The Daedalus Myth

September 30, 2018

Before the last week of the 'Myth and Mythic Adaptations' course run by the Carterhaugh School of folklore and the fantastic I would have been hard pushed to tell you who Daedalus was. Icarus yes, Pasiphae also and Ariadne but not Daedalus.

After reading about the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, of Icarus' flight and Queen Pasiphae's passion, I started to wonder about Daedalus.


Daedalus was a maker, a master craftsman who designed the most famous Labyrinth of all time. He had a son called Icarus who fell to his death while flying one of his dad's creations and rumour has it that a nephew called Perdix was 'accidentally' pushed off the Acropolis (but handily turned into a Partridge by Minerva) because he threatened to show up Daedalus in the ingenuity stakes.






I titled the print 'The Daedalus Myth', to suggest that the 'myth' of Daedalus, of genius handyman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time was a little off and to wonder perhaps if there was an underlying narrative that wanted to punish a particular kind of creativity.



Later on I found an article that confirmed my suspicions, Riemer A. Faber states that


"...Daedalus is depicted as an inventor who transgresses the law of nature and so attempts to emulate the gods, Perdix is a discoverer who remains within the boundary of human ability"*


So my lesson is clear, the Greek Gods are ALWAYS jealous and protective of their domain, so don't even think about it!


I had a lot of fun exploring these mythologies further and poking holes in the stories. One of the things I looked at was the distance between Crete and Icaria, for someone flapping on a construct of wood and feathers it's quite impressive. Oddly this google map was a turning point... it indicated to me at least, that Icarus' death was more a punishment to Daedalus than Icarus for flying too close to the sun.





*Faber, Riemer. "Daedalus, Icarus, and the Fall of Perdix: Continuity and Allusion in Metamorphoses 8.183-259." Hermes126, no. 1 (1998): 80-89.

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