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

White Messenger

Leader of the emissaries of the Valar

In approximately the thousandth year of the Third Age, a series of emissaries or messengers sailed into the Grey Havens from across the wide Western Sea. The first of these to arrive in Middle-earth appeared to be a black-haired Man clad in white, and he became known as the White Messenger. He was followed by others of the same kind clad in Grey, Brown and Blue. Of the five who landed in Lindon, the White Messenger was described as the most commanding and subtle, and was considered to be the chief of the Order.

Over the years that followed, as these Messengers travelled across Middle-earth, they became known by the people who lived there as Istari or Wizards, and they each acquired names. The White Messenger became known in Elvish as Curunír 'Lân, or to the Men of Middle-earth as Saruman the White. When the White Council was formed to oppose the forces of the Shadow, it was Curunír who was chosen as its leader.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda