March 2019 – King Arthur – Tying up the loose ends

By | March 17, 2019

The session:

Started tying up the loose ends from the Arthurian Legends by looking at the origins of Merlin

1/.  Merlin seems to be a composite figure whose story was added to over time.  We covered Llallogen/Lailoken, Merlin/Myrddin, Ambros/Emrys and Merlin Ambrosius.

2/.  In the North of England, Llallogen/Lailoken, was the bard poet to the King of Carlisle and was driven mad by the events at the Battle of Arfderydd.  At the time it was thought mad people could see the future.

This story seems to be combined with the Welsh legends which have Merlin/Myrddin as a wild man and prophet who lived by the River Conwy.

People moved from the North to Wales so it is feasible that these characters could become combined.

The records which exist such as the Welsh Annals and Welsh Genealogy match up with the timelines and geography generally attributed to Arthur.

Merlin is the Latin name for Myrddin.  Myrddin has more than one version of his tale.  Each tale has some mystery for his birth as a boy with no father to the issue of a nun and an incubus.  The progeny of a spirit father would have gifts.  There are different versions for his end in a cave or in a house of glass.

3/.  Nennius has Ambros/Emrys as a boy with no father.  Selected for sacrifice for a fortress which would not stand he talked his way out of it by explaining this was due to a pool underneath and two dragons on red and one white and giving predictions for the future.

4/.  Finally we looked at Geoffrey of Monmouth’s version which brought together a number of different sources.  The sources for Merlin are similar to those for Arthur and include Gildas, The Venerable Bede, Nennius, The Welsh Annals and then added to by Geoffrey.   Geoffrey was the one who really made the connection between Merlin and Arthur.  His Merlin was called Merlin Ambrosius

5/.  We looked at the Prophecies of Merlin which were translated by Geoffrey of Monmouth from the Ancient Welsh long after the time of Merlin.