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Lost LABYRINTH Of Egypt Scanned


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Author Topic: Lost LABYRINTH Of Egypt Scanned  (Read 6135 times)
Bianca
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« on: September 28, 2008, 10:01:58 am »











Pliny the Elder (CE 23-79): One passage in his Natural History, Book 36, 84-89



"Let us speak also of labyrinths, quite the most extraordinary works on which men have spent their money, but not, as may be thought, figments of the imagination.

There still exists even now in Egypt in the Heracleopolite Nome the one which was built first, according to tradition 3,600 years ago by king Petesuchis or Tithois, though Herodotus ascribes the whole work to Twelve Kings and Psammetichus, the latest of them.

Various reasons are given for building it.

Demoteles claims that it was the palace of Moteris, Lyceas the tomb of Moeris, but the majority of writers take the view that it was build as a temple to the Sun, and this is generally accepted. At any rate, that Daedalus used this as the model for the Labyrinth which he built in Crete is beyond doubt, but it is equally clear that he imitated only 100th part of it which contains twisting paths and passages which advance and retreat-all impossible to negotiate.

The reason for this is not that within a small compass it involves one in mile upon of walking, as we see in tessellated floors or the displays given by boys on the Campus, but that frequently doors are buried in it to beguile the visitor into going forward and then force him to return into the same winding paths.

This was the second to be built after the Egyptian Labyrinth, the third being in Lemnos and the fourth
in Italy, all roofed with vaults of polished stone, though the Egyptian specimen, to my considerable astonishment, has its entrance and columns made of Parian marble, while the rest is of Aswan granite, such masses being put together as time itself cannot dissolve even with the help of the Heracleopolitans; for they have regarded the building with extraordinary hatred.

It would be impossible to describe in detail the layout of that building and its individual parts, since it is divided into regions and administrative districts which are called nomes, each of the 21 nomes giving its names to one of the houses.

A further reason is the fact that it also contains temples of all the gods of Egypt while, in addition, Nemesis placed in the building's 40 chapels many pyramids of 40 ells each covering an area of 6 arourae with their base.

Men are already weary with travelling when they reach that bewildering maze of paths; indeed, there are also lofty upper rooms reached by ramps and porticoes from which one descends on stairways which have 90 steps each; inside are columns of imperial porphyry, images of the gods, statues of kings and representations of monsters.

Certain of the halls are arranged in such way that as one throws open the door there arises within a fearful noise of thunder; moreover one passes through most of them in darkness.

There are again other massive buildings outside the wall of the Labyrinth; they call them "the Wing".

Then there are other subterranean chambers made by excavating galleries in the soil.

One person only has done any repairs there-and they were few in number. He was Chaermon, the eunoch of king Necthebis, 500 years before Alexander the Great. A tradition is also current that he supported the roofs with beams of acacia wood boiled in oil, until squared stones could be raised up
into the vaults.
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