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 1997-2017. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry


The battering-ram that breached Minas Tirith’s Great Gate

The vast battering-ram brought up by the forces of Mordor to break the Great Gate of Minas Tirith during the Battle of the Pelennor. Grond was of monstrous dimensions: a hundred feet in length, capped with black steel forged into the shape of a wolf's head. It was covered against assault from above, and mounted on great chains. The whole ram was drawn across the field by great beasts (of what kind we are not told).

When it reached its target, its crew of Mountain-trolls drew back the ram, and pounded it against the Great Gate. Under the command of the Lord of the Nazgûl, they swung the ram three more times, and on the fourth impact the Gate broke apart in a flash of lightning (the result, it seems, of spells of destruction laid on Grond by its makers). With the Great Gate destroyed, Minas Tirith lay open to the Witch-king's assault, but at that moment the forces of Rohan entered the Battle, and the attacking forces were drawn away.