From Tolkien Gateway
History of Arda
Valian Years
    Years of the Lamps
    Years of the Trees
Years of the Sun
    First Age
    Second Age
    Third Age
    Fourth Age
Dagor Dagorath
Timeline of Arda

Ages are large spans of Time in which the Wise and the loremasters divided the history of Arda. The division was made according to large historical events such as the overthrowing of a Dark Lord.

The Ages[edit]

First Age[edit]

The First Age saw the ascent of the Elves, Dwarves and Men and their wars against Morgoth. It ended with the War of Wrath and the drowning of Beleriand. Morgoth was captured by the Valar, ending centuries of dominion in Beleriand.[1][2]

Second Age[edit]

In the Second Age the Edain prospered in Númenor, but Sauron, a servant of Morgoth also came to dominate the Westlands. The Rings of Power were created as one of such attempts. Sauron's influence also caused the Drowning of Númenor and the Changing of the World. The Age ended with the War of the Last Alliance and the defeat of Sauron.[2][3]

Third Age[edit]

The Third Age saw the gradual fading of the Elves and also the rise of Sauron against the Númenórean kingdoms, until he was defeated during the War of the Ring. The Age ended some years later with the departure of the White Ship from Mithlond.[3][2]

Fourth Age[edit]

The Fourth Age was a time when the Elves faded while Dwarves, Men and Hobbits prospered and recovered after the fall of Sauron, until the Dominion of Men.[2]

Further future[edit]

"For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time."

Tolkien said in a letter written in 1958 that he imagined that the events of The Lord of the Rings had happened approximately 6000 years earlier, so it was about the end of the Fifth Age if the length of the Ages had remained unchanged, but they had probably quickened and it was about the end of the Sixth Age or in the Seventh. However, he did not explain the criteria of why the Ages should be shortened.[5]

Two years after that letter, Tolkien changed this idea and wrote that, instead, we were already in the year 1960 of the Seventh Age, indicating that this Age follows the Christian reckoning.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands)
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Riders of Rohan"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958). Quotes: "I hope the, evidently long but undefined, gap(*) in time between the Fall of Barad-dur and our Days is sufficient for 'literary credibility', even for readers acquainted with what is known or surmised of 'pre-history'." "(*) I imagine the gap to be about 6000 years: that is we are now at the end of the Fifth Age, if the Ages were of about the same length as S.A. and T.A. But they have, I think, quickened; and I imagine we are actually at the end of the Sixth Age, or in the Seventh."
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part One. Time and Ageing: VI. The Awaking of the Quendi", p. 39