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 1997-2022. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Lamps of the Valar

The first illumination of the world

The earliest conflicts between the Valar and Melkor were fought in darkness beneath the stars, but when Tulkas forced Melkor to withdraw from the world, Yavanna planted seeds that needed light to bring them to growth. Aulë the Smith thus fashioned two vast Lamps, and with the aid of Varda and Manwë he raised them up on two immense pillars like mountains, so that light shone across the world for the first time.

One of the Lamps, Illuin, was placed in the North of the world, and the other, Ormal, in the South.

These were the first great lights to shine on the world of Arda, and in their new light the living things set by Yavanna began to stir. This time was thus known as the Spring of Arda. Though the light of the two Lamps covered the entire world, it was at its strongest in the central regions where the light of the Lamps mixed together. It was there that the Valar made their first dwelling in Arda, on the island of Almaren within the Great Lake.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda