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

Dagor Dagorath

The Last Battle

The cataclysmic Last Battle prophesied to be fought at the end of Arda, and in which its Doom or fate will be resolved. The prophecy of Dagor Dagorath - literally the 'Battle of Battles' - comes from various sources, most notably from Mandos the Doomsman of the Valar himself. Other versions of the prophecy were made by Andreth, a wise-woman among the Men of the House of Bëor, and while he does not make specific predictions, the Vala Ulmo also spoke of a fated 'End' that would bring about Arda's Doom and complete its making. Among the stars created by Varda at the time of the awakening of the Elves, the formation of the swordsman Menelvagor (or Orion as we know it today) was said to foretell the coming Last Battle.

According to the prophecies, the Dagor Dagorath will be brought about by the return of Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, who will return from his exile in the Outer Void. The events of the Last Battle will begin with Morgoth's destruction of the Sun and Moon (just as he destroyed the Two Trees and brought about the Darkening of Valinor long before). Eärendil bearing his shining Silmaril will then descend from the heavens to attack the Dark Lord, and will be joined by the warrior Vala Tulkas and by Manwë's herald Eönwë. According to some accounts, the great Dragon known as Ancalagon the Black will have a part to play in the battle (though other prophecies fail to mention the Dragon's appearance). Most versions also describe the great swordsman Túrin Turambar (as foretold among the stars by Menelvagor the Swordsman of the Sky) returning from the Halls of Mandos to join the conflict and ultimately defeat Morgoth.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda