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 1997-2023. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry


The marshland region known as Swanfleet

Glanduin, the river that had once marked the southern border of Eregion, ran down westward from the Misty Mountains, and as it approached its junction with Mitheithel or Hoarwell, it ran over a stony fall and its waters began to slow. Dividing into numerous smaller branches, this lower part of the stream was known as the Swanfleet river. Its spreading waters formed wide marshes dotted with islets and pools that stretched for some fifty miles that were frequented by numerous waterbirds, and especially swans. These marshes were therefore named in Elvish as Nîn-in-Eilph, the Waterlands of the Swans.

In earlier ages, the wide lands westward of the Misty Mountains had been covered by dense forests, with the Great Fens of Nîn-in-Eilph forming the only treeless land within a canopy of unbroken woodland that otherwise stretched for hundreds of miles. During the Second Age, the trees of this vast forest were felled by the Númenóreans, leaving the lands surrounding Nîn-in-Eilph as an empty plain, and so they remained into the Third Age.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda