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.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1997-2017. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

The Causeway

The road through the Marish

The roadway that ran north to south through the Marish beside the river Brandywine. This boggy region of the Shire's Eastfarthing was unsuitable for a typical road or track, and so a raised causeway was constructed through the fenlands. Its southern extent was the landing at Mithe, where the Shirebourn flowed into the Brandywine. From there it ran northwards through the village of Rushey and on at least as far as Stock (the course of the road continued northwards to the Brandywine Bridge, but it's unclear whether it continued to be a causeway beyond Stock).

The Causeway of the Shire is not to be confused with another road, also named 'the Causeway', that ran between Osgiliath on Anduin and the Wall of the Pelennor. Though the principle was the same - to provide a dry path through marshy ground - that Causeway lay far away to the south of the Shire in the land of Gondor.