The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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Welcome to The Encyclopedia of Arda

The Encyclopedia of Arda is a personal project - a tribute to and a celebration of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The site is evolving into an illustrated hypertext encyclopedia of Tolkien's realms and peoples. It already contains about four thousand entries, and we're constantly adding new entries and expanding existing ones.

Inside the encyclopedia

The Encyclopedia of Arda contains thousands of articles covering topics from J.R.R. Tolkien's world, some brief, some lengthy and some containing detailed essays and discussions.

You'll also find a selection of interactive tools, including a chronicle to help you explore Tolkien's fictional history, and calendar to translate dates and events, a lexicon of names, a glossary of old and rare words, and much more.

Context and approach

The content of the Encyclopedia is written in the same context as Tolkien himself used; he presented himself simply as a translator, rather than originator of the tales. Hence, we try to describe his world from a 'historical' rather than a literary perspective, though sometimes it's useful to explore ideas in their wider context. Where relevant, therefore, you'll also find a few references to Tolkien's life or opinions, or to real historical or mythological parallels to events in his universe.

About the name Arda

Arda was the name given by the Elves to their World and all it contained, and so 'Encyclopedia of Arda' seemed a peculiarly apt title for this project.

Special thanks

Thanks to all those who've e-mailed us over the years with their suggestions, corrections, ideas and just general support.

But the real Special Thanks, though, belong to the memory of J.R.R. Tolkien for his extraordinary and unparalleled creation.

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1997-2018. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

Elvish World

The time before the Dominion of Men

From the time of their awakening beside Cuiviénen, the Elves had been the foremost of the Children of Ilúvatar. They predated the Secondborn Children, Men, by millennia, and in that time they not only spread through Middle-earth but many of them were taken across the Great Sea to reach Aman. For this period of about four thousand years, Arda was truly the Elvish World.

It was not until after the fall of the Two Trees and the return of the Noldor to Middle-earth that Men awoke in the distant East of Middle-earth, as the Moon and the Sun rose into the sky for the first time. Some of these Men found their way into Beleriand and fought alongside the Elves there against the power of Morgoth, but during this period the Elves remained in the ascendancy. The fall of Morgoth in the War of Wrath marked the end of the First Age of Elvish World, the time that would later be known as the Elder Days.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda