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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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

Men of the Sea

The mariners of Númenor

A term used in Middle-earth during the Second Age for the Númenóreans. The first of the Men of Númenor to cross the Sea and return to the Great Lands was Vëantur. He sailed his vessel Entulessë into the Grey Havens nearly six centuries after the Númenóreans had originally departed from Middle-earth. Vëantur's grandson was King Tar-Aldarion, a great mariner in his own right, who felt a deep attachment to Middle-earth. He visited it several times, exploring its coasts and founding the first Númenórean fortifications at the place that would later be called Lond Daer.

As the centuries passed the Númenóreans made a greater impact on the lands east of the Sea. After the War of the Elves and Sauron, in which Sauron had overrun Eriador, it was the Númenóreans who drove him back out of the Westlands and earned the Dark Lord's hatred. Needing timber for their ships, they felled great stretches of forest, literally changing the landscape of Middle-earth.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda