Being the proper order in which to read the histories and legends of Middle Earth based on Thain’s copy of the Red Book of Westmarch, as well as other histories later discovered in the libraries of Brandy Hall in Bucklebury, Great Smials in Tuckborough, Minas Tirith, and others.  A number of the accounts below have been regarded by some as having dubious origins and by others as purely apocryphal.  Yet, as there is scant evidence on either side, and the histories do not, in large part, contradict, they are included here as valid, if somewhat uncertain, historical accounts until further information is uncovered.

 

Click on each entry to go to that section in The Middle Earth Chronology Index, which includes annotations, comments and amusing observations about the specific entry. This is highly recommended for those going through this timeline, however, as it contains spoilers, is best read after you've read the section/s from the book/s in question.

 

Note: Once we get to the Fourth Age and beyond, we're forced to go on speculation based on comments Tolkien made, and the fact that he ends many of the ages with a momentous event, a war and death of a tyrant, God's judgment, and a major change in history.  This allows to see, when Tolkien said in 1958 that the War of the Ring was 6,000 years ago (dating that event to around 4,042 BCE), and that we are now at the end of the sixth age/beginning of the seventh, that the end of World War II, marked the end of the Sixth Age, just as the end of World War I marked the end of the Fifth Age.  As Tolkien was devoutly Christian, we can with some certainty date the end of the Fourth Age to the death of Jesus Christ in 33 CE.

 

 

 

The Creation of Eä

 

Ainulindalë

The Music of the Ainur

(The Silmarillion)

 

 

The Shaping of Arda

 

Valaquenta

Account of the Valar and Maiar according to the Law of the Eldar

(The Silmarillion)

 

 

Years of the Trees (duration: 14,325 years, beginning 25,416 BCE)

 

Quenta Silmarillion I-XI

I.      Of the Beginning of Days

II.      Of Aulë and Yavanna

III.      Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor

IV.      Of Thingol and Melian

V.      Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië

VI.      Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor

VII.      Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor

VIII.      Of the Darkening of Valinor

IX.      Of the Flight of the Noldor

X.      Of the Sindar

 XI.      Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor

(The Silmarillion) 

 

 

 

Years of the Sun

The First Age 1 (11,091 BCE) -587 (10,504)

 

Quenta Silmarillion XII – XVII

XII.      Of Men

XIII.      Of the Return of the Noldor (FA 1-260)

XIV.      Of Beleriand and its Realms

XV.      Of the Noldor in Beleriand (FA 52-70)

XVI.      Of Maeglin (FA 304-330)

XVII.      Of the Coming of Men into the West (FA 310-425)

 

Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth

(FA 409)

(The History of Middle-Earth volume 10: Morgoth's Ring: Part Four)

 

Quenta Silmarillion XVII – XX

XVIII.      Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin (FA 455-462)

XIX.      Of Beren and Lúthien (FA 462-468)

XX.      Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad (FA 473)

(The Silmarillion)

 

The Children of Hurin

(FA 473-501)

 

II. Narn I Hîn Húrin

The Tale of the Children of Húrin

(FA 473-496)

The Childhood of Túrin

The Words of Húrin and Morgoth

The Departure of Túrin

Túrin in Doriath

Túrin among the Outlaws

Of Mîm the Dwarf

(Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part One: The First Age) 

 

Quenta Silmarillion XXI

XXI.      Of Turin Turambar: pages 198 – 215 (FA 473-496)

 (The Silmarillion)

 

II. Narn I Hîn Húrin

The Tale of the Children of Húrin

(FA 496-501)

Appendix

The Return of Túrin to Dor-Lómin

The Coming of Túrin into Brethil

The Journey of Morwen and Nienor to Nargothrond

Nienor in Brethil

The Coming of Glaurung

The Death of Glaurung

The Death of Túrin

 (Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part One: The First Age)

 

The Wanderings of Hurin

(FA 501)

(The History of Middle-Earth volume 11: The War of the Jewels: Part Three)

 

Quenta Silmarillion XXI - XXII

XXI.   Of Turin Turambar: pages 215 – end of chapter (FA 496-501)

XXII.      Of the Ruin of Doriath (FA 502 – 505)

(The Silmarillion)

 

 I. Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin

(FA 473-496)

(Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part One: The First Age)

 

Quenta Silmarillion XXIII - XXIV

XXIII.      Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin (FA 496-511)

XXIV.      Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath (FA 543 – 587)

 (The Silmarillion)

 

 

The Second Age 1 (10,504 BCE)- 3441 (7,063 BCE)

 

I.      A Description of the Island of Nümenor

II.      Aldarion and Erendis aka The Mariner’s Wife

(SA 700-1098)

 III.      The Line of Elros: Kings of Nümenor

(Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part Two: The Second Age)

 

Tal-Elmar

(SA 1800 – 2251?)

(The History of Middle-Earth Volume 12: The Peoples of Middle-Earth: Part IV: Unfinished Tales)

 

Akallabêth

The Downfall of Nümenor (SA 3319) (6,941 BCE)

(The Silmarillion)

 

The Lord of the Rings

Annals of the Kings and Rulers

I. The Numenorean Kings (First Age to Second Age 3441)

(i) Númenor

(The Lord of the Rings: Appendix A)

 

 

The Third Age

Years 1 (7,063 BCE)– 3021 (4,042 BCE)

 

I.     The Disaster of the Gladden Fields

(TA 1 - 2)

(Not including 'The Sources of the Legend of Isildur’s Death' which takes place in the 4th Age)

(Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part Three: The Third Age)

 

In the Service of the King

(TA 1974 – 1975)

(A Tolkien Treasury by Marci Helms Knisley, 1978, Courage Books)

 

The Jewel of Arwen

(TA 2475 – 2510)

(The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories by Marion Zimmer Bradley, 1975, DAW Books, Inc.,)

 

II.   Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan

(TA 2489 – 2510)

  1. The Northmen and the Wainriders
  2. The Ride of Eorl
  3. Cirion and Eorl
  4. The Tradition of Isildur

(Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part Three: The Third Age)

 

Tales Told by the Lonely Mountain

(TA 2590 – 2770)

The Fall of Bladorthin

The Story of Brega, Son of Nar

The Vengeance of Andor

(A Tolkien Treasury by Margaret Howes, 1978, Courage Books)

 

The Hunt for the Ring

(TA 2851)

(iii) Concerning Gandalf, Saruman and the Shire

(Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part Three: The Third Age)

 

The Hobbit (or There and Back Again)

(TA 2941 – 2949)

 

The Lord of the Rings

The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One & Two (April 3018 – February 3019)

The Two Towers: Book Three & Four (February – March 3019)

The Return of the King:  Book Five & Six: to Chapter V, page 1006, paragraph seven (August 3019 – May 3019)

 

The Quest of Erebor

(frame: May 3019; flashback: TA 2941)

(The Annotated Hobbit, revised and expanded, 2002, Houghton & Mifflin; also Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth, part III: The Third Age, III)

 

The Lord of the Rings

The Return of the King: Book Six: Chapter V, page 1006, paragraph eight to Chapter VI, page 1014, paragraph three (March 3019 – August 3019)

 

The Parting of Arwen

(August 3019)

(by Marion Zimmer Bradley, 1974, T-K Graphics)

 

The Lord of the Rings

The Return of the King: Book Six: Chapter VI, page 1014, paragraph four (August 3019)

 

The Hunt for the Ring

(frame: 3019 (?); flashback: 3017 – 3018)

                                          IV.      Of the Journey of the Black Riders according to the Account that Gandalf gave to Frodo

V.      Other Versions of the Story

(Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part Three: The Third Age)

 

VI.      The Battles of the Fords of Isen

(frame: August 3019; flashback: February – March 3019)

(Including Appendix)

(Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part Three: The Third Age)

 

Bilbo’s Last Song (At the Grey Havens)

(August – September 3021)

 

 

Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

(FA – TA September 3021)

(The Silmarillion)

 

The Lord of the Rings

Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers

I. The Numenorean Kings

(iii) Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur (TA 861 – 3021)

The North-kingdom and the Dúnedain

(iv) Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion (TA 1 – 3021)

The Stewards

 

 

The Fourth Age

Years 1 (4,000 BCE) - 2029 (33 CE)

 

III.           The Disaster of the Gladden Fields

The Sources of the Legend of Isildur’s Death (early years in the reign of King Elessar)

 (Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part Three: The Third Age)

 

The Epilogue

(March Fourth Age 14)

(The History of Middle-Earth Volume 9: Sauron Defeated: Part One: The End of the Third Age)

 

The Lord of the Rings

Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers

II. The House of Eorl (Third Age 2485 – Fourth Age 63)

The Kings of the Mark

III. Durin’s Folk (First Age – Fourth Age 120)

I. The Numenorean Kings

(v) Here Follows a Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen (Third Age 2929 – Fourth Age 121)

 

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil

And other Verses from the Red Book

 

The Lord of the Rings

Appendix B: The Tale of Years

(Chronology of the Westlands)

Appendix C: Family Trees

Appendix D: The Calendars

Appendix E: Writing and Spelling

The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age:

I. Of the Elves

Of Men

Of Hobbits

Of Other Races

 

I.  The Drúedain

(Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part Four)

 

II.  The Istari

(Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part Four)

 

The Lord of the Rings

Appendix F: The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age:

II. On Translations

 

III.  The Palantíri

(Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth: Part Four)

 

VII. Notes on Motives in the Silmarillion

(i)

(ii)

(iii)

(The History of Middle-Earth Volume 10: Morgoth's Ring: Part Five: Myths Transformed)

 

A Sudden Coming, Being a Story of Later Time

(The World of the Rings)

(by Jared Lobdell, 2004: Open Court Publishing; also published as England and Always: Tolkien's Word of the Rings, 1981: William B. Eerdman's Publishing)

 

The New Shadow

(Fourth Age 220)

(The History of Middle-Earth Volume 12: The Peoples of Middle-Earth: Part IV: Unfinished Tales)

 

 

The Fifth Age

Years 34 CE 1918

 

 

The Sixth Age

Years 1918 – 1945

 

Out of the Silent Planet

(by C. S. Lewis, 1938, McMillan)

 

Perelandra

(by C. S. Lewis, 1943, McMillan)

 

That Hideous Strength

(by C. S. Lewis, 1943, McMillan)

 

III. The Lost Road

(The History of Middle-Earth Volume 5: The Lost Road and other Writings: Part One: The Fall of Númenor and the Lost Road)

 

The Notion Club Papers

(1987) (some claim a far earlier date of 1940)

 (Parts One and Two)

(The History of Middle-Earth Volume 9: Sauron Defeated: Part Two

 

 

 

The Seventh Age

Years 1945 – Present

 

 

 

 

 

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