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.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1997-2017. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Latest entries and updates

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Featured Entry

Long Marshes

The marshlands east of Mirkwood

Southward of the Lonely Mountain, the River Running joined the Forest River to form the Long Lake, then flowed on within the eastern margins of Mirkwood before it emerged from the trees at the eastern end of the Old Forest Road. This entire belt of land along the eastern fringes of the Forest was given to flooding, forming a waterlogged region running many miles north to south, and separating Erebor from northern Mirkwood.

In the later years of the Third Age great rains swept this area, and the flooding of the River Running became worse. Upheaval from earthquakes (caused, it was said, by the Dragon of Erebor) also expanded the Long Marshes, making the eastern end of the Old Forest Road impassable. By III 2941, when Bilbo Baggins passed through Mirkwood, even the northern Elf-path through the Forest trailed off to become lost in the trackless swampland of the Marshes.