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 1997-2024. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Siege of Barad-dûr

Prelude to the victory of the Last Alliance

When the Last Alliance marched on Mordor in the closing years of the Second Age, they won a great victory at the Battle of Dagorlad, forcing Sauron back into his Dark Tower. The armies of Gil-galad and Elendil then passed into Gorgoroth and besieged Barad-dûr itself, seeking to finally rid themselves of the threat of the Dark Lord.

The Siege of Barad-dûr was set in II 3434, and occupied the last seven years of the Second Age. Though Sauron was confined within his tower, he was not without power to harm his besiegers, and they endured barrages of deadly missiles, as well as regular sorties by the besieged forces. They took many casualties in these years, including Elendil's second son Anárion.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda