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This article is about the mythological world created by Tolkien. For the annual published by Arda-sällskapet/Forodrim, see Arda (annual).
J.R.R. Tolkien - Ambarkanta Map (colorized).gif
Physical Description
RealmsKingdom of Manwe
InhabitantsValar, Maiar, Elves, Men, Dwarves, etc.
DescriptionThe World

Arda (Q: "Realm", pronounced [ˈarda]) was the Quenya name for the world as a whole. Arda was created within by Eru Ilúvatar. It was then shaped by the Valar, with continental masses such as Middle-earth and Aman, and oceans, like Belegaer.

Arda was the home of Elves, Men, Dwarves and other races as well as the kelvar and olvar.


[edit] Cosmology

Cosmology is the structure of the universe, its creation, and divinities.

Pascal Yung - Blind to the West

was created by Eru Ilúvatar and the Valar in the Ainulindalë. Within it, there is Arda, the world, with its geography and such physical features as the layers of the atmosphere, the Vista, and above it, Ilmen and Vaiya. Above, it was Menel with the stars and constellations.

The landmasses of Arda were encircled by Ekkaia the Outer Sea, and the Walls of Night.

The Ainur govern the world under Eru's mandate.

[edit] Beginnings

Main article: Years of the Lamps
Jacek Kopalski - Creation of Arda

Arda was first brought into existence with the Music of the Ainur, for the purpose of creating a home for the Children of Ilúvatar. Ilúvatar appointed the Valar as its masters, and was built mainly by Manwe, Aule and Ulmo. They invented its geography, for at the time it was largely without feature and gave it symmetry and form. But then Melkor wanted Arda for himself, and the two sides engaged in the titanic First War where Arda was marred and its plan was altered.[1]

As for light source, the Valar decided upon two lamps. One, a blue light, was placed at the north, and it was called Illuin. The other, a golden light, was placed at the very southernmost point, and was called Ormal. Aulë, craftsman of the Valar, forged two towers: Helcar and Ringil, placed at the north and south respectively. The Valar chose as their own home the green isle Almaren.

It was at that time that Melkor made his first attempt, spreading chaos across Arda. He destroyed the Lamps and the Towers, ruining the symmetry of the world. Continents formed: especially Aman, Endor, the Dark Land, the Hither Lands, and the Land of the Sun. So Arda was created.

[edit] Geography

[edit] Before the Shifting

Original symmetric shape of Arda with Almaren in the middle. The Iron Mountains can be seen on the North, created by Melkor to protect himself from the Valar.

Arda was originally flat, like a plate. Encircling the continents was Ekkaia, the Encircling Sea. Farthest to the West was the great continent of Aman, composed primarily of two geographical features: the Plain of Valinor, and the Pelóri Mountains. Taniquetil was the highest mountain in this range, and in the world. To the east was the great sea of Belegaer.

Across Belegaer, to the north, was Endor, or Middle-earth. The west side of this land mass was called Beleriand, the north Dor Daidelos, and the east Palisor. According to Tolkien's earlier maps, it was in Palisor that there was the great inland Sea of Helcar, and the shores of Cuiviénen. Middle-earth was dominated by many mountain ranges and forests.

To the south of Endor, connected by the Straits of the World, was the Hither Lands according to Tolkien's earlier maps.

Across the great East Sea was the Dark Land, also known as the South Land.

To the farthest east possible was the Uttermost East, with a great curved mountain range called the Wall of the Sun. In the Ambarkanta it is called the “Dark Land of the Sun”. Corresponding to Taniquetil was the mountain Kalormë.

[edit] Second Age and Beyond

During the tumultuous War of Wrath, the Valar broke and reshaped much of the world. The most prominent change was the drowning of Beleriand. Also Ossë raised Andor – a large, star-shaped isle – out of Belegaer.

Darrell Sweet - The Fall of Númenor
The second great change was the Drowning of Númenor. The world was stretched and made into the shape of a sphere. The continents shifted. At that time Aman and the island of Tol Eressëa were removed from the Circles of the World, and became inaccessible save by the Straight Way.

[edit] Eschatology

The Elves held to the concept of Arda Marred. In the beginning, at the time of the Music of the Ainur, was Arda Unmarred. According to the idea of Arda Unmarred, the world was originally “unstained” by evil. It became Arda Marred after Melkor entered and introduced chaos. They also clung to the idea that one day the world would become Arda Healed. According to this belief, Arda Healed will not come about until the Dagor Dagorath, the Last Battle.

[edit] Tengwa

Arda (tengwa).gif
Arda is also the name in Quenya of the twenty-sixth letter of the Tengwar alphabet.[2] It is a modification of Rómen (letter 25). In written Quenya Arda is used for RD. In other modes this letter represents voiceless R (or RH).[3] The Westron name for this letter is Rhó.[4]

[edit] Etymology

Arda derives from the Primitive Quendian word gardā meaning "bounded or defined place, region".[5]

[edit] Other names

Arda is the Quenya name of the World, with its atmosphere and the celestial objects. The term Ambar is roughly equivalent and it probably refers to Earth without the celestial objects. It was also called Kingdom of Earth/Arda/Manwë and Little Kingdom.

In Adûnaic the words kamât "earth"[6] and dāira "Earth"[7] are given at different points. Another possible word is Abat-, seen in the royal name Abattârik (Quenya: Ardamin).[8]

The Valarin name, from which Quenya Arda derived, was Aþāraphelūn ("appointed dwelling").[9]

[edit] Theories

According to the measurements of Karen Wynn Fonstad, flat Arda's diameter was probably about 6,800 miles.[10]

[edit] Other versions of the Legendarium

In the early Book of Lost Tales, the Qenya name for the Earth was kemi as well as mar.[11] An early schematic map of that era, displays the flat earth like a ship floating in the ocean of Vai.

In the next phase of the legendarium, as described in The Ambarkanta, the world has the Qenya names Ilu (being the wholeness of existence, the world, with its sky and air, equivalent to Arda of the later Legendarium) or Ambar (being the "earthy", concrete part of Ilu) suspended in the Void.[12]

Arda first appears in a later version of the Ainulindalë from 1951, where the term "Ea" also appears, with Arda now being just a small part in the vast regions of Creation[13] and not equated with it.

In the later Round World version of the Silmarillion, there is the consideration that there are other worlds in Ea beside Arda where the innumerable Ainur labored, but Arda is of central importance in the Great Tale of Eä, as it is the stage of the conflict between the Great Enemy and the Eruhini. The distant worlds, and the Ainur who shaped them, are beyond the thought of Elves and Men.[14]

[edit] See Also

[edit] External links


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Ainulindalë: The Music of the Ainur"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Writing", "The Fëanorian Letters", Note, The names of the letters
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Writing", "The Fëanorian Letters", Note, The additional letters
  4. See Westron Tengwar
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: Appendix D. *Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language': Note on the 'Language of the Valar'", pp. 402, 413
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part Two: The Notion Club Papers: Major Divergences in Earlier Versions of Part Two, (iii) The earlier versions of Lowdham's 'Fragments' in Adunaic (Night 67)", p. 311
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part Two: The Notion Club Papers Part Two: Night 67", p. 247
  8. Helge Fauskanger, "Adûnaic", Ardalambion (accessed 7 February 2016)
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: Appendix D. *Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language': Note on the 'Language of the Valar'", p. 401
  10. Karen Wynn Fonstad (1991), The Atlas of Middle-earth
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part II"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Diagram I"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part One. Ainulindalë: Commentary on the Ainulindalë text D"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", "[Text] II"
Middle-earth Cosmology
 Constellations  Anarríma · Durin's Crown · Menelmacar · Remmirath · Soronúmë · Telumendil · Valacirca · Wilwarin
Stars  Alcarinquë · Borgil · Carnil · Elemmírë · Helluin · Luinil · Lumbar · Morwinyon · Nénar · Star of Eärendil · Til 
The Airs  Aiwenórë · Fanyamar · Ilmen · Menel · Vaiya · Veil of Arda · Vista
Narsilion  Arien · Moon (Isil, Ithil, Rána) · Sun (Anar, Anor, Vása) · Tilion
See Also  Abyss · Arda · Circles of the World · · Timeless Halls · Two Lamps · Two Trees · Void