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 1997-2019. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

Northern Line

The ancestors of Aragorn

After the fall of Elendil in the first defeat of Sauron, his elder son Isildur became King of Gondor and Arnor. If history had proceeded as expected, Isildur in turn would have been succeeded by his own eldest son Elendur, and the Two Kingdoms would have remained united. In the event, a surprise attack by Orcs saw Isildur slain in only the second year of his reign, alongside his sons Elendur, Aratan and Ciryon. This left only one surviving son of Isildur in Middle-earth: Valandil, then just thirteen years old.

At this time of upheaval Isildur's nephew Meneldil held the throne of Gondor. In principle he acted as a vassal of the High King, but with Valandil a mere child, Gondor asserted its independence. By the time Valandil reached his majority in III 10, there were two independent realms of the Dúnedain in Middle-earth. Nonetheless, Valandil maintained his power in the North-kingdom, establishing the Northern Line that ran through seven further Kings after his time.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda