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

Dark Plague

The plague that robbed Gondor of its King

The dreadful plague that swept across Middle-earth in the middle years of the Third Age. It came out of the lands east of Rhovanion in late III 1635, and first affected the Northmen who lived there. It was said that half of that people perished, and after that time their chieftain Marhwini led a group of his people away from the ravaged lands into the far North, eventually giving rise to the Éothéod.

The plague soon found its way to Gondor, and in III 1636 many of its people died. Worst affected was the city of Osgiliath on the Great River, and King Telemnar was lost with all of his children (at the same time the White Tree of Minas Anor also died). With such loss of life in Gondor, its guard on Mordor was abandoned. Some said that the Dark Plague was the creation of Sauron, who had intended for Gondor to cease its watch on the borders of his Dark Land.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda