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Mazes and Labyrinths

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Author Topic: Mazes and Labyrinths  (Read 4584 times)
Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #60 on: March 19, 2009, 01:33:11 pm »

Consider, for instance, the "kylix" or bowl in the British Museum which is shown in Fig. 38. (A similar bowl is preserved in Harrow School Museum.) On it are represented most of the exploits of the hero up to his Knossian adventure. All who are familiar with the legend will recognise at a glance Periphetes the Club-bearer, Sinis the Pine-bender, the Wild Sow of Krommyon, Kerkyon the Wrestler, Procrustes of the Standard Bed, and other gentlefolk that Theseus successively encountered and appropriately dealt with on his initial journey to Athens. In the centre of the bowl is shown the adventure of the Labyrinth, the hero being seen in the act of despatching the monster at the very door of his lair. The meander on the door-post has been thought to symbolise the Labyrinth, but there is more reason to suppose that it is purely decorative.

The Minotaur exploit is also shown on the smaller bowl shown in Fig. 39.

In the previous chapter we have already referred to an Etruscan vase found at Tragliatella. This was very roughly decorated with incised figures, representing amongst other things a circular labyrinth of the traditional type and some horsemen who are thought to be engaged either in the attack on Troy or in the game known as the Lusus Trojae or Game of Troy. That there can be no doubt about the artist's identification of the labyrinth in some way with the celebrated city in question is clear from the word Truia scratched within it (Fig. 133).

Representations of the labyrinth were sometimes en-graved on ancient gems, a fine specimen of which is figured in P. A. Maffei's "Gemme Antiche" (Fig. 40), published in 1707. The Minotaur in this case is shown as a centaur. A similar representation appears on a sixteenth-century bronze plaquette of Italian workmanship exhibited in the Plaquette Room at the British Museum (Fig. 41. See plate, p. 60).

Before leaving the subject of the Labyrinth in ancient

 

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