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

Nazgûl of Dol Guldur

Khamûl and his followers

When the first traces of the Shadow were seen in Mirkwood, in about the year III 1100, the Wise at first considered the possibility that one of the Nazgûl might have made itself a fortress at Dol Guldur. It was later discovered that this guess was wrong, and that it was none other than Sauron himself, slowly growing in strength in the heart of the darkening Forest.

In fact, we have no direct evidence of any Nazgûl at Dol Guldur for almost two thousand years after its founding. The first sure signs of the return of the Ringwraiths weren't seen until some two hundred years after the founding of Dol Guldur, but these were in Angmar and later in Mordor. Even when the White Council launched a direct assault on Dol Guldur in III 2941, it seems that no Nazgûl were involved in the fighting.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda