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[8] But not long afterwards, being master of the sea, he attacked Athens with a fleet and captured Megara, then ruled by king Nisus, son of Pandion, and he slew Megareus, son of Hippomenes, who had come from Onchestus to the help of Nisus.1 Now Nisus perished through his daughter's treachery. For he had a purple hair on the middle of his head, and an oracle ran that when it was pulled out he should die; and his daughter Scylla fell in love with Minos and pulled out the hair. But when Minos had made himself master of Megara, he tied the damsel by the feet to the stern of the ship and drowned her.2

When the war lingered on and he could not take Athens, he prayed to Zeus that he might be avenged on the Athenians. And the city being visited with a famine and a pestilence, the Athenians at first, in obedience to an ancient oracle, slaughtered the daughters of Hyacinth, to wit, Antheis, Aegleis, Lytaea, and Orthaea, on the grave of Geraestus, the Cyclops; now Hyacinth, the father of the damsels, had come from Lacedaemon and dwelt in Athens.3 But when this was of no avail, they inquired of the oracle how they could be delivered; and the god answered them that they should give Minos whatever satisfaction he might choose. So they sent to Minos and left it to him to claim satisfaction. And Minos ordered them to send seven youths and the same number of damsels without weapons to be fodder for the Minotaur.4 Now the Minotaur was confined in a labyrinth, in which he who entered could not find his way out; for many a winding turn shut off the secret outward way.5 The labyrinth was constructed by Daedalus, whose father was Eupalamus, son of Metion, and whose mother was Alcippe;6 for he was an excellent architect and the first inventor of images. He had fled from Athens, because he had thrown down from the acropolis Talos, the son of his sister Perdix;7 for Talos was his pupil, and Daedalus feared that with his talents he might surpass himself, seeing that he had sawed a thin stick with a jawbone of a snake which he had found.8 But the corpse was discovered; Daedalus was tried in the Areopagus, and being condemned fled to Minos. And there Pasiphae having fallen in love with the bull of Poseidon, Daedalus acted as her accomplice by contriving a wooden cow, and he constructed the labyrinth, to which the Athenians every year sent seven youths and as many damsels to be fodder for the Minotaur.


1 Compare Paus. 1.39.5, who calls Megareus a son of Poseidon, and says that Megara took its name from him.

2 With this story of the death of Nisus through the treachery of his daughter Scylla, compare Aesch. Lib. 612ff.; Paus. 1.19.5; Paus. 2.34.7; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 650; Scholiast on Eur. Hipp. 1200; Prop. iv.19(18) 21ff.; [Virgil], Ciris, 378ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 198; Ov. Met. 8.6ff.; Serv. Verg. Ecl. 6.74; Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. i.333, vii.261; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 2, 116 (First Vatican Mythographer 3; Second Vatican Mythographer 121). A similar tale is told of Pterelaus and his daughter Comaetho. See above, Apollod. 2.4.5; Apollod. 2.4.7.

3 Compare Diod. 17.15.2; Hyginus, Fab. 238 (who seems to mention only one daughter; but the passage is corrupt); Harpocration, s.v. Ὑακινθίδες, who says that the daughters of Hyacinth the Lacedaemonian were known as the Hyacinthides. The name of one of the daughters of Hyacinth is said to have been Lusia (Stephanus Byzantius, s.v. Λουσία). Some people, however, identified the Hyacinthides with the daughters of Erechtheus, who were similarly sacrificed for their country (above, Apollod. 3.15.4). See Dem. 60.27; Suidas, s.v. παρθένοι. According to Phanodemus in the fifth book of his Atthis (cited by Suidas, s.v. παρθένοι, the daughters of Erechtheus were called Hyacinthides because they were sacrificed at the hill named Hyacinth. Similarly, as Heyne pointed out in his note on the present passage, the three daughters of Leos, namely, Praxithea, Theope, and Eubule, are said to have sacrificed themselves voluntarily, or to have been freely sacrificed by their father, for the safety of Athens in obedience to an oracle. A precinct called the Leocorium was dedicated to their worship at Athens. See Ael., Var. Hist. xii.28; Dem. 40.28; Paus. 1.5.2, with Frazer's note (vol. ii. p. 78); Apostolius, Cent. x.53; Aristides, Or. xiii. vol. i. pp. 191ff., ed. Dindorf; Cicero, De natura deorum iii.19.50. So, too, in Boeotia the two maiden daughters of Orion are said to have sacrificed themselves freely to deliver their country from a fatal pestilence or dearth, which according to an oracle of the Gortynian Apollo could be remedied only by the voluntary sacrifice of two virgins. See Ant. Lib. 25; Ov. Met. 13.685-699. The frequency of such legends, among which the traditional sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis may be included, suggests that formerly the Greeks used actually to sacrifice maidens in great emergencies, such as plagues and prolonged droughts, when ordinary sacrifices had proved ineffectual.

4 Compare Diod. 4.61.1-4; Plut. Thes. 15; Paus. 1.27.10; Scholiast on Plat. Minos 321a; Verg. A. 6.20ff.; Serv. Verg. A. 6.14; Hyginus, Fab. 41; Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Achill. 192.

5 As to the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, see above, Apollod. 3.1.4.

6 Compare Tzetzes, Chiliades i.490, and the Scholiast on Plat. Ion 121a, both of whom name the father and mother of Daedalus in agreement with Apollodorus. The father of Daedalus is called Eupalamus also by Suidas (s.v. Πέρδικος ἱερόν, the Scholiast on Plato (Rep. 7. 529d), Hyginus, Fab. 39, 244, and 274, and Servius on Virgil, vi.14. He is called Palamaon by Paus. 9.3.2, and Metion, son of Eupalamus, son of Erechtheus, by Diod. 4.76.1. Our oldest authority for the parentage of Daedalus is Pherecydes, who says that the father of Daedalus was Metion, son of Erechtheus, and that his mother was Iphinoe (Scholiast on Soph. OC 472); and this tradition as to the father of Daedalus is supported by Plat. Ion 533a. According to Clidemus, cited by Plut. Thes. 19, Daedalus was a cousin of Theseus, his mother being Merope, daughter of Erechtheus. On the whole, tradition is in harmony with the statement of Paus. 7.4.5 “that Daedalus came of the royal house of Athens, the Metionids.” Compare J. Toepffer, Attische Genealogie, pp. 165ff. Through the clouds of fable which gathered round his life and adventures we may dimly discern the figure of a vagabond artist as versatile as Leonardo da Vinci and as unscrupulous as Benvenuto Cellini.

7 As to Daedalus's murder of his nephew, his trial, and flight, compare Diod. 4.76.4-7; Paus. 1.21.4; Paus. 1.26.4; Paus. 7.4.5; Tzetzes, Chiliades i.490ff.; Suidas and Photius, Lexicon, s.v. Πέρδικος ἱερόν; Apostolius, Cent. xiv.17; Scholiast on Eur. Or. 1648; Ov. Met. 8.236-259; Hyginus, Fab. 39, 244; Serv. Verg. G. 1.143 and Serv. Verg. A. 6.14; Isidore, Orig. xix.19.9. The name of the murdered nephew is commonly given as Talos, but according to Paus. 1.21.4 and Suidas and Photius, Lexicon, s.v. Πέρδικος ἱερόν; it was Calos. On the other hand Sophocles, in his lost play The Camicians (cited by Suidas and Photius,ll.cc.) called him Perdix, that is, Partridge; and this name is accepted by Ovid, Hyginus, Servius, and Isidore. But according to a different tradition, here followed by Apollodorus, Perdix (“Partridge”) was the name, not of the murdered nephew, but of his mother, the sister of Daedalus, who hanged herself in grief at the death of her son; the Athenians worshipped her and dedicated a sanctuary to her beside the acropolis (so Apostolius, Suidas and Photius, ll.cc.). The grave of Talos or Calos was shown near the theatre, at the foot of the acropolis, probably on the spot where he was supposed to have fallen from the battlements (Paus. 1.21.4). The trial of Daedalus before the Areopagus is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus and the Scholiast on Euripides l.c..

8 He is said to have improved the discovery by inventing the iron saw in imitation of the teeth in a serpent's jawbone. See Diod. 4.76.5; Tzetzes, Chiliades i.494ff. Latin writers held that the invention was suggested to him by the backbone of a fish. See Ov. Met. 8.244ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 274; Serv. Verg. A. 6.14; Isidore, Orig. xix.19.9. According to these Latin writers, the ingenious artist invented the compass also. As to Talos or Perdix and his mechanical inventions, see A. B. Cook, Zeus, i.724ff.

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