Tolkien’s Third Age:
A Selective Timeline & Bibliography
2 Isildur is slain and the One Ring is lost
1000 The Istari (Wizards) appear in Middle-earth [Saruman the White, Gandalf the Grey, Radagast the Brown are the ones named]
1050 Gondor reaches the height of its power. Greenwood the Great begins to be called Mirkwood because of the founding of Dol Guldur in the southeast corner.
1300 The Nazgul reappear & with their lord, the Witch-king, begin various campaigns against the peoples of Middle-earth. Orcs and other vile beings multiply, especially in the Misty Mountains
1640 Osgiliath begins to fall to ruin through the effects of plague & wars; the capital of Gondor becomes Minas Anor (later Minas Tirith)
1981 Dwarves leave Moria because of growing evils, one of which was the appearance of a Balrog
1999 Thrain I founds the dwarf kingdom at Erebor (Lonely Mountain)
2002 Fall of Minas Ithil (twin tower of Minas Arnor) to the Nazgul; name
changed to Minas Morgul. The Palantir of Ithil falls into evil hands.
2060 Power of Dol Guldur grows, headed by “The Necromancer” who is later found to be Sauron
2063 Gandalf goes to Dol Guldur; Sauron hides in the east.
2460 Sauron returns to Dol Guldur
2463 The White Council formed, called by Galadriel, composed of the 5 Istari (Wizards) and presdided over by Saruman
About this time the One Ring is found by Deagol, who is then killed by Smeagol (Gollum) who shortly thereafter hides in the Misty Mountains with the Ring in his possession
2480 Orcs become stronger in the Misty Mountains & Moria becomes more populated with evil creatures
2759 Smaug the dragon comes to Erebor (Lonely Mountain)
2793 War of the dwarves and Orcs begins
2845 Thrain is imprisoned in Dol Guldur & the last of the dwarf rings is taken from him.
2850 Gandalf goes again to Dol Guldur & finds that “The Necromancer” is indeed Sauron who has been actively searching for the One Ring.
2851 Meeting of the White Council in which Saruman (already becoming corrupt) overrides the idea of attacking Dol Guldur; wanting the One Ring for himself Saruman thinks that Sauron will draw it out for him to take.
2890 Bilbo Baggins is born
2931 Aragorn, son of Arathorn, is born
2941 Thorin & Gandalf visit Bilbo in the Shire starting all the events recounted in The Hobbit, all of which take place during this year, including Bilbo finding and keeping the One Ring.
Meeting of the White Council where Saruman agrees to plans to attack Dol Guldur (not wanting Sauron to continue searching for the Ring). Sauron abandons Dol Guldur and returns in secret to Mordor.
Saruman is given the keys of Orthanc (Isengard) which contains one of the Palantir
2944 Gollum leaves the Misty Mountains to begin to search for the Ring
2951 Sauron openly declares himself, rebuilds Barad-dur & sends Nazgul to
reoccupy Dol Guldur.
Aragorn begins his wanderings as a ranger
2953 Last meeting of the White Council where they debate the Ring. Saruman withdraws to Isengard & keeps watch over the movements of Gandalf.
2953 Gandalf and Arargorn meet & become friends
2968 Frodo Bagins born
3000 Saruman uses the Palnatir of Orthanc and falls under the power of Sauron
3001 Bilbo’s farewell party in the Shire; Gandalf suspects his ring to be the One Ring. Gandalf asks Aragorn to help him in searching for Gollum.
3004 Gandalf visits Frodo during the next four years
3017 Gollum is released from Mordor after having been imprisoned & tortured for a number of years. Gandalf consults the history scroll of Isildur in Minas Tirith
3018 Beginning of the War of the Ring
A Third Age Bibliography
“Of the Three Rings of Power and the Third Age” in The Silmarillion (1974)
The Hobbit (1937)
The Fellowship of the Ring; being the first part of the Lord of the Rings (1954)
The Two Towers; being the second part of the Lord of the Rings (1955)
The Return of the King; being the third part of the Lord of the Rings (1955)
“The Third Age” in Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle Earth (1980)
The Return of the Shadow: The History of the Lord of the Rings, Part One (1988)
[The History of Middle-Earth ; 6]
The Treason of Isengard: The History of the Lord of the Rings, Part Two (1989)
[The History of Middle-Earth ; 7]
The War of the Ring: The History of the Lord of the Rings, Part Three (1990)
[The History of Middle-Earth ; 8]
Sauron Defeated, the End of the Third Age: The History of the Lord of the Rings (1992)
[The History of Middle-Earth ; 9]
PJS [rev. 7/06]