Merlin is a mythical figure prominently featured in the legend of King Arthur and best known as a mage, with several other main roles.
24 Facts About Merlin
Merlin's rendering of the character became immediately popular, especially in Wales.
Merlin's traditional biography casts him as an often-mad being, born of a mortal woman, sired by an incubus, from whom he inherits his supernatural powers and abilities, most commonly and notably prophecy and shapeshifting.
Merlin matures to an ascendant sagehood and engineers the birth of Arthur through magic and intrigue.
The name 'Merlin' is derived from the Brythonic, the name of the bard who was one of the chief sources for the later legendary figure.
Geoffrey's composite Merlin is based mostly on the North Brythonic poet and seer Myrddin Wyllt, that is "Myrddin the Wild".
Usually, the name of Merlin's mother is not stated, but is given as Adhan in the oldest version of the Prose Brut, the text naming his grandfather as King Conaan.
Merlin based it on stories of the original 6th-century Myrddin, set long after his time frame for the life of Merlin Ambrosius.
Merlin spends a part of his life as a madman in the woods and marries a woman named Guendoloena.
Nikolai Tolstoy hypothesized that Merlin is based on a historical personage, probably a 6th-century druid living in southern Scotland.
Merlin's argument was based on the fact that early references to Merlin describe him as possessing characteristics which modern scholarship would recognize as druidical, the inference being that those characteristics were not invented by the early chroniclers, but belonged to a real person.
In Robert's account, as in Geoffrey's Historia, Merlin is created as a demon spawn, but here explicitly to become the Antichrist intended to reverse the effect of the Harrowing of Hell.
The narrative of Merlin is largely based on Geoffrey's familiar tale of Vortigern's Tower, Uther's war against the Saxons, and Arthur's conception.
Merlin helps the young Arthur in other ways, including providing him with the magic sword Excalibur through a Lady of the Lake.
Many other medieval works dealing with the Merlin legend include the 13th-century Le Roman de Silence.
The earliest Merlin text written in Germany was Caesarius of Heisterbach's Latin Dialogus Miraculorum.
The earliest English verse romance concerning Merlin is Of Arthour and of Merlin of the late 13th century, which drew from the chronicles and the Vulgate Cycle.
Merlin is called a fairy like Morgan and described as a Lady of the Lake, or the "chief Lady of the Lake" in case of Malory's Nimue.
Viviane's character in relation with Merlin is first found in the Lancelot-Grail cycle, after having been inserted into the legend of Merlin by either de Boron or his continuator.
Common themes in most of them include Merlin actually having the prior prophetic knowledge of her plot against him but lacking either ability or will to counteract it in any way, along with her using one of his own spells to get rid of him.
One notably alternate version having a happier ending for Merlin is contained within the Premiers Faits section of the Livre du Graal, where Niniane peacefully confines him in Broceliande with walls of air, visible only as a mist to others but as a beautiful yet unbreakable crystal tower to him, where they will then spend almost every night together as lovers.
Unrelated to the legend of the Lady of the Lake, other purported sites of Merlin's burial include a cave deep inside Merlin's Hill, outside Carmarthen.
The 15th-century Scotichronicon tells that Merlin himself underwent a triple-death, at the hands of some shepherds of the under-king Meldred: stoned and beaten by the shepherds, he falls over a cliff and is impaled on a stake, his head falls forward into the water, and he drowns.
Merlin was one of eight British magical figures that were commemorated on a series of UK postage stamps issued by the Royal Mail in 2011.