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 1997-2024. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Lord of Beleriand

A title of Elu Thingol

Elwë was an ancient lord of the Teleri, one of the Elves that awakened at Cuiviénen at the dawn of that race. He had been an ambassador to Valinor, and had seen the light of the Two Trees. On returning to Middle-earth he set out to lead his people on the Great Journey westwards across the Sea back to the land of the Valar. As they paused in Beleriand, however, he encountered Melian and fell under her enchantment. His people searched for him, but he was lost to them. At last, they divided: many were led across the Sea to dwell in Aman by Elwë's brother Olwë, but many more remained in Beleriand.

When he emerged at last from the woods of Nan Elmoth, Elwë had been transformed, so that he was said to resemble a lord of the Maiar rather than an Elf. With Melian as his Queen, he became King Elu Thingol of Doriath. All the peoples of Beleriand, from the Elves of the Falas on the western shores to the Green-elves of the eastern valleys, acknowledged Thingol as the Lord of Beleriand, and he ruled under starlight for many centuries.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda