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


Elendil’s mighty son and heir

The elder of the two sons of Elendil of Númenor, Isildur was named for the Moon, and his younger brother Anárion for the Sun. He was a descendant of the noble House of the Lords of Andúnië, and therefore of the earlier Kings of Númenor. As the eldest son, he was in line to become Lord of Andúnië in his own right, but when the Downfall brought an end to Númenor, he instead founded a line of Kings in Middle-earth.

Our best evidence shows Isildur as being born in the year II 3209, at a time when the Faithful King Tar-Palantir ruled Númenor. Isildur's family were hereditary Lords of Andúnië, and at that time close counsellors of the King. Thus Isildur grew up in a time of hope and prosperity, but this was not to last. In II 3255, when Isildur was forty-six years old, Tar-Palantir died and his throne was usurped by his unscrupulous nephew Ar-Pharazôn.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda