chapter  4
10 Pages

Merlin in Italian Literature


Out of an enigmatic murk of murder, madness, pigs, and apples, Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae and Vita Merlini created two separate Merlins. The Black Book of Carmarthen (c. 1200) and the Red Book of Hergest (c. 1400) preserve something of the tradition upon which he drew. The “Afallennau” (Apple Trees) and the “Hoianau” (Greetings, Little Pig) tell of Myrddin’s connections with his lord Rhydderch, his sister Gwenddydd and his responsibility for the death of her son, and his fifty years of wandering in the Forest of Celidon, an exile and a madman whose only companion is his little pet pig.1