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

Fallen King

The statue beside the Cross-roads of Ithilien

In Ithilien, the lands of Gondor beyond Anduin, a road ran westwards from Isildur's ancient city of Minas Ithil to Osgiliath on the river and Minas Anor beyond. Another road ran from north to south through the land, and they two roads met at a point below Minas Ithil. This Cross-roads was marked by a huge statue of a seated royal figure.

In the later Third Age the land of Ithilien came under the power of Sauron and his creatures, and the Orcs desecrated the great seated statue. They broke away its head and replaced it with a rounded stone representing their master, while leaving the old regal head lying on the ground. Thus when Frodo and Sam encountered the statue as they passed through Ithilien, they saw the carved figure as the Fallen King. By that time flowers had begun to grow on the King's detached head, giving the appearance of a new garlanded crown on the King's stone brows.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda