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 1997-2020. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

North Road

The road to the North-kingdom

The name for the great road that ran northwards out of Gondor and across the wide lands of Middle-earth to come eventually to Fornost in Arnor. Also called the North-South Road or simply the Great Road, it left Gondor through the Gap of Calenardhon, and then carried on almost straight for some three hundred miles before it crossed the river Gwathló at Tharbad. From there it carried on across Minhiriath, and within that region it branched into two paths. The North Road itself continued almost directly north from the branching point, through the township of Bree and onward to the city of Fornost on the North Downs.

The North Road was important during the early years of the Third Age, but as the North-kingdom broke apart and eventually fell, the road was used less and less. By the end of the Third Age the North Road was ruined and overgrown, at least along its northern stretch, and had become known as the Greenway.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda