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Mazes and Labyrinths

28 29 Five Roman labyrinths have been found in the British Isles to date and the one shown opposite is from Harpham in Yorkshire. Measuring eleven feet across it is dated to 304 AD and can now be seen at the City Hall of KingstonuponHull in Humberside. The design is known as a triplemeander, the quadrants each containing three repeats, the four being completed in an anticlockwise order. A similar Roman labyrinth found at Caerleon in Gwent can be seen in the Caerleon Museum. It too is a triplemeander but, unusually, the journey is clockwise. The word labyrinth is obscure. It may or may not be relevant that the Labrys, the doubleheaded axe carried on a bundle of rods by Roman youths and carved into one of the stones at Stonehenge, has a shape roughly similar to the classical brain labyrinth described on the next page. Then again, early Etruscan pitchers showing the labyrinth shape bear the word Truia, which means arena or dance floor. Sadly, Ariadnes dance is lost to history, and seems to already have deteriorated into The Game of Troy by the time of Virgil. We can only wonder what role might have been played by Ariadnes thread, as the dancers of this game hypnotically moved in and out of her coils. HArpHAM a triple meander
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