The name given to the calendar system used in Númenor throughout the Second Age, and in Gondor and Arnor throughout much of the Third Age. It divided the year into twelve months (properly called astar), and included three days that did not belong to any month: yestarë, loëndë and mettarë.
The King's Reckoning was of Eldarin origin and calculation started from S.A. 1. The Númenóreans made some alterations more convenient to them, like dividing the loa into shorter and more regular astar, and, according to the custom of the Edain or the Middle Men, the year began in mid-winter instead of the spring. Later they added one more day to the enquië, and reckoned the day from sunrise instead of sunset.
Every thousand years, a millennial deficit accumulated and three times in the history of Númenor, this was adjusted in the end of each millennium.
The calendar was later used in Arnor and Gondor; with the defeat of Sauron and the "resetting" of the reckoning to T.A. 1 (S.A. 3442), and making T.A. 4 a leap year, the system was dislocated and the deficit enlarged in the following centuries.
The King's Reckoning in Gondor lasted until the loss of Eärnur the last King of Gondor. As the millennial deficit and errors accumulated, Mardil Voronwë, the first Ruling Steward, revised the system, and replaced it with the system known as the Stewards' Reckoning.
The year was divided into twelve months, with three days outside the months. These divisions are given in the table below.
|Month number||Quenya||Sindarin||Length||English translation||Relationship to the Shire Calendar[note 1]|
|Yestarë||1||First day||2 Yule|
|3||Súlimë||Gwaeron||30||Windy / wind month||Rethe|
|4||Víressë||Gwirith||30||New / young / budding?||Astron|
|6||Nárië||Nórui||31||Sunny||1 Forelithe through 1 Lithe|
|Loëndë/Enderi||1/2||Year-middle (Middle days)||Mid-year's Day/Overlithe|
|7||Cermië||Cerveth||31||Cutting?||2 Lithe through 30 Afterlithe|
|12||Ringarë||Girithron||30||Cold / shivering month||Foreyule|
|Mettarë||1||Last day||1 Yule|
In leap years, loëndë was replaced with two enderi; this occurred in years divisible by 4 but not by 100 (haranyë), resulting in a 366-day year, similar to modern Gregorian calendar leap years. In addition, in years divisible by 1000 loëndë was replaced by three enderi[source?], resulting in a 367-day year. These leap year rules held throughout the Second Age and continued based on the restarted numbering of Third Age years, and the 2-day "millennial additions" continued through T.A. 2000. This calendar was replaced by the Stewards' Reckoning in T.A. 2060.
Days of the week
When the Kings' Reckoning was first implemented the Númenóreans used the Elven week of six days. At unspecified points of the Second Age two changes were made; the first being to rename the fourth day Aldúya to Aldëa (Orgaladh in Sindarin) in order to change the dedication to the White Tree, and the second being to insert an extra day, Eärenya (Oraearon), after the fifth day Menelya. Thus, the eventual Númenórean week was as follows:
According to Jim Allan in An Introduction to Elvish, each of the elvish month names has a correspondence to the months of the French Republican Calendar; for example, Nénimë/Pluviôse mean "Rainy", Súlìmë/Ventôse mean "Windy". Jim Allan suggests that Tolkien used this similarity because the French Republican Calendar was based on earlier unrecorded Germanic month names.
- Based on the statement in Appendix D that the day of the destruction of the One Ring, Shire 25 March in T.A. 3019, "was, however, March 25 in both Kings' and Stewards' Reckoning." This may only apply around the end of the Third Age, since it is unknown if the Shire Calendar incorporated the Kings' Reckoning 2-day "millennial additions" or any of the Stewards' Reckoning additional adjustments.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix D, "The Calendars"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, Appendix, s.v. sul
- David Salo (2004), A Gateway to Sindarin, Appendix 6
- Paul Strack, "Q. loëndë n.", Eldamo - An Elvish Lexicon (accessed 25 September 2019)
- Jim Allan (1978), An Introduction to Elvish, p. 29
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, Appendix, s.v. ur
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, Appendix, s.v. hith
- Jim Allan (1978), An Introduction to Elvish, p. 151