Tom Wyant
and 2 contributors



This is an object-oriented module to convert dates into the Shire Calender as presented in the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. It includes converting epoch time to the Shire Calendar (you can also get epoch time back), comparison operators, and a method to print a formatted string containing that does something to the effect of on this date in history -- pulling events from the Lord of the Rings.

The biggest use I can see in this thing is in a startup script or possible to keep yourself entertained in an otherwise boring app that includes a date. If you have any other ideas/suggestions/uses, etc., please let me know. I am curious to see how this gets used (if it gets used that is).


Tom Braun <>

on_date() corrections backported by Thomas R. Wyant, III wyant at cpan dot org.


February 2001


Note: I have tried to make these as friendly as possible when an error occurs. As a consequence, none of them die, croak, etc. All of these return 0 on error, but as 0 can be a valid output in a couple cases (the day of the month for a holiday, for example), the error method should always be checked to see if an error has occured. As long as you set a date before you try to use it, you should be ok.


    $shiredate = Date::Tolkien::Shire->new;
    $shiredate = Date::Tolkien::Shire->new(time);
    $shiredate = Date::Tolkien::Shire->new($another_shiredate);

The constructor new can take zero or one parameter. Either a new object can be created without setting a specific date (the zero parameter version), or an object can be created and the date set to either a current shire date, or an epoch time such as is returned by the time function. For specifics on setting dates, see the 'set_date' function.


    $the_error = $shiredate->error;
    $the_error = Date::Tolkien::Shire->error;

This returns a null string if everything in the previous method call was as it should be, and a string contain a description of what happened if an error occurred.


This method takes either the seconds from the start of the epoch (like what time returns) or another shire date object, and sets the date of the object in question equal to that date. If the object previously contained a date, it will be overwritten. Localtime, rather than utc, is used in converting from epoch date.

Please see the note below on calculating the year if your curious how I arrived by that.


    $epoch_time = $shire_date->time_in_seconds

Returns the epoch time (with 0 for hours, minutes, and seconds) of a given shire date. This relies on the library Time::Local, so the caveats and error handling with that module apply to this method as well.


    $day_of_week = $shiredate->weekday;

This function returns the day of the week using the more modern names in use during the War of the Ring and given in the Lord of the Rings Appendix D. If the day in question is not part of any week (Midyear day and the Overlithe), then the null string is returned.

trad_weekday (for traditional weekday)

    $day_of_week = $shiredate->trad_weekday

This function returns the day of the week using the archaic forms, the oldest forms found in the Yellowskin of Tuckborough (also given in Appendix D). If the day in question is not part of any week (Midyear day and the Overlithe), then the null string is returned.


    $month = $shiredate->month;

Returns the month of the date in question, or the null string if the day is a holiday, since holidays are not part of any month.


    $day_of_month = $self->{monthday};

returns the day of the month of the day in question, or 0 in the case of a holiday, since they are not part of any month


    $holiday = $shiredate->holiday;

If the day in question is a holiday, returns a string which holiday it is: "1 Yule", "2 Yule" (first day of the new year), "1 Lithe", "Midyear's day", "Overlithe", or "2 Lithe". If the day is not a holiday, the null string is returned


    $shire_year = $shiredate->year;

Returns the year of the shire date in question. See the note on year calculaton below if you want to see how I figured this.


The following comparison operators are available: $shiredate1 < $shiredate2 $shiredate1 lt $shiredate2 $shiredate1 <= $shiredate2 $shiredate1 le $shiredate2 $shiredate1 > $shiredate2 $shiredate1 gt $shiredate2 $shiredate1 >= $shiredate2 $shiredate1 ge $shiredate2 $shiredate1 == $shiredate2 $shiredate1 eq $shiredate2 $shiredate1 != $shiredate2 $shiredate1 ne $shiredate2 $shiredate1 <=> $shiredate2 $shiredate1 cmp $shiredate2

You can only compare on shire date to another (no apples to oranges here). In this context both the numeric and string operators perform the exact same function. Like the standard operators, all but <=> and cmp return 1 if the condition is true and the null string if it is false. <=> and cmp return -1 if the left operand is less than the right one, 0 if the two operands are equal, and 1 if the left operand is greater than the right one.

Additionally, you can view a shire date as a string:

    # prints something like 'Monday 28 Rethe 7465'
    print $shiredate;


$shire_date_as_string = $shire_date->string;

Returns the given shire date as a string, similar in theory to scalar localtime


    $historic_events = $shire_date->on_date

or you may want to try something like my $shiredate = Date::Tolkien::Shire->new(time); print "Today is " . $shiredate->on_date . "\n";

This method returns a string containing important events that happened on this day and month in history, as well as the day itself. It does not give much more usefullness as far as using dates go, but it should be fun to run during a startup script or something. At present the events are limited to the crucial years at the end of the third age when the final war of the ring took place and Sauron was permanently defeated. More dates will be added as I find them (if I find them maybe I should say). All the ones below come from Appendix B of the Lord of the Rings. At this point, these are only available in English.

Note here that the string is formatted. This is to keep things simple when using it as in the second example above. Note that in this second example you are actually ending with a double space, as the first endline is part of the return value.

If you don't like how this is formatted, complain at me and if I like you I'll consider changing it :-)

NOTE: YEAR CALCULATION references a letter sent by Tolkien in 1958 in which he estimates approxiimately 6000 years have passed since the War of the Ring and the end of the Third Age. (Thanks to Danny O'Brien from sending me this link). I took this approximate as an exact and calculated back 6000 years from 1958 and set this as the start of the 4th age (1422). Thus the fourth age begins in our B.C 4042.

According to Appendix D of the Lord of the Rings, leap years in hobbit calendar are every 4 years unless its the turn of the century, in which case it's not a leap year. Our calendar uses every 4 years unless it's 100 years unless its 400 years. So, if no changes have been made to the hobbit's calendar since the end of the third age, their calendar would be about 15 days further behind ours now then when the War of the Ring took place. Implementing this seemed to me to go against Tolkien's general habit of converting dates in the novel to our equivalents to give us a better sense of time. My thoughts, at least right now, is that it is truer to the spirit of things for March 25 today to be about the same as March 25 was back then. So instead, I have modified Tolkien's description of the hobbit calendar so that leap years occur once every 4 years unless it's 100 years unless it's 400 years, so as it matches our calendar in that regard. These 100 and 400 year intervals occur at different times in the two calendars, however. Thus the last day of our year is sometimes 7 Afteryule, sometimes 8, and sometimes 9.


Tolkien, J. R. R. <i>Return of the King<i>. New York: Houghton Mifflin Press, 1955.


Epoch time. Since epoch time was used as the base for this module, and the only way to currently set a date is from epoch time, it borks on values that epoch time doesn't support (currently values before 1902 or after 2037). The module should automatically expand in available dates directly with epoch time support on your system.