The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


Alphabetical index

Browse topics


Other editions

Tolkien news and resources

Sponsors and associates

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.

Website services kindly sponsored by Discus from Axiom Software Ltd.
Discus is a powerful, flexible DISC profile solution - find out much more in our free guide.

Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

Great Horn

Heirloom of the Stewards

A hunting horn created by Vorondil, father of Mardil the first Ruling Steward of Gondor. It was made from the horn of one of the great Kine of Araw that grazed the fields of Rhûn, bound and tipped with silver and engraved with writing in an ancient tongue. After Vorondil's time, it became tradition for the eldest son of the Ruling Steward to carry the Great Horn, down to the time of Boromir, heir to Denethor II. At that time the horn would have been about a thousand years old, and passed down through some twenty-seven generations.

Tradition said that if the Great Horn was blown within the ancient boundaries of Gondor, it would summon aid. This tradition did not help Boromir, who indeed winded the horn just within the far northern boundaries of old Gondor when he was attacked by Orcs at Parth Galen. Its sound could be heard far and wide, drowning out the roaring of the great waterfall of Rauros and even being faintly heard by Boromir's brother Faramir, far to the south. However, none of the Boromir's companions were able to reach him before he was fatally wounded, and the horn that had lasted a thousand years was broken in two by the Orcs. Eventually, the Great Horn found its way back to Minas Tirith: the halves had been laid on Boromir's funeral boat, and they were eventually recovered from Anduin and returned to his father Denethor.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda