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Arthurian Pseudohistory at its most unlikely
on 1 June 2009
In the great tradition of Arthurian pseudohistory Ardey follows in the footsteps of many other poorly researched historical attempts to find a Real Merlin and Arthur. His central thesis is based on the idea that Artuir mac Aedan is the real Arthur, an idea used by a number of other writers and the book examines late sixth century Scotland. In Finding Merlin Ardey relies on taking as reliable evidence the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Celtic Saint's lives, notorious for unreliability, and rewriting them to fit his bizarre theories in which a Christian conspiracy has tried to hide the TRUTH about Merlin ala The Da Vinci Code. Amongst other nonsense he claims that Merlin Caledonius is not buried in the Scottish Borders, as Scottish tradition backed by Sir Walter Scott has claimed for hundreds of years; that St Mungo, beloved founder of Glasgow, is a psychopath, a murderer and a thief; that Merlin was not a mad prophet but a politician and a scientist and that the main Saxon invasion of the British Isles took place not in Kent but in Scotland. Despite proclaiming Merlin was persecuted as a pagan he removes from the Merlin legend all the weird elements of Celtic shamanism which make Merlin an interesting figure. Full of poor logic and weak argument it is mainly enjoyable for spotting the massive mistakes and those with knowledge of the period and the mysterious Old North of Rheged and Strathclyde will soon be roused to baffled fury. Nicholai Tolstoy's interesting speculative book on the Scottish Merlin based on solid research (i.e not using Geoffrey of Monmouth as a guide to dark age history) is far better than this book despite its radical conclusions and Geoffrey Ashe's recent book on Merlin is excellent too. Or if you want wild unhistorical fantasies about Merlin why not go to the original Geoffrey of Monmouth which at least has the excuse it was written 900 years ago.