Mittwoch, 1. November 2017

Monday, 1 November 2941 T.A.: Past the threshold of winter

11th-century calendar from Christ Church, Canterbury (BL Arundel 155, f.7) 
with the beginning of winter marked on 7 November
On this day, in 2941 T. A., the threshold of winter was finally passed in the north of Middle-earth. The calendars of the Shire and of Bree still remembered this fact in their name of the month that now commenced: Winterfilth and Wintring, respectively, 'which was a Bree alteration of the older name, which had originally referred to the completion of the year before Winter, and descended from times ... when their new year began after harvest.'

In other words, Winterfilth/October had been the final month of the old year in the traditional reckoning of northern Rhovanion includine Dale and the Vale of Anduin, before the Steward's Reckoning had been adopted. The Dwarves of Erebor had obviously adapted their calendar to this fact, keeping Durin's Day no more than half a lunar phase away from the new year of Dale.

Bede and Byrhtferth give 7 November as the first day of winter and 6 February as its last, centring on the winter solstice - but mark out All Saints Day, 1 November, as the threshold of winter. (Likewise, BTW, 1 August is the threshold of autumn according to a medieval book, the "Menologium", August itself commencing on the 7th and leading is to, you may have guessed, midsummer's day after exactly half the period.)
Thórin Oakenshield had no sense for such intricacies. He was informed by the helpful ravens that three of their ponies that had been scattered and believed to be devoured by Smaug had been localised downstream of the Running River, near their first camp. Fili and Kili were sent out to retrieve them and their load, guided by one raven.