This article is about the fictional setting. For other uses see Arda (disambiguation).
 A map of Arda before the end of the First Age, courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Arda (
A map of Arda before the end of the First Age, courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Arda (

In the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, Arda is the world in which all of the events occur, including the continents of Middle-earth and Aman. It is a part of E, the World and all that is in it. Arda was created, together with the rest of Eä, through the Music of the Ainur for the Children of Ilvatar (that is, Elves and Men).

See Middle-earth for the main article about Tolkien's fictional universe

Originally a flat world, the continents were surrounded by a mighty ocean, Ekkaia or the Encircling Sea, and separated by Belegaer, called the Great Sea. In the First Age, the area north and west of Middle-earth was occupied by the country of Beleriand, but this was destroyed during the War of Wrath.

In the Second Age, Nmenor was raised in the Great Sea for the Edain. This island existed through most of the Second Age, but was destroyed as a result of the pride of the Nmenorean people in defying the Ban of the Valar and sailing to Aman in the west.

After the destruction of Nmenor, Arda was made round. Aman (The Undying Lands) was taken out of the world, and could only be reached by the Elves, following the straight road that was granted to them. As Aman was taken away from Arda, new lands and continents were created.

South of Middle-earth was the Dark Land and east of it was the Land of the Sun.

Tolkien stated many times that Arda was our world in a fictional time, so we can interpret the known regions of Middle-earth as Europe, perhaps specifically the Mediterranean (Mediterraneus is Latin for "Middle-earth"). Tolkien stated that The Shire's geographic location rouhgly corresponded to the Midlands of England, while Minas Tirith in Gondor corresponded roughly to Vienna, putting Mount Doom and Mordor in the general region of Asia Minor. However, the entire continent of Middle-earth extends beyond the regions known to Gondor, far into the uncharted East and South, and Middle-earth probably encompassed all of what later became Eurasia. Information regarding both was very vague. To the south were the Hither Lands including Harad, though "Harad" means "South" and while properly used for the region immediately south of Gondor and Mordor was often loosely used to refer to the every land to the south. Near Harad and Far Harad probably corresponded to North Africa and sub-Saharran Africa, respectively. The there were many stretches of sun-scorched desert in Near Harad, but like Africa there was supposedly a jungle beyond it which few had ever ventured to, from which the great Oliphaunts were found. Tolkien also said that the Haradrim loosely corresponded to the Berbers (though "Haradrim" refers to a group of many races, not just the one). Men of Far Harad are also described as being black skinned. The vast lands East were collectively referred to as Rhun, though this may have only referred to those immediately east of the Sea of Rhun and River Running. The Easterlings, like the Haradrim, were a diverse collection of many races, ranging from Saracen-like peoples to numerous barbarian hordes form open grasslands that would later become the Russian steppe. There was even less knowledge of the extreme eastern end of Middle-earth, where the land was supposed to stop at another sea. It is known that in ancient times the great chain of the Red Mountains ran north to south near here, and was roughly analogous to the Blue Mountains of the west (all of the world was once symmetrical at the dawn of time). The race of Elves first originated near here, though their original home of Cuivenen doubtlessly no longer existed by the Third Age. It is not known if the Red Mountains themselves survived into the Third Age, either intact or in some reduced form (like the Blue Mountains). The lands of the east between the coast and the Red Mountains probably corresponded to east Asia and the Orient, specifically China and Japan. It is said that the Blue Wizards went far into the east of Rhun and beyond to stir up rebellions against Sauron in the lands he held sway over, though the tales of these struggles never reached the west in detail. It is also said that the Blue Wizards somehow failed in their mission; this is interpreted several ways, either that like Saruman they set themselves up as lords of men, or that like Radagast they started to care more for the local people they were charged with protecting than Middle-earth as a whole and then refused to return. Tolkien did state that many of the "magic cults" and orders that exist today can trace their origins back to the Blue Wizards teaching local peoples of the east the magical arts.

There was also a separate continent south and east of Middle-earth called the Dark Land, which could correspond to Australia. Another separate continent to the east of Middle-earth was the Land of the Sun, so called because when the world was flat the Gates of the Sun were near there, and it would be scorched. After the fall of Nmenor, Arda is made round and new lands are created east of Middle-Earth (and west too, now that the world is round and can be circumnavigated), out of these Sun Lands that are apparently meant to be North and South America, though none of Tolkien's mythology deals with what happens there.


Arda Unmarred

The original world as built by the Valar is called Arda Unmarred. This world was effectively destroyed by the wars of the Valar and Melkor, and only Valinor still resembled it in part. Arda Unmarred was a symmetrical world with everlasting light.

Arda Marred

Arda Marred is the name given to the world as it is: the world after the wars of the Valar and Melkor, and the dispersing of Melkor's fa in the entire world. It is this world from which are formed the hra of the Children of Ilvatar, and therefore it is at times a cruel and evil world with plagues, extreme colds, heat, and other concepts which do not exist in Arda Unmarred. Arda Marred also broke the design of Elvish immortality: in Arda Marred Elves slowly fade, until at last they are naught but wraiths. Only in Valinor was this fading delayed, which is one reason all Elves had no choice but to go to Valinor in the end. One of the special abilities of the Rings of Power was that they could delay time, and as such were used by Elrond and Galadriel to preserve their realms. After the loss of the One Ring the Elves had no choice left and therefore in the Fourth Age the last Eldar left for Valinor.

Arda Healed

Arda Healed is Arda Marred restored: it will be like Arda Unmarred but better, since it will also incorporate all the good things of Arda Marred. Arda Healed will be created after the Dagor Dagorath, when Morgoth will be slain, and the world broken. A new world will be created then, which will be Arda Healed.

See also: Timeline of Arda, Realms of Arda.

Round World version

In the late Round World version of The Silmarillion (see: The History of Middle-earth), Arda was the name of the entire Star system, while the name for Earth was Ambar or Imbar.

External links

it:Arda ja:アルダ no:Arda pl:Arda pt:Arda ru:Арда sl:Arda fi:Arda zh:阿爾達


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools