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


Most precious of metals

Also called 'true-silver', and many other names besides; the remarkable metal that the Dwarves discovered in the mines of Khazad-dûm. It was supple and easy to work, and could be polished to shimmer like silver that never tarnished, and it was stronger than steel. In Middle-earth, mithril was found nowhere but the Dwarf-mines of Khazad-dûm, though there are indications that it was also found in Númenor and in Aman.

The metal held a value almost beyond price. In Númenor, King Tar-Telemmaitë became so greedy for mithril that it gave him his name - Telemmaitë means 'silverhand'. In Middle-earth, meanwhile, the Dwarves' discovery of mithril drew the Noldor to found the kingdom of Eregion in the lands immediately westward of Khazad-dûm. As the years passed, the seams beneath the Dwarf-city began to be worked out, and the Dwarves dug deeper and deeper. It was their deep mining for mithril that would awake the Balrog, Durin's Bane, and bring about the downfall of their kingdom.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda