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General Reading - Historical Introductions

To discover more about the long and complex history of labyrinths and mazes, and where they are found, these are the titles we particularly recommend:

Labyrinths & Mazes - The Definitive Guide

Jeff Saward
Gaia Books, London, 2003. Published in USA as "Labyrinths & Mazes -
 A Complete Guide" by Lark Books, New York, 2003, and in German language as "Das Große Buch der Labyrinthe und Irrgärten" by AT Verlag, Aarau & Munich, Germany, 2003.

The most up to date and comprehensive sourcebook for researchers, students and enthusiasts, experts and beginners alike. 224 pages and over 400 photos and illustration, plus extensive maps, tables, bibliography and resources.

Caerdroia - the Journal of Mazes & Labyrinths

Founded by Jeff Saward in 1980, each edition of Caerdroia contains a wealth of articles and notes on labyrinths and mazes worldwide and is an especially good source for the latest research, information and theories regarding the origins, history and distribution of labyrinths and mazes. It has now reached 45 editions, although the first 27 are long out of print.

Through the Labyrinth

Hermann Kern, ed. Robert Ferré & Jeff Saward
Prestel, Munich, 2000.

Definitive scholarly catalogue of historic labyrinths from around the world, now translated to English with addenda by Saward and Ferré, this updated edition has 360 pages, with 17 full-colour and 732 black-and-white illustrations. It is an essential (if expensive) addition to the bookshelf of all labyrinth enthusiasts.

Mazes and Labyrinths - Their History & Development

W.H. Matthews
Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1922 -
 reprinted, Dover Publications, New York, 1970.

The 1922 classic study of the subject, now a rare collectors item, was reprinted in 1970 and remains a charming read, still full of facts and surprising snippets of information.

Mazes and Labyrinths

Nigel Pennick
Robert Hale, London, 1990.

A wide-ranging study of maze and labyrinth history, especially in the UK and Europe, with particular discussion of the geomantic principles of labyrinths and their locations.

The Idea of the Labyrinth from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages

Penelope Reed Doob
Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1990.

Heavy going in places, but this scholarly study of labyrinths from classical antiquity through the mediaeval is an essential source of information on early written texts and authors that mention labyrinths, especially in philosophical and literary works.

The Labyrinth Revival

Robert Ferré
Labyrinth Enterprises, San Antonio, Texas, 2016.

A personal account of the current revival of interest in labyrinths in the USA, by one of the key players.

L'universe Secret du Labyrinthe

Paul de Saint-Hilaire
Robert Laffont, Paris, 1992.

French language guide to mazes and labyrinths, especially in Europe. Historically somewhat unreliable and with some curious speculative asides, but also contains an extensive illustrated gazetteer.

Alle Tiders Labyrinter

Jørgen Thordrup
Dixit, Silkeborg, Denmark, 2002.

Nicely illustrated Danish language study of labyrinths with particular emphasis on Denmark and Scandinavia and much valuable documentation.

The Maze and the Warrior

Craig Wright
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2001.

Excellent scholarly study of the labyrinth symbol in mediaeval and renaissance architecture, theology and music. Despite the authors idiosyncratic use of the words labyrinth and maze, it contains many gems of information.

El Laberinto - Historia y Mito

Marcos Méndez Filesi
Alba, Barcelona, Spain, 2009.

Comprehensive and up to date, this paperback is a solid and concise Spanish-language guide to the history and mythology of labyrinths and mazes, with good coverage of those in the Iberian peninsula.