Time Changes Between the Third and Fourth Ages

by Varda-(Valar)
Feb. 9, 2005

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Shire Reckoning and the Third Age:
    Months and days in the narrative of the War of the Ring were in Shire Reckoning.
    Shire Reckoning's Year One began at the crossing of the Brandywine by the brothers Marcho and Blanco, which to Elves and Men was Third Age 1601.
    So, add 1600 to Shire Reckoning to translate to Third Age; or subtract 1600 from Third Age for Shire Reckoning.

Reference: RotK Appendix D "Shire Calendar"

End of the Third Age
    The Third Age (T.A.) truly ended with the departure of Elrond from Middle-earth. If the reckoning of the Third Age had continued, this would have been Sept. 29, 3021 T.A., which was the year 1421 in Shire Reckoning (S.R.).

    Those Hobbits who took note of the new Age maintained that it began 2 Yule 1422, not the previous March.

    Shire Reckoning continued with the same numbers, but the calendar years started over in the lands of Men. The Third Age was still the time of the Elves, but the Fourth Age was the time of Men. Hobbits could cheerfully ignore both Elves and Men while figuring their own calendars. Thus, Shire Reckoning's Year One began at the crossing of the Brandywine by the brothers Marcho and Blanco, which was Third Age 1601.

    For Men, the Fourth Age in the New Reckoning began after Elrond's departure, but the dates did not change at that time.
    Instead, in all of King Elessar's lands except the Shire, the new Year One began on what would have been March 25, 3021 old style, commemerating the fall of Sauron and the deeds of the Ringbearers.
    The months then began with Viresse (April). A spring beginning fit better with the Eldarin loa.
    Months retained their former names, but generally began five days earlier than previously, since the new year did not start on the old March 30. All months had thirty days.
    Leap year was worked out by adding an extra day of feasting for Frodo's birthday. This feast was called Cormare or Ringday. In the old calendar, Frodo's birthday was September 22. In the new calendar, this was Yavannie 30, and the extra day of feasting was the day after that.
    To approximate the passing of years using Men's time, use the Fourth Age year plus 3020.

Reference: RotK Appendix D "Shire Calendar"
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