Daidalos / Daedalus

Painting of Daedalus & Icarus

Like A-list celebrities of today Daidalos is a mixture of myth and truth with no way to know the difference. In his day (before 1,500 BC) he was world renowned as an inventor, scientist, engineer, and artist; what is now called a polymath. Best known as the father of Icarus (Ikaros). He also created the Cretan labyrinth that held the Minotaur. That brilliant engineering lead to the death of his son and many  other tragedies—possibly including the downfall of the Minoan civilization and the rise of the Myceanean.

Daidalos’s story is entertainingly told in a well-researched academic book, Into the labyrinth: in search of Daidalos This post is based on an article by the author, Michael Wilson.

Another highlight elaborated upon in the book is that Daidalos is responsible for major advances in Greek sculpture. He was the first to create works with open eyes, arms separated from the sides of the body, and legs with open space between them. These advancements also found there way to the far east as seen in the terra-cotta warriors of Xi’an—see my post about that.

Get the book to read about:

  • Daidalos’s engineering a cow’s body so Queen Pasiphae could be impregnated by her favourite bull to conceive the Minotaur.
  • Ariadne, daughter of King Minos and Pasiphae, who fell in love with Athenian hero Theseus and helped him kill the Minotaur. Then they ran off to Naxos where he abandoned her and she took up with Dionisus, god of wine, festivity, fertility and more.
  • Daidalos’s murder of his nephew, Perdix, and involvement in the assignation of King Minos. And more entanglement in the web of ancient Greek mythology and history.

Other more philosophical books

Published by Michael

Publish travel web sites based on living and working in Ireland, Greece and Czechia

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