A mass of buildings or garden—walks, so complicated as to puzzle strangers to extricate themselves. Said to be so called from Labyris, an Egyptian monarch of the 12th dynasty. The chief labyrinths are:
(1) The Egyptian, by Petesuchis or Tithoes, near the Lake Moeris. It had 3,000 apartments, half of which were underground. (B.C. 1800.) Pliny, xxxvi. 13; and Pomponius Mela, i. 9.
(2) The Cretan, by Dæ'dalos, for imprisoning the Minotaur. The only means of finding a way out of it was by help of a skein of thread. (SeeVirgil: Æneid, v.)
(3) The Cretan conduit, which had 1,000 branches or turnings.
(4) The Lemnian, by the architects Zmilus, Rholus, and Theodorus. It had 150 columns, so nicely adjusted that a child could turn them. Vestiges of this labyrinth were still in existence in the time of Pliny.
(5) The labyrinth of Clusium, made by Lars Porsena, King of Etruria, for his tomb.
(6) The Samian, by Theodorus (B.C. 540). Referred to by Pliny; by Herodotos, ii. 145; by Strabo, x.; and by Diodorus Siculus, i.
(7) The labyrinth at Woodstock, by Henry II., for the Fair Rosamond.
(8) Of mazes formed by hedges. The best known is that of Hampton Court.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894