MERLIN: REAL OR FICTION?



Merlin, the magus who served as a tutor to young Arthur Pendragon before he became king, has become almost universally known as the mentor to all those youth seeking wisdom, spiritual values, and material prosperity. Although scholars tell those fascinated by the legend of Camelot that Merlin, Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot, are fictional creations, there are still those who seek out their graves.

Some scholars point to a sixth-century writer and seer named Myrrdin, who went mad and took refuge in the Forest of Celydon when his king Gwenddolau was defeated at the Battle of Arderydd in 573. Merlin first appears in the History of the Kings of Britain, (1135) a classic work by Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1100–1154).

Merlin became the prophet associated with the quest for the Holy Grail. Other accounts detail how Merlin became trapped in a hawthorn tree, where he dwells forever. Some scholars think, this version restores the story of Myrddin, trapped by his madness in the forest.

SOURCES:

Monroe, Douglas, ed. The Lost Books of Merlyn: Druid Magic from the Age of Arthur. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn, 1998.

White, T. H. The Book of Merlyn: The Unpublished Conclusion to the Once and Future King. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988.



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