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 1997-2018. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Beacons of Gondor

The warning-fires of Minas Tirith

In the early days of Gondor, communication between its major cities and fortresses was achieved through the four palantíri of the South-kingdom. After the Master Stone of Osgiliath was lost in III 1437, and the Ithil-stone was captured in III 2002, these fell out of use, and another means of communication was needed. This developed from an outpost on the hill of Amon Dín to the north of Minas Tirith, which was combined with stations on the hills of Eilenach and Min-Rimmon to create a rudimentary beacon system. The guard-posts at these beacons also maintained horses for messengers, allowing news of invaders from the west or east to quickly reach Minas Tirith.

After the settlement of Rohan in III 2510, the line of beacons was extended westward, and the last of the new outposts was built on the Halifirien on the borders of the new land. This allowed Gondor to reach its new northern ally rapidly when aid was needed, and also gave Rohan a means to call on the Stewards when danger approached.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda