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Roman Labyrinths

While the classical labyrinth was known throughout the Roman Empire, the popular use of the labyrinth as a design element in mosaic flooring resulted in a number of interesting developments, all conveniently classifiable as "Roman" varieties. While rarely encountered amongst the examples created during the current revival, these labyrinths are of considerable interest, as they represent the first real attempts to create different forms of the genre and the first major changes to a symbol that had already been in circulation for nearly two thousand years. Several researchers have attempted further classification of Roman designs, based on mathematical or geometrical properties, which allow the majority of the sixty or so Roman mosaic labyrinths to be designated as meander, serpentine, or spiral types.

 

A typical Roman labyrinth design of the simple meander type, laid in the early fourth century CE, at Harpham, England.
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