Very Brief Overview of the History of Mazes and Labyrinths
Since the beginning of documented civilization, labyrinths and spiral patterns have been found everywhere ancient indigenous people have lived and traveled.
The most commonly known design is the seven circuit Cretan labyrinth designed during the Minoan civilization on Crete around 2500 B.C. The Cretan labyrinth is considered to be the classical design. The earliest found Crete labyrinth image is scratched into a clay tablet fragment of pottery from the palace of King Nestor at Pylos in southern Greece. The intense heat of a fire that had destroyed the palace preserved the clay tablet.
The Cretan labyrinth told the mythological story of Theseus and the Minotaur. The Cretan labyrinth was an elaborately built maze like structure designed to hold the Minotaur, a horrible half-man, half bull creature that threatened King Minos of Crete. King Minos ordered Daedalus to construct the labyrinth so the Minotaur could never escape. Apparently Daedalus built the labyrinth so well that he barely escaped after construction was completed.
Even though he was trapped in the Labyrinth, the Minotaur demanded periodic sacrifices of women and warriors alike, so Theseus, along with the aid of King Minos' daughter Ariadne, destroyed the Minotaur. Theseus went on to be considered a legendary hero in Greece.
History of Mazes and Labyrinths
Mazes and labyrinths have undergone quite an evolution since the first cave dweller scratched the first spiral labyrinth on the cave wall. To learn more about the labyrinth and maze visit the resources and definitions pages.
Modern mazes include these giant Corn Maze Crop Circle seen in these photos provided by NASA.