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

Men of the Lake

The people of Esgaroth

A people said to have been descended from the Edain, or those of their kin who did not cross into Beleriand in the First Age. They dwelt originally at Esgaroth on the shores of the Long Lake, from where they used the Lake and its rivers to trade with the Wood-elves to the west, and the Dwarves and Men of Dale to the north.

In III 2770 the Dragon Smaug descended on Erebor and sacked it, driving out the Dwarves and destroying Dale, many of whose inhabitants fled to join the Men of the Lake. Esgaroth was refounded as Lake-town off the lakeshore, and a legend grew up among its people that one day the Dwarves would return to reclaim the Kingdom under the Mountain. Long afterwards this did indeed come to pass, when Thorin and his companions arrived unannounced nearly two hundred years later.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda