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 1997-2021. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Battle of the Mines of Moria

The defeat of Azog

The battle fought before the East-gate of Moria in III 2799, better known as the Battle of Azanulbizar or the Battle of Nanduhirion. This was the culmination of the nine-year War of the Dwarves and the Orcs, in which the forces of Thráin II of Durin's Folk attacked Azog the Goblin in his lair of Moria. The resulting battle was fierce and horrific; dreadful numbers were slain on both sides, and many of Azog's Orcs fled away into the south, to make trouble for the World in later years.

It should be said that the identity of this battle is not established beyond doubt. The battle is mentioned in passing in The Hobbit, but all we're told is that in the aftermath 'the Goblins had spread in secret' (The Hobbit 4, Over Hill and Under Hill), which seems to be a reference to Azog's routed forces escaping the valley of Nanduhirion. The only real alternative would be for the 'Battle of the Mines of Moria' to refer to the battle of the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm against the newly-awakened Balrog, long before Azanulbizar, but for various reasons that seems a less likely possibility (for instance, after that battle the Goblins did not 'spread', but instead gathered together in Moria).

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda