Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Latinized form of the Welsh name Myrddin. He was a magical figure who appears in literature ranging from medieval manuscripts to modern novels. References to him may also be found in a wide varity of place names and specific sites throughout Great Britain. He was a wizard frequently linked with King Arthur, although Guiley suggests he may have originated as a version of the Celtic god Mabon, the British Apollo. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth's life of Merlin, the great wizard, together with the bard Taliesin, took the wounded King Arthur to the Fortunate Isles.

One of the best known portrayals of Merlin is found in Sir Thomas Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur, first published in 1485. In this story Merlin helps reaise the young Arthur and, on Arthur's accession to the throne on the death of Uther Pendragon, becomes the young king's magical advisor. Although more recent portrayals of Merlin show him as an old man, usually bearded, earlier representations depict him as a young, beardless man.


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