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

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Alphabetical index

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Reference

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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

Ring-inscription

The dark words written on the One Ring

An inscription in fine lines of fiery Elvish script running around the One Ring, on both its outer and inner surface. The words of the inscription were invisible under normal circumstances, but appeared when the Ring was heated. When worn by Sauron, the inscription seems to have been visible at all times, but Isildur recorded that once removed from the Dark Lord's Black Hand, the writing slowly faded. When the Ring was heated in Bag End millennia after Isildur's time, it was the appearance of the Ring-inscription that finally convinced Gandalf that the Ring found by Bilbo Baggins was indeed Sauron's One Ring.

The words of the inscription are given in Chapter I 2 of The Fellowship of the Ring (The Shadow of the Past). In the original Black Speech, they read Ash nazg durbatul√Ľk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatul√Ľk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul. Gandalf translated these words as:

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda