Some readers may think that it is
inconsistent to link the time of Stonehenge with that of Merlin. The
great stone temple was built around 2000 BC, whereas the Arthurian
Romances, in which
Merlin plays a key role, are set in medieval times, so how can the
latter have built the former?
There is an explanation! Stories of
and Merlin were first recorded in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Histories of
the Kings of Britain in 1138, and soon afterwards, on the orders of
re-told by a cleric called Wace in the form of a novel titled Roman de
Brut. Wace even included in his manuscript an illuminated miniature
directing the building of Stonehenge. These stories became very popular,
especially in 12th Century France, where they were transformed into the
Romances by skilled storytellers, such as Marie de France, and the poet
Chretien de Troyes.
These tales and romances have coloured
view of Arthur and Merlin to this day, so we tend to see them as
medieval figures. Neither the French romancers, nor the historical
chroniclers of Henry
II’s time, were the first to relate the deeds of Arthur and Merlin. In
fact, the origins of these stories lie deep in Celtic Legend.