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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Featured Entry

Downfall of Melkor

The defeat of the first Dark Lord

After the sudden fire of the Dagor Bragollach swept away the defences of the Noldor, the history of Beleriand was one of long and slow defeat for the Eldar and Edain. Melkor gained victory against his enemies in the Nirnaeth, and then gradually crushed the remaining cities and kingdoms of the Elves until only a few survivors remained.

At this time Melkor must have imagined his conquest was absolute, but among the survivors at the Mouths of Sirion was Eärendil the Mariner, who sailed into the West to call on the aid of the Valar. They answered his plea, and a vast force crossed the Sea to challenge Melkor. There followed a hard-fought and terrible war - the War of Wrath - that left the land itself broken, but led to Melkor's ultimate defeat. After this, the Valar expelled him from the World into the Void (where it is prophesied he will remain until the time of the Last Battle).

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda