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

Three Houses of the Elf-friends

The faithful Edain of the First Age

A term for the first three houses of Men to cross the Blue Mountains into Beleriand; they became known to history as the Houses of Bëor, Haleth and Hador. The Men of these houses joined the Elves of Beleriand in their long Wars against Morgoth in the North. Because of their heroism, the Elves used the word Edain to refer uniquely to the Men of these three houses (a word that derives simply from the Sindarin adan, 'Man').

The Men of the Three Houses fought beside the Elf-lords for nearly three hundred years, and from their lines came great heroes such as Hador Lórindol and Túrin Turambar, slayer of Glaurung. From these houses, too, came Tuor and Beren Erchamion, two Men who joined themselves to the Elves giving rise, in Beren's case, to the line of the Half-elven.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda