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 1997-2024. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Union of Maedhros

The alliance of the Noldor

Since their return to Middle-earth, the Noldor had been divided among themselves. The Sons of Fëanor held lands in the east of Beleriand, while the followers of Fëanor's half-brother Fingolfin settled lands to the north and west. So they remained wary of one another until after the ruin of the Dagor Bragollach, in which High King Fingolfin had been lost.

In the aftermath of that battle Maedhros, chief of the Sons of Fëanor, saw a need for unity among the Noldor. Encouraged by the recovery of a Silmaril by Beren and Lúthien, he sought to build an alliance with the other Eldar of Beleriand. In some cases his approaches were rebuffed: neither Nargothrond nor Doriath joined the new alliance. Nonetheless, Maedhros was able to gain the aid of Fingon son of Fingolfin, as well as many of the Edain and even some of the Dwarves, to build a great force under his new Union of Maedhros.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda