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 1997-2018. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Tradition of Isildur

The secret of Elendil’s Tomb

Elendil fell in the War of the Last Alliance, and when his son Isildur later travelled the lands of Gondor, he selected a hill in the centre of the realm to hold his father's tomb. There, he created a secret hallow and built a mound to hold Elendil's remains, the location of which was a secret known only to the Kings of Gondor and their heirs. It was said that Isildur had placed the hallow under the protection of the Valar, and indeed it remained inviolate throughout its history.

The secret was originally passed on from father to son through word of mouth, but as the dangers facing Gondor grew greater, King Rómendacil I became concerned that it might be lost. He created a scroll containing the tradition, to be passed on to a King's heir should the King himself be lost before he could deliver the secret. In this way the Tradition ultimately became known to the Stewards, after they took on the rule of the South-kingdom.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda