Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The First Documented Labyrinth 最初の記録された迷宮

“...they decided to leave a common memorial of their reigns, and for this purpose constructed a labyrinth a little above Lake Moeris, near the place called the City of Crocodiles. I have seen this building, and it is beyond my power to describe... The pyramids, too, are astonishing structures, each one of them equal to many of the most ambitious works of Greece; but the labyrinth surpasses them. It has six covered courts – six in a row facing north, six south – the gates of one range exactly fronting the gates of another, with a continuous wall round the outside of the whole. Inside, the building is of two storeys and contains three thousand rooms, of which half are underground, and the other half directly above them... the underground ones I can speak of only from report, because the Egyptians in charge refused to let me see them, as they contained the tombs of the kings who built the labyrinth, and also the tombs of the sacred crocodiles. The upper rooms, on the contrary, I did actually see, and it is hard to believe that they are the work of men; the baffling and intricate passages from room to room and from court to court were an endless wonder to me, as we passed from a courtyard into rooms, from rooms into galleries, from galleries into more rooms, and thence into yet more courtyards. The roof of every chamber, courtyard, and gallery is, like the walls, of stone. The walls are covered with carved figures, and each court is exquisitely built of white marble and surrounded by a colonnade...”


“...others, again, assert that it was a building dedicated to the Sun-god...”

“...in addition it must contain temples of all the gods of Egypt and forty statues of Nemesis in the same number of sacred shrines, as well as numerous pyramids... banquet halls reached by steep ascents, flights of ninety steps leading down form the porticoes, porphyritic columns, figures of gods and hideous monsters, and statues of kings. Some of the palaces are so made that the opening of a door makes a terrifying sound as of thunder. Most of the buildings are in total darkness...”

~the Roman writer, Pomponius Mela


  1. Interesting...the original labyrinth designs, certainly in Europe, but there is a more-than co-incidental global universality to certain fundamentals, were not built structures, but 2D devices, glyphs that you put at entrances to buildings, the idea being that evil spirits would become distracted and eventually trapped by them, rather than enter the house. clearly here the origin of minotaur type myths.

  2. Dream catchers are indeed another kind of labyrinth, though they imitate the spider's web. Is it really so clear, the link between the minotaur myth and these glyphs? There was also a dance of the Minoans, said to represent a labyrinth, and used in battle formations.