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[edit] Advice from Eli Hunt - how to make an omphalabyrinth (link)

[edit] May 28, 08:55pm
Kai here. I just received a very interesting email from Eli Hunt.
I asked him for help understanding the "make omph knot" mission. His advice? Learn from history.
I'll post the entire letter below. The short version is:
1) We need to master the historical principles of designing labyrinths.
2) We need to follow the ancient military practices of tracing labyrinths on the earth's surface.
Here's his letter. It answers pretty much all of our questions about making city-sized labyrinths. So I'm going to start sending out the tracksticks tomorrow. Keep your private messages coming. Even if you're not sure your city needs an omphalabyrinth, let me know RIGHT NOW if you're willing and ready. That way I'll be able to move faster when the cities are revealed.
Dear Kai,
I have received your updates on the urgent trackstick mission. I understand from your questions that some of my research would be of assistance in determining how best to make the omphalos knots.
Please take the following information under advisement, and please share it with your city captains.
Regarding labyrinth design:
Concentricity is the primary requirement of all labyrinth design. The center of the labyrinth must be as close to the true center as possible, geographically. It cannot be "off center" - to the far top, bottom, right, or left of the overall design.
Furthermore, the rings must be of uniform width, or at least very close to uniform width. The path should not get wider and narrower as it twists and turns.
Perfect symmetry, on the other hand, is not a requirement, although it is certainly considered the hallmark of a powerful labyrinth. It is something I think our designs should aspire to, within the limitations of urban space.
For further information regarding labyrinth design, this article by esteemed colleague Tessa Morrison is a useful reference: "THE TYPOLOGY OF THE MEANDERING SYMBOL AND AN APPLICATION OF THIS TYPOLOGY TO THE CRETAN LABYRINTH".
Regarding the practice of tracing labyrinths:
The military labyrinth exercises, which I believe are the most likely precedent for making the omph knot, were not blindfolded exercises. Therefore I would not advise undertaking this mission blindfolded.
Furthermore, this historical record reveals that the labyrinth exercises were often completed on horses. Therefore, I suspect we may use our modern "horse power" if necessary to build the most powerful labyrinths possible. However, the path may require a combination of means of transporting the trackstick. To this end, relays seem aviable strategy.
Relays, however, do seem to be a historical strategy. Although relays are not a requirement, for very large labyrinths even with "horse power" I believe it would require either Olympian endurance or relay assistance.
it is important to note that these military exercises were team exercises. It is therefore likely that mission captains will be more successful running this mission as a team -- no doubt with as many strengths represented as possible. Perhaps a dikaiosune friend of yours would be able to better identify the exact duties of each strength type on a city-sized labyrinth mission.
Finally, I believe that it is extremely important to record both geographic location and speed so that if the pattern needs to be repeated elsewhere, it can be. For example, if other agonothetai need to tie the knot in the world to which our allies wish to travel home. As I understand it, these omph knots are not synchronising labyrinths. They are more like... portals. If we build one door out, we need to know that someone else is able to build a door in. So simultaneous labyrinths, they are not. But must they be exactly repeated in some other world? Yes. That is why I am so pleased that you have arranged for technology for the mission that will record exact speed and location so accurately.
An excellent summary of the military games can be found here. Fiction writer Sara Douglass also has an interesting theory about "The Troy Game" that alludes to city-sized labyrinths. Her essay, while somewhat fanciful, is very revealing: No doubt her research has uncovered some evidence of omph-knots in the history of this world. Sometimes we hide our most important secrets in the guise of "fiction", do we not?
Please share this information with your agonothetai. In return, I will send news of Ariadne very soon.
Sincerely yours,
Eli Hunt

Tags: omphalabyrinth eli_hunt omph knot kai

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