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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Featured Entry


The sword of Turgon and Gandalf

Of Glamdring's early history, we know almost nothing. From Elrond's words, we can say that it was forged some time in the second to fifth centuries of the First Age (the centuries when Gondolin existed), and that it was borne by Turgon (the only Elf to hold the title 'King of Gondolin'). After Gondolin was built, Turgon was in battle just twice: at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and at the Fall of Gondolin. Glamdring was greatly feared by the Orcs even thousands of years later, so Turgon must have wielded it ferociously.

After Gondolin's Fall, Glamdring passed out of history or rumour for more than six thousand years. The fact that it survived the War of Wrath, though, tells us that it must have left Beleriand before the end of the First Age, perhaps carried eastward by a band of Orcs. More than that cannot be said, except that somehow, by the late Third Age, it had fallen into the hands of the three Trolls called in The Hobbit Tom, Bert and Bill Huggins.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda