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

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Featured Entry

Silver Tree

The royal emblem of Gondor

Before his escape from the Downfall of Númenor, Isildur had rescued a fruit of the White Tree Nimloth, which was descended from Telperion of the Two Trees. From that fruit grew a seedling in the courts of Minas Ithil, and from that line came further generations of White Trees that graced the courts of Minas Anor (and Minas Tirith, after its renaming). From these came the emblem of the Royal House of Gondor, a Silver Tree on a black field.

Eärnur, the last King of Gondor, was lost in III 2050, and the time of the Ruling Stewards began. During their rule, the royal banner with its Silver Tree was replaced by the plain white flag of the Stewards, flying on the peak of the White Tower. The White Tree itself, growing in the courts beneath the Tower, survived for nearly nine hundred years after this, but in III 2872 it died, leaving no known seedling. By the time of the War of the Ring, it had been nearly 150 years since the Silver Tree - either real or flying on a banner - had been seen in the Citadel of Gondor, hence Aragorn's lament quoted above.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda