Daedalus

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In Greek mythology, Daedalus was a skillful craftsman and artist. He is the father of Icarus, the uncle of Perdix and possibly also the father of Iapyx, although this is unclear.


Daedalus was so proud of his achievements that he could not bear the idea of a rival. His sister had placed her son, named variously as Perdix, Talus, or Calos, under his charge to be taught the mechanical arts. He was an art scholar and showed striking evidence of ingenuity. Walking on the seashore, he picked up the spine of a fish. According to Ovid, imitating it, he took a piece of iron and notched it on the edge, and thus invented the saw. He put two pieces of iron together, connecting them at one end with a rivet, and sharpening the other ends, and made a pair of compasses. Daedalus was so envious of his nephew's accomplishments that he took an opportunity and caused him to fall from the Acropolis. Athena turned Perdix into a partridge and left a scar that looks like a partridge on Daedalus' right shoulder and Daedalus left Athens due to this.

Pompeii - Casa dei Vettii - Pasiphae

He also created the Labyrinth on Crete, GeorgeF.Watts-Minotaurosin which the Minotaur (part man, part bull) was kept.  the Labyrinth as an edifice rather than a single dancing path to the center and out again, and gave it numberless winding passages and turns that opened into one another, seeming to have neither beginning nor end. Daedalus built the labyrinth for King Minos, who needed it to imprison his wife's son the Minotaur. The story is told that Poseidon had given a white bull to Minos so that he might use it as a sacrifice. Instead, Minos kept it for himself; and in revenge, Poseidon made his wife Pasiphaë lust for the bull with the help of Aphrodite. For Pasiphaë, as Greek mythologers interpreted it, Daedalus also built a wooden cow so she could mate with the bull, for the Greeks imagined the Minoan bull of the sun to be an actual, earthly bull, the slaying of which later required a heroic effort by Theseus. This story thus encourages others to consider the long-term consequences of their own inventions with great care, lest those inventions do more harm than good. As in the tale of Icarus' wings, Daedalus is portrayed assisting in the creation of something that has subsequent negative consequences, in this case with his creation of the monstrous Minotaur's almost impenetrable Labyrinth, which made slaying the beast an endeavour of legendary difficulty.

 Daedalus was shut up in a tower to prevent his knowledge of his Labyrinth from spreading to the public. He could not leave Crete by sea, as the king kept strict watch on all vessels, permitting none to sail without being carefully searched. Since Minos controlled the land and sea routes, Daedalus set to work to fabricate wings for himself and his young son Icarus. Icarus by PecheuxHe tied feathers together, from smallest to largest so as to form an increasing surface. Landon-IcarusandDaedalusHe secured the feathers at their midpoints with string and at their bases with wax, and gave the whole a gentle curvature like the wings of a bird. When the work was done, the artist, waving his wings, found himself buoyed upward and hung suspended, poising himself on the beaten air. He next equipped his son in the same manner, and taught him how to fly. When both were prepared for flight, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high, because the heat of the sun would melt the wax, nor too low, because the sea foam would soak the feathers.They had passed Samos, Delos and Lebynthos by the time the boy, forgetting himself, began to soar upward toward the sun. PBrueghelElderIcarusThe blazing sun softened the wax that held the feathers together and they came off. Icarus quickly fell in the sea and drowned. His father cried, bitterly lamenting his own arts, and called the land near the place where Icarus fell into the ocean Icaria in memory of his child. 

Further to the west Daedalus arrived safely in Sicily, in the care of King Cocalus of Kamikos on the island's south coast; there Daedalus built a temple to Apollo, and hung up his wings, an offering to the god. 

Minos, meanwhile, searched for Daedalus by travelling from city to city asking a riddle. He presented a spiral seashell and asked for a string to be run through it. When he reached Kamikos, King Cocalus, knowing Daedalus would be able to solve the riddle, privately fetched the old man to him. He tied the string to an ant which, lured by a drop of honey at one end, walked through the seashell stringing it all the way through. Minos then knew Daedalus was in the court of King Cocalus and demanded he be handed over. Cocalus managed to convince Minos to take a bath first, where Cocalus' daughters killed Minos. In some versions, Daedalus himself poured boiling water on Minos and killed him.

It is said he first conceived masts and sails for ships for the navy of Minos. He is said to have carved statues so well they looked as if alive; even possessing self-motion. They would have escaped if not for the chain that bound them to the wall.

In Pliny's Natural History  he is credited with inventing carpentry "and with it the saw, axe, plumb-line, drill, glue, and isinglass".

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