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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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

Great Road

The North-South Road that joined the Two Kingdoms

The long road, constructed by the Dúnedain during the closing years of the Second Age, that joined the North-kingdom of Arnor to the South-kingdom of Gondor. It ran for some 1,100 miles, from Fornost in the far north, south through Bree, and on across Minhiriath. To carry it through the marshlands around the Greyflood, great causeways were built, and the famed Bridge of Tharbad carried the road across the river itself. From there, it passed on through Enedwaith, across the Fords of Isen, and along the northern feet of the White Mountains before entering Anórien and finally reaching the gates of Osgiliath.

The road was maintained long into the Third Age, but with the loss of the North-kingdom and war and pestilence afflicting Gondor, it began to fall into disrepair. By the end of that Age, only the southern section of the road that ran between Gondor and Rohan was still in regular use. Elsewhere the road had decayed: in Enedwaith the fens had left it almost impassable, the Bridge of Tharbad had fallen, and in the north it had become so overgrown that it came to be known as the Greenway.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda