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 1997-2018. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

Great West Road

The westward road out of Minas Tirith

An ancient road made by the Dúnedain in the earliest days of the Two Kingdoms to join the great fortresses of their realms. It survived through the Third Age, though by the closing years of that Age its northern reaches had become overgrown. It was known as the Great West Road (or simply the 'West Road') from its beginnings at Minas Tirith to approximately the point where it reached the Fords of Isen and began to turn northwards. After that it was referred to as the North-South Road, or (in its decaying northern reaches) the Greenway.

The road started at the Great Gate of MInas Tirith, and from there led northwards across the Pelennor until it passed through the wall of the Rammas Echor. From there it turned northwestwards, skirting the foothills of the White Mountains as it ran through Anórien. In the Firien Wood it passed through a deep cutting, and where it emerged from the trees it crossed a bridge that spanned the Mering Stream. In the days when the road was made, that bridge marked the entry into the province of Calenardhon, but in later times it stood on the border of Rohan.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda