Ages of Middle-earth

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In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth, the time is typically rendered in Ages. Ages are one epoch of the Valar. Before the arising of the Sun they were approximately one thousand Valian Years in length (the exact length of a Valian Year varied in different drafts of Tolkien's texts from close to 10 "Sun"-years in most versions to precisely 144 "Sun"-years in his final estimation). After the Sun, Ages "sped up" and length is more variable. The Years of the Sun began with the 30th Valian Age, and the Fourth Age of Middle-earth began with the 37th Valian Age. However, only four, not seven Ages are counted. The Second and later Ages, during the Years of the Sun, correspond more to the earlier Valian Eras than to their Ages.

  • Before the Ainur were made. Duration: Meaningless.
  • Before (the universe) was made. Duration: Meaningless.
  • Before Arda (the world) was made. Duration: Unknown.
  • The earliest age of Arda, when the Valar shaped the world. Duration : Valian Years 1–~5,000 (five Ages).
  • The Years of the Lamps. Duration: V.Y. ~5,000–~10,000 (five Ages).
  • The Years of the Trees. Duration V.Y. ~10,000–~30,000 (twenty Ages).
    • The first Era of the Two Trees, and the beginning of the count of Time. Duration V.Y. ~10,000–20,000 (ten Ages).
    • The second Era of the Two Trees, and the coming of the Elves. Duration V.Y. ~20,000–~30,000 (ten Ages).
      • The Age of the Stars, when the Elves awoke, and the first age of the Chaining of Melkor.
      • The second age of the captivity of Melkor.
      • The third age of the captivity of Melkor.
      • The age in which Melkor lived in Valinor.
  • The Years of the Sun.
    • The First Age. Duration: 450 Years of the Trees + 583 Years of the Sun.
    • The Second Age. Duration: 3441 Years of the Sun.
    • The Third Age. Duration: 3021 Years of the Sun.
    • The Fourth Age. Duration: Not specified.

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