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Posts Tagged ‘11-circuit classical labyrinth’

The Babylons are surely related to the widespread Troy Towns of the European North. However, they look a little bit different.
Directly after the entrance there is a bifurcation and therefore it is possible to go on in two directions. And then often there is no real middle, but rather you are headed back in a double spiral.

The Troy Town of Visby (Gotland Island, Sweden)

The Troy Town of Visby (Gotland Island, Sweden), Source: Ernst Krause, Die Trojaburgen Nordeuropas, 1893, fig. 1, p. 4

However, how could they have developed?
Numerous stone labyrinths have survived down to the present day in Fennoscandia. The Babylons are to be found particularly in the eastern area, from Finland up to the Russian Kola Peninsula. Often they are situated near the coast and on islands. The natives of Northern Europe, the Sami, settled here. It is possible that the Babylons deal with the traditional Sami religion.
They have presumably originated from the 13th century on until our times. And they were built in the same way: With stones fist-sized to head-sized laid down on the ground.

However, why do the Babylons look different and do not follow the well-known seed pattern with cross, angles and four dots? Much Scandinavian Troy Towns have eleven circuits and have been laid after the enlarged seed pattern.

The 11-circuit Cretan (Classical) labyrinth with the seed pattern of the cross, the four double angles and the four dots

The 11-circuit Cretan (Classical) labyrinth with the seed pattern of the cross, the four double angles and the four dots, on the right in a round shape

Thereby divergences and variations appeared. This can happen quite easily through this construction method.
Thus there are Swedish Troy Towns with the open cross which enables to take two directions to reach the middle, and to organise a race, e.g. This is why these also often are called “Jungfrudans” or “Jungfruringen”.

9-circuit stone labyrinth (Jungfruringen) at Köpmanholm (Sweden)

9-circuit stone labyrinth (Jungfruringen) at Köpmanholm (Sweden), Source: © John Kraft, Die Göttin im Labyrinth (1997), fig. 7, p. 26 (German edition)

In the seed pattern for this labyrinth double angles only were used in the lower area. So we have 9 circuits.

Here the layout for a 11-circuit labyrinth:

The 11-circuit Cretan (Classical) labyrinth, on the right with open cross

The 11-circuit Cretan (Classical) labyrinth, on the right with open cross

In the report of Budovskiy I found a graphics (from 1973?) by Prof. Kuratov who has carried out a division of labyrinths and wanted probably show how the Babylon developed (see the sketched line in the graphics).

The table of Prof. Kuratov

The table of Prof. Kuratov

In the first column a sort of principle is to be seen. As first the whole Cretan labyrinth. In the second the left-handed spiral, in the third the right-handed spiral, then the double spiral and below circles.
In row Ia we see the Cretan type in different variations.
In row Ib the open cross and a decreasing middle.
In row II a right-handed spiral and the faulty stone setting discovered by Karl Ernst von Baer (1792 – 1876) in 1838 on the island of Wiehr.
In row III the Babylon with the double spiral.
In row IV some multiple-arm labyrinths which remind of the medieval labyrinths.

The open cross occurs several times under the Scandinavian labyrinths. Besides, the empty middle sometimes becomes smaller and then even slides under the two upper turning points. Finally, it is only indicated and then left out completely.

The drawing of John Kraft shows this:

The Troy Town of Nisseviken (Sweden)

The Troy Town of Nisseviken (Sweden), Source: graphic by © John Kraft in Gotländskt Arkiv 1983 on Gotlands trojeborgar, p. 87

I have found in a report about the Babylons on WeirdRussia, beside numerous photos, also this graphic :

Stone setting on the Bolshoi Zayatsky Island

Stone setting on the Bolshoi Zayatsky Island

The middle exists next to nothing. It is rather a niche or a widening of the way. In this area small stone heaps are sometimes stacked up. Should they show the gate to the underworld or the belly of the snake? The ends of the boundary lines are thickened. This is quite easy to make with some more stones.
The labyrinth has changed its meaning, with this its appearance and became the walk-through labyrinth.

Here the layout in geometrically correct form:

 

Babylon Solovki

Babylon Solovki

Presumably most of the Babylons correspond to this shape.

On this photo one can recognise very well the alignment.

There is a graphic with a little “rounder” double spiral in the table of Prof. Kuratov and in Vinogradov’s report which I have still shown in my last post (see below).

There are  obviously some among the Finnish stone settings which look rather so.

Graphics of a Babylon according to Vinogradov

Graphics of a Babylon according to Vinogradov

According to most of the photos the Babylons doesn’t look exactly like this. The entrance is narrower and has a short straight piece.

Actually, one must consider them as a Wunderkreis. Even if they don’t have such a perfect double spiral like the Zeiden Wunderkreis. The Wunderkreise of Kaufbeuren or Eberswalde matches more likely the Babylons.

How could one call this type? In the last post I had suggested: Babylonian Wunderkreis. However, now I tend rather to Sami Wunderkreis because it developed in the cultural area of the Sami and probably was used in the cult of the dead.

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Is there a relationship between the 11-circuit Chartres labyrinth and the mostly 11-circuit Troy Towns in Scandinavia?
What for relations, resemblances or differences exist there?

The Chartres Labyrinth

The Chartres Labyrinth

The Troy Town of Visby

The Troy Town of Visby

The Chartres labyrinth was built about 1200 in the cathedral of Chartres. The Troy Towns presumably came up between the 13th and 15th century, maybe there are even prehistoric examples. Most have 11 circuits; however, there are also some with 7 or 15 circuits.
The Troy Towns are related to the Turf mazes (better: turf labyrinths). Most of the still preserved British turf labyrinths are from the type Chartres with 11 circuits, only two are classical ones with 7, respectively 15 circuits. Two German historical turf labyrinths have 11 circuits and are from the classical type. The type Chartres can hardly ever be found among the Scandinavian Troy Towns.

Can one compare both nevertheless very different types generally with each other?
In addition one must transform both a little. Chartres has some special qualities that distinguish it from the other medieval types to which it belongs. These are the six circular elements in the centre, and the circumference  with the 113 lunations. Typically for the medieval types are the “barriers”  in the pathways to force a U-turn. In the Chartres type they are arranged along the horizontal and the vertical axis. We can save the speculations whether this means the crucifixion or Christianisation of the labyrinth. This can be, but it doesn’t to. Because the axes could be also arranged in other angles or it could exist more axes and, nevertheless, it would produce the same path sequence.
The 11 circuits are not an invention for the Chartres type, because the basic pattern of the classical 7-circuit labyrinth generates easily 11 circuits as the Troy Towns prove.

Especially typically for all labyrinth types is the alignment of the circuits that is revealed in the path sequence: this is the order in which the single circuits are walked successively. It determines the quality of a labyrinth. For this shows the rhythm or the melody, or even the dramaturgy of the path guidance of a labyrinth.

Can we leave out the barriers and do we than still have a labyrinth? Or differently expressed: Can we make from a labyrinth with four axes one with only one?
Yes, it is possible in the type Chartres. This doesn’t succeed with every medieval labyrinth (e.g., with the type Reims, Sens, Bayeux, Auxerre). This already points to the high quality of the Chartres type.
What path sequence results?
The following graphic makes it clear. Simultaneously the seed pattern for the walls contained in the labyrinth is marked with black lines. So we can compare the Chartres labyrinth with the Troy Town.
Path sequence Chartres: 5-4-3-2-1-6-11-10-9-8-7-12

Graphic Chartres

Graphic Chartres

To make the Troy Town comparable with Chartres, it has been transformed into a circular form. In the graphic of the Troy Town the seed pattern contained in it is also emphasised in black. The transformation doesn’t change the path sequence. As well as it makes no difference whether the labyrinth is right- or left-handed or whether it is circular or angular, briefly: which form it has.
Path sequence Troy Town: 5-2-3-4-1-6-11-8-9-10-7-12

Graphic Troy Town

Graphic Troy Town

The comparison shows that in both types the first turn to left arises in lane 5. Chartres continues with 4-3-2, the Troy Town with 2-3-4, so in reverse order. Than the order is 1-6-11 in both types. Than Chartres 10-9-8, the Troy Town 8-9-10, so again reverse. At the end both types turn into the middle from lane 7.
Some passages are identical, at two places the order is alternated. By now a certain resemblance is to be found between both types.

Now we develop from the seed pattern in the Chartres type (without barriers) a classical 11-circuit labyrinth (just a Troy Town) in usual manner. The seed pattern is brought into an angular form and the right parts are lowered down a pathways width. Now it is not quadratic as we are habituated, but rectangular (twice as high as broad), and the central cross emerges. We transformed the circular model with a large centre into a round model with a small centre.
The path sequence in this Troy Town is identical of those in the Chartres labyrinth:
5-4-3-2-1-6-11-10-9-8-7-12

Graphic Troy Town type Chartres

Graphic Troy Town type Chartres

To my knowledge such a labyrinth never turned up so far.
Whether the master builders at that time knew about these correlations between the Troy Towns and the Chartres labyrinth, I do not know.
I rather believe they did not. It is remarkable that the Chartres type apparently not influenced the Scandinavian Troy Towns, surely the British turf labyrinths. For me is clear, nevertheless: There is a bigger relationship between the classical labyrinths and the medieval types than some up to now have accepted. And it shows the extraordinary quality and originality of the Chartres of type.

At once it documents that the medieval types were “generated” after other points of view and methods than with a seed pattern. I find substantially the introduction of the “barriers” to attain more U-turns and segments with the same number of circuits in a labyrinth. Or differently expressed: To change the path sequence.
It would be interesting to find out; when for the first time the barriers appeared in the labyrinth. Since they are crucial for the advancement of the classical labyrinths, and are decisive for the origin of the medieval types.

Possible further posts

  • How does the Troy Town look like developed from the Otfrid labyrinth?
  • How the Chartres Labyrinth hides 7 classical 7-circuit labyrinths
  • The relationship of the 7-circuit Chartres labyrinth (type Greys Court) with the classical 7-circuit labyrinth
  • How to transform a classical 7-circuit labyrinth into a Chartres labyrinth
  • The path sequence in the Chartres labyrinth

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or:

How could the Troy Towns in the Scandinavian countries have been built ?

The oldest and most of walkable labyrinths throughout the world are found there. And nearly all are made of field stones in all sizes. So it can be assumed that the homeland of the labyrinths lies there.

In the meantime we know how to draw a classical 7-circuit labyrinth. Building one can be proceeded in the same way. One puts the basic pattern, that is arranged in a square, and goes on in curves. Instead of using stones one can make it with sawdust or bark mulch or logs or any other objects.

The best way is to begin inside and then going outwards. You can do it alone or together with others. Then you must agree on what to do and how to connect the lines.

If you want to make a permanent labyrinth, you should think about the overall size, the width of the path, the alignment and the exact position.

The example shown here is a labyrinth with 11 circuits, thus 4 more than usual. The 4 more results simply from the fact that in the 4 quadrants of the square still one further angle is inserted.
And you may guess it: Adding still 4 angles more results in a labyrinth with 15 circuits, and so on.

Thus the Swedish Troy Towns, that I could explore last year, could have been developed.

The seed pattern

The seed pattern

The first arch (=the center)

The first arch (=the center)

Four arches

Four arches

Five arches

Five arches

Nine arches

Nine arches

Ten arches

Ten arches

Eleven arches

Eleven arches

Twelve arches (=11 circuits)

Twelve arches (=11 circuits)

One must simply connect the last free stone on the one side (left of the center) with the last free stone on the other side (right of the center) in a curve parallel to the preceding one.

Here a small 7-paths labyrinth, put 2007 at the beach of Folhammar (Gotland, Sweden) by Lisa.

Stone labyrinth (8 walls, 7 circuits)

Stone labyrinth (8 walls, 7 circuits)

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