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 1997-2020. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Return of the Noldor

The return of Fëanor and his followers out of the West

In the darkness before the Sun and Moon, the Elves who dwelt under the starlit skies of Beleriand suffered a great calamity: Melkor, who had been taken as prisoner into the West thousands of years before, returned suddenly to the northern lands, and settled again in his fortress of Angband. After his return, Orcs stalked the lands of Middle-earth, and though Doriath was protected by the power of its Queen, there was war elsewhere in Beleriand.

In that time, without warning, Fëanor and the Noldor returned out of the West and fought a great battle, called the Dagor-nuin-Giliath ('Battle-under-Stars') in which the creatures of Morgoth were utterly defeated. Soon after, Fingolfin and his followers, also of the Noldor, crossed into Middle-earth, and their arrival was heralded by the first rising of the Moon, followed soon afterward by the appearance of the Sun.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda