Daidalos

In answer to a prayer of Minos, Poseidon sent him up a most beautiful bull from the sea, which so delighted him that he would not sacrifice it, as he had promised to do, but substituted an inferior victim. The god, in revenge, made Pasiphae conceive an unnatural lust for the bull. Now it chanced that Daidalos, the most cnnmng of all craftsmen, was at that time an exile in Crete from his native Athens. He had had for apprentice his nephew Talos or Perdix, who bade fair to out-do his master, for he invented the saw. The jealous Daidalos—it is the well-known folktale of the Prentice Pillar in its Greek form—flung him into the sea, whereat he was changed into the bird (the partridge) which bears his name; Daidalos, either being actually condemned by the Areiopagos for his deed or fearing the unpopularity that would result from his unnatural conduct, escaped to Crete, and there wrought many works for the king and queen. The latter conofided her hideous passion to him, and by disguising her as a cow he contrived that it should be satisfied. She bore a horrible monster, half bull and half man, known as the Minotaur, or Minos’ bull. To dispose of this creature, Daidalos made a maze, the Labyrinth, in the centre of which it was placed.

Daidalos, as already mentioned, was an Athenian; Sokrates, in jest or in earnest, claimed descent from him. He would appear to have been a sort of patron saint of craftsmen (Sokrates himself was a sculptor, as his father had been before him). He was the son of Metion (‘Knowledgeable man’) and descended from the craftsmen’s god Hephaistos. After his arrival in Crete, he found that Minos would not let him go again; he therefore got hold of wax and feathers, and made wings for himself and his son Ikaros. With these they succeeded in flying away, but Ikaros, flying too near the sun, melted his wings, fell into the sea near Crete, and was drowned; that portion of the sea was afterwards known by his name. Daidalos escaped to Sicily, or Italy, and Minos, following him to the west, met his end in Sicily, for the local king Kokalos set his three daughters to bathe him, and they drowned him in hot water.

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