Daedalus | Greek Hero

Daedalus Greek Mythology

Daedalus (Greek: Δαίδαλος, transl. Daídalos; Latin: Daedalos; Etruscan: Taitale), in Greek mythology, is a character born in Athens and a descendant of Erectheus.

A noted architect and inventor, whose most famous work is the labyrinth he built for King Minos of Crete to imprison the Minotaur, a monster who was the son of his wife.

Myth, according to Diodorus Siculum


Daedalus was born in Athens, being the son of Metion, son of Eupalamus, son of Erectheus. He had a nephew named Partridge, son of his sister, and a son named Icarus.

Inventor's career

In his early years the architect Daedalus' life was an act of discovery of materials, shapes, volume, and space itself

The murder of Partridge

Once, Daedalus was teaching all he knew to his nephew Partridge, who then invents the potter's wheel and the iron saw. Daedalus, jealous, murders him, and when discovered is condemned, but escapes to Crete.

In Crete

Crete, Daedalus befriends King Minos, but helps Pasiphae disguise herself as a cow to be possessed by the bull of Poseidon. From this relationship the Minotaur is born.

Daedalus then builds the labyrinth of Crete to contain the Minotaur.

Escape from Crete

Daedalus had a son, Icarus. When Minos discovered that Daedalus had made the cow for Pasifae, he fled Crete, with Pasifae's help. Icarus fled with Daedalus, but died in a naval accident on the island that came to be called Icharia. Daedalus takes refuge in Sicily, at the court of King Cochalus.

Diodorus presents the alternative version that Daedalus fled Crete by flying: with his unparalleled ingenuity, he constructs for himself and his son two pairs of feathered wings, bound with wax, to escape.

Icarus, dazzled by the beauty of the firmament, soars too high and the sun melts the wax from his wings, precipitating him into the waters of the Aegean Sea, while Daedalus manages to reach Sicily. Diodorus Siculum comments that he does not believe this version much, but he could not fail to mention this myth.

Daedalus in Sicily

Daedalus spent a good deal of time working for King Cocalus, building various wonders.

Minos, however, when he learned that Daedalus had taken refuge in Sicily, and being the lord of the seas, decided to wage a campaign against the island. Landing with a large force on the island, at the place called henceforth Heracleia Minoa, Minos demanded of Cocalus that he deliver Daedalus to him to be punished.

Cocalus, however, brought Minos as a guest to his palace, and murdered Minos while bathing by boiling him in hot water. Cocalus returned Minos' body to the Cretans, saying that he had drowned himself in the bath; the Cretans buried him in Sicily, at the place where the city of Acragas (present-day Agrigento) was later founded, and stayed there until Terone, tyrant of Acragas, returned his bones to the Cretans.