May 25, 2:53pm
Post #1 of 1
Here's another post with some trivia about the calendars of The Lord of the Rings Appendix D!
Another reason why the Calendar of Imladris probably started reckoning from the 1st Year of the Sun in the First Age
Although Tolkien never stated when the Calendar of Imladris was established or from what year it started reckoning, I've seen the argument made before that the Calendar of Imladris (aka the Reckoning of Rivendell) should start its reckoning from the 1st Year of the Sun in the First Age because of a comment in Appendix D that this calendar's leap-year rule, which omits its leap-days every 432 years, "has not happened in our time" (which would be the time of the writing of the "Red Book of Westmarch"; aka the book that The Lord of the Rings was "translated" from).
The 1st Year of the Sun in the First Age was 590 years before the start of the Second Age, the Second Age ended with S.A. 3441, and the count of Shire-reckoning years starts with Third Age 1601 (S.R. 1 = T.A. 1601). So if the Calendar of Imladris started reckoning its leap-year rules from that 1st Year of the Sun, then it would start a new 432-year cycle in S.R. 1281 (T.A. 2881; 9 years before the birth of Bilbo Baggins) and its next wouldn't be due until S.R. 1713 (Fourth Age 293; more than 100 years after the Red Book was copied in Gondor).
By the way, even if the Calendar of Imladris started reckoning from the 1st Year of the Sun, that doesn't mean it was necessarily invented and already in use by that year. It could have been invented anytime later, but reckoned its rules and leap-days retroactively starting with the 1st Year of the Sun.
As I was explaining in a Reddit post how complicated the relationship of the Calendar of Imladris to the Shire Calendar can be if their leap-years are not in sync, I noticed another argument that can be made for why the Calendar of Imladris started reckoning from the 1st Year of the Sun: Tolkien stated in Appendix D that Rivendell's New Year's Day "corresponded more or less with Shire April 6", and The Tale of Years (Appendix B) lists the "Meeting of Celeborn and Thranduil" on Shire April 6 in T.A. 3019, which is said to have taken place on the "New Year of the Elves". That should mean Rivendell's New Year's Day was also on Shire April 6 in T.A. 3019.
So mathematically it works out that if the Calendar of Imladris started reckoning from the 1st Year of the Sun, and its New Year's Day was on Shire April 6 in T.A. 3019, then its New Year's Day would generally fall on Shire April 5, 6, and 7 from about S.R. 1400 (T.A. 3000) until about S.R. 1500 (Fourth Age 80). This seems to fit Tolkien's statement nicely that Rivendell's New Year's Day "corresponded more or less with Shire April 6".
I actually figured this out by playing around with my Shire Reckoning project's Middle-earth calendar simulations, which is just the sort of thing I made those simulations for
Note that due to the differences in the leap-year rules between the Calendar of Imladris and the Shire Calendar, even if the Calendar of Imladris New Year's Day (YestarŽ) fell on a Shire April 6 in one year, that does not mean it would fall on Shire April 6 in every year. Within 4 years, after the Shire Calendar adds its leap-day, YestarŽ would start falling a day earlier in the Shire Calendar (April 5). This continues every 4 years until the Calendar of Imladris has a leap-year and adds its 3 leap-days (every 12 years). This would cause YestarŽ to re-sync with with Shire April 6 once again; or, depending on when the Calendar of Imladris started reckoning, it could actually start falling on a day or more after Shire April 6. So YestarŽ could fall anywhere from Shire April 4, 5, and 6, or April 5, 6, and 7, or April 6, 7, and 8; and if the leap-years in these calendars are not in sync, that adds the possibility of YestarŽ falling on a Shire April 3 or 9 in leap-years of the Calendar of Imladris. Any of these may be possible, just as long as YestarŽ falls on Shire April 6 in T.A. 3019.
I scripted my Middle-earth calendar simulations to print out where YestarŽ would fall in the Shire Calendar, around the end of the Third Age, if the Calendar of Imladris started reckoning from the 1st Year of the Sun (I'm using `IV` for "Fourth Age" here):
T.A. 3009 April 5
T.A. 3010 April 5
T.A. 3011 April 5
T.A. 3012 April 5
T.A. 3013 April 4
T.A. 3014 April 7
T.A. 3015 April 7
T.A. 3016 April 7
T.A. 3017 April 6
T.A. 3018 April 6
T.A. 3019 April 6
T.A. 3020 April 6
IV 1 April 5
IV 2 April 5
IV 3 April 5
IV 4 April 5
IV 5 April 4
IV 6 April 7
IV 7 April 7
IV 8 April 7
IV 9 April 6
IV 10 April 6
IV 11 April 6
IV 12 April 6
For comparison, here's where YestarŽ would fall in April in the Shire Calendar in those same years if the Calendar of Imladris started reckoning from S.A. 1 (but a new 432-year cycle would have started in IV 19): 5,5,5,5,4,4,4,7,6,6,6,6,5,5,5,5,4,4,4,7,6,6,6,6
From S.A. 1697 (the year Rivendell was founded, but a new 432-year cycle would have started in T.A. 3008): 8,8,8,8,7,7,7,7,6,6,6,9,8,8,8,8,7,7,7,7,6,6,6,9
Finally from T.A. 1 (but a new 432-year cycle would have started in IV 4): 5,5,5,5,7,7,7,7,6,6,6,6,5,5,5,5,4,4,4,4,3,3,3,3
I'll probably clean-up this info and add it to my Shire Reckoning project's page on how "How the Calendar of Imladris drifts apart from the Gregorian calendar", and under a new section on how it relates to the Shire Calendar.