The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien

Contents

Alphabetical index

Browse topics

Reference

Other editions

Tolkien news and resources

Sponsors and associates

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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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

Cloud of Ungoliant

The darkness of the great spider

Ungoliant was a being from before the beginnings of Arda, who entered into the world in the form of a vast spider. In the darkness of Avathar, in the shadowed south of Aman, she consumed what light she could and wove it into threads of darkness. From this she took her name: Ungoliant derives from the Elvish for 'weaver of gloom'.

After Melkor's escape from Valinor he made his way to Ungoliant and sought her aid. She agreed, and spread a great cloud of darkness to hide Melkor and herself from the eyes of the Valar and the other peoples of Aman. This Cloud of Ungoliant was impenetrably black, described as an 'Unlight' that defeated the eyes even of the Valar, and crushed the will of those who encountered it.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda