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

Stone of Orthanc

Saruman’s palantír

One of the seven palantíri brought to Middle-earth by Elendil and his sons at the end of the Second Age. The Exiles of Númenor built the Tower of Orthanc on what were then the northern borders of the realm of Gondor, and set the Seeing-stone in that unbreachable fortress. As the Third Age wore on, the line of Kings came to an end, and the Rohirrim came to dwell in the lands south of Orthanc, so that in the last years of the Age, the remote Stone of Orthanc was all but forgotten by the Stewards of Gondor. The Wizard Saruman had not forgotten the Stone, though, and when he took over the stewardship of Orthanc a great part of his reason was the hope that the Stone would still be held there.

Saruman was not to be disappointed. When he unlocked the impregnable Tower he found the Stone waiting inside, as it had for thousands of years. In using it, it seems that Saruman had not taken account of the other palantíri in Middle-earth, for the lost Ithil-stone had fallen into the hands of Sauron, and Sauron used its power to bend the Stone of Orthanc to his own will, and with it Saruman himself.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda