The Tomb of Merlin

The tomb of Merlin (Tombeau de Merlin) is a megalith in the forest of Paimpont in Brittany. According to tradition, it is the tomb of Merlin the wizard from the Arthur legend.

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The tomb of Merlin (Tombeau de Merlin) is a megalith in the forest of Paimpont in Brittany. According to tradition, it is the tomb of Merlin the wizard from the Arthur legend.

In a certain variation of the legend, Merlin dies from his love for the fairy Viviane in the legendary forest of Brocéliande. In another version, he is locked in a magical circle by the fairy, where he voluntarily stays with her. The story of Merlin has been passed down through the ages as part of Arthurian legend, and his influence can be seen in numerous works of literature, art, and film.

Another version of the legend says that Merlin was lured to the tomb by the Lady of the Lake, who then trapped him there with her magic. The Lady of the Lake was a powerful enchantress and a central figure in Arthurian legend. She was said to have raised Arthur as a child and presented him with the sword Excalibur. In some versions of the legend, she is also Merlin’s lover or mentor.

The story goes that Merlin had fallen in love with the Lady of the Lake, but she did not return his affections. In order to win her over, he offered to teach her all of his magic. The Lady of the Lake agreed, but once she had learned everything he had to teach, she decided to trap him in the tomb.

It is said that the tomb was enchanted and that anyone who tried to open it would suffer a terrible curse. Some versions of the legend state that Merlin is still alive within the tomb, but is sleeping and waiting to be awakened.

The Tomb of Merlin has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries, with many people visiting to pay their respects to the legendary wizard. The site has been mentioned in numerous works of literature, including the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth, who was a medieval Welsh cleric and chronicler.

Merlin’s grave is the remnant of a passage grave. The Neolithic dolmen consisted of eight blocks of slate. The site itself is a dolmen, a type of megalithic tomb consisting of two or more vertical stones supporting a large, flat horizontal stone. The dolmen at the site of the Tomb of Merlin is said to be the largest in Brittany, measuring over 7 meters in length. The structure is made of granite and dates back to the Neolithic period, around 4500 to 2000 BCE.

In the 12th century, Geoffrey wrote a book called Historia Regum Britanniae, which tells the story of King Arthur and his knights. In the book, Geoffrey describes the Tomb of Merlin as a place of great power and magic. He writes that the tomb is guarded by a dragon and that only the bravest and most worthy of knights can approach it.

Geoffrey’s book was a huge success and helped to popularize the stories of King Arthur and Merlin throughout Europe. The legend of Merlin and the Tomb of Merlin continued to grow in popularity throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.

In the 15th century, the Tomb of Merlin was mentioned in a French poem called La Mort le Roi Artu, which tells the story of Arthur’s final battle and his death at the hands of Mordred. In the poem, the Tomb of Merlin is described as a place of great mystery and magic, where the spirit of Merlin still resides.

Throughout the centuries, the Tomb of Merlin has remained a popular destination for travelers and pilgrims. The site is surrounded by a grove of trees, which adds to the mystical atmosphere of the place. Visitors often leave offerings or tokens of their devotion at the site, such as flowers or stones. The wish that was made or written on paper is said to be fulfilled by Merlin.

In 1820, the scholar J.C.D. Poignand wrote that Merlin would be buried in the forest of Paimpont. Felix Bellamy investigates in 1889 and follows directions from the locals. He finds the grave. After this, grave robbers go looking for treasure and destroy the movable parts of the dolmen. Only two supports remain. A holly grows between these supports.

Rumor has it that Merlin’s actual tomb has been moved to a place that cannot be visited by tourists. The original site is said to be hidden.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Arthurian legend and the stories of Merlin and King Arthur. The Brocéliande Forest, where the tomb is located, is also home to many other sites associated with Arthurian legend, such as the Fountain of Barenton and the Valley of No Return. So today, the Tomb of Merlin and the surrounding area is popular with visiting tourists.

  • References

    La Mort le roi Artu (Modern French Translation) – 2021 – Translated by Patrick Moran ( https://fhis.ubc.ca/publications/la-mort-le-roi-artu-modern-french-translation/ )

Other places in France