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

Seven Stones

The Seeing-stones of the Realms in Exile

The palantíri or Seeing-stones were created in Aman in ancient times. We do not know how many originally existed, but during the later years of Númenor when its people had become divided, the Eldar of Eressëa gave seven of these Stones to Amandil, the leader of the Faithful party of the Númenóreans. These passed in turn to Amandil's son Elendil, and on Elendil's ships they survived the Downfall of Númenor and were brought to Middle-earth.

In Middle-earth the Seven Stones were divided; three for the North-kingdom of Arnor, and four for the South-kingdom of Gondor. All seven survived through the first half of the Third Age; but the first of them to be lost was destroyed in III 1437, when the Stone of Osgiliath was lost in Anduin during the rebellion of Castamir. Further disasters claimed others of the Stones, until by the time of the War of the Ring only three remained active: those held by Sauron, Saruman and Denethor.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda