The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 11 April 2017
  • Updates planned: 1

New Reckoning

The revision to Gondor’s calendar at the close of the Third Age

At the time of the War of the Ring, the Stewards' Reckoning of Mardil had been in use in Gondor for a little under a millennium. After the Downfall of Barad-dûr, the calendar was revised once again, bringing it back into line with the old Kings' Reckoning that had been in use before Mardil's revisions.1

The New Reckoning maintained the same names for the months as previous calendars of Gondor, but rearranged matters so that the new year began on 25 March by the Shire Calendar, the date of the destruction of the One Ring and the Fall of Sauron. The months were moved by some five days to accommodate this (March had thirty days on the Shire Calendar). Restarting the calendar on 25 March also meant that the first month of the year was changed to Víressë (approximately equivalent to April, the fourth month of the Shire Calendar) where it had originally been close to midwinter.

The calendar consisted of twelve months of thirty days each, with a separate first and last day of the year. A further three days were required to complete a full year, and these were inserted as Enderi, a tradition of the Elves that placed three extra days at the end of Yavannië (essentially September). The last day of Yavannië was also important, as it was the birthday of Frodo Baggins and was made a festival named Cormarë or Ringday. To adjust the calendar to manage leap years, every fourth year this festival of Cormarë would be extended to cover a period two days.

The New Reckoning officially began on the day of the Downfall of Barad-dûr in III 3019. It therefore ran for some eighteen months before the departure of the Ring-bearers across the Great Sea, the event that marked the end of the Third Age and the beginning of the Fourth. To avoid the confusion of the change of Age happening in the middle of the year, for the purposes of the New Reckoning the Fourth Age was held to have begun on the first day of that year, making it officially both III 3021 and IV 1.2


Notes

1

The motivation for a change of calendar at this point is not entirely clear, but it doesn't appear that Mardil's Revised Calendar needed further revision for any technical reasons. Rather it seems that the momentous events of the time, and especially the return of the King and the end of the Ruling Stewards, demanded a new version of the Kings' Reckoning in place of the Stewards' Reckoning of Mardil and his descendants.

2

We are not given equivalent Sindarin names for Yestarë and Mettarë, the first and last days of the year. Note that the existence of these days in the New Reckoning is not stated explicitly, but the fact that the calendar's structure followed that of the earlier King's Reckoning, and the requirements of the calendar as described, imply the need for these two extra days to make a full year of 365 days.

3

Though the years III 3021 and IV 1 overlapped according to official records, in fact most of the direct comparisons we have treat them as separate years, and we follow that more common convention on this site. For a discussion of this issue see the notes for the entry on the Fourth Age.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 11 April 2017
  • Updates planned: 1

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd and myDISCprofile.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 2015, 2017. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda
Menu
Homepage Search Latest Entries and Updates Random Entry