Daedalus and Icarus

Greek Mythology



Daedalus the Smith, an Athenian, was a renowned craftsman, artist and engineer. Employed by King Minos as his Master Craftsman,  Daedalus having conspired with Pasiphae in her hazardous venture, and building the labyrith to imprison the Minotaur was, because of his deception, incarcerated with his son, in the inescapable prison he had himself designed.


Daedalus and Icarus made their escape from the labyrinth, using wings made from feathers and wax. Daedalus managed to reach Sicily, but Icarus in his excitement flew too close to the sun, melting the wax that held his wings together, plunged into the sea, afterwards named Icarian after him, causing his death. This flight was 3000 years before Leonardo da Vinci designed his flying machines.


Daedalus found employment at the court of King Cocalus of Sicily, but King Minos pursued him, searching each country around the Mediterranean Sea. Trying to bring Daedalus out of hiding, he offered a large prize for anyone who could pass a thread through a spiral shell. The King of Sicily obtained the shell and Daedalus passed a thread through it by fastening it to an ant who walked through the twisting spiral dragging the thread with it.


Minos knew he had located his quarry, and demanded Cocalus hand him over. This he promised to do, but following a banquet held in Minos's honour, Minos was "undone" in his bathroom by the young daughters of Cocalus.