The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


Alphabetical index

Browse topics


Other editions

Tolkien news and resources

Sponsors and associates

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.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1997-2015. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Latest entries and updates

See more...

News and announcements

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

11 February 2014

The Viewer's Companion to The Desolation of Smaug, the second of the three Hobbit movies, is now available. Find out what's new in the movie, and how it matches up with the original book, and take a look into the backgrounds of the people and places encountered by Bilbo and his companions.

Open the Viewer's Companion...

Android App Now Available

15 July 2013

The Encyclopedia has been available as an app for iOS devices for a while, but we're please to announce that a version is now available for Android devices, too.

The Android app has all the same features as the iPhone and iPad versions, so now you can browse the encyclopedia on your Android handset with no need for an Internet connection.

Find out more...

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

18 May 2013

Our new Viewer's Companion to the first of The Hobbit movies is now available. It's full of the background behind the story, and covers major changes between book and film, as well as plot curiosities and the occasional Easter egg.

Open the Viewer's Companion...