Tolkien’s Third Age:

A Selective Timeline & Bibliography


Year     Event


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]


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