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

Battle of Five Armies

The great battle before the gates of Erebor

Since the ending of the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, and the Dwarves' ultimate victory at the Battle of Nanduhirion, the Orcs had nursed a hatred of that race. In the year III 2941, the year of Bilbo Baggin's journey to the Lonely Mountain, those events lay more than one hundred and forty years in the past. Travelling through the Misty Mountains, Bilbo, Thorin and their companions were captured by a colony of the Orcs that infested those regions. With Gandalf's help they escaped, but not before killing several of their captors, including their leader the Great Goblin.

The loss of the Great Goblin at the hands of a band of Dwarves inflamed the bitter memories of the Orcs' War with the Dwarves. Under the command of Bolg, whose own father Azog had been killed at Nanduhirion, all the armies of the Orcs of the Misty Mountains, and their allies the wolves and bats, began to gather and plan their revenge.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda