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 1997-2022. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Black Years

The reign of Sauron in Middle-earth

A term used in Middle-earth for the period of Sauron's power there. For the first five centuries of the Second Age Sauron had remained hidden, but in the latter part of the first millennium of that Age his power began to grow. In about II 1000 he established himself in Mordor and began the building of his Dark Tower. Now he became a Dark Lord in his own right, gathering the creatures of his former master Morgoth under his command and spreading his power, and so the Black Years began.

Over the next centuries many Easterlings and Southrons fell under the Dark Lord's control, and he sought to seduce the Elves with Rings of Power, forging his own Ruling Ring to command all the others. This plan failed, leading to a vast invasion of the Westlands that saw Eregion fall and all of Eriador come under the yoke of Sauron. The Dark Lord was beaten back by the Númenóreans, though he still controlled wide regions of Middle-earth from his stronghold in the Dark Land of Mordor. It was during this time that the Elves of Middle-earth began to leave in great numbers, making their way to the last remaining Elf-realm of Lindon and sailing from there into the West.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda