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.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1997-2016. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Latest entries and updates

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News and announcements

Chronicling the Shire-reckoning

20 February 2016

We've added an update to the interactive Chronicle of Arda so that it will now provide dates according to the Shire-reckoning as well as the formal dating system based on Ages. For dates after III 1601 (the year of the Shire's founding) you'll now see a Shire Year alongside the standard Age-based year count.

Open the Chronicle of Arda...

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

29 March 2015

The Hobbit trilogy of movies has reached its end, and now so has our trilogy of Viewer's Companions to the movies. Discover how the movie and the book compare, and explore the history, events and characters behind the story on the screen. We've also included a guide to help bridge the gap between the end of this movie and the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring.

Open the Viewer's Companion...

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

11 February 2014

The Viewer's Companion to The Desolation of Smaug, the second of the three Hobbit movies, is now available. Find out what's new in the movie, and how it matches up with the original book, and take a look into the backgrounds of the people and places encountered by Bilbo and his companions.

Open the Viewer's Companion...