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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Featured Entry


A name given to Sauron

After Sauron's defeat at the end of the Second Age, Middle-earth had peace from evil for many centuries. After more than a thousand years of the Third Age had passed, a Shadow of darkness began to creep into the great forest known as Greenwood the Great, and it was discovered that an evil power had made a fortress for itself in the southern reaches of the forest. That fortress was Dol Guldur on the hill of Amon Lanc.

As the Shadow corrupted the Greenwood, the people of Middle-earth gave it a new name: Mirkwood. The dark being who dwelt within was also given a name, and became known as the Necromancer. However, the identity of this Necromancer was unknown even to the Wise of Middle-earth, though they suspected he might be one of the Nine Nazgûl. Eventually, the magnitude of the Necromancer's power made even the Wise fear that Sauron himself might have returned. Gandalf travelled to Dol Guldur to investigate, but the Necromancer fled into the East, leaving the Westlands in a Watchful Peace for the next four centuries.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda