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Mazes and Labyrinths

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Author Topic: Mazes and Labyrinths  (Read 3104 times)
Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2009, 01:24:25 pm »

shaped in plan and was evidently the repository of a giant emblem (Fig. 12. See plate, p. 42).

Long before Dr. Evans' excavations in Crete the great

p. 34

[paragraph continues] German archaeologist Schliemann, during his researches at Mycenae on the mainland, unearthed from one of the graves an ox-head of gold plate, with a double axe between the upright horns. The double axe was also the sign of the Zeus worshipped at Labraunda in Caria, a country to the north-east of Crete, on the mainland of Asia Minor, where the implement was known as the labrys.

The cult of the bull was also much in evidence in the palace remains. Schliemann, in excavating the site of Tiryns in 1884, came across an extraordinary wall-painting depicting a man holding one horn of a great bull whilst he leaps over its back, the animal meanwhile charging at full speed. Several examples of such scenes have since been discovered, painted upon walls, engraved on gems, or stamped on seal-impressions. Amongst the debris of one of the rooms in the palace at Knossos was found a painting of a scene in which two girls are engaged in dodging the charge of a bull, whilst a boy, who has evidently just left hold of its horns, turns a somersault over its back.

Near the main north entrance to the palace was brought to light a large plaster relief of a bull's head, no doubt originally forming part of the complete beast. This relief was a masterpiece of Minoan art. It was of life-size and beautifully coloured, and particular attention had been given to the modelling and colour of the eye, the fierce stare of which, in conjunction with the open mouth, conveys a fine effect of frenzied excitement.

These are only a few examples, amongst many, which go to demonstrate that the sport of "bull-leaping"--or ταυρωκαθαψια, as it was called by the Greeks--was beloved of the Minoans and was probably practised in the precincts of the palace.

In the light of these discoveries Dr. Evans concludes that the palace of Knossos was the Labyrinth, or House

p. 35

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