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Beating his wings harder and harder, Icarus soared up into the sky and out over the Aegean Sea. It was hard to believe it but the
plan had worked. For here he was now, flying alongside his father, Daedalus, as they left the island of Crete behind them and
travelled on towards their freedom. Icarus glanced over at his father and grinned.
"Come along, Father," he shouted over the sound of the wind rushing past them. "Smile, weve done it, weve escaped and
were free."
When my feet are back on solid ground and that island is many, many miles behind us, then you will see me smile, Daedalus
yelled back. Now, keep your mind on what we have to do and remember, not too high, not too close to the sun.
Daedalus thought back to the moment, a few days before, when he had thought up the plan that would help them escape - not
only from the labyrinth but from the kingdom of King Minos as well. He cast his mind back even further, to the day when he
realised that his own life and that of his son were in great danger. How had they come to this moment?
Only a short time ago Daedalus was being hailed as the great architect, the skilled inventor, the master craftsman. His incredible
inventions and constructions were known and admired throughout many lands and when he arrived in Crete, many years earlier,
King Minos was happy to welcome him to his land and quickly began to make use of his talents.
One of his first tasks was to construct a huge labyrinth, a vast underground maze of tunnels which twisted and turned in every
possible direction, so that, on entering the labyrinth, a person would very quickly become lost and would be unable to find their
way out again.
This giant maze served one simple purpose. It was to contain the Minotaur, a huge beast, half man, half bull. Standing twice as
high as any man, the Minotaur had horns, as long as a mans arm, with sharp points, on which it skewered its victims. It had
almost unbelievable strength and was constantly hungry hungry for the flesh of humans.
King Minos had come up with his own special way of satisfying the Minotaurs hunger. Every year, he demanded that Athens
send him a tribute of seven young men and seven young women and these would be sacrificed to satisfy the creatures hunger.
One by one they would be forced to enter the labyrinth. They would then wander, sometimes only for hours but sometimes for
many days before, somewhere in the pitch black tunnels, they would encounter the Minotaur.

It goes without saying that none of them was ever seen again. Well, thats not quite true actually, as one of the young men, not
only found and killed the Minotaur, but also found his way out again.
This superhuman was Theseus, the son of King Aegeus of Athens. He had forced his father to agree to let him be sent as one of
the seven young men, swearing that he would somehow kill the Minotaur and return home safely.

As their ship docked in the harbour below the mighty palace of Knossos, and the youths were dragged from the ship, Ariadne,
the daughter of King Minos, was watching.
She saw Theseus and found herself falling in love with him there and then. She vowed to herself that somehow she would help
him when it was his turn to enter the maze. And this was the moment when Daedalus found himself involved, in a way which he
knew would not end well for him and his young son. Ariadne went to him and asked him to help her save Theseus from the jaws
of the Minotaur. He gave her a great ball of flaxen thread.
Somehow you must get this thread to Theseus. Tell him to tie one end to the door of the labyrinth and hang on to the other end.
He can then use it to find his way back out again. But you must be ready to flee the moment he escapes, for, when your father

finds out what you have done, your life will be in great danger.
And so will mine, he thought to himself, so will mine.
Their plan worked well. Theseus found the Minotaur and, after a long battle in the dark passages of the maze, he killed the
beast. Using the thread, he made his way back to the door and to Ariadne. Making their way quickly to his ship, they set sail for
Daedalus was left behind to face the consequences and it took very little time for Minos to find him. The King was angrier than
anyone could remember (and this was a man who was noted for his evil temper). He blamed Daedalus for the whole thing and
dragged both him and Icarus to the door of the labyrinth.
This is where you two will end your days, he screamed. In there, in the dark, along with the rats. With that the guards threw
them inside and swung the heavy door shut.

The myth of Daedalus and Icarus

The myth of Daedalus and Icarus is one of the most known and fascinating Greek Myths, as it consists of both historical and
mythical details.
While in Crete Daedalus created the plan for the Minoan Palace of Knossos, one of the most important archaeological sites in
Crete and Greece today. It was a magnificent architectural design and building, of 1,300 rooms, decorated with stunning
frescoes and artifacts, saved until today. The sculpture of Ariadne in Knossos and many others in Elounda and Karia are also
King Minos and Daedalus had great understanding at first, but their relationships started deteriorating at some point; there are
several versions explaining this sudden change, although the most common one is that Daedalus was the one who advised
Princess Ariadne to give Theseus the thread that helped him come out from the infamous Labyrinth, after killing the Minotaur.
The Labyrinth was a maze built by Daedalus; King Minos wanted a building suitable to imprison the mythical monster
Minotaur, and according to the myth, he used to imprison his enemies in the labyrinth, making sure that they would be killed by
the monster.
Minos was infuriated when found out about the betrayal and imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in the Labyrinth.
The flight of Daedalus and Icarus

Icarus was the young son of Daedalus and Nafsicrate, one of King Minos servants. Daedalus
was way too smart and inventive, thus, he started thinking how he and Icarus would escape the Labyrinth. Knowing that his

architectural creation was too complicated, he figured out that they could not come out on foot. He also knew that the shores of
Crete were perfectly guarded, thus, they would not be able to escape by sea either. The only way left was the air.
Daedalus managed to create gigantic wings, using branches of osier and connected them with wax. He taught Icarus how to fly,
but told him to keep away from the sun because the heat would make the wax melt, destroying the wings.
Daedalus and Icarus managed to escape the Labyrinth and flew to the sky, free. The flight of Daedalus and Icarus was the first
time that man managed to fight the laws of nature and beat gravity.
Icarus death
Although he was warned, Icarus was too young and too enthusiastic about flying. He got excited by the thrill of flying and
carried away by the amazing feeling of freedom and started flying high to salute the sun, diving low to the sea, and then up high
His father Daedalus was trying in vain to make young Icarus to understand that his behavior was dangerous, and Icarus soon
saw his wings melting.
Icarus fell into the sea and drowned. The Icarian Sea, where he fell, was named after him and there is also a nearby small island
called Icaria.
Daedalus -- his name means "skilled worker" -- was a famous architect, inventor, and master craftsman known for having
created many objects that figure prominently in various myths. He had a beloved son named Icarus.
Among the many inventions and creations crafted by Daedalus were the wooden cow he constructed for the queen Pasiphae, the
Labyrinth of the Minotaur at Knossos on the island of Crete, artificial wings for himself and his son Icarus, and he was even
said to have invented images.
The infamous Labyrinth was so cunningly crafted that Daedalus himself could barely find his way out after constructing it. With
countless winding passages and turns that opened into one another, the Labyrinth appeared to have neither beginning nor end.
Daedalus built the maze to imprison the Minotaur, half man - half bull.
His homeland was Athens but his parentage is uncertain. Alcippe, Merope and Iphinoe are all mentioned at different times as
being his mother. His father's identity was never precisely established but many claim that it was Metion, son of Erectheus.
For a short time, his apprentice was his sister's son Perdix. But Daedalus was so proud of his achievements that he could not
bear the idea of a rival. His sister had placed her son Perdix under his charge to be taught the mechanical arts.
Perdix was an apt 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.
Perdix also 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 seized an opportunity to toss him from the hill of the
Acropolis. As he was plunging to his death, however, the goddess Athena turned Perdix into a partridge to save him.
Other sources claim instead that his apprentice was his nephew Talos. They say that it was Talos, at the age of twelve, who
displayed a skill that nearly rivaled his mentor's. Daedalus, fearing that the boy would surpass him in talent, murdered the boy

by tossing him from the Acropolis of Athens.

He was then tried at the Areiopagus, which was the ancient Greek court, and banished from his home city of Athens. He fled to
the island of Crete, where he began to work at the court of King Minos and Queen Pasiphae, in the magnificent palace of
It is said that Daedalus was the first to conceive masts and sails for ships for the navy of Minos, helping Crete become a naval
power. The statues he carved were so exquisite, they looked as if they were alive. It is said that they would have escaped were it
not for the chain that bound them to the palace wall.
Daedelus also constructed a wooden cow for the queen to hide in to satisfy her amorous longings for a white bull sent by
Poseidon, and by which she became pregnant with the Minotaur. Long story.
When the dreadful Minotaur was born, Daedalus built the Labyrinth to contain the monstrous half-man, half-bull. For years
Minos demanded a tribute of youths from Athens to feed the creature as punishment for the accidental killing of his son while
he was visiting Athens.
Eventually, the Athenian hero Theseus came to Crete to attempt to slay the Minotaur. Princess Ariadne, daughter of king Minos
and queen Pasiphae, fell in love with Theseus and asked Daedalus to help him.
Daedalus gave her a flaxen thread for Theseus to tie to the door of the Labyrinth as he entered, and by which he could find his
way out after killing the monster, simply by following the thread back. Theseus succeeded, and escaped Crete with Ariadne.
Minos, enraged at the loss of his daughter, not to mention the killing of his pet Minotaur, shut Daedalus and his son Icarus into
the Labyrinth, knowing that Theseus could not have accomplished the deed without inside help.
Daedalus managed to get out of the Labyrinth - after all, he had built it and knew his way around. Daedalus decided that he and
his son Icarus had to leave Crete and get away from Minos, before he brought them harm.
However, Minos controlled the sea around Crete: the king kept strict watch on all vessels, permitting none to sail without being
carefully searched by his soldiers.
Since Minos controlled the land and sea routes, and there was no route of escape there. Daedalus realized that the only way out
was by air. But only the gods could fly!
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. The Icarian Sea, where he fell, was forever named after him and it is said that the great hero Heracles (Hercules), who
was passing by, gave him proper burial.
Daedalus grieved for his dead son and then continued to Sicily, where he came to stay at the court of Cocalus in a place called
Camicus. On the island's south coast Daedalus built a temple to Apollo, and hung up his wings, as an offering to the Olympian
But vengeful King Minos wasn't quite done -- he then went in pursuit of Daedalus, hoping to locate and trick the great inventor
into revealing himself.
At each city he visited, Minos offered a reward to whomever could thread a spiral seashell, a seemingly impossible task.
Eventually, Minos came to Camicus in Sicily and presented the contest at Cocalus' court.
Cocalus knew of Daedalus' talents, and gave the shell to him. The clever Daedalus tied the string to an ant, place the ant at one
end of the shell, and allowed the ant to walk through the spiral chambers until it came out the other end.

When Minos saw that someone had solved the puzzle, he demanded that Cocalus surrender Daedalus, for he insisted that only
he would have been inventive enough to solve the task. King Cocalus promised to do so, but he persuaded Minos to first take a
bath and stay for some entertainment.
Minos agreed, and was consequently murdered by Cocalus' daughters, who had been totally impressed by the toys and gifts
which Daedalus had bestowed upon them and did not want any harm to come to him.
In some versions of the myth, Daedalus himself poured boiling water on Minos and killed him.
Daedalus eventually left Camicus, much to the dismay of king Cocalus and his daughters, and ended up in Sardinia with a group
led by Iolaus, who was a nephew of Heracles.
This tragic theme of failed ambition, complacency and hubris contains similarities to that of Phathon, the son of sun god
Helios, who wildly and recklessly flew his father's sun chariot and was killed for his foolishness.
(Myth Man's note: in some versions of the myth it is suggested that Icarus drowned as he and his father attempted to swim to
freedom, or that they built a boat and sailed away, only to have it capsize, leading to the death of Icarus. I prefer the "escape by
air" version. Don't you wish that Icarus had listened to his father?)

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 selfconfidence, 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.
Theseus, 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 fallen Icarus.