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Mazes and Labyrinths

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Author Topic: Mazes and Labyrinths  (Read 4097 times)
Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2009, 01:26:00 pm »

is shown by the occurrence of a design of this type on a vase found at Tragliatella which we shall mention later.

It is, of course, possible that the tomb of Porsena was erected on the hill above this labyrinth, but we have not much evidence on the point. If the tomb possessed a labyrinth, no doubt the latter would have been something of this type. Dennis also mentions various other labyrinths of this nature in Etruria--for example, one near Volterra, "a long passage cut in the rock, six feet wide but only three high, so that you must travel on all-fours. From time to time the passage widens into chambers, yet not high enough to permit you to stand upright, or it meets the passages of similar character opening in various directions and extending into the heart of the hill, how far no one can say. In short, this is a perfect labyrinth in which, without a clue, one might very soon be lost."

He also mentions one at San Pietro, Toscanella, "in the cliffs below the Madonna dell’ Olivo, about half a mile from the town. Here a long, sewer-like passage leads into a spacious chamber of irregular form, with two massive columns supporting its ceiling and a rude pilaster on the wall behind. But the peculiarity of the tomb lies in a cuniculus or passage cut in the rock, just large enough for a man to creep through on all-fours, which, entering the wall on one side after a long gyration and sundry branchings, now blocked with earth, opens in the opposite wall of the tomb."

These Etruscan labyrinths were all of a sepulchral character, and one is naturally reminded of the catacombs of Rome, Paris, and Naples, to which, however, the term "labyrinth" is not customarily applied. Strabo uses the word in reference to a catacomb near Nauplia, which he calls the Labyrinth of the Cyclops. In Pliny's time the word would appear to have been used to denote a winding path following a more or less formal design of intricate

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