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 1997-2019. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Durin’s Tower

The tower on Celebdil’s peak

An ancient tower created in the earliest days of Khazad-dûm; given its name, it was presumably created by Durin the Deathless himself. It was reached by the Endless Stair, a long spiralling stairway that led from the lowest depths of the Dwarf-city to the peak of Zirakzigil, westernmost of the Mountains of Moria. On that peak stood Durin's Tower, carved from the rock of the mountain, and from it a single entranceway led out onto a space that looked down on the World far below.

By the end of the Third Age, the Stair and the Tower had long been lost, and some thought that they belonged to legend, or had been destroyed in the thousands of years since they were made. In fact they remained intact at that time, and after his fall in Moria, Gandalf pursued Durin's Bane up the Endless Stair to emerge from Durin's Tower, where they fought the Battle of the Peak. The elemental forces unleashed in that battle caused the tower to crumble and fall, and after that time all that remained of Durin's Tower was a jumble of broken and burned stone that blocked the upper entrance to the Endless Stair.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda