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

Fens of Sirion

The marshland of the Aelin-uial

To the southwest of the forests of Doriath, the great river Sirion was met by the waters of the river Aros flowing in from the east. Where the waters of these two rivers combined, a region of lakes and fenland formed, and for a distance of some thirty miles Sirion spread out to create a maze-like stretch of waterland. At the southern extent of these Fens, Sirion met the hills of Andram and fell beneath the earth in the thundering cascade of the Falls of Sirion.

Though they were trackless and empty of people, the Fens were not impassible. The Elves of Doriath maintained ferries and secret ways through the Fens and across the Twilit Meres within, allowing them to pass through and find their way to Nargothrond beyond. Beren passed this way as he set out from Doriath on the Quest of the Silmaril, and later Mablung led Morwen through the Fens as they set out to journey to Nargothrond after its fall.