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Mazes and Labyrinths

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Author Topic: Mazes and Labyrinths  (Read 4034 times)
Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2009, 01:25:54 pm »

p. 39

Most writers on the subject have been inclined to look upon Varro's description as at best a gross exaggeration, but Professor Müller gave it as his opinion that the labyrinth described did actually exist, and that the upper part, though no doubt highly embellished in the description, was not the mere offspring of fancy. He thought it quite probable that there was a square basement of regular masonry supporting five pyramids as recounted by Varro, but that the latter described the upper part from hearsay. He drew attention to the fact that a tomb somewhat of this nature is still in existence on the Appian Way at Albano, the pyramids being represented in this case by cones. It is commonly called the Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii.

In the early part of last century a British traveller, G. Dennis, made a study of the antiquities of Etruria and gave particular attention to the remarkable rock-cut labyrinths of which that province furnishes several examples.

He pointed out that the possession of a labyrinth was the distinguishing feature of Porsena's tomb which alone caused Pliny to mention it. The expression "Sub Clusio" used by Pliny, he says, led subsequent writers to infer that the subterranean passages beneath Chiusi were intended, but such an arrangement would be at variance with the general sepulchral practice of the Etruscans, and the tomb of Porsena must be looked for outside the city walls. Dennis then goes on to describe the great cemetery that had recently been discovered in the hill called Poggio Gajella, about three miles to the north-east of Chiusi. His sketch of the principal "storey" of this labyrinthine excavation is shown in Fig. 14.

Here again we may note that the design of the passages, although perhaps puzzling to a stranger, especially with imperfect illumination, in no respect approaches the traditional "labyrinth" pattern. That the conventional form was not unknown to the Etruscans, however,

p. 40

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