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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Featured Entry

Dagor Aglareb

The Glorious Battle

As the years drew on after the Return of the Noldor to Middle-earth, they seemed content to leave Morgoth quiet in Angband, setting no siege and attempting no attack of their own. Concluding that his enemies were unprepared for war, Morgoth resolved to launch a sudden assault of his own: Orcs by the thousand marched south from Angband's gates, while the earth shook and the Iron Mountains burst into flame.

It seems that Morgoth's strategy was to capture Dorthonion, the highland region held at that time by Finarfin's sons Angrod and Aegnor, which blocked direct access to Beleriand from the north. His Orcs formed two main armies: one travelling down the Pass of Sirion to the west of Dorthonion, and the other through Maglor's Gap to the east. While skirmishing parties broke off and headed further south, the two main armies started an assault on Dorthonion itself from both the west and the east.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda