Prophecy as history: a new study of the Prophecies of Merlin Silvester

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The Prophecies of Merlin Silvester is the name given to a thirteenth-century
collection of Latin prophecies, which has long been, problematically,
understood to be a translation from an earlier Welsh text. This article offers a new
study of early manuscripts containing the Prophecies, and considers their place in
English political culture. It argues that the Prophecies were composed in England
during the reign of John, articulating anxieties about threats from France and
domestic misrule, situated in a long historical view. In this respect, the Prophecies
are revealed as a mode of commentary on English history.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-559
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Early online date14 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Merlin
  • prophecy
  • Gerald of Wales
  • Geoffrey of Monmouth


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