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Daedalus

DAEDALUS, a mythical Greek architect and sculptor, who figures largely in the early legends of Crete and of Athens. He was said to have built the labyrinth for Minos, to have made a wooden cow for Pasiphae and to have fashioned a bronze man who repelled the Argonauts. Falling under the displeasure of Minos, he fashioned wings for himself and his son Icarus, and escaped to Sicily. These legends seem primarily to belong to Crete; and the Athenian element in them which connected Daedalus with the royal house of Erechtheus is a later fabrication. To Daedalus the Greeks of the historic age were in the habit of attributing buildings, and statues the origin of which was lost in the past, and which had no inscription belonging to them. In a later verse in the Iliad (date, 7th or 6th century), Daedalus is mentioned as the maker of a dancing-place for Ariadne in Crete; and such a dancing-place has been discovered by A. J. Evans, in the Minoan palace of Cnossus. Diodorus Siculus says that he executed various works in Sicily for King Cocalus. In many cities of Greece there were rude wooden statues, said to be by him. Later critics, judging from their own notions of the natural course of development in art, ascribed to Daedalus such improvements as separating the legs of statues and opening their eyes. In fact the name Daedalus is a mere symbol, standing for a particular phase of early Greek art, when wood was the chief material, and other substances were let into it for variety.

This Daedalus must not be confused with Daedalus of Sicyon, a great sculptor of the early part of the 4th century B.C., none of whose works is extant. (P. G.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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