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Classical labyrinth.
Medieval labyrinth.
Walking the famous labyrinth on floor of Chartres Cathedral.
Chakravyuha, a threefold seed pattern with a spiral at the centre, one of the troop formations employed at the battle of Kurukshetra, as recounted in the Mahabharata.
I'itoi, the "Man in the Maze", a popular design in Native American basketry.

In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth (Greek λαβύρινθος labyrinthos) was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull and was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. Daedalus had made the Labyrinth so cunningly that he himself could barely escape it after he built it.[1] Theseus was aided by Ariadne, who provided him with a skein of thread, literally the "clew", or "clue", so he could find his way out again.

In colloquial English labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze, but many contemporary scholars observe a distinction between the two: maze refers to a complex branching puzzle with choices of path and direction; while a single-path (unicursal) labyrinth has only a single, non-branching path, which leads to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and is not designed to be difficult to navigate.[2]

Although early Cretan coins occasionally exhibit multicursal patterns,[3] the unicursal seven-course "Classical" design became associated with the Labyrinth on coins as early as 430 BC,[4] and became widely used to represent the Labyrinth – even though both logic and literary descriptions make it clear that the Minotaur was trapped in a complex branching maze.[5] Even as the designs became more elaborate, visual depictions of the Labyrinth from Roman times until the Renaissance are almost invariably unicursal. Branching mazes were reintroduced only when garden mazes became popular in the Renaissance.

Labyrinths appeared as designs on pottery or basketry, as body art, and etched on walls of caves or churches. The Romans built many primarily decorative labyrinth designs on walls and floors in tile or mosaic. Many labyrinths set in floors or on the ground are large enough that the path to the center and back can be walked. They have historically been used both in group ritual and for private meditation.


Ancient labyrinths

Pliny's Natural History mentions four ancient labyrinths: the Cretan labyrinth, an Egyptian labyrinth, a Lemnian labyrinth and an Italian labyrinth.

Labyrinth is a word of pre-Greek (Minoan) origin absorbed by Classical Greek and is perhaps related to the Lydian labrys ("double-edged axe", a symbol of royal power, which fits with the theory that the labyrinth was originally the royal Minoan palace on Crete and meant "palace of the double-axe"), with -inthos meaning "place" (as in Corinth). The complex palace of Knossos in Crete is usually implicated, though the actual dancing-ground, depicted in frescoed patterns at Knossos, has not been found. Something was being shown to visitors as a labyrinth at Knossos in the 1st century AD (Philostratos, De vita Apollonii Tyanei iv.34).[6]

Greek mythology did not recall, however, that in Crete there was a Lady who presided over the Labyrinth. A tablet inscribed in Linear B found at Knossos records a gift "to all the gods honey; to the mistress of the labyrinth honey." All the gods together receive as much honey as the Mistress of the Labyrinth alone. "She must have been a Great Goddess," Kerényi observes.[7]

The labyrinth is the referent in the familiar Greek patterns of the endlessly running meander, to give the "Greek key" its common modern name. In the 3rd century BC, coins from Knossos were still struck with the labyrinth symbol. The predominant labyrinth form during this period is the simple seven-circuit style known as the classical labyrinth.

The term labyrinth came to be applied to any unicursal maze, whether of a particular circular shape (illustration) or rendered as square. At the center, a decisive turn brought one out again. In the Socratic dialogue that Plato produced as Euthydemus, Socrates describes the labyrinthine line of a logical argument:

"Then it seemed like falling into a labyrinth: we thought we were at the finish, but our way bent round and we found ourselves as it were back at the beginning, and just as far from that which we were seeking at first." ... Thus the present-day notion of a labyrinth as a place where one can lose [his] way must be set aside. It is a confusing path, hard to follow without a thread, but, provided [the traverser] is not devoured at the midpoint, it leads surely, despite twists and turns, back to the beginning.[8]

Cretan labyrinth at Knossos

Wrapped in legend, but also clearly manifested in the archaeological record, is the huge Bronze Age labyrinth at Knossos. The Cretan labyrinth had been a dancing-ground and was made for Ariadne rather than for Minos. This was mentioned by Homer in the Iliad xviii.590–593, where, in the pattern that Hephaestus inscribed on Achilles' shield, one incident pictured was a dancing-ground "like the one that Daedalus designed in the spacious town of Knossos for Ariadne of the lovely locks." Even the labyrinth dance was depicted on the shield, where "youths and marriageable maidens were dancing on it with their hands on one another's wrists... circling as smoothly on their accomplished feet as the wheel of a potter...and there they ran in lines to meet each other."

Herodotus' Egyptian labyrinth

Even more generally, labyrinth might be applied to any extremely complicated maze-like structure. Herodotus, in Book II of his Histories, describes as a "labyrinth" a building complex in Egypt, "near the place called the City of Crocodiles," that he considered to surpass the pyramids in its astonishing ambition:

It has twelve covered courts — six in a row facing north, six south — the gates of the one range exactly fronting the gates of the other. Inside, the building is of two storeys and contains three thousand rooms, of which half are underground, and the other half directly above them. I was taken through the rooms in the upper storey, so what I shall say of them is from my own observation, but the underground ones I can speak of only from report, because the Egyptians in charge refused to let me see them, as they contain the tombs of the kings who built the labyrinth, and also the tombs of the sacred crocodiles. The upper rooms, on the contrary, I did actually see, and it is hard to believe that they are the work of men; the baffling and intricate passages from room to room and from court to court were an endless wonder to me, as we passed from a courtyard into rooms, from rooms into galleries, from galleries into more rooms and thence into yet more courtyards. The roof of every chamber, courtyard, and gallery is, like the walls, of stone. The walls are covered with carved figures, and each court is exquisitely built of white marble and surrounded by a colonnade.[9]

During the 19th century, the remains of the Labyrinth were discovered "11 1/2 miles from the pyramid of Hawara, in the province of Faioum."[10] The Labyrinth was likely modified and added upon "at various times. The names of more than one king have been found there, the oldest" name being that of Amenemhat III.[10] "It is unnecessary to imagine more than that it was monumental, and a monument of more than one king of Egypt."[10]

In 1898, the Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities described the structure as "the largest of all the temples of Egypt, the so-called Labyrinth, of which, however, only the foundation stones have been preserved."[11]

Herodotus' description of the Egyptian Labyrinth, in Book II of The Histories, inspired some central scenes in Bolesław Prus' 1895 historical novel Pharaoh.

Pliny's Lemnian labyrinth

Pliny the Elder's Natural History (36.90) lists the legendary Smilis, reputed to be a contemporary of Daedalus, together with the historical mid-sixth-century BC architects and sculptors Rhoikos and Theodoros as two of the makers of the Lemnian labyrinth, which Andrew Stewart[12] regards as "evidently a misunderstanding of the Samian temple's location en limnais ['in the marsh']."

Pliny's Italian labyrinth

According to Pliny, the tomb of the great Etruscan general Lars Porsena contained an underground maze. Pliny's description of the exposed portion of the tomb is intractable; Pliny, it seems clear, had not observed this structure himself, but is quoting the historian and Roman antiquarian Varro.

Ancient labyrinths outside Europe

Carving showing the warrior Abhimanyu entering the chakravyuhaHoysaleswara temple, Halebidu, India

At about the same time as the appearance of the Greek labyrinth, a topologically identical pattern appeared in Native American culture, the Tohono O'odham labyrinth which features I'itoi, the "Man in the Maze". The Tonoho O'odham pattern has two distinct differences from the Greek: it is radial in design, and the entrance is at the top, where traditional Greek labyrinths have the entrance at the bottom (see below).

A prehistoric petroglyph on a riverbank in Goa shows the same pattern and has been dated to circa 2500 BC. Other examples have been found among cave art in northern India and on a dolmen shrine in the Nilgiri Mountains, but are difficult to date accurately. Early labyrinths in India all follow the Classical pattern; some have been described as plans of forts or cities.[13]

Labyrinths appear in Indian manuscripts and Tantric texts from the 17th century onward. They are often called "Chakravyuha" in reference to an impregnable battle formation described in the ancient Mahabharata epic. Lanka, the capital city of mythic Rāvana, is described as a labyrinth in the 1910 translation of Al-Beruni's India (c.1030CE) p. 306 (with a diagram on the following page).[14]

By the White Sea, notably on the Solovetsky Islands, there have been preserved more than 30 stone labyrinths. The most remarkable monument is the Stone labyrinths of Bolshoi Zayatsky Island - a group of 13–14 stone labyrinths on 0.4 km2 area of one small island. It is considered that these labyrinths are 2,000–3,000 years old.[15]

Labyrinth as pattern

In antiquity, the less complicated labyrinth pattern familiar from medieval examples was already developed. In Roman floor mosaics, the simple classical labyrinth is framed in the meander border pattern, squared off as the medium requires, but still recognisable. Often an image of the Minotaur appears in the centre of these mosaic labyrinths. Roman meander patterns gradually developed in complexity towards the fourfold shape that is now familiarly known as the medieval form. The labyrinth retains its connection with death and a triumphant return: at Hadrumentum in North Africa (now Sousse), a Roman family tomb has a fourfold labyrinth mosaic floor with a dying minotaur in the center and a mosaic inscription: HICINCLUSUS.VITAMPERDIT "Enclosed here, he loses life" (Kerenyi, fig.31).

Medieval labyrinths and turf mazes

Labyrinth in the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of Saint-Remy, Wallonia, Belgium.

The full flowering of the medieval labyrinth design came about during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries with the grand pavement labyrinths of the gothic cathedrals, notably Chartres, Reims and Amiens in northern France and the Duomo di Siena in Tuscany. These labyrinths may have originated as symbolic allusion to the Holy City; prayers and devotions may have accompanied the perambulation of their intricate paths.[16] No contemporary evidence, however, supports this.[17] It is this version of the design that is thought to be the inspiration for the many turf mazes in the UK, such as survive at Wing, Hilton, Alkborough, and Saffron Walden.

Over the same period, some 500 or more non-ecclesiastical labyrinths were constructed in Scandinavia. These labyrinths, generally in coastal areas, are marked out with stones, most often in the simple classical form. They often have names which translate as "Troy Town". They are thought to have been constructed by fishing communities: trapping malevolent trolls or winds in the labyrinth's coils might ensure a safe fishing expedition. There are also stone labyrinths on the Isles of Scilly, although none is known to date back as far as the earliest Scandinavian ones.

There are examples of labyrinths in many disparate cultures. The symbol has appeared in various forms and media (petroglyphs, classic-form, medieval-form, pavement, turf, and basketry) at some time throughout most parts of the world, from Native North and South America to Australia, Java, India, and Nepal.

Modern labyrinths

Labyrinth at St. Lambertus, Mingolsheim, Germany.
Labyrinth on floor of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the labyrinth symbol, which has inspired a revival in labyrinth building, notably at Willen Park, Milton Keynes; Grace Cathedral, San Francisco; Tapton Park, Chesterfield; Old Swedes Church in Wilmington; the Labyrinth in Shed 16 in the Old Port of Montreal, and Trinity Square in Toronto.

Countless computer games depict mazes and labyrinths.

On bobsled, luge, and skeleton tracks, a labyrinth is where there are three to four curves in succession without a straight line in between any of the turns.

In modern imagery, the labyrinth of Daedalus is often represented by a multicursal maze, in which one may become lost.

The myth of the labyrinth has in recent times found incarnation in a stage play by Ilinka Crvenkovska which explores notions of a man's ability to control his own fate. Theseus in an act of suicide is killed by the Minotaur, who is himself killed by the horrified townspeople.[citation needed]

The Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges was entranced with the idea of the labyrinth, and used it extensively in his short stories (such as "The House of Asterion" in The Aleph). His use of it has inspired other authors' works (e.g. Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves). Additionally, Roger Zelazny's fantasy series, The Chronicles of Amber, features a labyrinth, called "the Pattern", which grants those who walk it the power to move between parallel worlds. The avant-garde multi-screen film, In the Labyrinth, presents a search for meaning in a symbolic modern labyrinth. Australian author Sara Douglass incorporated some labyrinthine ideas in her series The Troy Game, in which the Labyrinth on Crete is one of several in the ancient world, created with the cities as a source of magical power.

The labyrinth is also treated in contemporary fine arts. Examples include Piet Mondrian's Dam and Ocean (1915), Joan Miró's Labyrinth (1923), Pablo Picasso's Minotauromachia (1935), M. C. Escher's Relativity (1953), Friedensreich Hundertwasser's Labyrinth (1957), Jean Dubuffet's Logological Cabinet (1970), Richard Long's Connemara sculpture (1971), Joe Tilson's Earth Maze (1975), Richard Fleischner's Chain Link Maze (1978), István Orosz's Atlantis Anamorphosis (2000), Dmitry Rakov's Labyrinth (2003), and Labyrinthine projection by contemporary American artist Mo Morales (2000).

Cultural meanings

Prehistoric labyrinths are believed to have served as traps for malevolent spirits or as defined paths for ritual dances. In medieval times, the labyrinth symbolized a hard path to God with a clearly defined center (God) and one entrance (birth).

Labyrinths can be thought of as symbolic forms of pilgrimage; people can walk the path, ascending toward salvation or enlightenment. Many people could not afford to travel to holy sites and lands, so labyrinths and prayer substituted for such travel. Later, the religious significance of labyrinths faded, and they served primarily for entertainment, though recently their spiritual aspect has seen a resurgence.

Many newly made labyrinths exist today, in churches and parks. Labyrinths are used by modern mystics to help achieve a contemplative state. Walking among the turnings, one loses track of direction and of the outside world, and thus quiets the mind. The Labyrinth Society[18] provides a locator for modern labyrinths all over the world.

See also


  1. ^ Penelope Reed Doob, The Idea of the Labyrinth, p 36.
  2. ^ Kern, Through the Labyrinth, p. 23. The usage restricting maze to patterns that involve choices of path is mentioned by Matthews (p. 2-3) as early as 1922, though he argues against it.
  3. ^ Kern, Through the Labyrinth, 2000, item 43, p. 53.
  4. ^ Kern, Through the Labyrinth, 2000, item 50, p. 54.
  5. ^ Penelope Reed Doob, The Idea of the Labyrinth, pp. 40-41.
  6. ^ Kerenyi, Dionysos, p. 101, n. 171.
  7. ^ Kerenyi, Dionysos, p. 91.
  8. ^ Kerenyi, Dionysos, p. 92f.
  9. ^ Herodotus, The Histories, translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt, Book II, pp. 160-61.
  10. ^ a b c Leonhard Schmitz, George Eden Marindin, Labyrinthus entry, in William Smith et al. (editors), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, published 1890.
  11. ^ Peck, Harry Thurston (chief editor). "Hieratic Papyrus. (Twentieth Dynasty.)" in the Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, published 1898, page 29.
  12. ^ Andrew Stewart, One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works, "Smilis."
  13. ^
  14. ^ Al-Beruni, India, (c.1030 CE), Edward C. Sachau (translator), Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co, London, 1910 Online version from Columbia University Libraries (accessed 5 December 2009)
  15. ^ Stone labyrinths of Bolshoi Zayatsky Island (accessed 5 December 2009)
  16. ^ Labyrinth in Catholic Encyclopedia
  17. ^ Russell, W. M. S.; Claire Russell (1991). "English Turf Mazes, Troy, and the Labyrinth". Folklore (Taylor and Francis) 102 (1): 77–88. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  18. ^


  • Hermann Kern, Through the Labyrinth, ed. Robert Ferré and Jeff Saward, Prestel, 2000, ISBN 3-7913-2144-7. (This is an English translation of Kern's original German monograph Labyrinthe published by Prestel in 1982.)
  • Penelope Reed Doob, The Idea of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages, Cornell University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-80142-393-7.
  • Herodotus, The Histories, Newly translated and with an introduction by Aubrey de Sélincourt, Harmondsworth, England, Penguin Books, 1965.
  • Karl Kereny, Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, Princeton University Press, 1976.
  • Helmut Jaskolski, The Labyrinth: Symbol of Fear, Rebirth and Liberation, Shambala, 1997.
  • Adrian Fisher & Georg Gerster, The Art of the Maze, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990. ISBN 0-297-83027-9.
  • Jeff Saward, Labyrinths and Mazes, Gaia Books Ltd, 2003, ISBN 1-85675-183-X.
  • Jeff Saward, Magical Paths, Mitchell Beazley, 2002, ISBN 1-84000-573-4.
  • W.H. Matthews, Mazes and Labyrinths: Their History and Development, Longmans, Green & Co., 1922. Includes bibliography. Dover Publications reprint, 1970, ISBN 0-486-22614-X.
  • Andrew Stewart, One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works.
  • Henning Eichberg, 2005: "Racing in the labyrinth? About some inner contradictions of running." In: Athletics, Society & Identity. Imeros, Journal for Culture and Technology, 5:1) Athen: Foundation of the Hellenic World, 169-192.
  • Edward Hays, The Lenten Labyrinth: Daily Reflections for the Journey of Lent, Forest of Peace Publishing, 1994.

External links

  • maintained by Jeff Saward
  • The Labyrinth Society
  •, Through Mazes to Mathematics, Exposition by Tony Phillips
  •, Maze classification, Extensive classification of labyrinths and algorithms to solve them.
  •, Lars O. Heintel's collection of handdrawn labyrinths and mazes
  • Website (German) with diagrams and photos of virtually all the public labyrinths in Germany.
  •, German website (German) and (English) with descriptions, animations, links, and especially photos of (mostly European) labyrinths.
  •, British turf labyrinths by Marilyn Clark. Photos and descriptions of the surviving historical turf mazes in Britain.
  •, Jo Edkins's Maze Page, an early website providing a clear overview of the territory and suggestions for further study.
  •, "Die Kretische Labyrinth-Höhle" by Thomas M. Waldmann, rev. 2009 (German) (English) (French) (Greek). Description of a labyrinthine artificial cave system near Gortyn, Crete, widely considered the original labyrinth on Crete. (Presentation somewhat amateurish – including <blink> tags – but many detailed photos.)
  • an educational website about the science of pattern formation, spirals in nature, and spirals in the mythic imagination & labyrinths.
  •, Light-weight site by David Brazzeal, who creates "occasional" labyrinths.
  •, "The Geometry of History", Tessa Morrison, University of Newcastle, Australia. An attempt to extend Phillips's topological classification to more general unicursal labyrinths.


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Labyrinth (film) article)

From Wikiquote

Labyrinth is a 1986 film about a young girl named Sarah who, angry with being forced to babysit her little brother, Toby, wishes for the goblins to take him away. To her surprise, the goblins do, and the Goblin King, Jareth, arrives to make her an offer. In exchange for her brother, she can have her dreams, but Toby will be turned into a goblin and remain in Jareth's kingdom forever. Sarah refuses the offer and must make her way through a dangerous labyrinth to Jareth's castle and retrieve her brother before her time limit of 13 hours is up.

Directed by Jim Henson. Written by Terry Jones.
Where everything seems possible and nothing is what it seems. taglines



  • Give me the child. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great... For my will is as strong as yours. My kingdom is great... Damn. Oh, I can never remember that line.
  • Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young girl whose stepmother always made her stay home with the baby. And the baby was a spoiled child, and wanted everything for himself, and the young girl was practically a slave. But what no one knew is that the king of the goblins had fallen in love with the girl, and he had given her certain powers. So one night, when the baby had been particularly cruel to her, she called on the goblins for help! "Say your right words," the goblins said..
  • I can bear it no longer! Goblin King! Goblin King! Wherever you may be, take this child of mine far away from me!
  • Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great — You have no power over me.

Jareth the Goblin King

  • Sarah, go back to your room. Play with your toys and your costumes. Forget about the baby.
  • It's a crystal. Nothing more. But if you turn it this way and look into it, it will show you your dreams. But this is not a gift for an ordinary girl, who takes care of a screaming baby.
  • You have thirteen hours in which to solve the labyrinth, before your baby brother becomes one of us... forever. Such a pity.
  • In nine hours and twenty-three minutes, you'll be mine!
  • Nothing? Nothing? Nothing tra-la-la?!
  • What is that plastic thing 'round your wrist?
  • So, the Labyrinth's a piece of cake, is it? Well, let's see how you deal with this little slice!
  • I think I'll call him Jareth. He's got my eyes.
  • Everything that you wanted I have done. You asked that child be taken, I took him. You cowered before me and I was frightening. I have reordered time, I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for you! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn't that generous?
  • I ask for so little. Just let me rule you, and you can have everything that you want.
  • Just fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave.
  • Well, laugh.

Other Characters

  • Stepmother: She treats me like a wicked stepmother in a fairy story, no matter what I say.
  • Worm: If she'd 'ave kept on goin' down that way she'd 'ave gone straight to that castle.
  • Hoggle: The Cleaners, the Bog of Stench -- you sure got his attention!
  • Ludo: SMELL BAD!
  • Didymus: I say, does anyone want to play a game of Scrabble?
  • Worm: Come in side, have a nice cup o' tea.
  • Bird Hat: It is so stimulating being your hat!
  • Goblin Cannon Ball: I hit zumzing? Yes? No?
  • Fiery: It's against the rules to throw other people's heads.
  •  :Didymus: You're going the wrong way! The battle's BEHIND us!
  •  :Didymus: (as Ambrosius charges out of the gates) AMBROSIUS, if you don't stop this instant, I WILL NEVER FEED YOU AGAIN! (a screeching sound is heard and Ambrosius comes back inside) There, that's better! Fear not, Ambrosius, I think we have them surrounded! (looks at the goblins surrounding him) Now, if you throw down your weapons, I'll see that you're well treated!


Jareth: Turn back, Sarah. Turn back before it's too late.
Sarah: I can't. Don't you understand that I can't?
Jareth: What a pity.

Sarah: Ow! It bit me!
Hoggle: What'd you expect fairies to do?
Sarah: I thought they did nice things, like granting wishes!
Hoggle: Huh. Shows what you know, don't it?

Hoggle: You know your problem? You take too many things for granted. Take this Labyrinth: even if you get to the centre, you'll never get out again.
Sarah: That's your opinion.
Hoggle: Well, it's a lot better than yours!
Sarah: Thanks for nothing, Hogwart.
Hoggle: [growls] It's HOGGLE, and don't say I didn't warn you!

Worm: Hallo.
Sarah: Did you say... hello?
Worm: No, I said "hallo," but that's close enough.

Worm: No! Don't go that way! Never go that way!
Sarah: Oh... thank you!
(Sarah goes in opposite direction):
Worm: If she had kept going down that way, she would've gone straight to that castle!

Sarah: What a horrible place this is! It's not fair!
Bottom Red Guard: That's right. It's not fair!
[All the guards laugh.]
Bottom Red Guard: But that's only half of it!
Sarah: This was a dead end a minute ago.
Bottom Blue Guard: No, that's the dead end behind you!
[All the guards laugh, and Sarah sees that they are right.]
Sarah: It keeps changing! What am I supposed to do?
Bottom Red Guard: The only way out of here is to try one of these doors.
Bottom Blue Guard: One of them leads to the castle at the centre of the Labyrinth, and the other one leads to...
Top Blue Guard: B-b-b-BOOM!
Bottom Blue Guard: Certain death!
All Guards: Ooooooooh!
Sarah: Which one is which?
Bottom Red Guard: Er, we can't tell you.
Sarah: Why not?
[The bottom guards think and mutter to each other.]
Bottom Red Guard: We don't know!
Bottom Blue Guard: [looks up at top guards] But they do.
Sarah: Oh. Then I'll ask them.
Top Red Guard: No. You can't ask us. You can only ask one of us.
Top Blue Guard: It's the rules, and I should warn you that one of us always tells the truth, and one of us always lies. That's the rules too. He always lies.
Top Red Guard: I do not! I tell the truth!
Top Blue Guard: Oooh, what a lie!

Sarah: Help!
Hands 1: What do you mean help? We are Helping.
Hands 2: We're Helping Hands.

Hoggle: This is an oubliette. Labyrinth's full of 'em.
Sarah: Really... how did you know that?
Hoggle: Oh, don't sound so smart! You don't even know what an oubliette is.
Sarah: Do you?
Hoggle: Yes. It's a place where you put people... to forget about 'em!

False Alarm 1: Don't go on.
False Alarm 2: Go back while you still can.
False Alarm 3: This is not the way.
False Alarm 4: Take heed, and go no further.
False Alarm 5: Beware, beware.
False Alarm 6: Soon it will be too late.
Hoggle: (to Sarah) Don't pay any attention to them. They're just False Alarms. You get a lot of them in the Labyrinth, especially when you're on the right track...
False Alarm 7: Oh, no you're not.
Hoggle: Oh, shut up!
False Alarm 7: Sorry, just doing my job.
Hoggle: Well you don't have to do it to us!
False Alarm 8: Beware, for the...
Hoggle: Just forget it!
False Alarm 8: Oh please, I haven't said it for such a long time!
Hoggle: Oh, all right, but don't expect a big reaction!
False Alarm 8: No no no, of course not! (Clears throat) "For the path you will take will lead to certain destruction." Thank you very much...

Jareth: Hello, Hedgewart.
Sarah: Hogwart.
Hoggle: HOG-GLE!

Jareth: If I thought for one second that you were betraying me, I'd be forced to suspend you head first in the Bog of Eternal Stench.
Jareth: Oh, YES, Hoggle!

Sarah: That's not fair!
Jareth: You say that so often. I wonder what your basis for comparison is.

Hoggle: You need to understand my position: I'm a coward. And Jareth scares me.
Sarah: What kind of position is that?
Hoggle: NO position! That's my point! And you wouldn't be so brave if you'd ever smelled the Bog of Eternal Stench. It's, it's...
Sarah: Is that all it does, it smells?
Hoggle: Oh, believe me, that's enough. But the worst thing is, if you so much as put a foot in the Bog of Stench, you'll smell bad for the rest of your life. It'll never wash off.

Door Knocker 1: [has his ring in his ears] IT'S VERY RUDE TO STARE!
Sarah: I'm sorry, I was just wondering which door to choose.
Knocker 1: What?
Knocker 2: [his ring is in his mouth, muffling his voice] It'th no good athking him, he'th deaf ath a...
Knocker 1: Don't talk with your mouth full!
Knocker 2: [muffled protest] I'm not talkin' with my mouth full!
Sarah: I'm sorry, I can't understand a word you're saying.
Knocker 1: What were you saying?
[Sarah pulls the ring out of the second Knocker's mouth.]
Knocker 2: Aaaah. Oooh. Um, mum. Oh, it is so good to get that thing out.
Sarah: What did you say?
Knocker 2: I said, "It's no good asking him. He's deaf as a..."
Knocker 1: Mumble, mumble, mumble. You're a wonderful conversational companion.
Knocker 1: No good. Can't hear you.

Fiery 1: Hey! Hey! Her head don't come off!
Sarah: Of course it doesn't!
Fiery 2: Hey! Where you going wit a head like that?!

Jareth: Oh dear, poor Hoghead.
Hoggle: Hoggle.
Jareth: I've just noticed that your lovely jewels are missing.
Hoggle: Uh, oh, yes! So they are. My lovely jewels. Missing. I'd better find 'em, but first, I'll take that young lady back to the beginning, just like we planned!
Jareth: Wait! I've got a much better plan, Hoggle. Give her this.
[Jareth tosses him a peach.]
Hoggle: What is it?
Jareth: It's a present.
Hoggle: Ain't gonna hurt the little lady, is it?
Jareth: Now, why the concern?
Hoggle: I won't do nothin' to harm her.
Jareth: Oh, come, come, come, Hogbrain! I'm suprised at you, losing your head over a girl.
Hoggle: I ain't lost my head!
Jareth: You don't think a young girl could like a repulsive little scab like you, do you?
Hoggle: Well, she did say we was...
Jareth: What? Bosom companions? [dangerously] Friends?
Hoggle: It don't matter.
Jareth: You'll give her that peach, Hoggle, or I'll dip you straight into the Bog of Eternal Stench before you can blink! And Hoggle, if she ever kisses you, I'll turn you into a prince.
Hoggle: Y-you will?
Jareth: Prince of the Land of Stench! [laughs]

Hoggle: What did you have to go and do a thing like that for?!
Sarah: You mean rescue you?
Hoggle: No! You kissed me!

Didymus: I have sworn with my lifeblood no one shall pass this way without my permission.
Sarah: Well... May we have your permission?
Didymus: Well I, uh... I... that is, uh... hm... yes.

Sir Didymus: My brother! Canst thou summon up the very rocks?
Ludo: Sure. Rocks friends.

Sarah: Sir Didymus, for my sake, hush!
Didymus: But of course, for thee, anything!
Sarah: Thank you.
Didymus: (following the others inside) I don't see why we're being so quiet. It's only a goblin city!

Sarah: Give me the child.
Jareth: Sarah, beware. I have been generous, up until now. But I can be cruel.
Sarah: (disbelieving) Generous? What have you done that's generous?
Jareth: Everything! Everything that you wanted, I have done! You asked that the baby be taken - I took him. You cowered before me - I was frightening. I have reordered time, I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for you. I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn't that generous?
Sarah: (dreamily) Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered... I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the goblin city... For my will is as strong as yours... and my kingdom-
Jareth: Stop! Wait. Look, Sarah, look what I'm offering you. (he holds out the crystal) Your dreams!
Sarah: (undeterred) And my kingdom as great...
Jareth: I ask for so little. Just let me rule you, and you can have everything that you want.
Sarah: My kingdom as great... ... damn... I can never remember that line.
Jareth: Just fear me - love me - do as I say, and I will be your slave!
Sarah: My kingdom as great... my kingdom as great... (she looks at him, inspired) You have no power over me!

Song Lyrics

  • It's only forever, it's not long at all...
  • Don't tell me truth hurts, little girl, 'cause it hurts like hell (hurts like hell, hurts like hell)...
  • Down in The Underground, you'll find someone true...
  • You remind me of the babe (what babe?) the babe with the power (what power?) the power of voodoo (who do?) you do (do what?) remind me of the babe...
  • Good times, bad food...
  • There's such a sad love deep in your eyes, a kind of pale jewel, opened and closed within your eyes, I'll place the sky within your eyes...
  • I'll paint you mornings of gold, I'll spin you Valentine evenings...
  • Everything I've done, I've done for you. I move the stars for no one...
  • Your eyes can be so cruel, just as I can be so cruel...
  • Slap that baby, make him free!
  • Life without the sunlight. Love without your heartbeat. I... I can live within you.


  • Where everything seems possible and nothing is what it seems.
  • Where anything is possible.


External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LABYRINTH (Gr. Aaf3uptvOos, Lat. labyrinthus), the name given by the Greeks and Romans to buildings, entirely or partly subterranean, containing a number of chambers and intricate passages, which rendered egress puzzling and difficult. The word is considered by some to be of Egyptian origin, while others connect it with the Gr. Xavpa, the passage of a mine. Another derivation suggested is from Aaf3pus, a Lydian or Carian word meaning a "double-edged axe" (Journal of Hellenic Studies, xxi. 109, 268), according to which the Cretan labyrinth or palace of Minos was the house of the double axe, the symbol of Zeus.

Pliny (Nat. Hist. xxxvi. 19, 91) mentions the following as the four famous labyrinths of antiquity.

r. The Egyptian: of which a description is given by Herodotus (ii. 148) and Strabo (xvii. 811). It was situated to the east of Lake Moeris, opposite the ancient site of Arsinoe or Crocodilopolis. According to Egyptologists, the word means "the temple at the entrance of the lake." According to Herodotus, the entire building, surrounded by a single wall, contained twelve courts and 3000 chambers, 1500 above and 1500 below ground. The roofs were wholly of stone, and the walls covered with sculpture. On one side stood a pyramid 40 orgyiae, or about 243 ft. high. Herodotus himself went through the upper chambers, but was not permitted to visit those underground, which he was told contained the tombs of the kings who had built the labyrinth, and of the sacred crocodiles. Other ancient authorities considered that it was built as a place of meeting for the Egyptian nomes or political divisions; but it is more likely that it was intended for sepulchral purposes. It was the work of Amenemhe III., of the 12th dynasty, who lived about 2300 B.C. It was first located by the Egyptologist Lepsius to the north of Hawara in the Fayum, and (in 1888) Flinders Petrie discovered its foundation, the extent of which is about l000 ft. long by Boo ft. wide. Immediately to the north of it is the pyramid of Hawara, in which the mummies of the king and his daughter have been found (see W. M. Flinders Petrie, Hawara, Biahmu, and Arsinoe, 1889).

2. The Cretan: said to have been built by Daedalus on the plan of the Egyptian, and famous for its connexion with the legend of the Minotaur. It is doubtful whether it ever had any real existence and Diodorus Siculus says that in his time it had already disappeared. By the older writers it was placed near Cnossus, and is represented on coins of that city, but nothing corresponding to it has been found during the course of the recent excavations, unless the royal palace was meant. The rocks of Crete are full of winding caves, which gave the first idea of the legendary labyrinth. Later writers (for instance, Claudian, De sexto Cons. Honorii, 634) place it near Gortyna, and a set of winding passages and chambers close to that place is still pointed out as the labyrinth; these are, however, in reality ancient quarries.

3. The Lemnian: similar in construction to the Egyptian. Remains of it existed in the time of Pliny. Its chief feature was its r 50 columns.

4. The Italian: a series of chambers in the lower part of the tomb of Porsena at Clusium. This tomb was 300 ft. square and 50 ft. high, and underneath it was a labyrinth, from which FIG. 1. - Labyrinth of London and Wise.

it was exceedingly difficult to find an exit without the assistance of a clew of thread. It has been maintained that this tomb is to be recognized in the mound named Poggio Gajella near Chiusi.

Lastly, Pliny (xxxvi. 19) applies the word to a rude drawing on the ground or pavement, to some extent anticipating the modern or garden maze.

On the Egyptian labyrinth see A. Wiedemann, Agyptische Geschichte (1884), p. 258, and his edition of the second book of Herodotus (:890); on the Cretan, C. Hock, Kreta (1823-1829), and A. J. Evans in Journal of Hellenic Studies; on the subject generally, articles in Roscher's Lexikon der Mythologie and Daremberg and Saglio's Dictionnaire des antiquites. In gardening, a labyrinth or maze means an intricate network of pathways enclosed by hedges or plantations, so that those FIG. 2. - Labyrinth of Batty Langley. who enter become bewildered in their efforts to find the centre or make their exit. It is a remnant of the old geometrical style of gardening. There are two methods of forming it. That which is perhaps the more common consists of walks, or alleys as they FIG. 3. - Labyrinth at Versailles.

were formerly called, laid out and kept to an equal width or nearly so by parallel hedges, which should be so close and thick that the eye cannot readily penetrate them. The task is to get to the centre, which is often raised, and generally contains a covered seat, a fountain, a statue or even a small group of trees. After reaching this point the next thing is to return to the entrance, when it is found that egress is as difficult as ingress. To every design of this sort there should be a key, but even those who know the key are apt to be perplexed. Sometimes the design consists of alleys only, as in fig. 1, published in 1706 by London and Wise. In such a case, when the farther end is reached, there only remains to travel back again. Of a more pretentious character was a design published by Switzer in 1742.

FIG. 4. - Maze at Hampton Court.

This is of octagonal form, with very numerous parallel hedges and paths, and "six different entrances, whereof there is but one that leads to the centre, and that is attended with some difficulties and a great many stops." Some of the older designs for labyrinths, however, avoid this close parallelism of the alleys, which, though equally involved and intricate in their windings, are carried through blocks of thick planting, as shown in fig. 2, from a design published in 1728 by Batty Langley. These blocks of shrubbery have been called wildernesses. To this latter class belongs the celebrated labyrinth at Versailles (fig. 3), of which Switzer observes, that it "is allowed by all to be the noblest of its kind in the world." Whatever style be adopted, it is essential that there should be a thick healthy growth of the hedges or shrubberies that confine the wanderer. The trees used should be impenetrable to the eye, and so tall that no one can look over them; and the paths should be of gravel and well kept. The trees chiefly used for the hedges, and the best for the purpose, are the hornbeam among deciduous trees, or the yew among evergreens. The beech might be used instead of the hornbeam on suitable soil. The green holly might be planted FIG. 5. - Maze at Somerleyton Hall.

as an evergreen with very good results, and so might the American arbor vitae if the natural soil presented no obstacle. The ground must be well prepared, so as to give the trees a good start, and a mulching of manure during the early years of their growth would be of much advantage. They must be kept trimmed in or clipped, especially in their earlier stages; trimming with the knife is much to be preferred to clipping with shears. Any plants getting much in advance of the rest should be topped, and the whole kept to some 4 ft. or 5 ft. in height until the lower parts are well thickened, when it may be allowed to acquire the allotted height by moderate annual increments. In cutting, the hedge (as indeed all hedges) should be XVI. 2 kept broadest at the base and narrowed upwards, which prevents it from getting thin and bare below by the stronger growth being drawn to the tops.

The maze in the gardens at Hampton Court Palace (fig. 4) is considered one of the finest examples in England. It was planted in the early part of the reign of William III., though it has been supposed that a maze had existed there since the time of Henry VIII. It is constructed on the hedge and alley system, and was, it is believed, originally planted with hornbeam, but many of the plants have been replaced by hollies, yews, &c., so that the vegetation is mixed. The walks are about half a mile in length, and the ground occupied is a little over a quarter of an acre. The centre contains two large trees, with a seat beneath each. The key to reach this resting place is to keep the right hand continuously in contact with the hedge from first to last, going round all the stops.

The maze in the gardens at Somerleyton Hall, near Lowestoft (fig. 5), was designed by Mr John Thomas. The hedges are of English FIG. 6. - Labyrinth in Horticultural Society's Garden.

yew, are about 62 ft. high, and have been planted about sixty years. In the centre is a grass mound, raised to the height of the hedges, and on this mound is a pagoda, approached by a curved grass path. At the two corners on the western side are banks of laurels 15 or 16 ft. high. On each side of the hedges throughout the labyrinth is a small strip of grass.

There was also a labyrinth at Theobald's Park, near Cheshunt, when this place passed from the earl of Salisbury into the possession of James I. Another is said to have existed at Wimbledon House, the seat of Earl Spencer, which was probably laid out by Brown in the 18th century. There is an interesting labyrinth, somewhat after the plan of fig 2, at Mistley Place, Manningtree.

When the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society at South Kensington were being planned, Albert, Prince Consort, the president of the society, especially desired that there should be a maze formed in the ante-garden, which was made in the form shown in fig. 6. This labyrinth, designed by Lieut. W. A. Nesfield, was for many years the chief point of attraction to the younger visitors to the gardens; but it was allowed to go to ruin, and had to be destroyed. The gardens themselves are now built over. (T. Mo.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also labyrinth


German Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia de


Labyrinth n.

  1. labyrinth
  2. maze (technically not quite correct, compare w:Labyrinth and w:Maze)

See also

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki


This page is a stub. Help us expand it, and you get a cookie.

Box artwork for Labyrinth.
Developer(s) Lucasfilm Games
Publisher(s) Activision
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Adventure
System(s) Commodore 64/128, Apple II, MSX2
Players 1
For the Famicom version developed by Tokuma Shoten, see Labyrinth (Famicom).

Labyrinth (also known as Labyrinth: The Computer Game) is a graphic adventure computer game, inspired by the Jim Henson fantasy film, Labyrinth. The game was developed by Lucasfilm Games (now LucasArts) and published by Activision in 1986 for the Apple IIe and IIc, Commodore 64/128, and translated into Japanese by Pack-In-Video for the MSX2. It was the first adventure game to be developed by the LucasArts development house, and as such it can be seen as a more primitive precursor to the development of the SCUMM game engine. It is also one of the few adventure games made by the company to not use a variation of the SCUMM game engine (the other games being the GrimE-based Grim Fandango and Escape from Monkey Island). The game engine and graphics are very similar to a later work by Lucasfilm Games called Habitat.

Labyrinth is a menu-driven adventure game, played from a third-person perspective. The game begins by asking the player their name and gender, the game then opens as a text-based adventure. During the text-based portion of the game the player goes to the theater to see the film Labyrinth. The movie starts and an image of Jareth comes on the movie screen, after which the game becomes a graphic adventure.

Table of Contents

Labyrinth/Table of Contents

Simple English

The Labyrinth is a palace built by Daedalus by order of King Minos of Crete to hold his son, the Minautor, a bloodthirsty man with a bull head. The name became synonymous of a place where the exit is hard to find, either purposefully or not.


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