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The History of Merlin and King Arthur

by Geoffrey of Monmouth


new material in this edition copyright © 2014


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The Earliest Version of the Arthurian Legend

Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) in about 1136 AD. His book includes the first account of the Arthurian legend that survives, apart from very brief mentions of Arthur in earlier chronicles.

This edition makes Geoffrey’s history of Arthur accessible to a general audience for the first time. It includes only the parts of Geoffrey’s Historia that are about Merlin or Arthur, omitting its lengthy histories of other kings, which do not interest today’s readers. It breaks up Geoffrey’s text into shorter chapters, and it adds subheadings that make the narrative easier to follow.

Geoffrey lets us see King Arthur’s place in history much more clearly than later versions of the legends, telling us that Arthur fought the Saxons after the Romans left Britain. He also includes stories of Merlin’s early life that are left out of later accounts.

This edition uses Aaron Thompson’s 1718 translation of the Historia, as revised and corrected by J. A. Giles in 1842.

This edition also includes drawings by the famous illustrator, Howard Pyle, making it a beautiful book as well as a book that will fascinate anyone who is interested in the legend of King Arthur and wants to learn more about it.

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The History of Merlin and King Arthur