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Mazes and Labyrinths

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Author Topic: Mazes and Labyrinths  (Read 2459 times)
Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #75 on: April 03, 2009, 01:24:21 pm »

 54

CHAPTER IX
CHURCH LABYRINTHS
THE consideration of labyrinths worked in Roman mosaic pavements leads us on to a very interesting development of the subject which deserves a chapter to itself, namely, the Labyrinth in the Church.

Probably the oldest known example of this nature is that in the ancient basilica of Reparatus at Orléansville (Algeria), an edifice which is believed to date from the fourth century A.D. In the pavement near the north-west entrance of the church is the design shown in outline in Fig. 42. It measures about 8 ft. in diameter and shows great resemblance to the Roman pavement found at Harpham and the tomb-mosaic at Susa. At the centre is a jeu-de-lettres on the words SANCTA ECLESIA, which may be read in any direction, except diagonally, commencing at the centre. But for the employment of these words the labyrinth in question might well have been conceived to be a Roman relic utilised by the builders of the church to ornament their pavement. Such pavement-labyrinths, however, with or without central figures or other embellishments, and of various dimensions and composition, are found in many of the old churches of France and Italy.

They seem to have been constructed chiefly during the twelfth century, and although several of them have been destroyed many fine examples still remain. Some

p. 55

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