Merlin, son of Corwin, is a major character in Zelazny's Amber series of novels. He is a Prince of Chaos, Wizard, Shapeshifter, and Computer Engineer.

A hand-held electronic toy produced by Parker Brothers in the 1970's. These are now collectors items which can sometimes be found at online auctions. The unit resembles a clunky phone handset and is pre-programmed with 6 games:

Codebreaker is still my favorite, set on level 9!!!
Alright, that's it. Time to save Merlin from the wretches of fantasy fiction.

Merlin: MUR-lyn
from the Welsh Myrddin, "man from Carmarthen."

Carmarthen's name in Welsh is Caerfyrddin, translated as "Camp Myrddin." The name derives from the old Roman fort of that name, Maridunum, meaning, the Fort by the Sea--"mari" from "mara"--sea in Latin, and "dunum" from "dun"--fort in the Old Celtic languages. It was common for the mixing of Latin and Celtic languages in naming places in Britain, as Latin and Celtic were very similar in their vocabularies.

When Geoffrey of Monmouth decided to write his History of the Kings of Britain, he combined a figure named Myrddin, who was a sixth and seventh century bard and prince in northern Wales and southern Scotland who went mad during the battle of Arthuret, with a figure named Ambrosius, a boy spawned by a demon gifted with prophecy. According to Nennius' history, Ambrosius was sent for by Vortigern as a sacrifice to the gods so that he could build a stable tower at Dinas Emraise, sometmimes called Dinas Emrys, which, btw, is also the Welsh spelling for Ambrosius--Emrys. Ambrosius was able to escape being sacrificed by telling Vortigern that there were two dragons buried under the hill, two dragons that had been fighting for centuries--the Red Dragon and the White. Vortigern let them out, and they destroyed each other, the Red killing the White, but losing its life in the process. Ambrose explained the the Red Dragon was the British, and specifically, a British leader, and the White Dragon was the Saxon invaders, with whom Vortigern had certain dealings. The Britians would be victorius against the Saxons, but only for so long, and their leader would die at their hands. This is later applied to Arthur, who put a red dragon on his banner, and the Red Dragon of Wales is now seen on the Welsh flag.

The bard Myrddin has several poems attributed to him in The Black Book of Carmarthen (appropriate, huh?) and The Red Book of Hergest, the later of which is also the source for the Mabinogion; curiously, while no stories about Myrddin appear in the Mabinogion, the story of the concealment of the two dragons appears in the story "Cyfranc Lludd a Llefelys." The poem "Armes Prydein Vawr"--"The Greater Prophecy of Britain"--appears in the Lyfyr Taliesin--the Book of Taliesin, but Taliesin attributes it to "Merdin." This Myrddin was the son of Madog Morfryn, the son of Morydd, the son of Mor, the son of Ceneu, the son of Coel, as in Old King Cole, and thus was a member of British royalty. His sister Gwenddydd married Rhydderch Hael, a king of Strathclyde who fought at the battle of Arthuret (c. 575 CE), wherein Peredur/Perceval, Rhydderch Hael, Aedan mac Gabhran and Maelgwn Gwynedd fought with Gwenddolou the pagan king. Myrddin went insane from this battle, presumably because he was on the losing side, which was the side against all his friends.

So Geoffrey combines these two figures into one Merlin. He changed the name because if he were to Latinize the name Myrddin, it would be spelled Merdin--which looks too much like "merde" to his French-speaking patrons. (Merde, btw, means "shit".) Instead, he substituted the "d" with an "l." In Geoffrey's book, Merlin is advisor to Uther Pendragon; he has Uther shapeshift so that the king will sleep with Igrain and beget King Arthur. Strangly, he then suddenly disappears from the book until the very end, where Geoffrey says that Merlin prophecied that Arthur wouldn't come again until nearly the end of the world.

Geoffrey is attributed with a book called the Vita Merlini, or Life of Merlin, which tells of Merlin's years after Arthur has died. It relies on the myth of the Myrddin who went mad at the battle of Arthuret, and thus on Welsh legend.

From here, Merlin goes on to intruge all sorts of medieval romancers. Robert de Boron dedicates a whole third of his Le Roman du Graal to his story, which states that Merlin is the son of the Devil and supposed to become the Antichrist, but since he was baptised, he now only practices white magic. He gets Uther and Ygrain together, and takes Arthur to be raised. He sets up the Round Table, puts the sword in the stone, brings in Guenevere, and councils Gawain and Perceval to start the Quest for the Holy Grail. This is Merlin's origin as the wizard we picture today.

Later romancers used this idea of the redeemed Antichrist and his doomed relationship with Vivian/Nimue, until crystalized by Sir Thomas Malory's epic La Morte d'Arthur in 1470. Here, Merlin is the famous wizard who engenders Arthur's birth and raising by Sir Ector, puts the sword in the stone, and the rest already added by de Boron.

Later writers would also have their way with Merlin. He became a useful name to attatch to any ridiculous prophecy in the almanacs of the time, which is what prompts this sequence from Shakespeare's King Lear, as spoken by the Fool:

This is a brave night to cool a courtezan.
I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:
When priests are more in word than matter;
When brewers mar their malt with water;
When nobles are their tailors' tutors;
No heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors;
When every case in law is right;
No squire in debt, nor no poor knight;
When slanders do not live in tongues;
Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
When usurers tell their gold i' the field;
And bawds and whores do churches build;
Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion:
Then comes the time, who lives to see't,
That going shall be used with feet.
This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.

A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

Merlin lives on in the modern era as archetype (Obi-wan Kenobi), comedic relief (The Sword in the Stone the film, not the book; Excalibur), and the generic wise old man. Some try to link him to the druids, though this cannont be proven, while others hold him to be a bard. Some say he was Taliesin, an idea based on a poem attributed to the bard but of a much later date:

Primary bard to Elphin am I
And my country is the kingdom of the summer stars
Iddo and Heinin know me as Merddin (Myrddin/Merlin)
But at lenght, all men will call me Taliesin

--Hanes Taliesin


A twelfth-thirteenth century lost romance by Robert de Boron, part two of his Le Roman du Graal, a Grail Romance written after Chretien's (but possibly without knowledge of Chretien's).

The Romance borrows from Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain, with the details of Merlin's place as son of the devil, the story of the dragons, and the changing of Utherpendragon. However, it also adds the detail of the Sword in the Stone.

It also evidently borrows from Geoffrey's The Life of Merlin, as de Boron's romance includes the story of Merlin's triple prophecy of death, which is also found in the Lailoken tales, in which it is assumed Lailoken is Merlin. The story goes like this: a king challenges Merlin's abilities of prophecy. He devises a plan to trick Merlin into prophecying the death of the same individual (usually the king, but in one version that of Merlin himself) three times. Each time Merlin gives a different prophecy, usually following these lines: that the person will be hung; that the person will drown; that the person will break his neck. The king disbelieves Merlin, until the individual in question dies, usually falling from a bridge, wherein

its rider plunged down the steep cliff slope into the river. But he fell in such a way that one foot caught in a tree and the rest of his body was submerged in the flowing stream. So then, he fell-he was drowned-he hung from a tree; and by his triple death he proved the prophet a true one.

The Life of Merlin

The Merlin is also an aircraft engine made by Rolls Royce. The Merlin was manufactured (in a few varieties) starting in 1934. The Merlin gained a reputation for being an exceptionally reliable and powerful engine. It powered several very successful aircraft in WWII.

Aircraft powered by the Merlin

Specifications common to all Merlins

Most Merlins were made in the middle to later part of WWII. These Merlins (the 60 series) generated between 1390 and 2000 horsepower, depending on fuel and gearing.

Merlin is also an artist hailing from Aylmer Quebec, Canada. Sometimes confused with a UK rapper of the same name, Merlin debuted on the Canadian music scene with his first record in 1993: the noisy, hip-hop heavy A Noise Supreme. This was followed by 1995’s Merlin’s Arcade, the gritty industrial music classic Viddy Well Little Brother in 1997, and finally, his major label debut in 2001, Milkbar Stereo. Merlin was also the frontman for another project of his called Ma, which labeled itself as a power-pop group and released the full-length album Cool Chicks and Other Babes in 1996, along with a single to promote it, “Whine”. Whine was a parody of The Doughboys’ hit song, “Shine”.

Until Milkbar Stereo, all of Merlin’s releases were published on his independent record label, Channel 3 Records, and he also produced and released music by other local bands including Sugarbush, Stony and The Archer Micro Space Patrol. Cargo Records, the distributor for Merlin’s Channel 3 releases, eventually went out of business. Apparently this is when he decided to start shopping his demos to the major labels.

After signing a contract with MCA Universal, and meeting an executive that apparently loved his music, but was subsequently fired, the label’s apathetic marketing staff had no idea how promote or market Merlin’s new album. Yet they released it anyways. A music video was created for the track “Ultrasensitive”, but no single, second video, or anything else was created to help the album sell. In fact, Merlin was the one who set up and paid for his website of the time, Merlin claims his demos sounded just as good as the tracks produced with outside help hired by MCA.

After the disaster that was Milkbar Stereo, Merlin reinvented himself with a new label, new moniker and new style of music. Leaving Channel 3 Records behind and starting up New Age Hardcore Recordings, he formed the “fucked up karaoke group” “NAM:LIVE!”. Merlin says the band hates labels, but people love them, so he came up with a new genre to classify NAM:LIVE! in: electro hip-hop. It’s fairly accurate, but the music put out by NAM:LIVE! shows influences from almost every genre imaginable. NAM:LIVE!’s first recording, a self-titled effort, was released as a soundtrack for an upcoming documentary on the music industry and the evil corporations behind them.

Currently, Merlin is working on a second NAM:LIVE! project called The Testament, which will be a 200 page book of art, photographs and literature, with an accompanying music CD. Ever the extrovert, Merlin dabbles heavily in photography, and sought to meet real women on the streets and photograph them for the book. Oh, and he also goes by the name of Bronxxx now – using his mother’s maiden name, Bronques, as his moniker.

From the official NAM:LIVE! website:

Bronxxx is just as happy lying in bed playing along to ‘Van Halen 1’ as he is documenting a photographic drive-by with a couple of curvaceous supervixens he just met in a club in Texas.

He’s a loner artist that meets 1000 people a year, and uses them as inspiration for his creations.

Bronxxx’s music sounds like a sex-crazed preacher trapped in an Atari 2600. His addictions are guitars, electro beats and pinup girls. His favorite game is ‘Truth or Dare’. He always picks ‘Dare’.

Merlin's Discography as of this writing:

Merlin - A Noise Supreme 1993
Merlin - A Noise Supreme Single 1993
Merlin - Selections from A Noise Supreme 1993
Merlin - A Noise Supreme/Pusher 12” Single 1993
Merlin - Merlin’s Arcade 1995
Merlin - Junk Religion Single 1995
Merlin - The Playboy Interview Single 1995
Ma - Cool Chicks and Other Babes 1996
Ma - Whine 1996
Merlin - Viddy Well, Little Brother 1997
Merlin - Milkbar Stereo 2001
NAM:LIVE! – Self-titled 2002
NAM:LIVE! - Church of NAM 12” 2004
NAM:LIVE! – The Testament book and CD

Merlin is also a bicycle manufacturing company. Founded in 1986, in Cambridge, MA, they start out making high-quality titanium frame mountain bikes. Tim Kellogg joined the Merlin team as their master framebuilder in 1987 and the company just, well took off. They have since launched many outstanding pro-level titanium road and mountain frames, such as the award-winning Cielo frame (built specifically for criterium racing.

The difference between most bicycle companies (such as Giant, Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, etc, and Merlin, is the simple fact that every single Merlin frame is painstakingly hand crafted from 6/4 titanium. If you've heard of the popular, illustrious, titanium-based brand Litespeed, then you might have heard of Merlin without quite knowing what it was. Basically, Litespeed framesets start at about 2200 USD. Now, if you want a custom geometry, hand-crafted Litespeed frame, you actually end up getting a Merlin. This places you in the 3000usd+ range for a bicycle. Seriously, pro-level equipment.

But, you can have your fancy bike, your labels, your expensive price tag, you can get that from any bicycle company. Why Merlin? Well, for one, their welds are BEAUTIFUL. Especially concerning they're welding titanium. No sir, no six-year-old Taiwanese child labor going on here, they can't handle this level of beauty. Each bike is guaranteed to stand up to well over a million pedalstrokes at 400ft lbs of torque.

But why titanium? Steel is real. I like how light and stiff my aluminum frame feels! No. Thing is, with titanium frames, you get the best of both steel and aluminum. You get a bike that's as light and stiff as aluminum, as absorbing of the road as steel, and it's a tougher frame to crack than either. I'm personally known for flexing and breaking chain rings, but I feel almost no flex in this bike at all. The bottom bracket is -solid-.

These bikes just LOOK cool. Very little flash, the color of polished titanium speaks for itself. You can even have your frameset engraved with fancy designs and your name, if you'd like. The simplicity of the bike, with the beautiful welds, demands attention be paid to its elegance.

Damn, I think I'm gonna go ride my bike now.

Mer"lin (?), n. [OE. merlion, F. 'emerillon ; cf. OHG. smirl, G. schmerl ; prob. fr. L. merula blackbird. Cf. Merle.] Zool.

A small European falcon (Falco lithofalco, or F. aesalon).


© Webster 1913.

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