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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Featured Entry

Great Jewels

Greatest of the works of Fëanor

A name for the Silmarils, the three Jewels of Fëanor. Made while the Two Trees still shone in Aman, the Great Jewels captured the light of those Trees, and they were hallowed by Varda to resist the touch of any evil being. When the Trees were destroyed, the Silmarils held the power to bring them back to life, but Fëanor refused to break them. When it was discovered that Melkor had stolen the Jewels, Fëanor and his sons swore a devastating Oath to recover them, and gave chase from Valinor into Middle-earth.

The Great Jewels, and Fëanor's Oath of vengeance against their thief, drove the fate of the centuries to come. For that reason, the long Wars of Beleriand that followed, in which Elves and Men fought a long struggle against Morgoth, were known as the War of the Jewels. Morgoth kept his hold on two of the three Silmarils until the end of the First Age, but one was recovered from his Iron Crown by Beren and Lúthien. The desperate acts of Fëanor's sons against their fellow Elves in pursuit of that Jewel were among the most bloody of that Age.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda