Scotland's Merlin

A Medieval Legend and Its Dark Age Origins
Product Number: EB00802303
Released: Jan 17, 2020
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781907909382
Publisher: Birlinn Limited
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A medieval historian "cut[s] through centuries of confusion and complexity" to uncover the mystery behind the legendary wizard in King Arthur's court (Undiscovered Scotland). Who was Merlin? Is the famous wizard of Arthurian legend based on a real person? In this book, Merlin's origins are traced back to the story of Lailoken, a mysterious "wild man" who is said to have lived in the Scottish Lowlands in the sixth century AD. The book considers the question of whether Lailoken belongs to myth or reality. It looks at the historical background of his story and discusses key characters such as Saint Kentigern of Glasgow and King Rhydderch of Dumbarton, as well as important events such as the Battle of Arfderydd. Lailoken's reappearance in medieval Welsh literature as the fabled prophet Myrddin is also examined. Myrddin himself was eventually transformed into Merlin the wizard, King Arthur's friend and mentor. This is the Merlin we recognize today, not only in art and literature but also on screen. His earlier forms are less familiar, more remote, but can still be found among the lore and legend of the Dark Ages. Behind them we catch fleeting glimpses of an original figure who perhaps really did exist: a solitary fugitive, tormented by his experience of war, who roamed the hills and forests of southern Scotland long ago. "Merlin haunts the landscape like a shade, and we'll never catch him. But, thanks to Tim Clarkson, we can enjoy the search." —The Hazel Tree "Tim Clarkson should be congratulated on producing a book which marries together painstaking and detailed research with common-sense and open-minded analysis . . . deeply impressive." —Undiscovered Scotland

Author(s): Tim Clarkson
Original Publish Date: May 19, 2016

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