The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien

Contents

Alphabetical index

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Reference

Other editions

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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 and myDISCprofile.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1997-2018. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

Withered Heath

The Dragons’ breeding-ground

In the eastern part of their length, the Grey Mountains forked into two thin ranges, with a narrow valley between. On the floor of this long east-west valley between the mountains was a heath, but a heath burned and blackened by its inhabitants. This Withered Heath was famed and feared in the north of Middle-earth as the breeding-ground of the dragons. At one time they had infested the Grey Mountains and the lands beyond, and even in the closing decades of the Third Age, the dragon Smaug still terrorised the inhabitants of the north.

Smaug was the last of the great dragons, but we know that other lesser members of his kind remained, so perhaps these still occasionally returned to the Withered Heath to continue their race. However, in The Hobbit 1, An Unexpected Party, Thorin refers to the Withered Heath as the place 'where the great dragons bred', implying that it was deserted by III 2941 (the year Thorin spoke these words), or at least not frequented by dragons that could be described as 'great'.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda