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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, 11:58:47 pm »

he observed a red tracing of a labyrinth resembling that on the floor of Chartres Cathedral. M. Didron inquired as to the origin of it, and was informed that it was called the "Prison de Salomon" and that it had been copied on the wall long before by a monk who had found the design in a book. The monk was dead and the book lost. This "Solomon's Prison" was of the same character as the "Solomon's Labyrinth" described by M. Berthelot, but very probably these and similar terms were at one time as popular as "Chemin de Jérusalem," "Julian's Bower," and so on, in their application to all sorts of labyrinthine devices.

A simple "interrupted-circle" type of labyrinth was adopted as a heraldic device by Gonzalo Perez, a Spanish ecclesiastic who aged as Secretary to Charles V and Philip II, and published in 1566 a translation of Homer's "Odyssey." The labyrinth was shown in perspective, with the Minotaur, in fighting attitude, at the centre. It was surmounted by the motto In silentio et spe.

No doubt continental heraldry could furnish us with many similar references of the sort, although nothing of the kind seems to occur in English heraldry. In Fig. 71, for instance, is shown one used by Bois-dofin de Laval, Archbishop of Embrun. The motto in this case was Fata viam invenient ("The Fates will find a way"), a motto adopted in England by the Berkshire Vansittarts. Our illustration is copied from an early seventeenth-century book entitled "Devises Héroïques et Emblemes," by Claude Paradin.

In the text it is stated that "par ce labyrinthe . . . se pourroit entendre que pour rencontrer la voye, & chemin de vie eternelle, la grace de Dieu nous adresse: nous mettant entre les mains le filet de ses saincts commandemens. A ce que le tenans & suivans tousiours nous venions a nous tirer hors des dangereux foruoyemens des destroits mōdains." In other words, the device may be taken as emblematical of the temptation-labyrinth of this

p. 97

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