What is Special about the Nîmes Labyrinth

In my last post I have pointed to the special layout of this roman mosaic labyrinth (see related posts below).

Figure 1. Mosaic labyrinth of Nîmes

Figure 1. Mosaic labyrinth of Nîmes

In the meantime I had a closer look at it and found six peculiarities.

Figure 2. The Peculiarities

Figure 2. The Peculiarities

  1. Here, there is no diagonal (as opposed to the 3 fine dashed lines from the middle to the other three corners). Along each of these diagonals, the pathway is bent by 90° degrees. Therefore, all circuits only make three bends of 1/4 of a circle.
  2. Accordingly, the turns of the pathway that normally lie beyond the axis (on the side opposite to the entrance) are oriented horizontally, not vertically.
  3. Moreover, they are not arranged in one line as normally, and as are the turns of the pathway on this side of the axis too.
  4. The three inner circuits (circuits 5 – 7) lie entirely on this side of the axis and thus cover only quadrants 1 and 2.
  5. Correspondingly, quadrants 3 and 4 are only covered by the four outer circuits (circuits 1 – 4).
  6. And, as if this were not enough, the center makes one exception. Instead of entering the center axially, the pathway makes one additional turn of 1/4 of a circle before it reaches the center. Therefore it enters the center in parallel with the way into the labyrinth. First I thought, the designer might have wanted to mislead the observer about the true 3/4 – nature of this labyrinth. A closer look at it, however, reveals, that this last turn of the pathway is an inevitable result of the chosen layout for the course of the pathway.

It surprises me again and again how interesting some of the historical labyrinths are.

Related Posts

Variants of the Cretan Labyrinth

3 thoughts on “What is Special about the Nîmes Labyrinth

  1. Pingback: Five Steps to the Nîmes Labyrinth | blogmymaze

  2. Andreas,
    thank you one more time for your very deep insights into the nature of the labyrinth. We just have to pay more attention what is behind all the lines we thought to know so well. We don’t care much enough for our cultutral heritage.


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