The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-17-2007, 05:46 PM   #1
The Might
Guard of the Citadel
 
The Might's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oxon
Posts: 2,286
The Might is a guest at the Prancing Pony.The Might is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Time in Middle-earth

Especially in the Hobbit, time seems to be measured just like in our world.
Clearly the same system exists as Bilbo only received the message of the Dwarves at 10.45. Of course, this probably is only one of the many differences that exist between the Hobbit and other works by Tolkien.

But what about LotR?
I know the moon seems to play an important role there in the determination of time, perhaps the sun and stars as well.
But does he ever explain how clocks (such as the one owned by Bilbo) were invented or how they worked?
Perhaps you know of some quotes I didn't find so far.
__________________
“The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.”
Delos B. McKown
The Might is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2007, 02:07 PM   #2
Elmo
Pittodrie Poltergeist
 
Elmo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: trying to find that warm and winding lane again
Posts: 659
Elmo has just left Hobbiton.
I'm guessing the clocks in lotr would work just like the ones in medieval times here's the wikipedia page on it
__________________
As Beren looked into her eyes within the shadows of her hair,
The trembling starlight of the skies he saw there mirrored shimmering.
Elmo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2007, 02:56 PM   #3
Legate of Amon Lanc
A Voice That Gainsayeth
 
Legate of Amon Lanc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: In that far land beyond the Sea
Posts: 7,052
Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.
Thumbs up

I think hewhoarisesinmight is right about the medieval measure of time. Concerning hobbits - as we know, hobbits had many things which were not that much medieval (umbrellas...), so perhaps they had even mechanical clock? It seems clear however that in the Shire the time was measured from midnight to midnight (or more likely from midnight to noon as AM and from noon to midnight as PM), because it is not stated only in The Hobbit, but also in LotR. So, no only-Hobbit-contradiction here! The most obvious part speaking of counting of time is this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by RotK, Chapter 1: Minas Tirith
With that Gandalf went out; and as he did so, there came the note of a clear sweet bell ringing in a tower of the citadel. Three strokes it rang, like silver in the air, and ceased: the third hour from the rising of the sun. After a minute Pippin went to the door and down the stair and looked about the street. (...)
"Nine o'clock we'd call it in the Shire," said Pippin aloud to himself.
Evidently here we face the typical time-measure system based on the movements of the Sun. But be this only Númenorean/Gondorian habit or be it used in more parts of M-E, we don't know. Taking into account the Númenorean enterprise and their impact on the whole world, this system of measure might have been adopted by other cultures as well. But maybe not, counting the time from dawn was not such a typical thing. Some cultures in our world, also in ancient times, also measured the time from dusk - the Jews, for example. Now speaking of it, I recall the Elves also did. Indeed:
Quote:
Originally Posted by LotR Appendix D, The Calendars
A "day" of the sun they called and reckoned from sunset to sunset.
So there might have been cultures who have measured the time many different ways, as much as in our world. About the Easterlings or Southrons we can only speculate, for example. And Orcs and Dwarves? I can imagine a Dwarf very well constructing a mechanical clock, since they being stuck somewhere underground would have no other way of keeping track of time (or - of course they would, by water clock for example, but this would be very, let's say, precise and also - dwarfish.) Maybe the Hobbits could have obtained the knowledge of the mechanical clock, as well as the 24h system, from them? (the Dwarves living in Ered Luin) This would explain why such system did not reach the other, even more "civilized" parts like Gondor (or even Arnor at the time of its glory). This would also imply that the Stoors from Anduin would still count time in some other, more "primitive" or better said, "natural" way.

Only speculating, though. We have no evidence of mechanical clock in ME - or have we?
(goes to look deeper)

Wow, a really interesting topic. I really dived into it
__________________
"But it is not your own Shire," said Gildor. "Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out."

Last edited by Legate of Amon Lanc; 03-18-2007 at 03:01 PM. Reason: syntax
Legate of Amon Lanc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2007, 03:24 PM   #4
Estelyn Telcontar
Princess of Skwerlz
 
Estelyn Telcontar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: where the Sea is eastwards (WtR: 6060 miles)
Posts: 7,528
Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
I would assume that the clock on Bilbo's mantelpiece (The Hobbit, Chapter 2) is mechanical. As a matter of fact, I incorporated several ideas that you mention, Legate, into a fan fiction* about Hobbits who stayed in the Shire during the War of the Ring! I too assumed that clocks were a Dwarven invention and that any knowledge about their workings came to the Hobbits from them.


*Folco's fan fiction story - still incomplete, but not entirely without hope...
__________________
'Mercy!' cried Gandalf. 'If the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What more do you want to know?' 'The whole history of Middle-earth...'
Estelyn Telcontar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2007, 05:43 AM   #5
Findegil
King's Writer
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,117
Findegil is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
If if we do not have hard evidence for the clock on Bilbos Mantelpiece, we have a picture by Tolkien of Bilbos hall ["Pictures by JRR Tolkien"; no 20: "The Hall at Bag-End, Residence of B. Baggins Esquire"]. In this picture we have two obviously mechanical clocks. On left beside the door showing six o'clock and one to the right with pendulum and two wieghts on a chain which shows to my great surprise seven o'clock.

Taking into account that Tolkien said that Hobbingen is on the latitude of Oxford then a difference of 1 hour in day time corrospondes to an distance of roughly 1500 km or 932 miles.
This is more or less the straight distance from Hobbing to the middle of Mirkwood. That means that he clock beside the door in Bilbos hall showed the Rhovanion time while that at his side wall showed Eridor time!

For the dwarvish reconing of time I assume that since the sundown on Dúrin's day was so improtant they would also recon time from sundown to sundown.

Therefore it might be a hobbitish invention to count day from midnight to midnight.

Respectfully
Findegil
Findegil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2007, 01:06 PM   #6
The Might
Guard of the Citadel
 
The Might's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oxon
Posts: 2,286
The Might is a guest at the Prancing Pony.The Might is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Interesting find Findegil, nice idea, I guess that pretty much explains it.
Appendix D does indeed provide us with interesting information about calendars, but not about clocks, or on how they actually worked. I would assume they would be similar to older clocks from the past centuries, at least in the Shire, but it seems that their creation remains a mystery.
Anyway, I personally think that this took place some time after the creation of the Shire, after the Hobbits' lifestyle became more quite and peaceful.
__________________
“The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.”
Delos B. McKown
The Might is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2017, 03:53 PM   #7
Galadriel55
Blossom of Dwimordene
 
Galadriel55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: The realm of forgotten words
Posts: 6,939
Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Thoughts on time reckoning

Looking up a quote for Palantir of Fortune, I came across the passage where Eomer and Theoden discuss with Ghan-buri-Ghan the time it would take to get their army through the hills. Here is the bit I find interesting:

Quote:
‘Wild Men go quick on feet,’ said Ghân. ‘Way is wide for four horses in Stonewain Valley yonder,’ he waved his hand southwards; ‘but narrow at beginning and at end. Wild Man could walk from here to Dîn between sunrise and noon.’

‘Then we must allow at least seven hours for the leaders,’ said Éomer; ‘but we must reckon rather on some ten hours for all. Things unforeseen may hinder us, and if our host is all strung out, it will be long ere it can be set in order when we issue from the hills. What is the hour now?

‘Who knows?’ said Théoden. ‘All is night now.’

‘It is all dark, but it is not all night,’ said Ghân. ‘When Sun comes we feel her, even when she is hidden. Already she climbs over East-mountains. It is the opening of day in the sky-fields.
Thoughts in no particular order. I am not making a specific point, rather I was going to ask a question but found this existing thread, so I'm adding on.

1. The Wild men do not seem to have a precise system of counting time like other races we know of that count hours. Time appears to be measured by the position of the sun (and perhaps moon at night?) in the sky.

2. The Rohirrim use the hour system of counting time. Do they have mechanical clocks? Sundials? While I can see Bilbo, and even perhaps other hobbits, having mechanical clocks, the Rohirrim have a completely different cultural feel (I don't think they have umbrellas either for that matter). Regardless, Eomer easily translates sun-time into hour-time.

3. Regarding things said earlier in this thread about the Gondor bell counting hours from sunrise - I wondered if maybe they only kept count of time during the day, not at night, because their first hour of the day appears to be fixed to the rising of the sun rather than the end of a preceding hour (i.e. the sun could rise at the half-hour if it was the second way). Hours could then be kept by hourglasses, or candles/wicks of measured burning time. They could be kept through the night as well, but the next morning they'd run into the the problem of sunrise not necessarily corresponding to the hour strike. If I did not consider all this, I would probably say that Gondor used sundials, but then again - sunrise =/= hour1.

4. Shire, Rohan, Gondor, speculatively Dwarf settlements (anyone else?), all reckon time by hours, and since they can understand each other perfectly presumably these hours are all the same length. This points to "hour reckoning" being invented at a single place and spread, rather than evolving independently in each population. The different races kept the mechanism and the "size" of the subdivision of the day, but may have altered when the first hour and the start of the day happened based on existing notions of when the day starts. I realize Pippin translates 3 Gondor hours past sunrise as 9 o'clock exactly, but he may be approximating. It's not like he'd think "At this time of year and latitude the sun rises at 6:00..." - just that it rises around 6. If methods of time reckoning evolved independently in all these places, there would be no reason for them to have the same length of each hour/subdivision. So I conclude otherwise.

5. Now that we know the sun comes up around 6am at that time of year around that lattitude, it technically takes a Wild Man only 6 hours (sunrise to noon) to get through the path. I guess Eomer added one to make 7 to consider that the army will be going at a slower pace. Or maybe he miscounted.

6. They may actually all have kept time differently, but as the LOTR as we know it is a translation, all time measurements were converted into hours that we understand. Or, Tolkien paid more attention to language than he did to the mathematics of time keeping. Given that counting time with the 24 hour system is so widespread and taken for granted, perhaps he never even considered alternative measurements. It's either based on the sun's position or on hours, nothing in between. I'm not a fan of meta arguments, but sometimes they are the most logical explanation of why the author really wrote it that way. However, one can still speculate.

And now my clock tells me it's bedtime and I still have to study for an upcoming test, which I neglected because this is so cool. Perhaps if I write them an essay on the nature of time they will give me an extension.
__________________
- These taxes, they are like sacrifices to tribal gods?
- Well, roughly speaking, but paying taxes is more painful.
Doctor Who: The Sun Makers
Galadriel55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2017, 04:33 PM   #8
Galadriel55
Blossom of Dwimordene
 
Galadriel55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: The realm of forgotten words
Posts: 6,939
Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
As I'm reading onward, despite my previous claim about studying, I came upon this:

Quote:
Presently Ghân turned to the king. ‘Wild Men say many things,’ he said. ‘First, be wary! Still many men in camp beyond Dîn, an hour’s walk yonder,’ he waved his arm west towards the black beacon.
So even Wild Men at least understand, if not use, hours for counting time. They certainly don't have clocks.
__________________
- These taxes, they are like sacrifices to tribal gods?
- Well, roughly speaking, but paying taxes is more painful.
Doctor Who: The Sun Makers
Galadriel55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2017, 11:49 AM   #9
Kuruharan
Regal Dwarven Shade
 
Kuruharan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: A Remote Dwarven Hold
Posts: 3,363
Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Boots

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
So even Wild Men at least understand, if not use, hours for counting time. They certainly don't have clocks.
Which is kind of curious if they were really so isolated, where did they become so familiar with hours to know how far one could walk in an hour?

I think on that basis we must suppose that they used hours for telling time themselves.
Kuruharan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2017, 04:38 PM   #10
Galadriel55
Blossom of Dwimordene
 
Galadriel55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: The realm of forgotten words
Posts: 6,939
Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
Which is kind of curious if they were really so isolated, where did they become so familiar with hours to know how far one could walk in an hour?

I think on that basis we must suppose that they used hours for telling time themselves.
I suppose the "hour" was an ancient concept, and the Druedain must have interacted at least a little bit with Men in the past, giving rise to common time-language. However, considering that no or few such interactions occurred in the past generations, it's a wonder they would still keep that knowledge if they had a more convenient way of counting time.
__________________
- These taxes, they are like sacrifices to tribal gods?
- Well, roughly speaking, but paying taxes is more painful.
Doctor Who: The Sun Makers
Galadriel55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2017, 07:39 AM   #11
Findegil
King's Writer
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,117
Findegil is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Maybe Gahn-buri-Gahn was simply smart engouh to calculate what a hour means from what Eomer told only seconds before. Anyhow as Gahn was speaking Westron we can suppose that with learing Westron he also learned how other poeple counted time.

respectfully
Findegil
Findegil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2017, 04:21 PM   #12
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,220
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
I haven't really given time in Middle-earth reckoning much thought (beyond the Hobbitish calendar craze), but at first blush one would think that, relatively speaking, time (as far as seconds, minutes and hours) would be a fairly useless construct for Elves; however, I suppose time-segmentation would still be required by the Eldar. After all, Lembas takes 12-13 minutes to bake at 400 degrees.

http://lotrscrapbook.bookloaf.net/ot...es.html#lembas
__________________
Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 06:20 AM   #13
PrinceOfTheHalflings
Wight
 
PrinceOfTheHalflings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 119
PrinceOfTheHalflings is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
I think hewhoarisesinmight is right about the medieval measure of time. Concerning hobbits - as we know, hobbits had many things which were not that much medieval (umbrellas...), so perhaps they had even mechanical clock?
I realise that this comment was made 10 years ago, but I often see the Hobbits' use of umbrellas mentioned as some kind of unwarranted intrusion from the "modern world". However, collapsible umbrellas similar to what we use today have existed for at least 2000 years - being described in ancient Chinese texts - and indeed one from the first century AD was recently found in a Korean tomb. The technology may well have existed for centuries before that.

In any case, simple umbrellas existed for thousands of years before that in various cultures, and it isn't obvious that the umbrellas in the Shire are anything like modern ones in any case.

Back on topic, the idea of clocks is also pretty ancient. Water powered mechanical clocks existed in Ancient Greece, Rome and China - although were probably fairly rare. Sundials and other timekeeping methods were quite common. As far as ancient cultures being able to tell time by some kind of division of the day into hours - well, even a culture with only sundials would understand the idea. The Ancient Egyptians divided the day up into 24 hours - which seems to have stuck with later civilizations in the West. They also developed the water clock, an accurate time measuring device, at least 3,500 years ago.

The English word "clock" derives from the Middle English clokke - which means "bell", and of course in earlier times bells would be rung to mark the passing of hours. Clokke is cognate with Middle Dutch, French and Latin words that also mean bell.

As with "umbrella" I don't necessarily think that we are meant to think that "clock" means a Victorian Era mechanical model. It makes perfect sense that if the Hobbits had a complicated Calendar (which we known they did) then they would also be interested in measuring the passage of time in units of measure smaller than a day. Perhaps the Hobbbits borrowed the actual design of their clocks from Dwarves (or Elves) or perhaps they even bought such things from the Dwarves.

As for Ghân-buri-Ghân - I'm sure he was a quick learner!
PrinceOfTheHalflings is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 09:07 AM   #14
William Cloud Hicklin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
William Cloud Hicklin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,424
William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
When mechanical clocks were first introduced in the West in the 14th century (in monasteries, to ring the bells of the canonical hours-- faces and hands came later), they caused no end of confusion because they could only tell hours of a fixed length- which didn't work at all with Roman and early medieval practice of dividing the solar day into hours whose length varied with the seasons. Prime came at dawn and vespers at sundown, and the length of the hours in between were much longer in summer than in winter. Sundials didn't have this problem.

(NB: The Gospels, written in the 1st C. AD, reference the sixth and ninth hours (noon and midafternoon).
__________________
“It is good to be both loved and feared; but if one cannot be both, it is better to be feared than loved" --Machiavelli
William Cloud Hicklin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Today, 09:03 AM   #15
Faramir Jones
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Faramir Jones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Lonely Isle
Posts: 648
Faramir Jones has been trapped in the Barrow!
Pipe A pendulum clock in Bag-End?

According to Tolkien's illustration of the Hall of Bag-End that he drew for The Hobbit, on the right (from the viewer's prespective) wall there appears to be a pendulum clock.



If that's the case, it shows how 'advanced' the hobbits were; because such a clock was invented by Dutch scientist and inventor Christiaan Huygens in 1656, and patented the following year. This invention, according to one book, meant that the accuracy of clocks could be improved to about 10 seconds per 24 hours:

https://books.google.ie/books?id=1jw...istory&f=false

There's also the issue of what looks like a barometer, on the wall to the left of the open door...
Faramir Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:47 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.