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 1997-2022. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

Sea of Núrnen

Mordor’s great inland sea

A large body of water in the low-lying southern region of Mordor known as Nurn. More than a hundred miles in length, and some fifty miles across at its widest point, the Sea was fed by four rivers flowing down from the mountains that surrounded Mordor. The so-called 'Sea' of Núrnen in fact appears to have been a huge lake, and indeed it is often referred to as 'Lake Núrnen'. Its waters are described as dark and bitter; it isn't entirely clear how literally those terms are meant, but they may refer to its sources in the poisoned waters running out of the mountains of Ered Lithui and Ephel Dúath.

During Sauron's rule of Mordor, the lands around the Sea of Núrnen produced the food for his armies out of farms worked by slaves. After the War of the Ring and the defeat of Sauron, the new King Elessar freed those slaves and granted them the land around the Sea as their own.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda