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[15] and Daedalus fastened a thread to an ant, and, having bored a hole in the spiral shell, allowed the ant to pass through it. But when Minos found the thread passed through the shell, he perceived that Daedalus was with Cocalus, and at once demanded his surrender.1 Cocalus promised to surrender him, and made an entertainment for Minos; but after his bath Minos was undone by the daughters of Cocalus; some say, however, that he died through being drenched with boiling water.2


1 The story of the quaint device by which Minos detected Daedalus is repeated by Zenobius, Cent. iv.92, who probably copied Apollodorus. The device was mentioned by Sophocles in a lost play, The Camicians, in which he dealt with the residence of Daedalus at the court of Cocalus in Sicily. See Athenaeus iii.32, p. 86 CD; The Fragments of Sophocles, ed. A. C. Pearson, ii.3ff.

2 Compare Zenobius, Cent. iv.92; Diod. 4.79.2; Tzetzes, Chiliades i.508ff.; Scholiast on Hom. Il. ii.145; Scholiast on Pind. N. 4.59(95); Ovid, Ibis 289ff., with the Scholia. The account of Zenobius agrees closely with that of Apollodorus, except that he makes the daughters of Cocalus pour boiling pitch instead of boiling water on the head of their royal guest. The other authorities speak of boiling water. The Scholiast on Pindar informs us that the ever ingenious Daedalus persuaded the princesses to lead a pipe through the roof, which discharged a stream of boiling water on Minos while he was disporting himself in the bath. Other writers mention the agency of the daughters of Cocalus in the murder of Minos, without describing the mode of his taking off. See Paus. 7.4.6; Conon 25; Hyginus, Fab. 44. Herodotus contents himself with saying (Hdt. 7.169ff.) that Minos died a violent death at Camicus in Sicily, whither he had gone in search of Daedalus. The Greek expression which I have translated “was undone” (ἔκλυτος ἐγένετο) is peculiar. If the text is sound (see Critical Note), the words must be equivalent to ἐξελύθη, “was relaxed, unstrung, or unnerved.” Compare Aristot. Prob. 862b 2ff., κατεψυγμένου παντὸς τοῦ σώματος καὶ ἐκλελυμένου πρὸς τοὺς πόνους. Aristotle also uses the adjective ἔκλυτος to express a supple, nerveless, or effeminate motion of the hands (Aristot. Physiog. 80a 14); and he says that tame elephants were trained to strike wild elephants,ἕως ἂν ἐκλύσωσιναὐτούς, “until they relax or weaken them” (Aristot. Hist. anim. 9.610a 27). Isocrates speaks of a mob ὄχλοςπρὸς τὸν πόλεμον ἐκλελυμένοςIsoc. 4.150). The verb ἐκλύειν is used in the sense of making an end of something troublesome or burdensome (Soph. OT 35ff. with Jebb's note); from which it might perhaps be extended to persons regarded as troublesome or burdensome. We may compare the parallel uses of the Latin dissolvere, as applied both to things (Hor. Carm. 1.9.5, dissolve frigus) and to persons (Sallust, Jugurtha 17, plerosque senectus dissolvit).

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