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 1997-2022. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Northern Kingdom

The North-kingdom of the Dúnedain

An occasional term used for the ancient kingdom of Men founded by Elendil in the northwest of Middle-earth after his escape from the Downfall of Númenor. From here he ruled the Dúnedain of Middle-earth as their High King, ruling over the North-kingdom as well as the South-kingdom of Gondor, which was under the direct rule of Elendil's sons Isildur and Anárion. Because of this original status as the seat of the High King, the Northern Kingdom was known as Arnor, land of the King.

In practice this royal status was short-lived. In the War of the Last Alliance and its aftermath, Elendil was slain, and later his direct heir Isildur as well as Isildur's three eldest sons. This left the High Kingship in the hands of Elendil's thirteen-year-old grandson Valandil, and during Valandil's minority his cousin Meneldil established himself as the first independent King of Gondor. Thus the Northern Kingdom lost direct power over its sister realm in the south.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda