no edit summary
==The context of the story of Merlin==
The Arthurian Cycle of stories and the legend of Merlin is based on more or less historical events that occurred in the wake of the collapse of Roman power in the West. In 410 AD the last Roman legion left Britain and the natives had to fend for themselves. There emerged a number of small Brythonic kingdoms who were faced with an invasion by pagan Saxons and other Germanic tribes. This was an era when great warlords emerged such as Vortigern, who fought against the barbarians. This is the
era of legendary warrior-kings, such as Uther Pendragon and Arthur. The Brythonic kingdoms were all Christian, but they were also Roman-Celtic. They were pushed out of the rich lowlands of England into the highlands of Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland. At this time, popularly, known as the Dark Ages, many pre-Christian practices remained and much of the population was still half-pagan. There were still old-style magicians and prophets, who were believed to have special powers, such as those possessed by Merlin, even by clerics and monks <ref> Tolstoy, Nikolai. The Quest for Merlin (London, H. Hamilton, 1985), p 14</ref>. [[File: Merlin Two.jpg|200px|thumb|left|A 19th century print showing Merlin as a druid]]
==The sources of Merlin==
There is no one fixed version of the story of Merlin. He is first mentioned in the History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey de Monmouth in a book which purports to be the prophecies of Merlin (1130 AD). In these prophecies, well-known figures were represented by animals. Monmouth claims that the prophecies and the figure of Merlin are based on ancient oral sources. He shows Merlin to be a key member of King Arthur’s inner circle. In his later work, the Vita Merlini, he elaborated on the story of Merlin. Many have accused Geoffrey of Monmouth of simply inventing the famous wizard and prophet. In the 13th century a French poet, Robert de Boron, wrote an epic poem on the magician based on the work of Monmouth, in the 13th century. Some of this work is lost but it was very influential in the popularity of the character of Merlin <ref> Jankulak, Karen. Geoffrey of Monmouth (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2010), p. 11</ref>. In later centuries, Thomas Mallory and other writers greatly elaborated on the story of the wizard. They did not emphasise his powers of prophecy but concentrated on his supernatural powers.