Merlin: Biography Of The Legend

Merlin is one of the protagonists of Celtic mythology, and also the protagonist of countless literary works and films. Many clues suggest that his story is true, albeit slightly colored by the imagination.
Merlin: A biography of the legend

Merlin is the most famous wizard in history. To date, there is no absolute certainty as to whether he really existed, but he is very often mentioned in the literature. However, according to experts, there is more evidence of Merlin’s existence than, say, of King Arthur’s existence.

Whether he is real or not, the truth is that he has become a myriad of legends, which only makes it difficult to form a reliable timeline of his life. In any case, Merlin is an amazing character whose radiation is imaginative and mysterious. Merlin appears in many medieval English stories and myths.

From a historical point of view, the  first person to introduce Merlin to the British tradition was the poet Lailoke, who lived in the south of Scotland. Gildas was one of the sources of this character, as he used to tell about the actions of Ambrosius Aurelian. Ambrosius Aurelian is believed to have been King Arthur, and Gildas associated him with the character of Merlin.

Mossy forest

The origin of Merlin

Most legends about Merlin say that Merlin was innately evil and that he was born into this world to do evil. Eventually, as he grew and matured, he used all his power wisely, and he became a wise counselor to the kings.

Some texts say that Merlin was the child of the  devil and the nun. Other sources say his mother was a witch living in the woods or a woman who had had a child without a man.

Based on the little historical information we have about Merlin, the most accepted sources say that  Merlin’s real name was Myrddin Emrys. According to these sources, he was the unmarried child of King Ambrosius Aurelian of Britain. Ambrosius Aurelian remained in history as King Arthur. But there is no absolute certainty about these claims either.

Merlin and King Arthur

King Arthur, who was an enigmatic figure just like Merlink, had a connection to Merlin. It is said that thanks to the guidance of this famous wizard, King Arthur managed to rule wisely and fairly.

This all started when the then King of Britain fell in love with a woman who was already married. Taking advantage of the fact that the man of this woman was a soldier at war, Merlin intervened so that he made the king look like a woman of the absent man, and thus he was able to spend the night with the woman. Eventually, the real husband died, and the king married the woman. They promised Merlin that they would give him their first child, Arthur, and so they did. 

When Arthur was still young, he, with the help of Merlin, succeeded in drawing the Excalibur sword from the stone, and thus he became a great king. Arthur then founded a castle called Camelot, and he led his kingdom with the advice of Merlin, who kept Arthur in check and gave him advice in several situations.

The wizard's room

What happened to the wizard?

A classic legend says that in her  old days, Merlin fell deeply in love with a young maiden. In return for this to become Merlin’s mistress, Merlin taught the young maiden all the Magic Tricks she kept secret. Merlin built him a palace by the lake, and called him the Maiden of the Lake. Eventually, the maiden began to fear Merlin when she learned of her evil origins.

Merlin himself taught the maiden how to capture people. The Maiden of the Lake thus captured Merlin herself in a crystal cage. He was able to walk in and out of the cage, but Merlin couldn’t. According to legend, Merlin was imprisoned forever, and he is still waiting for someone to come and release him.

Historian John Matthews has suggested a different version of the story. According to him, the legend of Merlin is a story inspired by a soldier named Myrddin. Myrddin lived in Scotland and was the leader of the Picts tribe. In 573, Myrddin bravely faced a conquest from Ireland in a bloody battle. Unfortunately, he witnessed the death of his family in this fight.

After that, the warrior got mixed up and went into the woods to live as a hermit. He had unusual habits; this is what gave him the reputation of a wizard, and so many legends were born around him. Merlin would thus be a potentially disgraced hero, whose story changed little by little according to people’s imaginations.

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