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


The series of Fëanorian writing

A term describing the arrangement of characters of the Elvish script known as Fëanorian Tengwar. These characters in this script were not assigned to sounds arbitrarily, but rather the structure of each letter defined the nature of the sound to which it related. To achieve this, the twenty-four primary letters of the alphabet were subdivided into four témar or 'series', each of which consisted of a series of variations on a basic sound.

Each of the primary Tengwar was written with at least two elements: a straight stem (telco) and a curved bow (lúva). For any given téma, the telco would always be on the same side of the letter (either on right, with the lúva curving downard, or on the left, with the lúva curving upward). The curve of the lúva could be either open or closed with a single horizontal line. Within any given téma, all the letters would share their orientation, and all would have their lúva either open or closed. Within that basic structure, the telco could be lengthened upward or downward, and the lúva could be doubled, with each of these changes signifying a certain change to the sound of represented by the letter.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda