History of Europe

The Merlin Myth - History of the Merlin Myth

The first existing records of Merlin (Armes Prydein, Y Gododdin) are from the beginning of the 10th century, it says that Merlin was a mere prophet, but his role gradually evolved as a magician, prophet and advisor, active in all phases of the administration of King Arthur's reign. He was apparently named at birth by the name Emrys in a place called Caer-Fyrddin (Carmarthen). Only later did he become known as Merlin, a Latinized version of the Gallic word, Myrddin.

Merlin was the bastard son of the Princess Royal of Dyfed. However, the king, father of the princess, Meurig ap Maredydd ap Rhain, is not found in the traditional genealogies of this realm and was probably a sub-king of the region bordering Ceredigion. Merlin's father, it is said, was an angel who had visited the Princess Royal and left her with the child. Merlin's enemies said that his father was an incubus, an evil spirit who has relationships with women while he sleeps. People suspected that the "diabolical" child (Merlin) came to be a counterweight to the good influence that Jesus Christ had on earth. Merlin, fortunately, was baptized early in life, this event is said to negate the evil in his nature, but the powers of the left side remained intact in him. The original story was concocted to save his mother from the scandal that would presumably have ensued from her liaison with Morfyn Frych (the Freckled), minor Prince of the House of Coel, an act of public knowledge.

Legend tells us that the Roman retreat from England and the usurpation of the throne from the rightful heirs caused Vortigern to flee Saxony and go to Snowdonia, Wales, in the hopes of building a mountain fortress in Dinas Emrys where he could be. safe. Unfortunately, the building kept collapsing and the sorcerers of the house of Vortigern told him that a sacrifice of an orphaned child would solve the problem. A little difficulty was this because those children were quite difficult to find. Fortunately for Vortigern's stronghold, Merlin was known to have no human father and they made him available.

Before the sacrifice could take place, Merlin used his great visionary powers and attributed the structural problem to an underground pool in which a red dragon and a white dragon lived. The meaning of this, according to Merlin, was that the red dragon represented the Britons, and the white dragon, the Saxons. The dragons fought, the white dragon got the better of it at first, though the red dragon pushed the white one back. The meaning was clear. Merlin prophesied that Vortigern would be killed and the throne would be taken by Ambrosius Aurelianus, then Uther, then the great leader, Arthur. It would be up to him to push the Saxons back.

According to the prophecy, Vortigern was killed and Ambrosius took the throne. Afterwards, Merlin appears to have inherited his grandfather's small kingdom, but abandoned his lands in favor of the more mysterious life he has become so well known for (the druidic life). After 460 British nobles were massacred at the peace conference as a result of the Saxon artifice, Ambrosius consulted with Merlin about erecting a memorial for them. Merlin, along with Uther, led an expedition to Ireland to obtain the stones of the Chorea Gigantum, the Giant's Ring. Merlin, by the use of his extraordinary powers, returned the stones to a site a little west of Amesbury, and rebuilt them around the mass grave of the British nobles. We call this place Stonehenge.

After his death, Ambrosius was succeeded by his brother, Uther, who, during his pursuit of Gorlois, met Gorlois' irresistible wife, Igraine (Ygerna or Eigr in some texts), Uther returned to the lands in Cornwall, where went to ask Merlin to help him possess Igraine, and for Merlin to help him, Uther had to make a deal with Merlin that the child born from Uther's union with Igraine be given to Merlin so that he becomes the child's guardian. , Uther accepted and was helped by Merlin who transformed him into the image of Gorlois. Uther entered Gorlois' castle and managed to trick Igraine into thinking he was her husband, and impregnated her, giving birth to a child, Arthur. Gorlois, however, not knowing what would happen, left to meet Uther in combat, but was instead killed by Uther's troops, while Uther posed as Gorlois.

After Arthur's birth, Merlin became the young boy's tutor as he grew up with his foster father, Lord Ector (pseudonym Cynyr Ceinfarfog). At the defining moment of Arthur's career, Merlin organized a sword-on-stone competition (the sword was Caliburnius and not Excalibur, Excalibur came after Arthur broke Caliburnius) whereby the boy became king. Afterwards, the mage met the mystical Lady of the Lake at the Barenton Fountain (in Brittany) and persuaded her to present the King with the magical sword, Excalibur. In the novels, Merlin was the creator of the Round Table, and is always helping and directing the events of the king and the Camelot kingdom. He is painted by Geoffrey of Monmouth, at the end of Arthur's life, accompanying a wounded Arthur to the Isle of Avalon to heal his wounds. Others say he fell deeply in love with Morgana, Arthur's half-sister, and he agreed to teach her all of his mystical powers. She became so powerful that her magical abilities "exceeded" Merlin's. She determined that she would not be enslaved by him, and imprisoned him in a dungeon, a cavern similar to a prison. So his absence from the Battle of Camlann was ultimately responsible for Arthur's demise.

The prison and/or the place where he is buried is said to be under Merlin's Mound at Marlborough College in Marlborough (Wiltshire), the Drumelzier in Tweeddale (Scotland), Bryn Myrddin (Merlin's Hill) near Carmarthen (Wales), Le de Tombeau Merlin (Merlin's Tomb) near Paimpont (Brittany) and Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) off the Lleyn Peninsula (Wales).

This is the most well-known legend of Merlin, with others saying that he was a madman who had the gift of predicting things that would happen and who lived in the forests like a savage. So Merlin is one of the most enigmatic beings that ever existed, where until today no one knows if he really existed or if he is just a Legend, what is known are only fragments about him, and confusing stories, in which it is not possible to define his identity. identity. Having moments of total lucidity like a sage (such as advising Arthur how to reign in perfect harmony and talking with the elementals) and others like that of a person who let himself be deceived by feeling leaving reason aside (such as of having fallen in love with Morgana and taught her her art). This makes him so enigmatic and charismatic at the same time, where even today when you talk about mage, Merlin comes to mind.