Merlin - Name and Etymology

Name and Etymology

The name "Merlin" derives from the Welsh Myrddin, the name of the bard Myrddin Wyllt, one of the chief sources for the later legendary figure. Geoffrey of Monmouth Latinised the name to Merlinus in his works. The 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 (from Latin merda), for faeces.

The Celticist A. O. H. Jarman suggests 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 but false folk etymology that the town was named for the bard. The name Carmarthen derives from the town's previous Roman name, Moridunum.

An historian claims Merlin lived in what is now Ardery Street in Glasgow's west-end, with his wife Gwendolin. Merlin may have been a politician and scholar rather than a magician, and is buried near Dunipace, just south of Stirling.

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