Jan 11 2011, 2:52am
I just found out the date for another event in The Hobbit! Gandalf, together with Bilbo and the dwarves, spent Midsummerís Eve in Rivendell, and the date was June 28.This was precisely 4 lunar months before Durinís Day, which took place on October 25. Hereís how I figured it out:
Midsummerís Eve in Rivendell on June 28, 2941 TA
In The Hobbit, chapter 5, Elrond was looking at the dwarf map when he suddenly exclaimed, "There are moon-letters hereÖ" When Bilbo asked what moon-letters were, Elrond explained "moon-letters are rune-letters Ö They can only be seen when the moon shines behind them, and what is more, with the more cunning sort it must be a moon of the same shape and season as the day when they were written. These must have been written on Midsummerís Eve in a crescent moon, a long while ago." [Bold emphasis mine.]
In other words, "a crescent moon" or New Moon when the crescent was first beginning to show would be "a moon of the same shape." Since lunar months last approximately 30 days, and we already know the date of Durinís Day (October 25) we can work backwards to find out if there was indeed the beginning crescent of a New Moon on Midsummerís Eve. And indeed there was!
Midsummerís Eve falls on various dates throughout Europe, but it only fell on two different dates in Great Britain, where Tolkien lived. As the Wikipedia says, "Great Britain from the 13th century, Midsummer was celebrated on Midsummer Eve (St. John's Eve, June 23) and St. Peter's Eve (June 28) with the lighting of bonfires, feasting and merrymaking."
October 25 was New Moon (Durinís Day) at the Lonely Mountain. Subtract 30 days and you get September 25 as the previous New Moon; subtract another 30 days and arrive at August 26 as the New Moon before that; subtract another 30 days and you get July 28 as the previous New Moon; subtract the final 30 days and you get June 27. Thatís one day off June 28, but this is to be expected. Lunar months are not a full 30 days. Rather, they are 29.53 days. So add 1 to 1.5 days back to the total and you arrive at June 28 Ė with the New Moon on Midsummerís Eve in Rivendell.
Tolkien obviously had St. Peterís Eve, June 28, in mind for Midsummerís Eve. Therefore, the New Moon that shone through the moon-letters on the dwarf map in Rivendell did so on June 28, 2941 TA.
This correlation between New Moons in The Hobbit is so exact that I donít believe it could have been accidental. Tolkien must literally have planned it. At least thatís what the evidence seems to say to me.
(This post was edited by Auraran on Jan 11 2011, 2:54am)