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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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

War of the Last Alliance

The decisive war at the end of the Second Age

During the late years of the Second Age, Sauron hatched a plot to finally humble the Númenóreans. He seduced their King, Ar-Pharazôn, and persuaded him to take a vast fleet into the West to make war against the Valar themselves. The response was even more overwhelming than Sauron had imagined, and the entire island of Númenor was consumed by the Sea, forcing Sauron to escape back to Middle-earth in disembodied form. Re-establishing to Mordor, he found a handful of survivors of the Downfall beginning to found a new nation on his western borders, and he began to make plans for a final revenge on the the last of the Númenóreans.

It took Sauron time to recover his strength and gather his armies. He drew forces from the East and South into Mordor, including Black Númenóreans. In II 3429, one hundred and ten years after the Downfall, he was finally ready to launch his assault on the Gondorians. The first strike of the War was against Isildur's fortress of Minas Ithil, which guarded Mordor's western borders. This Sauron captured, but Isildur and his family were able to escape by ship, sailing down the Anduin to its Mouths, and then by sea northward to seek aid.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda