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


The haven of the Teleri in Aman

Alqualondë, the capital and harbour city of the Teleri in Aman, built on the coastlands of the Bay of Eldamar to the north of the outer opening of the Calacirya. The streets of the city were lit by lamps under the starlit skies, and its halls, including the seat of Olwë its ruler, were of pearl that the Elves had gathered from the Bay. Across the mouth of the Swanhaven was a great arch of rock.

'Swanhaven' is a direct translation of the Elvish name Alqualondë, though in English the form 'Haven of the Swans' is rather more common. The name most likely derives from the ships of the Teleri that moored there, whose prows were carved as the necks and heads of swans. This practice in turn was no doubt influenced by the swans that drew the vessels of the Teleri to the shores of Aman from their former home on Tol Eressëa.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda