Some events may have occurred in the following year of the Fourth Age.

BattlesEdit

First AgeEdit

Years of the Trees

Years of the Sun

See also Battles of Beleriand.

Second AgeEdit

Third AgeEdit

War of the RingEdit

Main battlesEdit
Other conflicts during the War of the RingEdit

End of the worldEdit

Other timelines of interestEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ in a letter written in 1958, published in Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. (1981), The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, #211, ISBN 0-395-31555-7, Tolkien places the beginning of the Fourth Age some 6,000 years in the past, consistent with the scope of classical historiography reaching back to just after the beginning Dominion of Men: "I imagine the gap [since the end of the Third Age] to be about 6000 years; that is we are now at the end of the Fifth Age, if the Ages were of about the same length as S[econd] A[ge] and T[hird] A[ge]. But they have, I think, quickened; and I imagine we are actually at the end of the Sixth Age, or in the Seventh."
  2. ^ http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Valian_year
  3. ^ "Time indeed began with the beginning of Eä, and in that beginning the Valar came into the world. But the measurement which the Valar made of the ages of their labours is not known to any of the Children of Ilúvatar, until the first flowering of Telperion in Valinor. Thereafter the Valar counted time by the ages of Valinor, whereof each age contained one hundred of the Years of the Valar; but each such year was longer than are now nine years under the Sun."Tolkien, Christopher; Tolkien, J.R.R. (1993). Morgoth's Ring (First ed.). Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. Frontispiece illustration (calligraphy). ISBN 0-395-68092-1.
  4. ^ Tale of Adanel (Tolkien, J. R. R. (1993), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-68092-1)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Tolkien, J. R. R. (1994), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, p. 225–9, ISBN 0-395-71041-3
  6. ^ The dates of the entering of the Second and Third Houses are given as 312 and 313 respectively in the Later Quenta Silmarillion, but as (?312/313) and 314 in later notes. (The War of the Jewels, pp. 227, 234)
  7. ^ The date of the entering to Brethil is only once given (in Grey Annals, The War of the Jewels p. 50), as 422; but according to later sources Haleth, who is stated to had led them there, died in 420. (ibid. p. 228, 237)
  8. ^ The War of the Jewels: "The new genealogies of the Edain", p. 229–38.
  9. ^ The taking of Tol Sirion is given under the year 455 in the Grey Annals (The War of the Jewels p. 54). The statement in The Silmarillion (Ch. 18) that it occurred "nearly two years" after the Dagor Bragollach derives from earlier texts without changes and represents rejected chronology: see The War of the Jewels, p. 125.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Narn i Hîn Húrin, ISBN 0-395-29917-9
  11. ^ The statements in The Silmarillion and The Children of Húrin that Túrin had dwelt in Doriath for nine years by this time derive from the early Quenta Silmarillion (The Lost Road, p. 320–2), and are contradicted by both earlier and later texts (e.g. The Grey Annals, pp. 79–80).
  12. ^ a b c d e The War of the Jewels: "The Wanderings of Húrin", p. 257, gives a plot-synopsis for the Narn i Chîn Húrin, written several years later than the concluding chapters of the story itself; the published Unfinished Tales and The Children of Húrin are based on the latter.
  13. ^ The death of Thingol is placed under the year 503 in The Tale of Years, but according to the story introduced into The Silmarillion by Christopher Tolkien it should have rather occurred immediately after the reforging of Nauglamír, while the Sack of Doriath remained in the following year.
  14. ^ J. R. R. Tolkien (1994). "The Tale of Years of the First Age". In Christopher Tolkien (ed.). The War of the Jewels. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 342–354. ISBN 0-395-71041-3. Elrond and Elros are born in the same year, 532 of the Years of the Sun in the First Age.
  15. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1985), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-39429-5
  16. ^ Silmariën was definitely the eldest child of Tar-Elendil, and her birthdate is given several times as S.A. 521. In the Tale of Years, the entry of Silmariën's birthdate is given as 548, a date that goes back to the first drafts of that text (see Silmariën's article for details).
  17. ^ In the Tale of years, it says in S.A. 2251 "Tar-Atanamir takes the sceptre", however, Atanamir died in 2221. 2221 is itself an emendation of 2251, and the former (2221) appears in the later tables, while the latter (2251) in the earlier tables: therefore 2251 (properly 2221) should have read "Death of Tar-Atanamir. Tar-Ancalimon takes the sceptre."
  18. ^ In one table (probably an earlier draft) of the Kings of Gondor, Castamir's birthdate is given at T.A. 1159, however this is clearly impossible: Eldacar was born in 1255, and they are in the same generation, so 1259 is more correct.
  19. ^ The date of Sam's birth in "The Longfather-Tree of Master Samwise" (Appendix C) is S.R. 1380 (equivalent to T.A. 2980), however, "The Tale of Years" (Appendix B) gives it as T.A. 2983, which is changed to T.A. 2980 in 2005 edition. In S.R. 1476, Sam is said to have been ninety-six years old, so 2980 is more correct than 2983. Also, the birth year of his sister, Marigold, is given S.R. 1383 (T.A. 2893), and it is most unlikely that they were born in the same year. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Merry and Pippin is said to be younger than both Sam and Frodo, so Sam's birth year must be in T.A. 2980, since Merry was born in T.A. 2982.
  20. ^ Lalia (b. S.R. 1283) only appears in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Pearl is the older sister of Pippin. See Took clan.
  21. ^ Template:J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Field of Cormallen"
  22. ^ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  23. ^ a b c J. R. R. Tolkien (1996). Christopher Tolkien (ed.). The Peoples of Middle-earth. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 220–224. ISBN 0-395-71041-3.
  24. ^ Note on The Shire Records in the Prologue to The Lord of the Rings.
  25. ^ The Family Trees in J. R. R. Tolkien (1996). Christopher Tolkien (ed.). The Peoples of Middle-earth. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 85–118. ISBN 0-395-71041-3.
  26. ^ In a 1972 letter, Tolkien mentioned that Eldarion's reign would have lasted for about 100 years after the death of Aragorn. Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. (1981), The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, #338. "I have written nothing beyond the first few years of the Fourth Age. (Except the beginning of a tale supposed to refer to the end of the reign of Eldarion about 100 years after the death of Aragorn. ...)", ISBN 0-395-31555-7

General referencesEdit

External linksEdit