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

Amon Amarth

The literal translation of ‘Mount Doom

The great volcano in the midst of the Plateau of Gorgoroth was most commonly known in Elvish as Orodruin, the Fire-mountain, but in the last years of the Second Age it acquired a new name among the Men of Gondor. In the year II 3429, their kingdom had been established for a little over a century, and Sauron had not been seen since the Downfall of Númenor. Orodruin had lain dormant for that time, but it now burst into new flame, and the Gondorians perceived that it meant the return of Sauron. Thus they gave the Fire-mountain a new Elvish name, Amon Amarth, meaning 'hill of doom', though almost universally translated as 'Mount Doom'.

Their concerns proved to be well founded, as Sauron immediately sent an army over Ephel Dúath and captured Minas Ithil. This was the beginning of the War of the Last Alliance, which would last for twelve years, and end with a hard-bought victory against Sauron.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda