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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Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry


Leader of the Nandor

In the distant past, the Eldar made the Great Journey from Cuiviénen into the West. One of the companies who made this journey were the Teleri under the leadership of Olwë, but when this company reached the Vales of Anduin and the Misty Mountains, dissension arose among them. Their guide Oromë had gone forward to lead the Vanyar and the Noldor through the mountains, leaving the Teleri to follow behind, and without his guidance many of these people were daunted by the looming peaks.

Among these Elves was one named Lenwë who refused to continue the march. Lenwë and his numerous supporters therefore abandoned the Great Journey eastward of the Misty Mountains, and passed instead down the Vales of Anduin. These people as a group were known as the Nandor, 'those who turn back', and many of them chose settle in the wide woodlands on either side of the Great River. These were origins of the people known as Silvan Elves, both the native Galadhrim of Lórien and the people of the Woodland Realm of Greenwood the Great.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda