BobMoCo Middle-earth Glossary

The Third Age


Major Events

~   Pre-First Age   ~   First Age   ~   Second Age   ~
The Third Age starts after the defeat of Sauron by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.
The major events of the Third Age are triggered by the loss of The One Ring, which allows Sauron and the Nazgul to recover. This causes the efforts of the Dunedain to be exhausted by having to fight Angmar and its allies - Orcs, Easterlings and Southrons. The Dwarves have to fight Orcs, Easterlings and dragons. Elves have to defend themselves against Orcs and keep watch over Eriador and Anduin. The effect of the return of Sauron's influence is to separate and weaken the potential of the forces which oppose him, by increasing distractions in many areas.
With the death of Gil-Galad, the 'capital' of the High-Elves shifts to Imladris under Master Elrond. With no High-King in Middle-earth and their numbers ever-diminishing, Elves take a far less active role in the events of the Third Age.
Disaster of the Gladden Fields TA   2 Isildur and sons are ambushed and slain by Orcs at the Gladden Fields. The One Ring is lost in the Anduin.
Arwen 241 Birth of Arwen
Easterlings 490-500 First invasion of north-east Gondor by Easterlings
Arnor divides 861 The short-lived Northern Kingdom of Arnor is divided into Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur, it's strength fatally weakened by internal squabbles
The Istari
Dol Guldur
Arrival of Hobbits
1050-1300 The Istari (wizards) arrive in Middle-earth.   A shadow based in Dol Guldur falls on Greenwood The Great, whose name becomes Mirkwood. Orcs begin to occupy the Misty Mountains.   The Witch-King arrives in Angmar.
The first Hobbits cross the Misty Mountains and migrate into Eriador as far as Bree
Angmar 1409 Angmar attacks Arnor. Araphor, with the aid of Cirdan and Elrond, repels the invaders, but Rhudaur is occupied and Cardolan laid waste.
The Kin-strife 1432-48 The death of King Valacar triggers civil war in Gondor. It becomes a war with the Haradrim lasting until 1551. War with the Corsairs of Umbar and Haradrim continues periodically throughout the rest of the Third Age
Founding of The Shire 1601 The Hobbits of Bree are granted The Shire lands, west of the Baranduin. They are soon joined by other Hobbits
The Great Plague 1636 A plague from the east devastates Rhun, Rhovanion, Gondor and Eriador. The White Tree of Minas Anor dies.
In 1640 the capital of Gondor moves to Minas Tirith and a seedling of Nimloth is planted. The watch upon Mordor is abandoned
The Wainriders 1851-1944 North-east Gondor is invaded by Wainriders. Aided by the Northmen, they are repulsed on the Dagorlad in 1899, but not finally destroyed until the Battle of the Camp (the Battle of the Dead Marshes or Dagorlad)
Fall of Angmar
Fall of Arnor
1974-5 The Witch-King attacks again and drives Arvedui to Forochel, where he dies in a shipwreck with two Palantiri. Earnur leads a force from Gondor (including horsemen from Rhovanion). Aided by Cirdan and Glorfindel the forces of Angmar are crushed. The Witch-King escapes back to Mordor. The Northern Kingdom ceases to exist and the northern Line of Elros is only continued in the Rangers, based at Rivendell
Durin's Bane 1980-1 The Balrog is released in Khazad-Dum and kills Durin and Nain. The Dwarves of Durin's Line flee into exile.
Amroth and Nimrodel head south, with other elves of Lorien
Fall of Minas Ithil
The Stewards
2000-2 The Nazgul capture Minas Ithil with its palantir. Earnur is killed in the Morgul Vale by the Nazgul in 2050. With the end of the southern Line of Kings, Gondor is thereafter ruled by the Stewards
The Watchful Peace 2063-2460 Sauron's initial occupation of Dol Guldur ends when Gandalf investigates. There is peace for almost 100 years until he returns in strength
1st White Council
The Ring is found
2463 Galadriel calls the first White Council of The Wise. Saruman The White is elected Head and persuades the Council not to act against Dol Guldur.
Deagol finds The Ring and is killed by Smeagol, who disappears upriver with it and hides in the Misty Mountains
Celebrian 2509 Celebrian is wounded by orcs in the Misty Mountains. She departs for Aman (2510)
Field of Celebrant
Founding of Rohan
2510 Northern Gondor and Calenardhon are invaded by Orcs and Easterlings. Eorl leads the Eotheod's ride south (aided by Galadriel) and saves Gondor at the Field of Celebrant.
The victorious Riders are given Calenardhon/Rochand.   The Dunlendings are driven out and become a threat to Rohan's stability
War Resumes

The Long Winter
2740-59 Orcs invade Eriador and have to be driven out of The Shire (2747).   Gondor is attacked by Corsairs.   Rohan is invaded from east and west; Helm is besieged in Helm's Deep and Wulf captures Edoras.
The Long Winter (2758-9) afflicts Eriador, The Shire and Rohan. Death of Helm. Wulf is slain and the Dunlendings driven out again.   Saruman arrives at Orthanc (2759)
War of Dwarves and Orcs 2793-99 The killing of Thror by Azog at Khazad-Dum triggers war, which ends in the Battle of Azanulbizar. Moria is not re-occupied by Dwarves, however
Capture of Thrain 2845-50 Thrain is imprisoned in Dol Guldur and the last Dwarf Ring taken by Sauron. Gandalf sees Thrain before he dies and is given the map of Erebor
2nd White Council 2851 Saruman refuses to attack Dol Guldur and begins his own search for Isildur's Bane nearby
The Haradrim 2885 The Southrons cross the Poros and attack Ithilien. Gondor is aided by Rohan
Ithilien abandoned 2901 Attacks from Mordor by Uruk-hai cause Ithilien to be evacuated, except for Henneth Annun
The Fell Winter
The Great Floods
2911-12 A very cold winter, in which many rivers freeze, is followed by floods in Enedwaith and Minhiriath. The bridge at Tharbad is broken and the town abandoned
Aragorn 2931 Birth of Aragorn. He is adopted as a foster-son by Elrond in 2933
Quest of Erebor
3rd White Council
2941 Thorin leads thirteen Dwarves and a Burglar back to Erebor. Bilbo finds The One Ring. Smaug is killed and Erebor recolonised.   The White Council agrees to attack Dol Guldur, from which Sauron withdraws to Mordor
Sauron Rebuilds 2951-3 Sauron rebuilds Barad-Dur and Orodruin erupts again
4th White Council 2953 Prompted by Sauron's re-emergence the last White Council meets. Saruman claims the One Ring was washed to the sea, then makes Isengard his base. He begins sending spies to Bree and The Shire
Aragorn and Arwen 2980 Aragorn and Arwen meet again in Lorien. He gives her the Ring of Barahir. They plight their troth
Moria Re-occupied 2989-94 A party of Dwarves under Balin attempt to re-establish Durin's kingdom, but are all killed by orcs
Bilbo's Party 3001 Bilbo throws a party for his 111th birthday, then leaves Hobbiton for Rivendell
Storm Clouds Gather 3009-18 Gandalf and Aragorn resume the search for Gollum, who at some stage enters Mordor, is captured then released (3017). He is found by Aragorn and taken to Thranduil for safekeeping. The increasing activity of orcs in the Misty Mountains causes Elrond to summon Arwen home; Rivendell and Lorien make defensive preparations. Gandalf finds Isildur's description of The Ring in Minas Tirith, confirming that it is Bilbo's mystery ring.
Thranduil is attacked; Gollum escapes. Sauron attacks Osgiliath. The Nine are sent to find 'Baggins' in The Shire. Boromir is sent to seek Elrond's advice. Gandalf sets Frodo on his way to Imladris, but is himself imprisoned by Saruman in Orthanc until rescued by Gwaihir.
And you've read the rest ...
See The Tale of Years (Appendix B, The Lord of The Rings) for further details of the Third Age,
the events of the "Great Years" (3018-19), and "Chief Days" at the end of the Third Age (3019-3021).
The Third Age ends in 3021 with the departure from Middle-earth of the last of the High-Elves.
The Fourth and succeeding Ages will be Ages of Men.
~   Pre-First Age   ~   First Age   ~   Second Age   ~

Top Third Age Contents