THE MYTH OF DAEDALUS & ICARUS
Daedalus was a highly respected and talented Athenian artisan
descendent from the royal family of Cecrops, the mythical first king of Athens.
He was known for his skill as an architect, sculpture, and inventor, and he produced
many famous works. Despite his self-confidence, Daedalus once committed a crime
of envy against Talus, his nephew and apprentice. Talus, who seemed destined to
become as great an artisan as his uncle Daedalus, was inspired one day to invent
the saw after having seen the way a snake used its jaws. Daedalus, momentarily
stricken with jealousy, threw Talus off of the Acropolis. For this crime, Daedalus
was exiled to Crete and placed in the service of King Minos, where he eventually
had a son, Icarus, with the beautiful Naucrate, a mistress-slave of the King.
Minos called on Daedalus to build the famous Labyrinth in
order to imprison the dreaded Minotaur. The Minotaur was a monster with the
head of a bull and the body of a man. He was the son of Pasiphae, the wife
of Minos, and a bull that Poseidon had sent to Minos as a gift. Minos was
shamed by the birth of this horrible creature and resolved to imprison the
Minotaur in the Labyrinth where it fed on humans, which were taken as "tribute"
by Minos and sacrificed to the Minotaur in memory of his fallen son Androgenos.
the heroic King of Athens, volunteered himself to be sent to the Minotaur
in the hopes of killing the beast and ending the "human tribute" that his
city was forced to pay Minos. When Theseus arrived to Crete, Ariadne, Minos's
daughter, fell in love with him and wished to help him survive the Minotaur.
Daedalus revealed the mystery of the Labyrinth to Ariadne who in turn advised
Theseus, thus enabling him to slay the Minotaur and escape from the Labyrinth.
When Minos found out what Daedalus had done he was so enraged that he imprisoned
Daedalus & Icarus in the Labyrinth themselves.
Daedalus conceived to escape from the Labyrinth with Icarus
from Crete by constructing wings and then flying to safety. He built the wings
from feathers and wax, and before the two set off he warned Icarus not to
fly too low lest his wings touch the waves and get wet, and not too high lest
the sun melt the wax. But the young Icarus, overwhelmed by the thrill of flying,
did not heed his father's warning, and flew too close to the sun whereupon
the wax in his wings melted and he fell into the sea. Daedalus escaped to
Sicily and Icarus' body was carried ashore by the current to an island then
without a name. Heracles came across the body and recognized it, giving it
burial where today there still stands a small rock promontory jutting out
into the Aegean Sea, and naming the island and the sea around it after the
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE MYTH OF
IKAROS AND OTHER GREEK MYTHS VISIT THE GREEK MYTHOLOGY SITE AT
Greek Mythology Books With References To Icarus & Daedalus