This website has been included in Intute - Science Engineering and Technology (November 2007).
-this page in Romanian.

Through Mazes to Mathematics


This late 12th Century manuscript maze (13cm in diameter) is in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich (Clm. 14731, Fol 82 v.). The text above the maze reads CUM MINOTHAURO PUGNAT THESEUS [IN] LABORINTO. = Theseus fights with the Minotaur in the Labyrinth.


Click for larger image.

The maze design was clearly intended to be the 12-level simple, alternating, transit maze with level sequence 0 3 2 1 4 7 6 5 8 11 10 9 12, a common maze in medieval manuscripts, but the 11th level was taken over by the center image (traces of it are still visible); level 8 is led directly to the center; levels 9 and 10 are now cut off from the rest of the path, and have been joined separately to the center. The topological meaning of the maze has been sacrificed to the visual impact of the composition.

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Tony Phillips
Math Dept SUNY Stony Brook
tony@math.sunysb.edu
May 3 2013