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 1997-2021. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Silvan Elves

Elves who fell away from the Great Journey

Long before the beginning of the First Age, the Elves of the Great Journey travelled westward through the lands of Middle-earth. Coming to the Great River Anduin and the high peaks of the Misty Mountains, some of the Elves of the clan of the Teleri fell away from the journey, and settled in the woodlands east of the Mountains. These were the original Silvan Elves, who lived on either side of the River. At this time in their history, all of this people still lived close together, with some dwelling in the land that would later be called Lórien, and the others settling around the hill of Amon Lanc in the far south of Greenwood the Great.

It must have been in the time these Elves were living closely together that the Silvan Elvish language appeared. As history passed, the Elves would move away from one another, and mingle with other Elvish peoples, so that the Silvan branch of Elvish would eventually become extinct. Nonetheless, relics of that ancient tongue survived in some well-known place-names and personal names, such as Caras Galadhon, Amroth and even Lórien itself.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda