I just realized that the Battle of the Pelennor Fields (aka the Battle of Minas Tirith) occurs on March 15th, or the infamous "Ides of March". The Ides of March was originally nothing more than a day on which several religious observances in Ancient Rome occurred, but it is now famous primarily as the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated. Shakespeare later coined the famous phrase "Beware the Ides of March" in his play Julius Caesar.

I am wondering whether the date of the battle was mere coincidence (I tend to doubt it) or intentional, and if the latter, whether Tolkien ever revealed the reason he chose to make the battle occur on this date. It could be as simple as "It is a date people commonly associate with bad stuff happening", but I certainly hope he had a better reason than that.

Did he ever comment on this topic?

  • 2
    There's no mention of it in his Letters. May 24, 2015 at 8:31
  • 3
    I don't believe he ever did. I'd be more likely to believe that he deliberately put the destruction of Sauron on March 25 and worked backwards. May 24, 2015 at 10:20
  • 7
    Consider that every day in the calendar has had some event of historical significance happen on it.
    – jamesqf
    May 25, 2015 at 17:54
  • I found this question while posting a new one about the 25th of March - cc @MattGutting if you have conclusive proof of that deliberate connection.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 26, 2020 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


I found the answer in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion. No, it was not intentional. Tolkien realized, while he was writing, that Aragorn's ride to the Hornburg took place over too little time, and decided to move the Battle of the Pelennor Fields back a day to give him more time - the battle was originally scheduled for March 14.

enter image description here Text shown is from The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull, p. xlv


Occasionally a new idea came to Tolkien, or one thread of the story required more time than he had first thought, requiring other threads to be adjusted to that they would come together at the right time; for instance, in remarking to himself on moving the Battle of the Pelennor Fields from 14 to 15 March, he wrote:

But more time is needed for Aragorn. Fellowship could be broken sooner giving 2 days (5) [i.e. presumably 5 days instead of 3] to F[rodo and] S[am] in Emyn Muil and moving Hornburg ride back 2 days. But this would all throw out of hear in rest [of] story. Best would be to make Pelennor later.

  • Can you add a quote from the Companion? Jun 9, 2015 at 8:00
  • 1
    @AlfredoHernández - I can do better than that.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 9, 2015 at 8:07
  • @AlfredoHernández see new edit.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 9, 2015 at 8:10
  • 2
    @WadCheber - what did you have for breakfast ? A big glass of LOTR ? Jun 9, 2015 at 8:14

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