Lost in the Labyrinth

Follow the trail of the amazing labyrinth – a path leading back to 3000BC. Invoking the myths of Theseus and the Minotaur in Bronze Age Crete, the mysterious maze has travelled as far east as India and as far west as the Americas. Ancient sources and archaeologists describe them variously as deathly traps, the loci for fertility rites, plans of forts or cities, and symbols of sacrifice. They have been guidelines for pilgrimage, incorporated in grand scale follies and still continue to entangle and intrigue us.


SUGGESTED READING

  • Doob, P.R., 1990, The Idea of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages, London
  • Fisher, A., and Gerster, G.,1990, The Art of the Maze, London
  • Hibbs, V., 1985, The Mendes Maze, London
  • Kern, H., 2000, Through the Labyrinth: Designs and Meanings over 5000 Years, New York
  • Lonegren, S., 2001, Labyrinths: Ancient Myths and Modern Uses, Sterling Publishing
  • Matthews, W.H., 1922, Mazes and Labyrinths, Glastonbury
  • Porter, L.K., 2006, Jerusalem: The Labyrinth in Western Culture from the Middle Ages to the Present Day, Uni of Carbondale, Southern Illinois
  • Snapp, R.R., History of Mazes and Labyrinths - e-article: http://www.emba.uvm.edu/~rsnapp/teaching/cs32/lectures/mazes.pdf
  • Herodotos, Book 2
  • Pliny the Elder, (AD23-AD79) Natural History 36.90
  • Philostratos, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, 4.34


COURSE OUTLINE

  • The myths of Theseus and the Minotaur, the Labyrinth in Crete and the Double Axe
  • The Labyrinth in Egypt and the Near East
  • Labyrinths throughout the world
  • The Christian Labyrinth
  • The Garden Labyrinth
  • The Labyrinth today


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Trace the origin of this intriguing symbol from the Bronze Age to the present day through history, legend and archaeology.
  2. Discover the many and often surprising locations of mazes around the world.
  3. Explore the development of labyrinth symbolism and spirituality.
  4. Travel to unusual and beautiful locations – and perhaps plan your next overseas trip to include some amazing stopovers!

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.