Did King Arthur and Merlin actually exist? or is it just literary fantasy?
The short answer is pure literary fantasy.
A slightly longer answer takes you back to the possibility of there being an early king who may be the source of some of the legends. But if such a king lived, he was hundreds of years before the first legends and lived a vastly different life than did the Knights of the Round Table.
There is never going to be a deinitive answer to this as there are simply no records from the period in which they are supposed to have lived (5th or 6th century Britain). It is possible that there was some basis for Arthur, but he certainly didn’t wear shiny armour or have a big table.
Most of what we think of as Arthurian comes to us from medaevil stories (or later) stories. Lancelot, for example, first turned up around the fourteenth century.
Merlin first turned up in the twelfth century in the writings of Geoffory of Monmouth.
Try [url=“http://www.kingarthursknights.com/arthur/historical.asp”] for a reasonably balanced view of the subject.
Or better yet, try a link that actually works