Annales Cambriae is the name given to a complex of Cambro-Latin chronicles compiled or derived from diverse sources at St David's in Dyfed, Wales. The earliest is a 12th-century presumed copy of a mid-10th century original. Despite the name, the Annales Cambriae record not only events in Wales, but events in Ireland, England and sometimes further afield, though the focus of the events recorded in the two-thirds of the text is Wales; the principal versions of Annales Cambriae appear in four manuscripts: A: London, British Library, MS. Harleian 3859, folios 190r-193r. B: London, National Archives, MS. E.164/1 pp. 2–26C: London, British Library, MS. Cotton Domitian A.i, folios 138r-155rD: Exeter, Cathedral Library, MS. 3514, pp. 523–28, the Cronica ante aduentum Domini. E: ibid. pp. 507–19, the Cronica de Wallia. A is written in a hand of about 1100x1130 AD, inserted without title into a manuscript of the Historia Brittonum where it is followed by a pedigree for Owain ap Hywel. Although no explicit chronology is given in the MS, its annals seem to run from about AD 445 to 977 with the last entry at 954, making it that the text belongs to the second half of the 10th century.
B was written at the Cistercian abbey of Neath, at the end of the 13th century. It is entitled Annales ab orbe condito adusque A. D. mcclxxxvi. C is part of a book written at St David's, is entitled Annales ab orbe condito adusque A. D. mcclxxviii. Two of the texts, B and C, begin with a World Chronicle derived from Isidore of Seville's Origines, through the medium of Bede's Chronica minora. B commences its annals with Julius Caesar's invasion of Britain "sixty years before the incarnation of the Lord." After A. D. 457, B agrees with A until A ends. C commences its annals after the empire of Heraclius at a year corresponding to AD 677. C agrees with A until A ends, although it is clear that A was not the common source for B and C. B and C briefer Welsh entries. D and E are found in a manuscript written at the Cistercian abbey of Whitland in south-west Wales in the 13th century. A alone has benefited from a complete diplomatic edition. There are two entries in the Annales on King Arthur, one on Medraut, one on Merlin.
These entries have been presented in the past as proof of the existence of Arthur and Merlin, although that view is no longer held because the Arthurian entries could have been added arbitrarily as late as 970, long after the development of the early Arthurian myth. The entries on Arthur and Mordred in the A Text: Year 72 The Battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ on his shoulders for three days and three nights and the Britons were victors. Year 93 The Strife of Camlann in which Arthur and Medraut fell and there was death in Britain and in Ireland. Concerning Arthur's cross at the Battle of Badon, it is mirrored by a passage in Nennius where Arthur was said to have borne the image of the Virgin Mary "on his shoulders" during a battle at a castle called Guinnion; the words for "shoulder" and "shield" were, however confused in Old Welsh – *scuit "shield" versus *scuid "shoulder" – and Geoffrey of Monmouth played upon this dual tradition, describing Arthur bearing "on his shoulders a shield" emblazoned with the Virgin.
Merlin is not mentioned in the A Text, though there is mention of the battle of Arfderydd, associated with him in medieval Welsh literature: Year 129 The Battle of ArmteridTexts B and C omit the second half of the year 93 entry. B calls Arfderydd "Erderit". In the B Text, the year 129 entry continues: "between the sons of Elifer and Guendoleu son of Keidau in which battle Guendoleu fell and Merlin went mad". Both the B and C texts display the influence of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, this is reflected in the Arfderydd entry by the choice of the Latinized form Merlinus, first found in Geoffrey's Historia, as opposed to the expected Old Welsh form Merdin. History of Wales English historians in the Middle Ages Brett, Caroline, 1988'The Prefaces of Two Late Thirteenth-century Welsh Latin Chronicles', Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 35, pp. 64–73. Dumville, David N. 1972-74'Some aspects of the chronology of the Historia Brittonum', Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 25, pp. 439–445.
Dumville, David N. 1977'Sub-Roman Britain: history and legend', History 62, pp. 173–192. Dumville, David N. 1977/8'The Welsh Latin annals', Studia Celtica 12/13, pp. 461–467 Dumville, David N. 1984'When was the'Clonmacnoise Chronicle' created? The evidence of the Welsh annals', in Grabowski K. & Dumville D. N. 1984 Chronicles and Annals of Mediaeval Ireland and Wales: The Clonmacnoise-group of texts, Boydell, pp. 209–226. Dumville, David N. 2002'Annales Cambriae, A. D. 682-954: Texts A-C in Parallel', Department of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic, University of Cambridge. Dumville, David N. 2004' Annales Cambriae and Easter', in The Medieval Chronicle III, Amsterdam & New York. Gough-Cooper, Henry, 2010'Annales Cambriae, from Saint Patrick to AD 682: Texts A, B & C in Parallel.' The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwest Europe, Issue 15 The Heroic Age website Grigg, Erik, 2009"Mole Rain' and other natural phenom
In medieval Gaelic and British culture, a bard was a professional story teller, verse-maker, music composer, oral historian and genealogist, employed by a patron, to commemorate one or more of the patron's ancestors and to praise the patron's own activities. A specific, lower class of poet, contrasting with the higher rank known as fili in Ireland and Highland Scotland, with the decline of living bardic tradition in the modern period the term "bard" acquired generic meanings of an author or minstrel a famous one. For example, William Shakespeare and Rabindranath Tagore, are known as "the Bard of Avon" and "the Bard of Bengal" respectively; the word is a Celtic loan word from Scottish Gaelic bàrd, Irish bard, Welsh bardd. In 16th-century Scotland, it was a derogatory term for an itinerant musician. In medieval Gaelic and Welsh society, a bard or bardd was a professional poet, employed to compose eulogies for his lord. If the employer failed to pay the proper amount, the bard would compose a satire.
In other Indo-European societies, the same function was fulfilled by skalds, rhapsodes and scops, among others. A hereditary caste of professional poets in Proto-Indo-European society has been reconstructed by comparison of the position of poets in medieval Ireland and in ancient India in particular. Bards were those who sang the songs recalling the tribal warriors' deeds of bravery as well as the genealogies and family histories of the ruling strata among Celtic societies; the pre-Christian Celtic peoples recorded no written histories. Bards facilitated the memorisation of such materials by the use of metre and other formulaic poetic devices. One of the most notable bards in Irish Mythological was Amergin Glúingel, he was bard and judge for the Milesians. In medieval Ireland, bards were one of two distinct groups of poets. According to the Early Irish law text on status, Uraicecht Becc, bards were a lesser class of poets, not eligible for higher poetic roles as described above. However, it has been argued that the distinction between filid and bards was a creation of Christian Ireland, that the filid were more associated with the church.
By the Early Modern Period, these names came to be used interchangeably. Irish bards formed a professional hereditary caste of trained, learned poets; the bards were steeped in the history and traditions of clan and country, as well as in the technical requirements of a verse technique, syllabic and used assonance, half rhyme and alliteration, among other conventions. As officials of the court of king or chieftain, they performed a number of official roles, they were chroniclers and satirists whose job it was to praise their employers and damn those who crossed them. It was believed that a well-aimed bardic satire, glam dicenn, could raise boils on the face of its target; the bardic system lasted until the mid-17th century in Ireland and the early 18th century in Scotland. In Ireland, their fortunes had always been linked to the Gaelic aristocracy, which declined along with them during the Tudor Reconquest; the early history of the bards can be known only indirectly through mythological stories.
The first mention of the bardic profession in Ireland is found in the Book of Invasions, in a story about the Irish colony of Tuatha De Danann called Danonians. They became the aos sí, comparable to Norse British fairy. During the tenth year of the reign of the last Belgic monarch, the people of the colony of Tuatha De Danann, as the Irish called it, invaded and settled in Ireland, they were divided into three tribes—the tribe of Tuatha who were the nobility, the tribe of De who were the priests and the tribe of Danann, who were the bards. This account of the Tuatha De Danann must be considered legendary; the best-known group of bards in Scotland were the members of the MacMhuirich family, who flourished from the 15th to the 18th centuries. The family was centred in the Hebrides, claimed descent from a 13th-century Irish bard who, according to legend, was exiled to Scotland; the family was at first chiefly employed by the Lords of the Isles as poets and physicians. With the fall of the Lordship of the Isles in the 15th century, the family was chiefly employed by the chiefs of the MacDonalds of Clanranald.
Members of the family were recorded as musicians in the early 16th century, as clergymen as early as the early 15th century. The last of the family to practise classical Gaelic poetry was Domhnall MacMhuirich, who lived on South Uist in the 18th century. A number of bards in Welsh mythology have been preserved in medieval Welsh literature such as the Red Book of Hergest, the White Book of Rhydderch, the Book of Aneirin and the Book of Taliesin; the bards Aneirin and Taliesin may be legendary reflections of historical bards active in the 6th and 7th centuries. Little historical information about Dark Age Welsh court tradition survives, but the Middle Welsh material came to be the nucleus of the Matter of Britain and Arthurian legend as they developed from the 13th century; the Laws of Hywel Dda compiled around 900 A. D, identify a bard as a member of a king's household, his duties, when the bodyguard were sharing out booty, included the singing of the sovereignty of Brit
Black Book of Carmarthen
The Black Book of Carmarthen is thought to be the earliest surviving manuscript written in Welsh. The book dates from the mid-13th century, it is part of the collection of the National Library of Wales, where it is catalogued as NLW Peniarth MS 1. This was one of the collection of manuscripts amassed at the mansion of Hengwrt, near Dolgellau, Gwynedd, by Welsh antiquary Robert Vaughan, it is believed that the manuscript is first recorded when it came into the possession of Sir John Price of Brecon, whose work was to search the monasteries dissolved by Henry VIII. It was given to him by the treasurer of St David's Cathedral. Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin was described by William Forbes Skene as one of the Four Ancient Books of Wales. Written before 1250, the manuscript is a small, vellum codex of 54 folios in eight gatherings. Although the product of a single scribe, inconsistency in the ruling of each folio, in the number of lines per folio, in handwriting size and style, suggest an amateur writing over a long period of time.
The opening folios, written in a large textura on alternating ruled lines, are followed by folios in a much smaller, cramped script. The book contains a small group of triads about the horses of Welsh heroes, but is chiefly a collection of 9th–12th century poetry falling into various categories: religious and secular subjects, odes of praise and of mourning. Of greater interest are the poems which draw on traditions relating to the Welsh heroes associated with the Hen Ogledd, those connected with the legend of Arthur and Myrddin known as Merlin, thus predating the descriptions of Merlin by Geoffrey of Monmouth. One of the poems, The Elegy of Gereint son of Erbin, refers to the "Battle of Llongborth", the location of which can no longer be pinpointed, mentions Arthur's involvement in the battle; the poems Yr Afallennau and Yr Oianau describe the mad Merlin in a forest talking to an apple tree and a pig, prophesying the success or failure of the Welsh army in battles with the Normans in South Wales.
Some of the other poems contained are: Ymddiddan Myrddin a Thaliesin Dadl y Corff a'r Enaid Elegy to Madog ap Maredudd The Elegy of Gereint son of Erbin The Verses of the Graves Kyntaw geir There has been a call from the editor of the Carmarthen Journal newspaper to house the Black Book in its native Carmarthen, so that it might be seen by locals and tourists coming into the town. In 2002, it was announced that the Black Book had been scanned, made available online. In 2014 it was suggested an interactive display about the book could be created in Carmarthen's St Peter's Church. In March 2015, University of Cambridge Professor Paul Russell and Ph. D. student Myriah Williams reported that a variety of imaging techniques such as ultraviolet lamps and photo-editing software had revealed content, invisible under normal viewing conditions. Among the unknown material, erased half a millennium ago, were extensive marginal annotations, including an inscription suggesting that the book was gifted by a previous owner to a family member.
Jarman, A. O. H. Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin. Caerdydd: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru. ISBN 0-7083-0629-2. A diplomatic edition of the original text. Pennar, Meirion; the Black Book of Carmarthen. Llanerch Enterprises. ISBN 0947992316. An introduction with translations of some of the poems, accompanied by corresponding reproductions of the J Evans diplomatic text; the Black Book of Carmarthen at the National Library of Wales. Gives access to colour images of Peniarth MS 1; the Black Book of Carmarthen at the Celtic Literature Collective. Uses Skene's incomplete and inaccurate translation from 1848. Full list of poems with translations at the Celtic Literature Collective. Evans, John Gwenogvryn. Ed. Black Book of Carmarthen.. The diplomatic edition of the complete MS
Arthuret is a civil parish in the Carlisle district of Cumbria, England. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 2,434; the parish includes the village of Easton. It is bounded by the River Esk to the River Lyne to the south; the interpretation of the name Arthuret has presented problems. The name can be associated with the battle of Armterid recorded in the mid-10th century Welsh Annales Cambriae as having taken place in c. 573. However, "...it seems safer to leave the interpretation of' Armterid' an open question." The site of the church overlooks a suggested site of the Battle of Arfderydd, fought in 573 A. D. mention of which appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Vita Merlini and in the Annales Cambriae. The battle took place early in the reign of the King of Strathclyde, Rhydderch Hael, between the Warlord Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio and his cousins Peredur and Gwrgi, Princes of either Ebrauc, or from Gwynedd. In this battle, Gwenddoleu lost his life, it is not known if one of his brothers and Caw, survived to succeed him as king of Arfderydd afterwards.
In this battle Myrddin killed his nephew, fighting on the opposing side. This act drove Myrddin mad and he spent the rest of his life roaming the Forests of Celyddon. 140 other men of rank perished in these woods. In the Black Book of Carmarthen is recorded a poem which takes the form of a dialogue between Myrddin and the Welsh bard Taliesin; the battle is said to have lasted six weeks and three hundred men were killed and buried nearby. It was one of the three futile battles of Britain, fought over a lark's nest; the church tower stones are unusual in that many of them have masons' marks which are visible. This church was built as a result of a national fundraising ordered by James I in 1607 because the existing church had been devastated by Scots reivers/raiders and to benefit the parishioners who were rejecting Christ's teachings. Part of the sum was stolen and this delayed the construction of the new church. A holy well is located on the edge of the mound, it is a well-built structure, with stone canopy and steps.
It was still used for baptisms until the 1970s. Netherby Hall, the historic home of the Graham family, is a Grade II* listed mansion, it stands upon the site of the Roman fort of Castra Exploratorum. Its nucleus is a 15th-century pele tower, extended or altered in 1639 for Sir Richard Graham and enclosed by extensive additions to the house, with further extensions taking place in 1833 for Sir James Graham l by William Burn; the original pele tower is thought to have been built with stone from the fort and the remains of the fort and its vicus noted by Tudor antiquarians have been obliterated by the extensions of the Hall The Netherby Estate, owned by the Graham family for 400 years, extends over a large area of the parish along the Scottish border. A Gothick folly known as the Coop House was built about 1772 as an adornment to the estate, it is now leased by the Landmark Trust, has been restored. Listed buildings in Arthuret Begg, Ean. & Rich, Deike. On the Trail of Merlin. ISBN 0-85030-939-5 Glennie, John S. Stuart.
Arthurian Localities. Pub. Edinburgh. P.68. Mack, James Logan; the Border Line. Pub. Oliver and Boyd. P.51. W. F. Skene. Arthur and the Britons in Wales and Scotland: Llanerch Enterprises. Lampeter, Dyfed. 1988,ISBN 0-947992-23-5. Cumbria County History Trust: Arthuret
Psychopomps are creatures, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but to guide them. Appearing on funerary art, psychopomps have been depicted at different times and in different cultures as anthropomorphic entities, deer, whip-poor-wills, crows, owls and cuckoos; when seen as birds, they are seen in huge masses, waiting outside the home of the dying. Classical examples of a psychopomp are the ancient Egyptian god Anubis, the Greek ferryman Charon and deities Hermes and Hecate, the Roman god Mercury, the Etruscan deity Vanth; the form of Shiva as Tarakeshwara in Hinduism performs a similar role, although leading the soul to moksha rather than an afterlife. Additionally, in the Bhagavata Purana, the Visnudutas and Yamadutas are messengers for their respective masters and Yama, their role is illustrated vividly in the story of Ajamila. In many beliefs, a spirit being taken to the underworld is violently ripped from its body.
In the Persian tradition, the Zoroastrian Self-guide, appears as a beautiful young maiden to those who deserve to cross the Chinvat Bridge or a hideous old hag to those who do not. In Judaism and Islam, Azrael plays the role of the angel of death who carries the soul up to the heavens. In many cultures, the shaman fulfills the role of the psychopomp; this may include not only accompanying the soul of the dead, but to help at birth, to introduce the newborn child's soul to the world. This accounts for the contemporary title of "midwife to the dying", or "End of Life Doula", another form of psychopomp work. In Filipino culture, ancestral spirits function as psychopomps; when the dying call out to specific dead persons, the spirits of the latter are visible to the former. The spirits, who traditionally wait at the foot of the deathbed, retrieve the soul soon after death and escort it into the afterlife; the banshee of Irish and Scottish folklore fits the role of a psychopomp. In Jungian psychology, the psychopomp is a mediator between the conscious realms.
It is symbolically personified in dreams as a wise woman, or sometimes as a helpful animal. The most common contemporary example of a psychopomp appearing in popular culture is the Grim Reaper, which dates from 15th-century England and has been adopted into many other cultures around the world over the years. Geoffrey Dennis, "Abraham", "Elijah", "Lailah", "Sandalphon", Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth and Mysticism, Llewellyn, 2007. Eliade, Mircea, "Shamanism", 1964, Chapters 6 and 7, "Magical Cures: the Shaman as Psychopomp"
The Caledonian Forest is the name given to the former temperate rainforest of Scotland. The Scots pines of the Caledonian Forest are directly descended from the first pines to arrive in Scotland following the Late Glacial; the forest reached its maximum extent about 5000 BC, after which the Scottish climate became wetter and windier. This changed climate reduced the extent of the forest by 2000 BC. From that date, human actions reduced it to its current extent. Today, that forest exists as 35 remnants, as authenticated by Steven & Carlisle covering about 180 square kilometres or 44,000 acres; the Scots pines of these remnants are, by definition, directly descended from the first pines to arrive in Scotland following the ice age. These remnants have adapted genetically to different Scottish environments, as such, are globally unique. To a great extent the remnants survived on land, either too steep, too rocky, or too remote to be agriculturally useful; the largest remnants are in Strathspey and Strath Dee on acidic drained glacial deposits that are of little value for cultivation and domestic stock.
An examination of the earliest maps of Scotland suggests that the extent of the Caledonian Forest remnants has changed little since 1600. Following the last glacial period, trees began to recolonise what is now the British Isles over a land bridge, now beneath the Strait of Dover. Forests of this type were found all over what is now the island of Great Britain for a few thousand years, before the climate began to warm in the Atlantic period, the temperate coniferous forests began retreating north into the Scottish Highlands, the last remaining climatic region suitable for them in the British Isles; the native pinewoods which formed this westernmost outpost of the taiga of post-glacial Europe are estimated to have covered 15,000 km2 as a vast wilderness of Scots pine, rowan, juniper, oak and a few other hardy species. On the west coast and birch predominated in a temperate rainforest ecosystem rich in ferns and lichens; the name comes from Pliny the Elder who reveals that 30 years after the Roman invasion of Britain their knowledge of it did not extend beyond the neighbourhood of silva caledonia.
He gives no information about where the silva caledonia was, but the known extent of the Roman occupation suggest that it was north of the River Clyde and west of the River Tay. In the Matter of Britain, the forest is the site of one of King Arthur's Twelve Battles, according to the Historia Brittonum, in which the battle is called Cat Coit Celidon. Scholars Rachel Bromwich and Marged Haycock suggest that the army of trees animated by sorcerers in the Old Welsh poem Cad Goddeu are intended to be the Caledonian Forest. In related Merlin literature, the figure of Myrddin Wyllt retreated to these woods in his madness after the Battle of Arfderydd in the year 573, he fled from the alleged wrath of the king of Strathclyde, Rhydderch Hael, after the slaying of Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio. This is written in the two Merlinic poems in Middle Welsh Yr Oinau and Yr Afallenau in the Black Book of Carmarthen; the forest is the retreat of another character named Lailoken from the Vita Kentigerni, who fled into the woods in a fit of madness and who may be the original model for Myrddin Wyllt.
In the Middle Welsh story Culhwch and Olwen, the main character Culhwch is the son of a king named Celyddon Wledig, who may or may not be related to the forest in name. Another figure from the same story, Cyledyr Wyllt hints at a close relationship of the forest being a retreat for people who suffered from a special kind of madness or gwyllt. In line 994 to 996 of the story, it is explained, "a Chyledyr Wyllt y uab, a llad Nwython a oruc a diot y gallon, a chymhell yssu callon y dat, ac am hynny yd aeth Kyledyr yg gwyllt". Though not named directly, the name Kyledyr Wyllt is close to the two related notions of the forest of Celyddon being where people suffering madness or gwyllt hide. Being a unique ecosystem in the British Isles, the Caledonian Pinewoods are home to some of the islands' rarest wildlife, it is considered to be one of the last remaining wildernesses in the British Isles. Breeding bird species in Caledonian pine forests found breeding nowhere else in the British Isles: Western capercaillie Common goldeneye European crested tit Parrot crossbill Scottish crossbillBreeding bird species in Caledonian pine forests rare elsewhere in the British Isles: Black grouse Red crossbill Goosander Siskin Redpoll Long-eared owl Osprey Red-breasted merganser Redwing Temminck's stint Wood sandpiper Horned grebe Golden eagleMammal species present in Caledonian pine forests: Eurasian beaver Feral goat Mountain hare European pine marten Red deer Red fox Red squirrel Roe deer WildcatMammal species extinct in Caledonian pine forests: Aurochs Brown bear Eurasian lynx Gray wolf Eurasian Elk Tarpan Wild boar A review of the native pinewoods of Scotland Steven & Carlisle highlighted the plight of the remaining 35 ancient pinewood sites, many of, damaged by felling and intensive grazing from sheep and deer.
A review in the 1980s showed that further damage had occurred through ploughing
Merlin is a legendary figure best known as an enchanter or wizard featured in Arthurian legend and medieval Welsh poetry The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written c. 1136, is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures. Geoffrey combined existing stories of Myrddin Wyllt, a North Brythonic prophet and madman with no connection to King Arthur, with tales of the Romano-British war leader Ambrosius Aurelianus to form the composite figure he called Merlin Ambrosius. Geoffrey's rendering of the character was popular in Wales. Writers expanded the account to produce a fuller image. Merlin's traditional biography casts him as a cambion: born of a mortal woman, sired by an incubus, the non-human from whom he inherits his supernatural powers and abilities. Merlin matures to an ascendant sagehood and engineers the birth of Arthur through magic and intrigue. Authors have Merlin serve as the king's advisor and mentor to the knights until he is bewitched and forever imprisoned or killed by the Lady of the Lake.
He is popularly said to be buried in the magical forest of Brocéliande. The name "Merlin" is derived from the Welsh Myrddin, the name of the bard, one of the chief sources for the legendary figure. Geoffrey of Monmouth Latinised the name to Merlinus in his works. Medievalist Gaston Paris suggests that Geoffrey chose the form Merlinus rather than the regular Merdinus to avoid a resemblance to the Anglo-Norman word merde for feces. Clas Myrddin or Merlin's Enclosure is an early name for Great Britain stated in the Third Series of Welsh Triads. Celticist A. O. H. Jarman suggests that the Welsh name Myrddin was derived from the toponym Caerfyrddin, the Welsh name for the town known in English as Carmarthen; this contrasts with the popular folk etymology. The name Carmarthen is derived from the town's previous Roman name Moridunum, in turn derived from Celtic Brittonic moridunon, "sea fortress". Geoffrey's composite Merlin is based on the legendary "madman" poet and seer Myrddin Wyllt, Emrys, a fictional character based in part on the 5th century, historical war leader Ambrosius Aurelianus mentioned in one of Geoffrey's primary sources, the early 9th century Historia Brittonum.
The former had nothing to do with King Arthur: in British poetry he was a bard driven mad after witnessing the horrors of war, who fled civilization to become a wild man of the wood in the 6th century. Geoffrey had Myrddin Wyllt in mind when he wrote his earliest surviving work, the Prophetiae Merlini, which he claimed were the actual words of the legendary poet and madman. Geoffrey's Prophetiae do not reveal much about Merlin's background, he included the prophet in his next work, Historia Regum Britanniae, supplementing the characterisation by attributing to him stories about Aurelius Ambrosius, taken from Nennius' Historia Brittonum. According to Nennius, Ambrosius was discovered when the British king Vortigern was trying to erect a tower; the tower always collapsed before completion, his wise men told him that the only solution was to sprinkle the foundation with the blood of a child born without a father. Ambrosius was rumoured to be such a child but, when brought before the king, he revealed the real reason for the tower's collapse: below the foundation was a lake containing two dragons who fought a battle representing the struggle between the invading Saxons and the native Celtic Britons.
Geoffrey retells this story in his Historia Regum Britanniæ with some embellishments, gives the fatherless child the name of the prophetic bard Merlin. He keeps this new figure separate from Aurelius Ambrosius and, with regard to his changing of the original Nennian character, he states that Ambrosius was called'Merlin'—that is,'Ambrosius Merlinus', he goes on to add new episodes that tie Merlin with his predecessors. Geoffrey's account of Merlin Ambrosius' early life in the Historia Regum Britanniae is based on the tale of Ambrosius in the Historia Brittonum, he adds his own embellishments to the tale, which he sets in Wales. While Nennius' Ambrosius reveals himself to be the son of a Roman consul, Geoffrey's Merlin is begotten on a king's daughter by an incubus demon; the name of Merlin's mother is not stated, but is given as Adhan in the oldest version of the Prose Brut. The story of Vortigern's tower is the same. At this point Geoffrey inserts a long section of Merlin's prophecies, taken from his earlier Prophetiae Merlini.
He tells only two further tales of the character. In the first, Merlin creates Stonehenge as a burial place for Aurelius Ambrosius, bringing the stones from the Preseli Hills in south-west Wales and Ireland. In the second, Merlin's magic enables the new British king Uther Pendragon to enter into Tintagel Castle in disguise and father his son Arthur with his enemy's wife, Igraine; these episodes appear in many adaptations of Geoffrey's account. As Lewis Thorpe notes, Merlin disappears from the narrative after this. Geoffrey dealt with Merlin again in Vita Merlini, he based it on stories of the original 6th-century Myrddin, set long after his time frame for the life of Merlin Ambrosius. Geoffrey tried to assert that the characters are the same wi