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

Dark Lord

A title of Morgoth, and of his servant Sauron

The title used for the chief and master of the dark forces in Middle-earth. It was first applied to Melkor (later called Morgoth), the most powerful of the Ainur, who played a part in the creation of the world and sought to master it after its making. Morgoth was defeated by the Valar in the War of Wrath, and for the first few centuries of the Second Age, there was no Dark Lord in Middle-earth. Eventually Sauron, who had been a lieutenant of Morgoth during the First Age, rose to take his mantle and become Dark Lord in turn.

Melkor was a being of immense power - said to have been the most powerful of all the dwellers in Arda - who entered the world at its beginning and sought mastery over it. In ancient times he struggled against the Valar, destroying or twisting all that they achieved in the forming of the young world. At the time of the coming of the first Elves, the Valar made war against Melkor to protect the newly awakened Children of Ilúvatar, and in the Battle of the Powers they overthrew Melkor's great northern fortress of Utumno and took its master back to their land of Valinor as a captive.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda