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Old 10-29-2011, 08:16 AM   #1
Galin
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Counting the Sun Years

Possible stupid question alert! in suggesting a range for Maedros' travail upon the precipice, should one count a full 9.582 years between the start of VY year 1500 and Sun Year 1? Or should this not be assumed?

And with respect to the Crossing of the Ice: according to The Annals of Aman Fingolfin and the Noldor began this passage in VY 1497, and according to both The Grey Annals (GA) and The Tale of Years (both published in The War of the Jools), Fingolfin and the Noldor crossed the Straits of Ice in VY year 1500.

And in GA 1497 it is noted that Feanor landed at Drengist: 'In this same year of the Valar (but some seven years after in the later reckoning of time) Feanor came over Sea...' I assume this means that around seven Sun Years into 1497, Feanor lands in Middle-earth -- considering that the passing of the ice must have started after Feanor departed, but still within 1497. But I don't recall any notation that a new reckoning in Sun Years is begun before a full Valian Year had transpired.

Granted, it seems that if the Annals were to survive (from an external standpoint), they were to become a Numenorean compilation in any case (based on communications with the Exiles, further based on Rumil's work), working with a notion of the Sun hailing from one of the Trees, and thus a new reckoning, but still, working within this context...

... or have I muddled something important here?
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Old 11-07-2011, 11:57 AM   #2
Aiwendil
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Quote:
And with respect to the Crossing of the Ice: according to The Annals of Aman Fingolfin and the Noldor began this passage in VY 1497, and according to both The Grey Annals (GA) and The Tale of Years (both published in The War of the Jools), Fingolfin and the Noldor crossed the Straits of Ice in VY year 1500.

And in GA 1497 it is noted that Feanor landed at Drengist: 'In this same year of the Valar (but some seven years after in the later reckoning of time) Feanor came over Sea...' I assume this means that around seven Sun Years into 1497, Feanor lands in Middle-earth -- considering that the passing of the ice must have started after Feanor departed, but still within 1497. But I don't recall any notation that a new reckoning in Sun Years is begun before a full Valian Year had transpired.
I'm not sure I entirely follow what your concern is here. The reference to 'seven years' 'in the later reckoning of time' is, it seems to me, just a convenient way of indicating how much time elapsed between the First Battle of Beleriand and the landing of Feanor in Drengist. So Feanor's landing came near the end of 1497, its exact date depending on when exactly the First Battle occurred. Fingolfin saw the fire at Losgar and then departed over the Ice, presumably not very much later, but did not reach Beleriand for two or more Valian years. The brief mention in AAm at the end of the 1497 annal is, it seems to me, a look forward, made since otherwise AAm would end without telling the fate of Fingolfin's host - it does not imply that Fingolfin reached Beleriand in 1497.

Quote:
Possible stupid question alert! in suggesting a range for Maedros' travail upon the precipice, should one count a full 9.582 years between the start of VY year 1500 and Sun Year 1? Or should this not be assumed?
Now that's an interesting question. Both AAm and GA seem to say that the Sun and Moon first rose in VY 1500, but no indication is given as to when during that year this occurred. It does seem clear that the new reckoning in Years of the Sun began on the first day that the new lamps were aloft. If that happened at the very end of VY 1500 (i.e. just when the year 1501 would otherwise have started), then of course there would be a full 9.582 years between the start of VY 1500 and the start of YS 1. It might seem a remarkable coincidence if this were the case, but one might suppose that the Valar planned it that way. Alternatively, if the Sun and Moon were raised before the end of the 1500, then I suppose 1500 would be a short year - that is, less that a full 9.582 years of the Sun.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:02 PM   #3
Galin
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Thanks Aiwendil!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiwendil View Post
I'm not sure I entirely follow what your concern is here.
That's because I poorly explained part of my post

I was looking to get an opinion on the timing of the crossing, so that much worked out -- but my secondary reason to post the bit about the seven years was to show that Tolkien could, and did, basically give Sun Year indications of at least one thing 'within' a Valian Year (1497).

And so, when I ended with (which should not have ended that paragraph however, as it helped to confuse things): 'But I don't recall any notation that a new reckoning in Sun Years is begun before a full Valian Year had transpired. I merely meant: if 1500 is not a full 'year' why not mention this -- that is, why not note something similar to the short digression in GA concerning Feanor?


Quote:
Now that's an interesting question. Both AAm and GA seem to say that the Sun and Moon first rose in VY 1500, but no indication is given as to when during that year this occurred. It does seem clear that the new reckoning in Years of the Sun began on the first day that the new lamps were aloft. If that happened at the very end of VY 1500 (i.e. just when the year 1501 would otherwise have started), then of course there would be a full 9.582 years between the start of VY 1500 and the start of YS 1. It might seem a remarkable coincidence if this were the case, but one might suppose that the Valar planned it that way.
That's what I was thinking, that it would be quite coincidental if it had not been planned. But if AAm is meant to read somewhat chronologically within this entry, it doesn't seem to end with the rising of the moon, which you note as well.

Quote:
Alternatively, if the Sun and Moon were raised before the end of the 1500, then I suppose 1500 would be a short year - that is, less that a full 9.582 years of the Sun.
I posted this question on two other forums so far, and only got one other response (so far), but it was along the lines of VY 1500 being a short year. The response reads in part...


Quote:
(...) but for what it's worth, my best guess is that the the Moon arose quite early in the year VY 1500.


This, I base on the Annals of Aman (AAm) where the last we hear before 1500 is about the creation of the Moon and the Sun and a description of Tilion and Arien (§172). Then we have the year marker for 1500 and the next paragraph, §173, starts by saying that ‘Isil was first wrought and made ready, and first rose into the realm of the stars, and was the elder of the new lights., as was Telperion of the Trees.’ Since this comes after a description of the making of the Moon and the Sun, it leads me to suggest that the year VY 1500 was quite short (less than one sun-year).


This of course also assumes that the narrative in the various annals are given chronologically also within each year (or block of years: the years from VY 1495 through VY 1499 are treated as one in the sixth and last section of the AAm, §§164—172), and I also assume that the descriptions in §§168 — 172 of the creation of Isil and Anar mean that this was mostly finished so that it was merely the making ready that remained that the turn of the year VY 1500.


Another way to go about it is to say that we have absolutely no indicators as to precisely when in VY 1500 Isil first rose, and so the average of all reasonable guesses is exactly half-way through — I honestly think that that is at least as good a ‘guesstimate’ as the one above.

So far I'm still musing on this... what do you think?
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:46 AM   #4
Findegil
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Since the Valian Years were described as the shortes lenght of time that could be observed by the Valar by the changes of Arda, I would think that they very exactly planed the launching of sun and moon. But from AAm I get the impression that it was at the very begining of the Valian Year 1500 that the moon came into the sky the first time.

Respectfuly
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:04 AM   #5
Galin
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Thanks Findegil.

I suppose I could toss in another factor here: it seems that if the Annals were to survive (from an external standpoint), they were to become a Numenorean compilation in any case (based on communications with the Exiles, further based on Rumil's work), working with a notion of the Sun hailing from one of the Trees, and thus a new reckoning.

Anyway, if the Moon and Sun rose so early in 1500 as to be less than one Sun Year, as opinioned elsewhere, one might wonder why not move from 1499 to SY 1? Or again, why no notation if this 'year' was so considerably shorter.

Hmm.
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:10 PM   #6
Aiwendil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galin
And so, when I ended with (which should not have ended that paragraph however, as it helped to confuse things): 'But I don't recall any notation that a new reckoning in Sun Years is begun before a full Valian Year had transpired. I merely meant: if 1500 is not a full 'year' why not mention this -- that is, why not note something similar to the short digression in GA concerning Feanor?
Ah, I see what you mean now. And it's a good point; I would expect it to be noted if 1500 was less than a full Valian Year.

I have to say I'm moving toward thinking that 1500 was a full year and that the first rising of the Moon was set for the very end of the year by the Valar. The opinion you quote from another forum does make a fair point:

Quote:
This, I base on the Annals of Aman (AAm) where the last we hear before 1500 is about the creation of the Moon and the Sun and a description of Tilion and Arien (§172). Then we have the year marker for 1500 and the next paragraph, §173, starts by saying that ‘Isil was first wrought and made ready, and first rose into the realm of the stars, and was the elder of the new lights., as was Telperion of the Trees.’ Since this comes after a description of the making of the Moon and the Sun, it leads me to suggest that the year YT 1500 was quite short (less than one sun-year).
. . . however, I don't find it convincing. There are plenty of other examples from AAm where the interval between two events is demonstrably longer than what one would intuitively guess. For instance, since the Kinslaying occurs in 1495 and Feanor's landing at Losgar occurs at least seven sun-years into 1497, the time between the seizing of the ships and their burning cannot have been less than about sixteen and a half sun-years. I can't speak for anyone else, but before I actually reckoned this out from the dates, I would have guessed that those events took place in a matter of weeks rather than years.

So I can similarly see the making of the Sun and Moon and the arranging for their operations taking quite a bit longer than one might first guess, and I can easily persuade myself that it was not until the end of 1500 that all was made ready. Yes, the fact that the rising ofthe Sun and Moon is described immediately after the '1500' header in AAm does tend to make the reader assume that it happens at the beginning of the year, but this assumption could very well be in error. If the only events that a given annal reports are ones that occurred toward the end of the year, why should it not simply launch into them, as the 1500 annal does?

Moreover, it's worth noting that the annal before 1500, which describes the making of the Sun and Moon, is headed '1495 - 1500'. Reading those dates inclusively, one could suppose that the events it describes extend well into the year 1500. The author of the Annals then broke the account of the actual rising of the Sun and Moon into a separate entry simply to specify its date more exactly.

One still might complain that having the first rising of the Moon come exactly at the end of YT 1500 seems too neat and coincidental. But really, is it any more of a coincidence than having the Age of the Trees last for a nice, round 1500 years? Or the Age of the Lamps for a nice, round 3500 years? Indeed, the Sun Years beginning exactly at the end of a Valian year probably makes more sense than the Ages of the Lamps and the Trees being integral numbers of centuries, since in the former case we can at least suppose that the Valar purposefully waited for the beginning of a new year. The ends of the ages were triggered by Melkor's actions - it's hard to imagine Melkor planning his destruction of the Lamps, for instance, to line up so neatly with the Valian calendar!
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Old 11-10-2011, 11:01 AM   #7
Galin
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I'm leaning more toward a full year for 1500 myself. Reading the entries 1495-1500, and 1500 again, I get the feeling that matters of chronology within the entry might be of secondary importance to the description of events and beings and so on -- as it arguably should be. In entry 1495 -1500 we have (section 166):

Quote:
'But when at last the Valar learned that the Noldor had indeed passed out of Aman and were come back into Middle-earth, they arose and began to set forth in deeds those counsels that had taken thought for the redress of the evils of Melkor.

167 Then Manwe bade Yavanna and Nienor to put forth their powers of growth and healing; and they put forth all their powers upon the Trees.'
This seems to say that the fruits of the Trees didn't even exist before the Noldor were back in Middle-earth, and the rest of 1497-1500 is more about the Sun and Moon, their vessels, Arien and Tilion, and so on, than chronology -- similar in wording to Quenta Silmarillion actually, although not exact. VY 1500 notes that when the Moon first arose, for a 'while' the world had moonlight and many things stirred and woke, and that Tilion traversed the heavens seven times before Anar arose. And interestingly, because of the initial design of the pathways of Anar and Isil...

Quote:
'Thus the first of the new days were reckoned after the manner of the Trees from the mingling of the lights when Arien and Tilion passed in their courses, above the middle of the Earth.'
But Varda changed her counsel (after how long?) and set new courses for the Sun and Moon, and:

Quote:
(177) 'Therefore by the coming and going of Anar the Valar reckoned they days thereafter until the Change of the World.'
Of course the Annal doesn't end here, but one might assume that what follows is a description that spills into Sun Year 1 -- which isn't that problematic in my opinion, if so, because this is an account from the perspective of Aman, which has further things to note, including the assault upon the Moon and the Hiding of Valinor. Sun Year 1 of the Grey Annals also records Morgoth's reaction to the new lights, so there is overlap, but GA concerns itself more with events of Middle-earth, as expected. In AAm it's the assault on Tilion that greatly inspires the hiding of Valinor, and such a notable event -- given Earendil later -- can hardly be left out of an Aman-based account, even if technically we have spilled into Sun Year 1.

The Grey Annals entry for 1500 has much less to report, but notes that, seemingly at the end of 1500: 'And even a they set foot upon Middle-earth, the ages of the stars were ended, and the time of the Sun and Moon was begun, as it told in the Chronicle of Aman.

____________________
A look back at the Annals of Valinor (the later version as compared to the even earlier version), a preceding concept where 1 Valian Year = 10 Sun Years:

Quote:
V. Y. 2998 - 3000: The First Ages are reckoned as 30000 years, or 3000 years of the Valar; whereof the first thousand was before the Trees, and Two thousand save nine were the years of the Trees of the Holy Light, which lived after, and lives yet, only in the Silmarils; and the nine are the Years of Darkness, or the Darkening of Valinor.

Towards the end of these nine years, as is elsewhere told, the Gods made the Moon and Sun, and sent them forth over the world...'

Last edited by Galin; 11-10-2011 at 11:12 AM.
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