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 1997-2024. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry


The Brown Wizard

One of the Five Wizards, Radagast was said to have been the fourth of the Wizards to appear in Middle-earth. Like all his Order, he carried a rod and had a distinctive colour (in Radagast's case this was Brown). In his earlier life in Valinor he had been a friend to beasts and birds (his original name was Aiwendil, 'bird-friend') and the living things of Middle-earth became his special province. He also had great knowledge of plants and herbs, and apparently possessed the ability to create illusions.

Like the others of his Order, Radagast had been charged with aiding Elves and Men in their coming struggle against the Shadow. Once in Middle-earth, Radagast came to prefer the company of animals and birds to that of the people he was sent to aid, and he ultimately did very little to directly challenge Sauron. He settled at Rhosgobel, near the southern borders of Mirkwood, in a location close enough to Dol Guldur to suggest that it may have played a part in the attack on that fortress by the White Council in III 2941. At some point later in history he abandoned this homestead.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda