The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien

Contents

Alphabetical index

Browse topics

Reference

Other editions

Tolkien news and resources

Sponsors and associates

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

Shire-thain

Titular leader of the Shire-hobbits

For nearly four hundred years after its foundation, the Shire had been part of the lands of Arthedain, and under the rule of that land's King. Ultimately, Arthedain fell to the forces of Angmar, and its last King, Arvedui, was lost, leaving the Shire-hobbits without a ruler. They remedied this by choosing a new leader from among themselves, Bucca of the Marish, who was given the title thain, a word simply meaning 'chief'.

Bucca and his descendants, a family known as the Oldbucks, served as Shire-thain for twelve generations. The twelfth Thain, one Gorhendad Oldbuck, left the Shire and crossed the River Brandywine to found Buckland. With his departure, the Thainship passed to a new line, the Tooks, and specifically to Isumbras Took I.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda