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Topic: Middle-earth chronology

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: May 13, 2011
Middle-earth chronology

I was wondering if anyone might be interested in a bit of research I did. Being very curious to find a precise date for the events in the books I had conducted a lengthy internet search only to come up with one result; 3102 BC for the start of the Fourth Age. This did not square with a Tolkien quote that the Fall of Barad-dur occured about 6,000 years ago(in a 1958 interview).
Knowing a little about astronomy I decided to do my own calculation. There are 1,000 different years that may be considered as about 6,000 years before 1958 so the task might seem impossible. But this was not the case. About 90% of the dates can be eliminated by looking at when the phases of the moon occured in that year. And of those 95% can be taken out due to the scene of the Mirror of Galadriel where Venus is described as being high and bright in the evening sky. This left only the years 4000, 4008, 4016, 4494, 4502, and 4510 BC. The second group of three could only barely be described as "about 6,000" years ago. Of the remaining three the years of 4000 and 4016 BC would be difficult, albeit possible, fits. This left a quite likely candidate of 4008 BC for the year of 3019 of the Third Age. To be even more precise, Midsummer's Day in that year would have been July 22 (Julian calendar) or June 20(Gregorian) 4008 BC.
No other date seems a good match.
So there you have it. Could this be it?



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Tom Bombadil
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First of all "welcome" We are glad you found our little site.
Secondly, Tolkien never introduced religious terms in his writings,
so would you consider changing BC to BCE?

Personally, I am more interested in Tolkien's works and the language
applications and its history, then Real Life Chronology. But I always
say to each his own. So welcome and I hope you will not think ill of me
because of my answer, because I can tell that you did a lot of searching.

I hope you will keep coming back and join us in some of our games and Discussions

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Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, Jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Thank you for your fine welcome.
I'm sorry about my use of BC but I'm a bit of a traditionalist. I suppose BP(Before Present) would be even more correct.
I'm no expert on Tolkien(although a big fan) but like to develop chronologies and calendars and stuff. I was quite surprised to find that almost no one had tried to find a date for the events in the stories. It would make them seem more real. I just can't picture Middle-earth as some faraway planet like in a science fiction story.

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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Welcome James!

First of all, I will address an issue of marginal importance for the topic: BC vs. BCE. Personally I use and will always use BC - I believe in Christ and when faced with the possibility of avoiding His name I do not take it, and this is not done in order to offend non-believers, but to support my own belief. Actually in Romania we used BC (in Romanian of course), but the communists forced BCE on us because they were against the Church and its teachings. I'll not support their decision, and so will personally avoid BCE just for this reason. (But Arwen, don't feel offended in any way by this, please.)

Now for the issue at hand. I'm an astronomy enthusiast myself, although I cannot pretend to know enough of astrophysics to be able to perform calculus of my own (but I use a powerful software, Starry Night Pro, which covers the period from 100000 BC to 100000 AD.)

However, the first line of research must be done in the works of Tolkien himself. I don't have access to my books right now to point you in the right direction, but so far as I know Tolkien used the moon phases of one of the years he wrote in - the detailed calendars are published somewhere in HoMe. That being said, I also don't think Tolkien would have been able to calculate the position of Venus in relation to the Moon himself, otherwise he probably would have been saying '4000 years ago' instead of 6000. - EDIT: I'm not erasing this monument of ignorance - when thinking about 4008 BC as '4000 years ago', I had of course forgotten that we live in 2011 AD!

But on the other hand, your research is quite appreciated!



-- Edited by John Wain on Monday 16th of May 2011 05:55:49 PM



-- Edited by John Wain on Tuesday 17th of May 2011 08:33:43 AM

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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That's right John (about Tolkien's moon phases), as I just posted elsewhere (from Hammond and Scull's Reader's Companion to The Lord of the Rings):

 

'(...) this is the clue to his lunar calendar as finally conceived: the moons in The Lord of the Rings are based on those of 1941--2, but with their dates adjusted on either side of the full moon of 7/8 March to take account of Shire Reckoning. (...)'

 


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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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To John Wain:
From what I know Tolkien used the moon phases from 1942.
I didn't worry about the position of Venus compared to the Moon. My only concern was whether Venus was fairly high in the sky and especially whether it was very bright during the evening of Feb 14(S.R.). Only about 1 in 20 years could fit that description. Check Starry Night Pro for the evening of Feb 2(Gregorian) or Mar 6(Julian) 4008 BC(-4007).
When reading the four main books I copied down every reference to anything astronomical. Then I created a set of parameters to be met if a year could fit into what was written in the books. 6 of the 1,000 years checked passed. One of them particularly so; 4008 BC.
To Galin:
Thanks for the quote. Very helpful.


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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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James, I looked in my software for the date specified. I chose Ulm, Germany as my location based on the loose correspondence between that part of Middle-earth where the hobbits journeyed and modern Europe. At sunset (16:25 UT), Venus is at an altitude of 37 degrees*, higher indeed than any other year around that date in the vicinity of 4008 BC. I believe therefore that this might be a good case should one consider to 'fit' the invented world of Tolkien into the real world history.

* Although it sets at 21:35 UT, which would hardly put it high in the sky anymore later in the evening.



-- Edited by John Wain on Monday 16th of May 2011 05:54:10 PM

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Thanks for calculating that for me. I'm somewhat surprised it was that high. Good. Venus' position occurs on close to 8 year cycles. I'll bet that its position would be even higher on that date if you went back to 4016 BC, 4024 BC, etc.
Can I ask another favor? Could you also tell me what the magnitude of Venus was in 4008 BC on the date given? And the day it achieved greatest elongation? And greatest brilliancy(or greatest illuminated extant)? Venus was supposed to have been so bright that Galadriel cast a shadow. If the moon was up that would have been washed out.
By my reckoning there should be a full moon by the evening of Dec 28(Gregorian) 4009 BC(-4008). This would correspond to the arrival in Hollin on Jan 8 in Shire Reckoning.

I did my calculations by extrapolating from NASA data. Fortunately they have a ten millenium long list of solar eclipses that goes back to 4000 BC. I figured that they would be using the most advanced software there is and I wanted an accurate time for the moon phases, etc. as could be gotten. However, they didn't include a lot of information that could be very useful.

Now I can imagine a picture Galadriel standing with her hand held out against the East while a bright Venus hovers about 37 degrees over her head.

Someone could make a photo of this around mid April of next year when Venus' position will be similiar.


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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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James, Starry Night gives the following info on the specified date:

- the relative magnitude of Venus is -4.4;
- the distance from Earth is 0.57 au;
- the disk illumination is 38.85%;
- the angular separation between Venus and the Sun is 43.8 degrees.

While -4.4 is bright indeed (considering a world without any pollution at that time), still it is not enough to cast a shadow. The shadow of the full Moon is pale itself, and still that is 2300 times brighter (at a magnitude of -12.8), so I guess that Tolkien was employing some form of exaggeration to make a point.

Also, here's a simulated image of the night of 6 March 4008 BC (using the same software). Venus is in the middle, with the Milky Way seen faintly in the background.



-- Edited by John Wain on Monday 16th of May 2011 08:04:41 PM

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Oh, my. That is so awesome! Look at Orion!
When was that time when Frodo saw the Pleiades and Orion? I think it was in the Autumn of 3018. That would have been about 6 months earlier so they would been on the other side of the Sun and rising as in the book. Maybe we can now answer the question of which star Borgil was, Betelgeuse or Aldebaran.
I see your computer goes by Julian proleptic dates. So the full moon would have been on the evening of Jan 29 4008 BC(fingers crossed).

Sorry if I take a long time to reply. My computer time is limited.

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Tom Bombadil
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Thank John. I will try not to be so prickly. We are after all, entitled to our freedom of speech. But that is a gorgeous picture. I took one Astronomy class in College, but never got into the Mathematical aspects. My math is horrible, but I believe you when you guys say that that is Orion and the Pleiades, although I know their mythological backgrounds.

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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Yes, actually it's pretty easy to point them out: just above the horizon, more or less on a vertical line with Venus (the bright spot), there is the constellation Taurus, of which you can see the most prominent feature: a V-shape made of 5 stars, with one orange, bright one in the left corner. That is the star Aldebaran. The Pleiades (also known as 'The Seven Sisters' or M45) is the compact group of stars located further to the right (actually just above a relatively bright whitish star barely above the horizon).

Orion on the other hand is much easier to spot. It is the group of stars located above the SW marking. You'll recognize the three aligned stars forming its belt, and then further up (exactly above the SW mark) is a bright orange star, which is Betelgeuse (also part of the constellation Orion.)

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I calculated the time when Frodo saw the Pleiades and Orion rise would be October 15 4009 BC.

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I wrote this last night;

WHEN DID THE FOURTH AGE BEGIN?

Middle-earth, as envisioned by J.R.R. Tolkien, was not some faraway planet as in a science fiction story but rather the very world we live in. The events portrayed in his fantasy novels, "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" occured during an imaginary period in our past. But when?
While the chronology he presented in the Appendix of "Return of the King" is intricately detailed it contains no reference point so as to allow us to date it. It does make clear, however, that the usual laws of astronomy are valid, even going so far as to give the length of a tropical year down to the second.
So there remains the possibibility of determining what year some events occured by looking at the astronomical phenomenon that are predicted to have occured then and comparing them to what is described in the books. This has been used sucessfully to date many things in ancient times.
To start with we can use a quote from one of Tolkien's letters;

"I imagine the gap [between the Fall of Barad-dur and modern times] to be about 6000 years; that is we are now at the end of the Fifth Age, if the Ages were about the same length as the Second Age and the Third Age. But they have, I think, quickened; and I imagine we are actually at the end of the Sixth Age, or in the Seventh."

Taken literally this gives us an upper and lower bound to the year 3019 of the Third Age and thus the key to the whole chronology. Since the letter was written in 1958 this would put it at 4043 BC, give or take 500 years. So we are left with choosing one from among a 1001 years, a seemingly impossible task.
But it is not as difficult as it looks. In "The Fellowship of the Ring" there is this line;

"The Moon, now at the full, rose over the mountains, and cast a pale light in which the shadows of stones were black."

The chronology in the Appendix gives this date as January 8 of the Third Age in Shire Reckoning. But which day is that in a conventional calendar? In the Appendix he also states;

"It appears, however, that Mid-Year's Day was intended to correspond as nearly as possible to the summer solstices. In that case the Shire dates were actually in advance of ours by some ten days, and our New Year's Day corresponded more or less to the Shire January 9."

Sounds simple, right? But this must not be referring to January 1 in a modern calendar such as the Gregorian now in use merely backdated 6,000 years. This is because the solstices occured on quite different days from that of the present. Six millenia ago the winter solstice was on about December 17 as opposed to December 22 today. In fact, there was a difference of 187 days between solstices then against 182 now. It may be that the Shire and other calendars were developed at the start of the Second Age and changed little since. The seasons 13,000 years ago were much closer to the way they are today due to a difference of half a 26,000 year precession cycle between our time and then. As an example, Christmas used to coincide with the winter solstice but is still celebrated on December 25 instead of the 22nd.
Thus we must be open to a number of different days with which to match to any particular one in the Shire calendar. But we can reasonably narrow it down to those that will not move the solstices too far from their rightful places on Yule and Mid-Year's Day.
I considered the Gregorian dates of December 26 to 29 to be acceptable choices for January 8 of the Shire. Then I listed all the years between 3543 and 4543 BC in which there was a full moon in the evening on one of those days. This reduced 1001 years to a little over 130.
Fortunately "The Fellowship of the Ring" also gives us some valuable information on the position and brightness of the planet Venus on the evening of February 14(S.R.) in these lines;

"The Evening Star had risen and was shining with white fire above the western woods."

"Earendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above. So bright was it that the figure of the Elven-lady cast a dim shadow on the ground."

This clearly indicates that Venus was both somewhat high above the horizon and near maximum brightness. This can only occur between the times of greatest elongation and greatest brilliancy of the planet in the night sky. This narrows down the possible years considerably. Only six good ones are left; 4000, 4008, 4016, 4494, 4502, and 4510 BC.
So far, so good. But which of the six years? The second triplet just barely fits within the definition of "about 6,000" years ago whereas the first almost hit it on the nose. So I excluded the former.
This leaves the three years of 4000, 4008, and 4016 BC. The middle one gives dates for the solstices that are closer to the Yule and Mid-Year's Days as intended by the Shire calendar. So I chose 4008 BC as the most likely candidate for 3019 of the Third Age.
If this is, in fact, the correct year then January 8 in Shire Reckoning would be December 28 4009 BC in the Gregorian or January 29 4008 BC in the Julian calendar. The Fall of Barad-dur would thus have happened on March 15 or April 16 4008 BC.



-- Edited by James the Just on Wednesday 18th of May 2011 07:11:25 PM

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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That is some detailed research James.

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Utúlie'n  aurë!  Aiya  Eldalië  ar  Atanatári,  utúlie'n  aurë! 
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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Thank you!
Now if I could only get some Tolkien scholars to criticize it. I need help.

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I don't think you need any more help, James! Your following of the clues, your calculations and the principles employed are spot on, in my opinion (as an enthusiast, but not a pro in astronomy).

Also I checked and you were right about that full moon on 29 January 4008 BC, as well!

About Borgil - I did not have time to check the texts myself, but all sources on the Internet describe it as Betelgeuse, not Aldebaran. I'll look over what Tolkien wrote tomorrow perhaps and come back with some concrete facts.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Most sources think Borgil is Aldebaran but there still is some uncertainty. When I first read the passage I just assumed it was Betelguese. I don't know what Orion rising would have looked like on Oct 15 4009 BC or even when in the evening it would have occured. Could you post one of the beautiful photos of that up? Please? Pretty please, with sugar on top?

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Found the quote;
"Away high in the East swung Remmirath, the Netted Stars, and slowly above the mists red Borgil rose, glowing like a jewel of fire. Then by some shift of airs all the mist was drawn away like a veil, and there leaned up, as he climbed over the rim of the world, the Swordsman of the Sky, Menelvagor with his shining belt."

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James, I was looking through my books so that I could post more than just a photo, and so contribute a bit to furthering the discussion. I could find little to nothing about Borgil in HoMe, so I did some more Internet-base research, and so stumbled on The Thain's Book, where there is an entry for Borgil.

And also the article there links to an essay by Dr. Kristine Larsen, entitled "A Definitive Identification of Tolkien's 'Borgil': An Astronomical and Literary Approach", and which I will also link to here:

Part 1
Part 2

It is 10 pages long, but it's a very interesting read; based on her research, I conclude that the case for Aldebaran being Borgil is stronger than for Betelgeuse. All right, and now after this lengthy talk, let's delight ourselves with some imagery:



This image simulates the view of the night sky just before midnight between the days 15 and 16 October 4008 BC, as James asked (and no need for the sugar on top, it was my pleasure too!). On this image I marked the important celestial bodies. In the order of their rising, we have M45 (the Remmirath), Aldebaran (Borgil) and then Betelgeuse (the most luminous star* in the constellation Orion, or Menelvagor).

* in fact Betelgeuse is a variable star which sometimes is less luminous than Rigel, also in Orion, but astronomically it is the 'alpha' star in the constellation, while Rigel is the 'beta').

Based on James's deduction for the 'real' year of the tale, we can also see that the hobbits would have seen Saturn shining brightly in the same region of the sky, and Mars further to the west. And actually Mars on that evening preceded the M45 (it rose some 40 minutes before it), so there was quite a sight!



-- Edited by John Wain on Friday 20th of May 2011 08:46:35 PM

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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O.K., wow!
Thanks for those links. Very good stuff.
What an image!
The planets really add to it. Maybe the Planet of Time is signaling an end to an age while the Planet of War is looming.
What a relief, too. Due to precession of the equinoxes there comes a point when Orion wouldn't be visible in the night sky during early Autumn like in the book. I think the constellation was even further south from the North Pole of the sky 6,000 years ago. And if it were viewed from a latitude about that of Oxford (51 45' N, 1 15' W) it may be even more difficult.
It should be possible to even set a limit on which years could be the "real" ones for the end of the Third Age by finding out which years this sight can be viewed.
I think I'm convinced by the argument of Aldebaran for Borgil even though Betelguese is my favourite star. Another argument for it that I've never heard mentioned is its importance as one of the four royal stars. They were of big importance in ancient astrology, being identified with the four fixed signs of the Zodiac; Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, and Scorpio. They represented the four seasons and elements. In olden times Scorpio was often associated with an eagle for some reason. So there would be a lion for Summer and Fire, a bull for Spring and Earth, a man for Winter and Water, and an eagle for Autumn and Air.

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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Checking with my software, in and around the year 9000 BC (for the same date of 15 Oct), Orion's main stars do not rise above the horizon. However they do rise in 5000 and 6000 BC, for example, so precession is not so accurate in pointing out a time frame for the envents of LotR.



-- Edited by John Wain on Friday 20th of May 2011 09:17:29 PM

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Thank you for trying. I think it could only be used to eliminate the more outlandish dates. Around 10,000 BC the Sun would be right on top of Orion about that time of year so that definitely could be ruled out. I neglected to mention the that Oct 15 would be right for around 4000 BC but becomes off by 3/4 day per century due to the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the latter which follows the seasons quite well even into the deep past while the former does not. So if you were to check 6400 BC, for instance, you should use the date of Nov 2 (add 3 days for every 4 centuries further into the past). I don't think that would change the results too much but who knows?

I did a more detailed analysis of the chronology in the Appendix. Since we know that Tolkien used 1941/42 as the basis for 3018/19 the dates can be lined up perfectly by using the moon phases of those years. It turns out that January 1 in the modern calendar does not match with January 9 of the Shire but rather January 7. His statement that;

"In that case the Shire dates were actually in advance of ours by some ten days, and our New Year's Day corresponded more or less to the Shire January 9."

did have the qualifier "more or less."
But what's interesting is that when January 7 of the Shire becomes equivalent to our New Year's Day then 1 Yule and 2 Yule become Christmas Eve and Day, respectively. Just like in a number of old calendars which had the year begin on December 25. And what's more, 1 Lithe of the Shire falls on a commonly celebrated Midsummer's Day of June 24, also called Saint John's Day. Interesting?




-- Edited by James the Just on Saturday 21st of May 2011 10:31:01 PM

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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WHAT DAY IS IT IN SHIRE RECKONING?

There is a way to convert ordinary calendar dates into Shire Reckoning simply by analyzing the material in the Appendix of Return of the King with the addition of some astronomical information. There is a valuable quote (thanks to Galin) from Hammond and Scull's Reader's Companion to The Lord of the Rings;


'(...) this is the clue to his lunar calendar as finally conceived; the moons in The Lord of the Rings are based on those of 1941--2, but with their dates adjusted on either side of the full moon of 7/8 March, to take account of Shire Reckoning. (...)'

This allows us to precisely place 1941/2 dates on the events in the books. While the Appendix states that;

'It appears, however, that Mid-Year's Day was intended to correspond as nearly as possible to the summer solstices. In that case the Shire dates were actually in advance of ours by some ten days, and our New Year's Day corresponded more or less to the Shire January 9.'

this cannot be the case if the first quote is correct, bearing in mind that he qualified his statement with a 'more or less.' In fact, January 1 of our calendar would correspond to January 7 of the Shire. Here is why; in The Fellowship of the Ring the party arrives in Hollin on January 8 (S.R.). That evening;

'The Moon, now at the full, rose over the mountains, and cast a pale light in which the shadows of stones were black.'

In 1942 there was a full moon at 3:43 PM on January 2 (London time). Other phases also confirm this equation. For instance, there was a new moon at 10:05 AM on February 15 and a full one 21 minutes after midnight on the morning of March 3 which would correspond to February 22 and March 8 of the Shire, respectively.
But there is a more interesting reason to suppose that Tolkien meant it this way. If our New Year's Day is equivalent to January 7 of the Shire then 1 and 2 Yule are Christmas Eve and Day! Coincidence? In addition, 1 Lithe, or Midyear's Day in leap years, would fall on June 24, Saint John's Day or, more commonly, our own Mid-Summer's Day!
Another thing to consider is the years. If 1942 corresponded with 3019 of the Third Age then the first year of the Fourth Age in Shire Reckoning would be 1945, the year World War II ended. Another coincidence?
But we're certainly not in the Fourth Age. Yet another Tolkien quote;

'I imagine the gap [between the Fall of Barad-dur and modern times] to be about 6000 years; that is we are now at the end of the Fifth Age, if the Ages were about the same length as the Second Age and the Third Age. But they have, I think, quickened; and I imagine we are actually at the end of the Sixth Age, or in the Seventh.'

It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume the Seventh Age began in 1945.

So now we can figure out what day it is if you're a Hobbit! Just subtract 1944 from the year to arrive at the year in the Seventh Age (with the exception of dates from December 25 to 31 which would apply to the following year). Fortunately the leap years should be synchronized; year 4=1948, etc. Therefore a simple conversion chart can be made;

Modern Shire Modern Shire Modern Shire

Dec 25 2 Yule

Dec 26 Jan 01 Jan 25 Feb 01 Feb 24 Mar 01
Dec 27 Jan 02 Jan 26 Feb 02 Feb 25 Mar 02
Dec 28 Jan 03 Jan 27 Feb 03 Feb 26 Mar 03
Dec 29 Jan 04 Jan 28 Feb 04 Feb 27 Mar 04
Dec 30 Jan 05 Jan 29 Feb 05 Feb 28 Mar 05
Dec 31 Jan 06 Jan 30 Feb 06 Mar 01 Mar 06
Jan 01 Jan 07 Jan 31 Feb 07 Mar 02 Mar 07
Jan 02 Jan 08 Feb 01 Feb 08 Mar 03 Mar 08
Jan 03 Jan 09 Feb 02 Feb 09 Mar 04 Mar 09
Jan 04 Jan 10 Feb 03 Feb 10 Mar 05 Mar 10
Jan 05 Jan 11 Feb 04 Feb 11 Mar 06 Mar 11
Jan 06 Jan 12 Feb 05 Feb 12 Mar 07 Mar 12
Jan 07 Jan 13 Feb 06 Feb 13 Mar 08 Mar 13
Jan 08 Jan 14 Feb 07 Feb 14 Mar 09 Mar 14
Jan 09 Jan 15 Feb 08 Feb 15 Mar 10 Mar 15
Jan 10 Jan 16 Feb 09 Feb 16 Mar 11 Mar 16
Jan 11 Jan 17 Feb 10 Feb 17 Mar 12 Mar 17
Jan 12 Jan 18 Feb 11 Feb 18 Mar 13 Mar 18
Jan 13 Jan 19 Feb 12 Feb 19 Mar 14 Mar 19
Jan 14 Jan 20 Feb 13 Feb 20 Mar 15 Mar 20
Jan 15 Jan 21 Feb 14 Feb 21 Mar 16 Mar 21
Jan 16 Jan 22 Feb 15 Feb 22 Mar 17 Mar 22
Jan 17 Jan 23 Feb 16 Feb 23 Mar 18 Mar 23
Jan 18 Jan 24 Feb 17 Feb 24 Mar 19 Mar 24
Jan 19 Jan 25 Feb 18 Feb 25 Mar 20 Mar 25
Jan 20 Jan 26 Feb 19 Feb 26 Mar 21 Mar 26
Jan 21 Jan 27 Feb 20 Feb 27 Mar 22 Mar 27
Jan 22 Jan 28 Feb 21 Feb 28 Mar 23 Mar 28
Jan 23 Jan 29 Feb 22 Feb 29 Mar 24 Mar 29
Jan 24 Jan 30 Feb 23 Feb 30 Mar 25 Mar 30

Modern Shire Modern Shire Modern Shire

Mar 26 Apr 01 Apr 25 May 01 May 25 Jun 01
Mar 27 Apr 02 Apr 26 May 02 May 26 Jun 02
Mar 28 Apr 03 Apr 27 May 03 May 27 Jun 03
Mar 29 Apr 04 Apr 28 May 04 May 28 Jun 04
Mar 30 Apr 05 Apr 29 May 05 May 29 Jun 05
Mar 31 Apr 06 Apr 30 May 06 May 30 Jun 06
Apr 01 Apr 07 May 01 May 07 May 31 Jun 07
Apr 02 Apr 08 May 02 May 08 Jun 01 Jun 08
Apr 03 Apr 09 May 03 May 09 Jun 02 Jun 09
Apr 04 Apr 10 May 04 May 10 Jun 03 Jun 10
Apr 05 Apr 11 May 05 May 11 Jun 04 Jun 11
Apr 06 Apr 12 May 06 May 12 Jun 05 Jun 12
Apr 07 Apr 13 May 07 May 13 Jun 06 Jun 13
Apr 08 Apr 14 May 08 May 14 Jun 07 Jun 14
Apr 09 Apr 15 May 09 May 15 Jun 08 Jun 15
Apr 10 Apr 16 May 10 May 16 Jun 09 Jun 16
Apr 11 Apr 17 May 11 May 17 Jun 10 Jun 17
Apr 12 Apr 18 May 12 May 18 Jun 11 Jun 18
Apr 13 Apr 19 May 13 May 19 Jun 12 Jun 19
Apr 14 Apr 20 May 14 May 20 Jun 13 Jun 20
Apr 15 Apr 21 May 15 May 21 Jun 14 Jun 21
Apr 16 Apr 22 May 16 May 22 Jun 15 Jun 22
Apr 17 Apr 23 May 17 May 23 Jun 16 Jun 23
Apr 18 Apr 24 May 18 May 24 Jun 17 Jun 24
Apr 19 Apr 25 May 19 May 25 Jun 18 Jun 25
Apr 20 Apr 26 May 20 May 26 Jun 19 Jun 26
Apr 21 Apr 27 May 21 May 27 Jun 20 Jun 27
Apr 22 Apr 28 May 22 May 28 Jun 21 Jun 28
Apr 23 Apr 29 May 23 May 29 Jun 22 Jun 29
Apr 24 Apr 30 May 24 May 30 Jun 23 Jun 30

Jun 24 01 Lithe
Jun 25 Midyear
Jun 26 02 Lithe

Modern Shire Modern Shire Modern Shire

Jun 27 Jul 01 Jul 27 Aug 01 Aug 26 Sep 01
Jun 28 Jul 02 Jul 28 Aug 02 Aug 27 Sep 02
Jun 29 Jul 03 Jul 29 Aug 03 Aug 28 Sep 03
Jun 30 Jul 04 Jul 30 Aug 04 Aug 29 Sep 04
Jul 01 Jul 05 Jul 31 Aug 05 Aug 30 Sep 05
Jul 02 Jul 06 Aug 01 Aug 06 Aug 31 Sep 06
Jul 03 Jul 07 Aug 02 Aug 07 Sep 01 Sep 07
Jul 04 Jul 08 Aug 03 Aug 08 Sep 02 Sep 08
Jul 05 Jul 09 Aug 04 Aug 09 Sep 03 Sep 09
Jul 06 Jul 10 Aug 05 Aug 10 Sep 04 Sep 10
Jul 07 Jul 11 Aug 06 Aug 11 Sep 05 Sep 11
Jul 08 Jul 12 Aug 07 Aug 12 Sep 06 Sep 12
Jul 09 Jul 13 Aug 08 Aug 13 Sep 07 Sep 13
Jul 10 Jul 14 Aug 09 Aug 14 Sep 08 Sep 14
Jul 11 Jul 15 Aug 10 Aug 15 Sep 09 Sep 15
Jul 12 Jul 16 Aug 11 Aug 16 Sep 10 Sep 16
Jul 13 Jul 17 Aug 12 Aug 17 Sep 11 Sep 17
Jul 14 Jul 18 Aug 13 Aug 18 Sep 12 Sep 18
Jul 15 Jul 19 Aug 14 Aug 19 Sep 13 Sep 19
Jul 16 Jul 20 Aug 15 Aug 20 Sep 14 Sep 20
Jul 17 Jul 21 Aug 16 Aug 21 Sep 15 Sep 21
Jul 18 Jul 22 Aug 17 Aug 22 Sep 16 Sep 22
Jul 19 Jul 23 Aug 18 Aug 23 Sep 17 Sep 23
Jul 20 Jul 24 Aug 19 Aug 24 Sep 18 Sep 24
Jul 21 Jul 25 Aug 20 Aug 25 Sep 19 Sep 25
Jul 22 Jul 26 Aug 21 Aug 26 Sep 20 Sep 26
Jul 23 Jul 27 Aug 22 Aug 27 Sep 21 Sep 27
Jul 24 Jul 28 Aug 23 Aug 28 Sep 22 Sep 28
Jul 25 Jul 29 Aug 24 Aug 29 Sep 23 Sep 29
Jul 26 Jul 30 Aug 25 Aug 30 Sep 24 Sep 30

Modern Shire Modern Shire Modern Shire

Sep 25 Oct 01 Oct 25 Nov 01 Nov 24 Dec 01
Sep 26 Oct 02 Oct 26 Nov 02 Nov 25 Dec 02
Sep 27 Oct 03 Oct 27 Nov 03 Nov 26 Dec 03
Sep 28 Oct 04 Oct 28 Nov 04 Nov 27 Dec 04
Sep 29 Oct 05 Oct 29 Nov 05 Nov 28 Dec 05
Sep 30 Oct 06 Oct 30 Nov 06 Nov 29 Dec 06
Oct 01 Oct 07 Oct 31 Nov 07 Nov 30 Dec 07
Oct 02 Oct 08 Nov 01 Nov 08 Dec 01 Dec 08
Oct 03 Oct 09 Nov 02 Nov 09 Dec 02 Dec 09
Oct 04 Oct 10 Nov 03 Nov 10 Dec 03 Dec 10
Oct 05 Oct 11 Nov 04 Nov 11 Dec 04 Dec 11
Oct 06 Oct 12 Nov 05 Nov 12 Dec 05 Dec 12
Oct 07 Oct 13 Nov 06 Nov 13 Dec 06 Dec 13
Oct 08 Oct 14 Nov 07 Nov 14 Dec 07 Dec 14
Oct 09 Oct 15 Nov 08 Nov 15 Dec 08 Dec 15
Oct 10 Oct 16 Nov 09 Nov 16 Dec 09 Dec 16
Oct 11 Oct 17 Nov 10 Nov 17 Dec 10 Dec 17
Oct 12 Oct 18 Nov 11 Nov 18 Dec 11 Dec 18
Oct 13 Oct 19 Nov 12 Nov 19 Dec 12 Dec 19
Oct 14 Oct 20 Nov 13 Nov 20 Dec 13 Dec 20
Oct 15 Oct 21 Nov 14 Nov 21 Dec 14 Dec 21
Oct 16 Oct 22 Nov 15 Nov 22 Dec 15 Dec 22
Oct 17 Oct 23 Nov 16 Nov 23 Dec 16 Dec 23
Oct 18 Oct 24 Nov 17 Nov 24 Dec 17 Dec 24
Oct 19 Oct 25 Nov 18 Nov 25 Dec 18 Dec 25
Oct 20 Oct 26 Nov 19 Nov 26 Dec 19 Dec 26
Oct 21 Oct 27 Nov 20 Nov 27 Dec 20 Dec 27
Oct 22 Oct 28 Nov 21 Nov 28 Dec 21 Dec 28
Oct 23 Oct 29 Nov 22 Nov 29 Dec 22 Dec 29
Oct 24 Oct 30 Nov 23 Nov 30 Dec 23 Dec 30

Dec 24 2 Yule

In leap years use this for dates from February 29 to June 25;

Modern Shire

Feb 29 Mar 06
Mar 01 Mar 07
Mar 02 Mar 08
Mar 03 Mar 09
Mar 04 Mar 10
Mar 05 Mar 11
Mar 06 Mar 12
Mar 07 Mar 13
Mar 08 Mar 14
Mar 09 Mar 15
Mar 10 Mar 16
Mar 11 Mar 17
Mar 12 Mar 18
Mar 13 Mar 19
Mar 14 Mar 20
Mar 15 Mar 21
Mar 16 Mar 22
Mar 17 Mar 23
Mar 18 Mar 24
Mar 19 Mar 25
Mar 20 Mar 26
Mar 21 Mar 27
Mar 22 Mar 28
Mar 23 Mar 29
Mar 24 Mar 30

Modern Shire Modern Shire Modern Shire

Mar 25 Apr 01 Apr 24 May 01 May 24 Jun 01
Mar 26 Apr 02 Apr 25 May 02 May 25 Jun 02
Mar 27 Apr 03 Apr 26 May 03 May 26 Jun 03
Mar 28 Apr 04 Apr 27 May 04 May 27 Jun 04
Mar 29 Apr 05 Apr 28 May 05 May 28 Jun 05
Mar 30 Apr 06 Apr 29 May 06 May 29 Jun 06
Mar 31 Apr 07 Apr 30 May 07 May 30 Jun 07
Apr 01 Apr 08 May 01 May 08 May 31 Jun 08
Apr 02 Apr 09 May 02 May 09 Jun 01 Jun 09
Apr 03 Apr 10 May 03 May 10 Jun 02 Jun 10
Apr 04 Apr 11 May 04 May 11 Jun 03 Jun 11
Apr 05 Apr 12 May 05 May 12 Jun 04 Jun 12
Apr 06 Apr 13 May 06 May 13 Jun 05 Jun 13
Apr 07 Apr 14 May 07 May 14 Jun 06 Jun 14
Apr 08 Apr 15 May 08 May 15 Jun 07 Jun 15
Apr 09 Apr 16 May 09 May 16 Jun 08 Jun 16
Apr 10 Apr 17 May 10 May 17 Jun 09 Jun 17
Apr 11 Apr 18 May 11 May 18 Jun 10 Jun 18
Apr 12 Apr 19 May 12 May 19 Jun 11 Jun 19
Apr 13 Apr 20 May 13 May 20 Jun 12 Jun 20
Apr 14 Apr 21 May 14 May 21 Jun 13 Jun 21
Apr 15 Apr 22 May 15 May 22 Jun 14 Jun 22
Apr 16 Apr 23 May 16 May 23 Jun 15 Jun 23
Apr 17 Apr 24 May 17 May 24 Jun 16 Jun 24
Apr 18 Apr 25 May 18 May 25 Jun 17 Jun 25
Apr 19 Apr 26 May 19 May 26 Jun 18 Jun 26
Apr 20 Apr 27 May 20 May 27 Jun 19 Jun 27
Apr 21 Apr 28 May 21 May 28 Jun 20 Jun 28
Apr 22 Apr 29 May 22 May 29 Jun 21 Jun 29
Apr 23 Apr 30 May 23 May 30 Jun 22 Jun 30

Jun 23 01 Lithe
Jun 24 Midyear
Jun 25 Overlithe
Jun 26 02 Lithe

Years

Modern Shire

1945 01
1946 02
1947 03
1948 04
1949 05
1950 06
etc.

As an example July 24, 1954 would become July 28, Year 10 of the Seventh Age in Shire Reckoning.



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Very nice work, James! Indeed Yule days coinciding with Christmas, and the first year of the Fourth Age being the year the 2nd World War ended are quite strange happenings. Thanks for pointing them out.

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Thank you for all your calculations and pretty pictures. They're the very first I know of that try to show what Frodo saw. Kind of exciting!
Now I'm working a list of when all the various ages started. Should be done in a day or two.



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After lengthy calculations I've come up with some dates for the start of the ages.

The First Age of the Sun;

Yestare, Year 1 in King's Reckoning.

Sunday, December 25 11066 BC in the Gregorian calendar or
March 19 11065 BC in the Julian.

Yestare Year 1 in Elvish Reckoning.

Thursday, March 22 11065 BC or
June 15 11065 BC.

The Second Age;

Yestare Year 1 in King's Reckoning.

Sunday, December 24 10468 BC or
March 14 10467 BC.

The Third Age;

Yestare Year 1 in King's Reckoning.

Wednesday, December 21 7027 BC or
February 14 7026 BC.

The Fourth Age;

Yestare Year 1 in King's Reckoning.

Wednesday, December 21 4007 BC or
January 22 4006 BC.

March 25 3021 T.A. or Yestare Year 1 in New Reckoning.

Thursday, March 16 4006 BC or
April 17 4006 BC.

I'm still not sure of the exact date of the appearence of the Moon and Sun. Was it at the start of the Elvish New Year? Was the Moon full? Winter solstice or spring equinox? If it can be figured out then an exact numbers of days Men have been on Earth can be established.
This was posted on Laire 9 Year 13076 of the Sun.







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WHEN DID THE SEVERAL AGES BEGIN?

Now that it might be known when the Fourth Age began it should be a simple matter to determine when the earlier ages did. Fortunately, Appendix D contains most of the information needed to calculate the starting dates for the Second and Third Ages. If the beginning of the Fourth Age is March 25, 3021 of the Third Age this would be equivalent to March 16 or April 17, 4006 BC in the Gregorian or Julian calendars, respectively. If the assumption is made that yestare in King's and Stewards' Reckoning is always on the same day as 2 Yule in Shire Reckoning then it is possible to convert any date in these calendars to a modern one given a table of start dates for the various ages.
But which years do the other ages begin? The Year 597 of the First Age of the Sun is the last year of the earliest age. The Sun made its first appearence around the time of the spring equinox and as such the Elven year starts then. However, little is known about how they were adjusted to keep up with the seasons over long periods of time so in the table below I give the start of the First Age in King's Reckoning which begins 3 months earlier, around the time of the winter solstice.
Almost nothing is known about when the later ages took place but conjecture. From an article in Opentopia;



'As other ages began with the cataclysmic fall of tyrants, many Tolkien fans believe that Tolkien considered the Seventh Age to begin with the fall of Nazi Germany, and thus base Seventh Age dates on 1945. Likewise it is believed that the birth of Jesus Christ may have been the start of the Sixth Age, as Tolkien was a devout Catholic and there are veiled references to Christ's upcoming birth in philosophical essays such as Atrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth. A possible start date for the Fifth Age may then be based around Abraham or Moses.'



With this some guesses can be made. Using an Ussher-like chronology the Fifth Age can be placed at the time of the death of Noah and birth of Abram in 2000 BC. The Sixth Age would begin at the birth of Jesus while the Seventh Age would start with the end of World War II. An interesting thing is how similiar the calendar systems of Middle-earth are to the modern Gregorian. Both have leap years every fourth year with the exception of century years; the only difference being with the additional adjustments.
But what if the connection was deeper? Suppose that at the start of the Fifth Age a Gregorian system was adopted by descendants of the peoples of Gondor, etc. The years would then line up perfectly with our current one. The days could also be made to match up exactly if it is further supposed that for some reason the omission of leap years at the end of a century ceased in year 1000
of the Fourth Age until the beginning of the Fifth instead of the usual adjustments. Then the modern Gregorian would be in perfect alignment with King's Reckoning!
This is quite a stretch, I know, but stranger things have happened. Maybe Christopher Clavius, designer of the Gregorian, had acquired knowledge of very old calendars. Who knows?
Allowing for all this can give us an unbroken record of time from the First Age of the Sun to the the present day.
Here is a table of the dates for Yestare or 2 Yule of Year 1 of the several ages in the Gregorian followed by the Julian calendar;



First Age; Sunday, December 25, 11066 BC or March 19, 11065 BC.
Second Age; Sunday, December 24, 10468 BC or March 14, 10467 BC.
Third Age; Wednesday, December 21, 7027 BC or February 14, 7026 BC.
Fourth Age; Wednesday, December 21, 4007 BC or January 22, 4006 BC.
Fifth Age; Monday, December 25, 2001 BC or January 11, 2000 BC.
Sixth Age; Sunday, December 25 or 27, 7 BC.
Seventh Age; Monday, December 25 or 12, 1944 AD.



-- Edited by James the Just on Wednesday 1st of June 2011 06:54:41 PM

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A few more dates and a correction;

Years of the Valian; Monday, February 13, 731065 BC or February 19, 731050 BC.
Years of the Lamps; Sunday, July 15, 457465 BC or December 8, 457456 BC.
Years of the Trees; Wednesday, November 21, 227065 BC or July 23, 227060 BC.
Years of the Children; Wednesday, February 13, 75864 BC or September 7, 75863 BC.
Years of the Sun; Thursday, March 21 or June 14, 11064 BC.
First Age; Monday, December 24, 11065 BC or March 19, 11065 BC.
Second Age; Sunday, December 24, 10468 BC or March 14, 10467 BC.
Third Age; Wednesday, December 21, 7027 BC or February 14, 7026 BC.
Fourth Age; Wednesday, December 21, 4007 BC or January 22, 4006 BC.
Fifth Age; Monday, December 25, 2001 BC or January 11, 2000 BC.
Sixth Age; Sunday, December 25 or 27, 7 BC.
Seventh Age; Monday, December 25 or 12, 1944 AD.

An interesting thing; the Elvish New Year on April 6, 3019 T.A. was Day 1, Year 1, Yen 50 of the Years of the Sun or Day 1, Year 1, Yen 500 of the Years of the Children of Iluvatar. Coincidence?


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In fact, it is very easy to point them out: just above the horizon, one with Venus (bright spots) of the vertical line, there is the constellation Taurus, which you can see the most prominent features: V-shaped from one orang 5 stars ,


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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Yes. The bright orange Borgil, otherwise known as Aldebaran. If you look to the lower left of Venus you can see Saturn. Mercury was also supposed to be nearby but I can't find it.

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