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 Usurper

The title of Castamir, the deposer of Eldacar

The title given to Castamir, a descendant of King Calmacil who led a revolt against Gondor's true King, Eldacar, and usurped his throne. Over the ten years of Castamir's rule, he proved to be a cruel and heartless King. His reign came to violent end when Eldacar returned from exile at the head of an avenging army.

Strife within Gondor began to emerge in the later years of King Valacar's reign, in the early fifteenth century of the Third Age. Against the traditions of the Royal House, Valacar had chosen a wife who was not one of the Dúnedain. After dwelling for a time among the Northmen of Rhovanion, he had wed Vidumavi, the daughter of their chieftain Vidugavia. His son and heir Eldacar (who had been born with the Northern name of Vinitharya) was thus not fully of the Dúnedain by blood. There were those in Gondor who saw this as a diminishment of the nobility of the royal line, and not least among these was Castamir, Gondor's Captain of Ships.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda