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The History of Merlin and King Arthur

by Geoffrey of Monmouth



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The Earliest Version of the Arthurian Legend

This edition makes the earliest version of the legends of Merlin and King Arthur accessible to a general audience for the first time.

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. But it also includes lengthy material about other kings that makes it hard for a general audience to read.

This edition makes Geoffrey’s history of Arthur accessible by including 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 also 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 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