Minos and Daidalos (page 275 with art)

Chapter 8: Minos and Krete

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Paus 9.11.4-5 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

[4] Here is a sanctuary of Heracles. The image, of white marble, is called Champion, and the Thebans Xenocritus and Eubius were the artists. But the ancient wooden image is thought by the Thebans to be by Daedalus, and the same opinion occurred to me. It was dedicated, they say, by Daedalus himself, as a thank-offering for a benefit. For when he was fleeing from Crete in small vessels which he had made for himself and his son Icarus, he devised for the ships sails, an invention as yet unknown to the men of those times, so as to take advantage of a favorable wind and outsail the oared fleet of Minos. Daedalus himself was saved,

[5] but the ship of Icarus is said to have overturned, as he was a clumsy helmsman. The drowned man was carried ashore by the current to the island, then without a name, that lies off Samos. Heracles came across the body and recognized it, giving it burial where even to-day a small mound still stands to Icarus on a promontory jutting out into the Aegean. After this Icarus are named both the island and the sea around it.  Greek Text

Fab 40 – Hyginus, Fabulae

Others say that after Theseus killed the Minotaur he brought Daedalus back to Athens, his own country.  Latin Text

Hdt 7.170.1 – Herodotus, Historiae

Now Minos, it is said, went to Sicania, which is now called Sicily, in search for Daedalus, and perished there by a violent death. Presently all the Cretans except the men of Polichne and Praesus were bidden by a god to go with a great host to Sicania. Here they besieged the town of Camicus, where in my day the men of Acragas dwelt, for five years.  Greek Text

Sophocles, Kamikoi fr 324 R – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta 4, p. 311, ed. S.L. Radt. Göttingen 1977.

DS 4.79.1-3 – Diodoros Siculus, Library of History

Minos, the king of the Cretans, who was at that time the master of the seas, when he learned that Daedalus had fled to Sicily, decided to make a campaign against that island. After preparing a notable naval force he sailed forth from Crete and landed at a place in the territory of Acragas which was called after him Minoa. Here he disembarked his troops and sending messengers to King Cocalus he demanded Daedalus of him for punishment. [2] But Cocalus invited Minos to a conference, and after promising to meet all his demands he brought him to his home as his guest. And when Minos was bathing Cocalus kept him too long in the hot water and thus slew him; the body he gave back to the Cretans, explaining his death on the ground that he had slipped in the bath and by falling into the hot water had met his end. [3] Thereupon the comrades of Minos buried the body of the king with magnificent ceremonies, and constructing a tomb of two storeys, in the part of it which was hidden underground they placed the bones, and in that which lay open to gaze they made a shrine of Aphroditê. Here Minos received honours over many generations, the inhabitants of the region offering sacrifices there in the belief that the shrine was Aphroditê’s.  Greek Text

ApE 1.14-15 – Apollodoros, Epitome

And Minos pursued Daedalus, and in every country that he searched he carried a spiral shell and promised to give a great reward to him who should pass a thread through the shell, believing that by that means he should discover Daedalus. And having come to Camicus in Sicily, to the court of Cocalus, with whom Daedalus was concealed, he showed the spiral shell. Cocalus took it, and promised to thread it, and gave it to Daedalus; [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.  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.  Greek Text

Zenobios 4.92 – Corpus Paroemiographorum Graecorum 1 pp. 110-12, ed. E. L. Leutsch and F. G. Schneidewin. Göttingen 1839.

Greek Text

Ades fr 226a Sn – Adespota – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta 2, p. 76, ed. R. Kannicht and B. Snell. Göttingen 1981.

violent  death covered with pitch  (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

Σ Nem 4.95a – Scholia to Pindar, Nemean Odes

Greek Text

Ovid, Ibis 289-90

Or, as in Ariadne’s fate, may raging liquid rush over your head, covered by the waters.  Latin Text

Basel, Antikenmuseum und Sammlung Ludwig BS 318: panel from terracotta frieze with Minos or Agamemnon in bath?


Photo by Claire Niggli, courtesy of Antikenmuseum

Metope in Paestum Museum from Hera I temple at Foce del Sele, which shows man in cauldron (preserved right part of metope) who may be Minos


Reconstruction by Stephen Deck of metope with man in cauldron from F. Van Keuren, The Frieze from the Hera I Temple at Foce del Sele (1989), fig. 12, p. 122

Thes 16.3 – Plutarch, Theseus

For Minos was always abused and reviled in the Attic theaters, and it did not avail him either that Hesiod called him ‘most royal,’ or that Homer styled him ‘a confidant of Zeus,’ but the tragic poets prevailed, and from platform and stage showered obloquy down upon him, as a man of cruelty and violence. And yet they say that Minos was a king and lawgiver, and that Rhadamanthus was a judge under him, and a guardian of the principles of justice defined by him.  Greek Text

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Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, April 2023

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