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 and myDISCprofile.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1997-2018. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

Ravines of Teiglin

The thundering chasms west of Brethil

At a point roughly halfway along its length, the river Teiglin ran past the eaves of the Forest of Brethil, before it entered the southern parts of the forest and flowed on to meet Sirion. In this part of its course, the river cut a deep chasm with steep sides. The length of this ravine is unclear, but it ran for at least two miles past the Crossings of Teiglin. It was also extraordinarily narrow; at one point, known as Cabed-en-Aras, it was said to be narrow enough for a deer to leap from one side to the other.

The Ravines were important to the story of Túrin Turambar, for it was here that he slew the Dragon Glaurung. Making the treacherous climb down one side of the ravine and up the other, he was able to conceal himself beneath the lip as the great Dragon made his crossing. With a thrust of his sword Gurthang, Túrin gave the Dragon a mortal wound. Before his death, however, Glaurung revealed to Túrin's wife Níniel that she was in fact his sister Niënor, and in her despair she leapt to her death from the brink of the Ravines of Teiglin.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda