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


Alphabetical index

Browse topics


Other editions

Tolkien news and resources

Sponsors and associates

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 1997-2019. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Website services kindly sponsored by Discus from Axiom Software Ltd.
Discus is a powerful, flexible DISC profile solution - find out much more in our free guide.

Latest entries and updates

See more...

Featured Entry

North Gate

The Hay Gate of Buckland

A gate at the northern end of Buckland, the land of the Hobbits that lay east of the Shire across the river they called the Brandywine. Buckland was protected from the dangers of the Old Forest by a great Hedge, and in the north of the land that Hedge turned westward along the East Road to run to the river's edge. Where it met the river, just before the road reached the Brandywine Bridge, the North Gate provided an opening through the Hedge at Buckland's northern extent. For this reason it was sometimes called the Buckland Gate, and its connection to the Hedge (or 'High Hay') also gave it the occasional name of the Hay Gate.

It was unusual for the Hobbits of the Shire to show such concern for their borders (the Brandywine Bridge that crossed into the Shire proper had no gate at all, at least until the time of the Chief's takeover in the War of the Ring). Buckland, however, lay on the edge of the dangerous Old Forest, and so they not only built the North Gate to protect their lands, but also posted a guard. This guard was not strict, and during the daytime most visitors would be allowed to pass unless they looked particularly suspicious. At night the gate-guards were a great deal more cautious, though they would still allow known inhabitants of Buckland to pass through.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda