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.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1997-2017. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry


The First Dark Lord

After his theft of the Silmarils and destruction of the Two Trees, Melkor fled the Valar and returned to Middle-earth, as Fëanor cursed him and gave him a new name, Morgoth, the Black Enemy of the World. Returning to his ancient fortress of Angband, far to the north of Beleriand, Morgoth made an Iron Crown for himself, with the three Silmarils mounted upon it.

As Morgoth sat once again on his Dark Throne, Fëanor and the Noldor followed him into Middle-earth to make war for the recovery of the Silmarils. Grasping his chance to overcome his enemies before they even settled in the new lands, Morgoth sent vast armies to attack them in Mithrim, but the Orcs were scattered and destroyed. Fëanor himself set out to exact his own vengeance, but was ambushed by Balrogs and died of the wounds they gave him. Though Morgoth's greatest enemy among the Elves was thus destroyed, Fëanor's followers remained in Middle-earth, and their forces grew as they were joined by more Noldor under Fingolfin, who had crossed the grinding northern ice of the Helcaraxë to reach Middle-earth.