Chronology of the Silmarillion

By clotho123
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This was put together as a potentially useful guide rather than a rigid framework and I would not regard anything here as set in stone. Tolkien did quite a bit of work on the legends after drawing up his final chronologies and might very well have changed many of the dates if he’d ever reached the point of publishing The Silmarillion. It was compiled from three of Tolkien’s chronological writings:

The Annals of Aman, published in The History of Middle-earth: Morgoth’s Ring, Part Two

The Grey Annals, published in The History of Middle-earth: The War of the Jewels, Part One with final section and revisions in Part Three, section I

The Tale of Years, published in The History of Middle-earth: The War of the Jewels, Part Three, section V

The Beginning of Time

These dates are from the Annals of Aman. How precisely you think they should be interpreted is up to the individual. They are all in Valian years, which according to Tolkien’s opening description, were each roughly equivalent to ten Sun years (strictly 9.582 Sun years, if you want to be exact). At other times he had other views on the relationship between elven years and mortal years, but I will not go into those here as he did not have them in mind when compiling the Annals.

1 Valar first enter Arda
1500 Tulkas enters Arda
1900 Valar set up the great Lamps
3400 Melkor begins to make Utumno
3450 Melkor destroys the Lamps
3500 The Two Trees are created (1)

The Ages of the Trees

These annals also are all in years of the Valar. This section is largely from The Annals of Aman (including Tolkien’s later additions and amendments recorded in Christopher Tolkien’s notes), but some of the Beleriand entries are from The Grey Annals. Year 1 was marked by Tolkien as equivalent to Year 3501 of the old reckoning, which slightly contradicts the previous annal.

Incidentally I think the early sections of this chronology would certainly have been revised if Tolkien had returned to them, since the text titled Quendi and Eldar (published in The History of Middle-earth: The War of the Jewels Part Four) implies a much longer gap between the Awakening of the Elves and the Great Journey than appears here. The later section might also have been compressed – fifty odd Sun years seems an inordinately long time for the Noldor to be wandering around Northern Aman, and Tolkien seems to have been partly influenced by the need to give Morgoth time to build Angband, a problem he later solved by making Angband an already existing fortress he repaired.

I’ve placed the coming of Orcs into Beleriand under the Grey Annals date as that is part of the main text, whereas the one in the Annals of Aman (1320) is a later addition that could have been a mistake by Tolkien; however the chronological position is the same under either date.

1 The Two Trees are created
1000 Varda begins to make the great constellations (1)
1050 Elves awaken (1, 2)
1085 Oromë meets the Elves
1090 Valar attack Morgoth
1099 Breaking of Utumno (1)
1100 Binding of Melkor (1, 2)
1101 Valar summon the Quendi to Valinor (1)
1102 Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë brought to Valinor (1, 2)
1104 Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë return to Cuiviénen
1105 Elves set out on the Great Journey
1115 Nandor abandon the March
1125 Vanyar and Noldor reach Beleriand (1)
1128 Teleri reach Beleriand
1130 Elwë meets Melian (1, 2)
1132 Vanyar and Noldor leave Middle-earth
1133 Vanyar and Noldor reach Valinor (1)
1140 Tirion completed. Ingwë leaves Tirion
1150 Olwë and other Teleri leave Middle-earth (1, 2)
1151 Grounding of Tol Eressëa (1)
1152 Elwë returns to the Sindar (1, 2)
1161 Teleri reach Valinor
1165 The last Vanyar leave Tirion (1)
1169 Birth of Fëanor
1170 Death of Míriel (3)
1185 Marriage of Finwë and Indis (4)
1190 Birth of Fingolfin (1)
1200 Birth of Lúthien (2)
1230 Birth of Finarfin (1)
1250 Dwarves enter Beleriand. Fëanor creates a new alphabet for the Elves. (1, 2)
1280 Marriage of Finarfin and Eärwen (1)
1300 Thingol builds Menegroth. Daeron invents the Runes. Birth of Turgon and of Finrod.
1330 Orcs enter Beleriand
1350 Nandor enter Beleriand (2)
1362 Births of Aredhel and of Galadriel (5)
1400 Melkor released (2)
1449 Fëanor begins work on the Silmarils
1450 Fëanor completes the Silmarils
1490 Banishment of Fëanor
1492 Melkor visits Formenos
1495 Darkening of Valinor. Death of Finwë and flight of the Noldor. First Kinslaying. (1, 2)
1496 Doom of Mandos. Finarfin turns back. (1)
1497 Morgoth attacks Beleriand. Fëanor reaches Middle-earth and burns the ships. Death of Fëanor. Capture of Maedhros. (1, 2)
1498 Maedhros sent to Thangorodrim (2)
1500 Rising of the Moon and the Sun. Hiding of Valinor. Fingolfin reaches Middle-earth. (1, 2)

From The Grey Annals

These are years of the Sun. The first is equivalent to the last year in the Annals of Aman (or presumably to the tail end of it, given what Tolkien said about years of Aman, although it’s not entirely clear how time was calculated between the death of the Trees and the rising of the Sun). After writing The Grey Annals, Tolkien revised his chronology to put the first appearance of Men further back, and I’ve followed that revision here. (7)

The early dates on the history of the Edain are therefore taken from Tolkien’s chronological notes on his own writing, extracted from Christopher Tolkien’s notes in The History of Middle-earth: The War of the Jewels, Part Two, Section 14. One annal ended up rootless; initially dated 402, it recorded an Orc attack on the Pass of Aglon repelled by Maedhros, Maglor and the sons of Finarfin “and Bëor was with them”. Since this was two years after Finrod met Bëor, the new chronology dating would be around 312, but Tolkien failed to relocate this annal.

1 Rising of the Moon and the Sun. Fingolfin reaches Middle-earth.
2 Fingolfin arrives in Mithrim
5 Fingon rescues Maedhros and the Noldor are reunited.
7 Sons of Fëanor leave Mithrim.
20 Fingolfin holds the Feast of Reuniting
52 Finrod begins to build Nargothrond
53 Turgon discovers the site of Gondolin
60 Dagor Aglareb. Morgoth invades Beleriand and is defeated.
64 Turgon begins the building of Gondolin
67 Thingol bans Quenya from Doriath
102 Nargothrond is completed
116 Gondolin is completed
150 Caranthir makes contact with the Dwarves
155 Morgoth attempts to attack Hithlum and is driven off
260 Glaurung invades Ard-galen and is repelled by Fingon (2)
310 Finrod meets Bëor (7)
312 Haladin enter Beleriand
313 People of Marach enter Beleriand
316 Aredhel encounters Eöl
320 Birth of Maeglin
355 Death of Bëor
369 Bereg leads some of the Edain back to the East
375 Haleth becomes chief of the Haladin
376 Haladin settle in Estolad
390 Haladin leave Estolad
400 Aredhel and Maeglin ride to Gondolin. Deaths of Aredhel and Eöl.
410 Boromir of the House of Bëor becomes lord of Ladros in Dorthonion
416 Fingolfin gives Dorlómin to Hador
420 Death of Haleth
432 Birth of Beren
441 Birth of Húrin
443 Birth of Morwen
444 Birth of Huor
455 Dagor Bragollach. Deaths of Angrod and Aegnor.
456 Death of Fingolfin
458 Morgoth attacks Brethil and is driven off with help from Doriath. Húrin and Huor visit Gondolin.
460 Death of Barahir
462 Morgoth attacks Hithlum and is driven off with help from Círdan
463 Easterlings enter Beleriand
464 Beren enters Doriath. Birth of Túrin
465 Beren comes to Nargothrond. Death of Finrod.
466 Beren and Lúthien take the Silmaril
467 First deaths of Beren and Lúthien
468 Maedhros begins to construct the Union against Morgoth
469 Maedhros retakes Dorthonion. Beren and Lúthien return briefly to Doriath.
470 Birth of Dior Eluchíl
472 Nirnaeth Arnediad. Death of Fingon. Capture of Húrin. Birth of Tuor. Morwen sends Túrin to Doriath.
473 Birth of Nienor. Túrin reaches Doriath. Morgoth attacks and devastates the Havens of Círdan.
484 Túrin leaves Doriath
487 Beleg joins Túrin’s band
488 Tuor captured by Easterlings
489 Death of Beleg
490 Túrin comes to Nargothrond
491 Tuor escapes from the Easterlings
494 Morwen and Nienor come to Doriath
495 Fall of Nargothrond and deaths of Orodreth and Finduilas. Orcs attack Brethil. Tuor leaves Hithlum.
496 Tuor comes to Gondolin. Morwen and Nienor leave Doriath. Túrin meets Nienor.
498 Túrin and Nienor marry
499 Deaths of Glaurung, Nienor and Túrin
500 Morgoth releases Húrin
501 Death of Morwen
502 Marriage of Tuor and Idril. Húrin kills Mîm. Húrin comes to Doriath. (2)

From The Tale of Years

This section was particularly difficult. The Grey Annals end abruptly, and the last years of the First Age are chronicled only in a series of brief and often altered listings. This is my best interpretation of Tolkien’s last intentions.

503 Death of Thingol. Birth of Eärendil. Birth of Elwing.
504 Dior becomes king of Doriath
506 Second Kinslaying and death of Dior
509 Maeglin captured by Morgoth
510 Fall of Gondolin and death of Turgon
511 Survivors of Gondolin reach Sirion
532 Birth of Elros and Elrond
538 Third Kinslaying
542 Eärendil reaches Valinor
545 Host of Valinor lands
587 Destruction of Angband. Maedhros and Maglor seize the Silmarils. Death of Maedhros.
590 Morgoth thrust into the Void. End of the First Age. (6)

Works Cited
  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The History of Middle-earth: Morgoth’s Ring, The Annals of Aman.
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The History of Middle-earth: The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals.
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The History of Middle-earth: Morgoth’s Ring, The Annals of Aman, footnote 1.
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The History of Middle-earth: Morgoth’s Ring, The Annals of Aman, footnote 4.
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The History of Middle-earth: Morgoth’s Ring, The Annals of Aman, footnote 8.
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The History of Middle-earth: The War of the Jewels, The Tale of Years.
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The History of Middle-earth: The War of the Jewels, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Coming of Men into the West: Commentary--The new genealogies of the Edain (i) The House of Bëor."

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