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

South Downs

The downlands of central Eriador

A range of hills running for a distance of some seventy-five miles west to east across Eriador. In the west, they came close to the Barrow-downs, and through Andrath, the narrow land that separated the two ranges, ran the North-South Road from the North-kingdom towards Gondor in the distant south.

The choice of the word 'South' to name these downs does not seem to be connected to their geographical location. During the time of Arnor, the downs had stood in the central parts of that land, and when Arnor broke into smaller kingdoms they were in the northern parts of Cardolan. The 'South' of their name most likely arose because they lay south of the Great Road through Eriador, or of the Tower of Amon Sûl on that road. Alternatively, it may simply have chosen because they lay far southward of the North Downs, on which the city of Fornost stood.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda