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

Powers of Arda

A title of the Valar

A title of the Valar, an Elvish name that simply means 'Powers'. The Powers of Arda were created before the beginning of the World, and were among the Ainur whose Music created the vision of the universe that Ilúvatar gave being. Fifteen of the greatest of these Ainur desired to enter the newly created Arda themselves. One of these was Melkor, but the other fourteen took the roles of Powers, and set about bringing order to the new World. Of these fourteen, eight were ranked among the Aratar, the greatest of the Valar.

At first the Powers dwelt in Middle-earth, on the island of Almaren, but Melkor's destruction of the Lamps of the Valar caused them to depart into the West of the World. There they made a new land for themselves, Valinor, and a golden city, Valmar. As history unfolded, Valinor the Blessed Realm was taken away from the visible World, but the Powers of Arda still dwelt there beyond mortal reach, and there they will remain until the ending of the World.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda