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


The misty peaks of central Middle-earth

The Elvish name for the long, narrow range of peaks more commonly called the Misty Mountains. The name Hithaeglir is usually translated 'Towers of Mist', though it actually contains the Elvish word aeglir, meaning a range of sharply pointed peaks. The mountains of the Hithaeglir did indeed rise to notably sharp peaks, and had been even more forbidding in ancient days. According to legend they had been raised in an arc across Middle-earth by Melkor to hinder the Vala Oromë in his ridings into the eastern lands.

In that purpose Melkor failed: despite the Mountains, Oromë was able to travel into the far East of Middle-earth and discover the newly awakened Elves. A great part of these Elves he persuaded to accompany him back to the Blessed Realm in the West, but on coming to the high, sharp peaks of the Hithaeglir, the hearts of many of the Elves were filled with terror. These people fell away from the Great Journey, settling in the Vales of Anduin as the Nandor, from whom the Silvan Elves of Lórien and Mirkwood would spring.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda