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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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Posts: 1279

« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2009, 01:25:06 pm »

view of the exceedingly fabulous nature of the story I shall use the words given by M. Varro himself in his account of it: 'Porsena was buried below the city of Clusium in the place where he had built a square monument of dressed stones. Each side was three hundred feet in length and fifty in height, and beneath the base there was an inextricable labyrinth, into which, if any-body entered without a clue of thread, he could never discover his way out. Above this square building there stand five pyramids, one at each corner and one in the centre, seventy-five feet broad at the base and one hundred and fifty feet high. These pyramids so taper in shape that upon the top of all of them together there is supported a brazen globe, and upon that again a petasus 1 from which bells are suspended by chains. These make a tinkling sound when blown about by the wind, as was done in bygone times at Dodona. Upon this globe there are four more pyramids, each a hundred feet in height, and above them is a platform on which are five more pyramids.' The height of the latter, Varro is ashamed to add, but, according to the Etruscan stories, it was equal to that of the rest of the building. What utter madness is this, to attempt to seek glory at a great cost which can never be of use to anyone; not to mention the drain upon the resources of the country. And all to the end that the artist may receive the greater share of the praise!"

There have been many discussions as to the possibility of a monument of this nature having existed, and various reconstructions have been attempted, notably one (Fig. 13), based on Varro's account, by a celebrated French scholar of a century ago, M. Quatremère de Quincy.

One enthusiast, a certain Father Angelo Cortenovis, even wrote a treatise to prove that the whole contrivance was nothing more nor less than a huge electrical machine!


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