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Dates
Originated in III 2060; abandoned 25 March III 3019 (in use for 959 years)
Origins
Established by Mardil Voronwë
Other Names

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  • Updated 15 February 2019
  • This entry is complete

Stewards’ Reckoning

The Gondorian calendar of the later Third Age

At the time that Mardil Voronwë became the first Ruling Steward of Gondor, the Dúnedain had been using the same calendar - known as the King's Reckoning - since the foundation of Númenor nearly 5,500 years earlier. The exact 5,500th anniversary in fact occurred during the tenth year of Mardil's rule, and he took the opportunity to introduce some adjustments into the old system, creating a Revised Calendar that is generally known as the Stewards' Reckoning.

The first effects of the the new Reckoning came into effect before the calendar itself. Over the millennia, the King's Reckoning had developed a deficit approaching two days, and Mardil addressed this by adding those two days to the end of the year III 2059. The following year, III 2060, saw the Steward's Reckoning come into use.

The Calendar

The main change in the calendar itself was the standardisation of the lengths of the months, or astar. In the old King's Reckoning there were ten thirty-day months, and two with thirty-one days each (as well as three days that did not fall into any month). The new Stewards' Reckoning revised this arrangement so that all the months had thirty days each, with the remaining two extra days being made independent of any month. These days were Tuilérë in spring, between the astar of Súlimë and Víressë (March and April); and Yáviérë in autumn, between Yavannié and Narquelië (September and October).

The effect of these changes was to create a calendar divided into four groups of three months, each totalling ninety days, and each separated from the next by an intercalary day. These extra days were arranged so that they approximated the equinoxes and solstices. So, for example, Tuliérë (literally 'spring day') fell on or near the spring equinox, and was followed by three thirty-day months (Víressë, Lótessë and Nárië, or April, May and June). Then followed another extra day, Loëndë ('year middle'), the day of Midsummer that had already existed in the original King's Reckoning.

The History of the Stewards' Reckoning

Over the last millennium of the Third Age, the Stewards' Reckoning was adopted by peoples across western Middle-earth. Indeed, by the end of the Age, it was used almost universally across this region. The only independent calendars we know of were those used by the Hobbits of the Shire and the Bree-landers.

The calendar itself needed little adjustment after its inception, with a single exception. In III 2360, exactly three hundred years after its adoption, Steward Hador added an extra day to the year to account for an additional deficit, but no further changes were made over the calendar's history.

The Stewards' Reckoning continued in widespread use for nearly a thousand years (specifically, a period of 959 years from its inception in III 2060). Following the War of the Ring, in the year III 3019, the new King Elessar introduced a further revision known as the New Reckoning. Some of the features of the Stewards' Reckoning survived into this new calendar (for example, each of the astar was still thirty days long). Various changes were made, however, of which the most significant was the beginning of the year. The Stewards' Reckoning had followed the old tradition of beginning the year on the day named Yestarë, on or close to the winter solstice. In the New Reckoning, however, the year began on old-style 25 Súlimë (or March), the day on which the One Ring had been destroyed and its master Sauron defeated.


Notes

1

The Dúnedain preferred to use Sindarin terminology in their calendars, but for the individual days of the calendar like Mettarë or Yestarë we're only given Quenya versions. This might be intended to suggest that the Dúnedain used the Quenya terms for these days, or that they used some Sindarin equivalent not directly recorded. Unofficial, though commonly quoted, sources suggest Minien for Yestarë and Penninor for Mettarë.

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About this entry:

  • Updated 15 February 2019
  • This entry is complete

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