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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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry

Circle of Isengard

The outer wall of Orthanc

A thick, rocky wall that enclosed a small inner vale within the larger valley of Nan Curunír. Also called the Ring of Isengard, the wall entirely enclosed a circular area a mile from edge to edge. It was here that the earliest Gondorians constructed one of the great defences of their realm: on a rock in the middle of the circle they raised the impregnable Tower of Orthanc to guard the Gap of Calenardhon and the western borders of their realm. They also made a single gateway through the rock of the Circle.

After the coming of the Rohirrim long afterwards, Isengard became an isolated Gondorian outpost far from the borders of the kingdom itself. In III 2759 Steward Beren of Gondor agreed to give control of the complex to Saruman. That Wizard would hold it until the War of the Ring, building an army within the circular walls. He was ultimately defeated, and the Ents remade the interior of the Circle of Isengard to create parkland they called the Treegarth of Orthanc.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda