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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Featured Entry

Gap of Calenardhon

The opening at the end of the Misty Mountains

The Misty Mountains marched southwards through Middle-earth for hundreds of miles, forming a barrier between Eriador and the Vales of Anduin that could be crossed only by a few difficult passes. At their southern end, they diminished into a range of hills, and then came to an end altogether, leaving a flat plain that ran southwards for some fifty miles until the foothills of the White Mountains rose out of it in the south.

At the end of the Third Age, this opening was most usually called the Gap of Rohan, named for the country on whose western borders it stood, but for most of the earlier part of that Age it had been known as the Gap of Calenardhon. Calenardhon was the name given by the Gondorians to the wide green land that would be settled by the Rohirrim, but before their coming it was a northern fief of the Kings of Gondor, and through it ran the Great Road that passed through the Gap and ran on northwards across Enedwaith towards Arnor in the North.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda