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

Wood of Anwar

The forest at the feet of the Hill of Awe

The Hill of Anwar lay in the northern White Mountains, about two hundred miles to the west of Minas Tirith on the far borders of Anórien. Its name meant 'Hill of Awe', and that name also transferred to the wide forests that grew around its base. Indeed the sense of awe that filled the wood was such that the Men of Gondor came to call it the Whispering Wood, because they felt a need to speak in whispers when they entered it.

At the time of the foundation of Rohan, the reason for this strange sense of awe was discovered: the Tomb of Elendil lay in a hallow on the hill in the wood's centre. After that time the hill and the wood came to be more commonly known by names given them in the tongue of Rohan, but the same sense of reverence was retained in their new names. The mountain became the Halifirien ('holy mountain') and the Wood of Anwar became the Halifirien Wood.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda