The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


Alphabetical index

Browse topics


Other editions

Tolkien news and resources

Sponsors and associates

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.

Website services kindly sponsored by Discus from Axiom Software Ltd.
Discus is a powerful, flexible DISC profile solution - find out much more in our free guide.

Latest entries and updates

See more...

Featured Entry

Orcs of the Misty Mountains

Creatures of cavern and pass

In the War of Wrath that brought the First Age to an end, most of Morgoth's Orcs were destroyed, but some of his vast army escaped eastward across the Blue Mountains. Some of those crossed Eriador and found their way to the Misty Mountains, where they settled in caverns beneath the peaks. At first leaderless and wild, Morgoth's lieutenant Sauron soon arose again in Middle-earth and took at least some control over them. By the end of the Second Age, Orcs of Mordor had come among them, and under their command the Orcs of the Mountains ambushed and killed Isildur after the War of the Last Alliance.

With Sauron's defeat in that war, the Orcs of the Misty Mountains again fell back to their wild ways. At least some bands had their own leaders, especially large Orcs like the Great Goblin, who were perhaps descendants of the Mordor-orcs sent to command them in the Second Age. After the fall of Khazad-dûm in III 1981, Orcs of the Misty Mountains entered and occupied its ruins. Long afterwards, Moria became the seat of an Orc-chieftain named Azog. It was Azog who slew King Thrór of the Longbeards, and so started the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, in which Azog himself was slain.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda