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 1997-2018. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Wainriders of Rhovanion

Enemies of Gondor out of the East

The Wainriders were a people who dwelt in the distant East of Middle-earth, but at the encouragement of Sauron at least a part of this people set out to conquer territory in the west. Travelling on the great wains that gave them their name, they appeared in the lands south of Mirkwood. In III 1856 King Narmacil II of Gondor set out to give them battle, but he was slain and the Wainriders had the victory. These Wainriders settled in Rhovanion, driving out or enslaving the people who had formerly dwelt there and forcing the Gondorians back beyond Anduin.

The Wainriders established their power in Rhovanion for a time, but not without challenge. In III 1899, after more than forty years of occupation, their enslaved subjects rose up in revolt. At the same time King Calimehtar launched an attack from Gondor that caused them a great reverse, apparently causing them to withdraw from Rhovanion altogether.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda