This is again a book I picked up at the agency I wasn t sure what to expect, I wasn t even sure whether it was fiction or non fiction but, being the arthurian mythology lover that I am, I couldn t let this book pass by without at least giving it a look Turns out it s non fiction and I did than simply giving it a look I read the whole thing.This book did than simply entertain my fascination about Merlin or Arthur There s in there than a mere retelling of all the myths and literature about those famous characters It starts from there but it also deconstructs the various existing narratives about Merlin and Arthur, gives them a context and really tries to unearth the truth behind the lies.If you go to the page, you ll see that a lot of people are not too happy with Ardrey s new interpretation of history For starters, according to Ardrey, Merlin and Arthur were Scotsmen not Welsh, not English and lived during the late sixth century They were also men of the old way celtic ways and so they fought the Angles and the Saxons but they also fought the Christians and that explains the reasons why Merlin was so often portrayed as a madman or a demon and Arthur preoccupied by the quest for Graal.Ardrey sheds light on the old ways, the way sexuality, homosexuality and even tranvestism were perceived Women were not seen as the creatures of temptation and deception that Christianity claimed them to be It s fascinating to see and realize how much Christianity changed everything and, most often than not, for the worse When you look at it, the reason why Christianity was embraced by most sovereigns including King of Francs, Clovis is because it completely squashed individuality, marginality and replaced it with blind obediance I m not setting on an anti Christian quest here, I m just saying that at the time, you weren t really asked whether you believed in God, you were forced to People of the old ways who favored discussions, arguments and couldn t agree on anything didn t really stand of chance When you look at it, living conditions during the old ways were much in accordance with nature and human nature in general.This really struck a chord because I m all about alternative models of society I can t understand how we came to be as close minded as we are and this helped me understand I can t figure out why we ever thought that spending most of your life working and not with your loved one could ever be a good thing Society as it is doesn t give you time to develop and grow as an individual and why should it It s far content with letting you become a sheep whose only source of information is TV propaganda and is unable to think for itself Bitter, much Just a bit back to the book.I understand writers who say they find inspiration in non fiction than in fiction and essentially history books Whether Finding Merlin is historically accurate I don t know and quite frankly I don t care The research and the methodology appeared solid enough for me but hey, I m no sixth century expert I know this book dug up some amazing characters for me, namely Languoreth, Merlin s twin sister who was also Queen of Scotland married to a possibly gay king , played a huge part in the country s history and was contemporary to the greatest figures of the period Arthur, Merlin, Mordred, Mungo, etc There s story to be told here It tells a lot about Christianity when such a great and powerful woman is simply remembered as an adulteress.A highly recommended read for both amateurs of arthurian myths and history in general Ardrey has done a considerable amount of research and crosses results in various fields of study including geography, linguistics and of course, history.Finding Arthur The Once and Future King came out in April 2009 Finding Camelot is planned though no release date is available yet I m eager to read both. I liked this book and it makes a nice story but I do have some big issues with the author My biggest one is his assumption that Rhydderch Hael must have been gay because his wife had an affair As demonstrated in Broadchurch and assorted politicians having affairs today, people have affairs for all sorts of reasons My spouse is gay is infinitesimally rare I d be likely to think she was perceived as having an affair from being in a compromising position like being alone with the alleged lover It s reminiscent of people assuming someone is autistic Is he on the spectrum when they re probably likely just woefully socially awkward Rhydderch and Languoreth married for politics not love.This directly ties in with his random assumption that St Kentigern s father was into crossdressing so therefore that was the reason she didn t want to marry him Maybe Jocelyn didn t mention the crossdressing because it never happened Those sources that mention the episode put me in mind of Pamela, the 1740 book about a maid preyed on by her master At one point he dresses up as a woman and hides in her room in order to rape her Why is it so implausible that Taneu didn t want to marry a man who was trying to rape her I posit that her desire to not marry him had nothing to do with crossdressing and everything to do with not wanting to be married Another issue I have is with his writing, which at times sounds like he s analytically flailing There s a number of times he gets evidence and then makes a conclusion and sticks to it like a tick on a dog He has great sources but does not consider all the potential outcomes to which could be possible.I am not at all surprised by the Christian aggressions perpetuated and lead by St Mungo Kentigern It fits with history and the events portrayed within The Darkening Age The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey. Merlin The Very Name Evokes Intriguing Images Magician, Wise Man, Prophet, Adviser To Arthur, Counsellor Of Camelot The Legend Is Famous But Not The Truth That Merlin Was A Historical Figure, A Briton, Who Hailed Not From England Or Wales, As Traditional Wisdom Would Have It, But From ScotlandAdam Ardrey Brings Back To Life Merlin S Role In The Cataclysmic Battles Between Reason And Religion Of Sixth Century Britain Battles Which Merlin Would Ultimately Lose From The Time Of His Death Up Until The Present Day, Historical Records Relating To Merlin Have Been Altered, His True Provenance And Importance Obscured And His Name Changed To Mean Madman The Same Fate Awaited Merlin S Twin Sister, Languoreth, As Intelligent And Powerful As Her Brother But, As A Woman, A Greater Threat To The Power Of Church And State Languoreth S Existence Was All But Obliterated And Her Story Lost Until Now Finding Merlin Uncovers New Evidence And Re Examines The Old The Places Where Merlin Was Born, Lived, Died And Was Buried Are Identified, As Well As The People Surrounding Him His Nemesis Mungo And His Friend The Hero Arthur In This Impressively Well Researched And Accessibly Written Book, Merlin Walks From The Pages Of Legend Into History I think he makes fairly good arguments Despite what some critics have said, he does not present this a absolutely, definitely true He is careful to use words like I think, its probable, etc I think the real problem people had with this work is that he presented Merlin as anti Christian The response this book has gotten in the modern era does give validity to his argument that writers in the early middle ages had to code their works to present Christianity in a favorable light thus obscuring the true account of Merlin. While Ardrey provides ample logical research regarding the life of Merlin and is certainly closer to actual history, I ll not give up the romantic version of him as a mentor and magician in the legend of King Arthur I would not recommend this book to anyone who takes offense to reading about early Christian tyranny, especially those of Catholic faith. Fascinating read While I don t take it as gospel truth, Adam Ardrey has certainly done his homework Legends have to come from somewhere, and Ardrey makes an excellent case for the historical Merlin The only reason I give this less than 5 stars is the author s placement of Merlin and the old way of the Druids on a pedestal, and his rather obvious contempt of Christianity But, hey, its his book, and it isn t going to stop me from reading of his books I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was a fascinating read Well researched and detailed The author has a style that is light and communicates easily and holds interest.I will follow his work after this. Fascinating book that places the Arthurian legends and Merlin in Scotland. If ever there were a boringly written, scholastically shaky, self agrandizing writer, I do not know who it might be.To take a madly fascinating subject like the true history of the personage called Merlin, one must use the care and attention practiced by a truly good art restoration expert You must strip away the veils of centuries of legend to dig for the truthand basically, this guy doesn t bother.The only reason I wrote this review was to warn off any potential readers save your time For starters, this book is in terrible need of an editor I m looking at you Overlook I will think thrice about ever reading another one of your publications I should have known that a book whose spine is misspelled on the dust jacket Finding Merln is a sign of the lack of attention to detail inside The book read as an in class essay exam where the student is word vomiting everything they can possibly remember about a subject with no chance of organizing said material The chapters were all over the map and the content of the chapters was just as scattered Again, the fault of the editor and not the author It should have been called Finding Mungo and Other Key Players in Sixth Century Legend Merlin was only directly discussed for about 50 60 pages, Mungo for about 150, and Kings and other key players for the other 100 Ardrey s premise behind the book of peeling back layers of history and legend to find the Druid Merlin was, and is still, promising When Ardrey did discuss the practice of the old Celtic religion and how Merlin may have fit in, the material was quite good The lack of training, however, is evident in the material he presents Ardrey lacks a firm understanding of the medieval church, but to be fair, so do a lot of people and so much of his material on this subject is skewed The pedantic air in Ardrey s vocabulary was frustrating The use of obvious, preposterous, and ridiculous lost him a lot of credibility To be fair, his use of linguistics was quite interesting for names Scholars have been researching the legend of Merlin for some time and I can t imagine that certain discoveries of his were so obvious He may truly be quite brilliant to discover certain connections but using the word obvious causes me to question them And using the words preposterous and ridiculous only highlight the author s strong bias and not the intelligence of his sources It seems unwise to call your sources morons Using the word unlikely would have been less polarizing Again, had an editor seriously combed through Ardrey s work, it could have been rather enjoyable and interesting Alas, it was not.
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- 384 pages
- Finding Merlin: The Truth Behind the Legend
- Adam Ardrey
- 08 October 2019 Adam Ardrey