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 1997-2021. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry


A name for the palantíri

The powerful orbs known as the palantíri made in ancient days by the Elves in Aman, and indeed said to have been the work of Fëanor himself. In appearance they were dark, perfectly smooth globes of various capabilities and sizes; some were small and portable, others so huge that they could not be lifted by a Man.

The Elves gave certain of these Stones to the Númenóreans, and seven of these Númenórean Stones were rescued from the Downfall of that island by Elendil and his sons. So these seven were brought to Middle-earth, and the Dúnedain set them up at distant points in their lands: at Amon Sûl, Elostirion and Annúminas in the north, and at Osgiliath, Orthanc, Minas Anor and Minas Ithil in the south. The chief Stone of the north was that of Amon Sûl, lost with Arvedui in the cold northern seas. The greatest of the southern Stones stood beneath the Dome of Stars in Osgiliath, and was lost during the Kin-strife.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda