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 1997-2023. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Ruin of Doriath

The destruction of Thingol’s ancient realm

The forest kingdom of Doriath had been pre-eminent among the realms of Beleriand for thousands of years, since long before the Noldor returned to Middle-earth. Its King, Thingol, had visited Valinor in ages past, and had led his people on the Great Journey to dwell in the Blessed Realm. As he passed through Beleriand, however, he came upon the Maia Melian, and the two chose to rule over the great central woods of Beleriand through the millennia that followed.

After Morgoth's return to Middle-earth, Melian raised a fence of magical protection around the land, known as the Girdle of Melian. It was from this magical protection that Doriath took its name, the 'land of the fence', having formerly been known as Eglador. Protected from enemies by the power of the Maia, Doriath remained inviolate for centuries, and in all that time the Girdle was broken only once, by the Man Beren, whose fate was such that even the power of Melian could not prevent him from entering the land.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda