Daedalus is hailed as one of the most skilled artists and craftsmen in the Ancient Greek world. Said to be the son of the gods Athena and Hephaestus, as well as the son of the mortals Alcippe (daughter to Cecrops, the mythical founder of Athens) and King Erechtheus of Athens, Daedalus’ fame transcended the centuries, with his myths appearing in works by famous authors such as Ovid, Homer, and Pausanius, and appearing in the founding myths of Athens, Crete, and Sicily. His legend also persisted into the later medieval ages, and legends about Daedalus are well known still today.
Daedalus and the Labyrinth
The first mention of Daedalus comes from the works of Homer. In this work he is credited as the creator of the first “dancing-ground” for Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete. In this same myth, he is credited with the creation of the much more well-known labyrinth of Crete, which held the ferocious Minotaur. Said to be a great craftsman, Ovid suggests, in his Metamorphoses, that Daedalus constructed the labyrinth with such cunning that he himself could barely escape once the structure was built. Scholar Robin Lane Fox suggests that Daedalus was known throughout Greece before the works of Homer and as such, he was used as a point of comparison in the story as someone the audience would recognize.
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