Michael Skupin, Islands in the Vita Merlini


It has long been recognized that the medieval Latin epic Vita Merlini (“Life of Merlin”) contains passages that derive from Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae.  This paper, the third in a three-part series, will examine the passages about islands.  The Vita Merlini poet’s resourcefulness in versifying Isidore’s prose will be be discussed, as well as his accuracy in translating the encyclopedist’s ideas.  Since the original includes material from the Greek text called The Circumnavigation of Hanno,  that controversial text is discussed as an Isidorean source.

Keywords:  Isidore of Seville, Vita Merlini, didactic poetry, versification, medieval geography