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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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry


One of the many titles given to the Lord of the Nazgûl

A title given to the powerful nameless servant of Sauron who was the Lord of the Nazgûl. His origins are obscure, except that we know he was born near the beginning of the third millennium of the Second Age. In his early life he may have been a king in Middle-earth or a lord in Númenor, and he appears to have had sorcerous powers. He was tempted by Sauron to use one of the Nine Rings, and thus his will fell under the dominion of the Dark Lord. His life stretched by the power of the Ring, he served Sauron for more than a thousand years, until the time of the War of the Last Alliance that brought Sauron's rule to an end and sent the Ringwraiths into the shadows.

A further thousand years passed after Sauron's defeat before the Dark Lord began to take a new form, and with his return the Nazgûl also re-emerged. The Lord of the Nazgûl was given the task of destroying the divided North-kingdom of the Dúnedain, and to this end he established a realm in the northern Misty Mountains on Arnor's eastern border. Whether he had once been a king in his former life, now he became one in truth, ruling his new mountain realm of Angmar as the Witch-king or Wraith-king.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda