The Roman maze is unicursal and usually appears divided into four quarters. These mazes are usually located on the floor as tile mosaics, although they have appeared on walls as fresco in Pompeii and elsewhere. The mazes depicted fortified cities with Theseus and the Minotaur in the center square.
The Roman mazes below are typical of the fortified city mosaic floor mazes constructed around 200 A.D.
Mazes are muticursal patterns, more complex than simple labyrinths, with several paths or branches and dead ends through which the solver must find a route to the destination.
Print on paper and walk these labyrinths with finger paints, color crayons or markers. Enlarge and recreate these patterns to create real labyrinths on sidewalks, driveways or on flat surfaces, beaches or in sand or snow.
Make a soft maze mosaic by selecting colorful foam sheets and cut into random shapes with scissors to mix together then view solutions to all maze puzzles.
Create a maze or labyrinth mosaic by cutting up pieces of colored felt or foam sheets and gluing the pieces onto a surface to make a pattern.
Links to Internet websites on various types of mazes and labyrinths around the world. Many labyrinths and mazes are open to the public and available for tours.
Visit these links to find activities, mumber games and other great learning references and resources for mazes and labyrinths.
Where in the world to find mazes and labyrinths open to the public.
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.
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.