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

Argeleb II

The tenth King of Arthedain

The tenth King of Arthedain, son of Araphor, and direct ancestor of Aragorn Elessar. Probably the most significant event of his reign occurred in the year III 1601, when he was petitioned by a group of Hobbits migrating westward from Bree to grant them a land of their own. Argeleb agreed, and gave them wide lands west of the river Baranduin that had formerly been a royal park and hunting ground. Through Argeleb's grant, the Hobbits led by Marcho and Blanco established the Land of the Halflings known as the Shire. The population expanded, and the Bree-hobbits were joined later in Argeleb's reign by a population of Stoors out of Dunland.

Shortly afterward, the sickness known as the Dark Plague spread northwards through Argeleb's realm. This plague had previously devastated the South-kingdom of Gondor; in Arthedain its effects were less harsh, but there was still great suffering. Arthedain's southern neighbour, Cardolan, was less fortunate; the last of its Dúnedain fell to the plague, and the land was left desolate. The Witch-king of Angmar sent evil spirits to the weakened Cardolan, where they inhabited Tyrn Gorthad, the Barrow-downs that lay close to the borders of both Arthedain and the new land of the Shire. Thus the Barrow-wights came into existence during the rule of Argeleb II.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda