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 1997-2019. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry


The land between the Poros and the Harnen

A desert region commonly called South Gondor, that lay beyond the River Poros from Gondor itself, and extended southwards for some two hundred miles, until its southern border was defined by the River Harnen. The Harad Road ran through this land, connecting South Ithilien to the Harad beyond the Harnen.

Throughout the first half of the Third Age, Harondor was under the control of the Kings of Gondor, but that changed at the time of civil war known as the Kin-strife. At that time, Castamir the Usurper took the rightful throne from King Eldacar, but was ultimately overcome and slain. Castamir's sons were besieged at Pelargir for a time, but escaped by sea to settle in Umbar, where they founded a haven for the enemies of Gondor. From that haven far to the south, the forces of the Corsairs began to ravage Harondor, and it became a debatable land between Gondor and Umbar.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda