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Mazes and Labyrinths


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Author Topic: Mazes and Labyrinths  (Read 2207 times)
Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #150 on: April 04, 2009, 11:57:15 pm »

some trace of them. He also stated that they first received the name of "Troy-towns" in Tudor days, when "subtleties" of all kinds were in vogue, the term being used simply to indicate, by analogy with the Troy of legend, the difficulties to be overcome before the centre could be reached. Dr. Trollope gave it as his considered opinion that they were originally cut for penitential purposes by ecclesiastics, and this opinion has since his time remained practically unchallenged. In his memoir on the subject he reproduces a sketch showing the St. Anne's Hill maze with two gowned and kneeling persons in the act of performing a penitential circuit. Both the sketch and Dr. Trollope's conclusion are based on inference, however; there does not appear to be any direct evidence in the matter.

The theory of an ecclesiastical origin of the turf mazes is chiefly supported by analogy with the continental church-labyrinths which many of them so strongly resemble. Against the argument of their frequent proximity to an ecclesiastical site we may place that of their equally frequent proximity to known Roman remains and the fact that many of our old churches were founded on Roman sites.

The Welsh custom above referred to was also described by P. Roberts in his "Cambrian Popular Antiquities," published in 1815. He gives a plan of the figure as usually cut--a design resembling the circular labyrinths on Knossian coins, but flattened on the side where the entrance is situated--and expresses dissatisfaction with it because there are "no means of losing the way into the citadel, the supposed way continuing regularly through all its windings unbroken, which could scarcely have been the design of the inventor" (Fig. 70).

This figure, he says, is the plan of a labyrinth which is sometimes cut out in the turf by shepherd boys whilst they are tending their flocks on the mountains of Wales, and is sometimes drawn and presented as a puzzle by

p. 94

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