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Merlin Myth or Reality Merlin the greatest magician of all time He lived if indeed he lived at all in Wales and southern England during the dawn of Christianity in those lands long before written historical records were kept Yet his name is universally recognized around the world as synonymous with magic and his popular image is almost as well known as that of Santa Claus The beginning and ends of all things are all within Merlins sight he keeps the prophecies of the future he holds the memories of all that has passed When you hear the name Merlin an immediate image springs into the mind of an old man with a flowing white beard and bushy white eyebrows dressed in a midnight blue robe and a tall pointed hat covered with stars He is the prototypical wizard Merlin is best known as the teacher and advisor of Arthur Pendragon king of all the Britons The legends of these two mythical figures are linked but there is no certain proof that either man existed Supposedly on Merlins advice the famous Round Table of Arthurs court was built and he helped select 50 of the knights who were to sit at the table The popular myth of Merlin as we know it today has come down to us primarily from two sources one the historian Geoffrey of Monmouth and the other a writer Sir Thomas Malory Both men collected bits and pieces from earlier sources Most of Malorys work was based on the French Arthurian prose cycle a group of French medieval romances centered around the court of King Arthur Before Malory both Merlin and Arthur were better known on the Continent than they were in England Malorys work crystallized the Arthurian legend into the form we recognize today We know Merlin as a mysterious figure whose origin is uncertain he has the power to communicate with animals to see visions of the future and
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