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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Featured Entry

Elves of Gondolin

The people of Turgon

When Turgon son of Fingolfin first arrived in Middle-earth, he settled with his followers in the northwestern region known as Nevrast. This land was already peopled with native Sindar, who accepted Turgon as their lord. Soon after his arrival, Turgon discovered the valley of Tumladen hidden within the Encircling Mountains, far to the east of Nevrast, and began the secret building of a city there. That city was Gondolin, and once it was completed, Turgon brought all his people there, Noldor and Sindar alike. Their old home of Nevrast was left a deserted and empty land.

What little evidence we have suggests that the Elves of Gondolin lived in a somewhat stratified society. The lords of the city seem to have been primarily from the Noldorin stock, and in the royal house the ancient language of Quenya was spoken. The lower ranks in the city spoke Sindarin in their daily lives, in common with most of the Elves of Beleriand.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda