The Library of History

Page 169

Page 169 invented the Potter's Wheel: He got likewise a Serpent's Jaw-bone, and with it saw'd a little piece of Wood asunder; then in imitation of the Tooth in the Jaw, he made the like in Iron, and so he found out an Instrument for the sawing of the greatest Pieces of Timber, exceeding useful, and tending much to the furtherance and ease of all Architects. He invented likewise the Turner's Lath, and many other Tools for the use of Architects; upon which account he was in great Esteem and Reputation. Daedalus hereat burnt with Rage and Envy against the poor Boy, and fearing he would grow far more famous than himself, secretly murder'd him. Being seiz'd upon just as he was laying the Carcass in the Ground, he was askt what he was burying? He answer'd, that he was covering a Serpent with Earth. Here it's very worthy of Remark, that the same Creature that was the occasion of making of the Saw, should be also the means of discovery of the Murther. Being therefore brought to his Trial at the Court of the Areopagites, and there condemn'd to dye for the Murder; he first fled to a sort of People in Attica, who from him were call'd Daedalians: Thence he got into Crete, where he was much admir'd for his Art, and in great favour with King Minos.

Afterwards (as it is commonly reported) Pasiphae the Queen, Minos his Wife, burning in her Lust after a Bull, he fram'd an Engin like to a Cow, and helpt her by that means to satisfy her Lust. They say, that before that time, Minos Yearly sacrific'd the best and largest Bull in the Herd to Neptune; and once there being a most lovely Beast in the Herd, a worse was pickt out to be sacrific'd; at which Neptune was so incens'd at Minos, that he caus'd his Wife Pasiphae to go Mad for Love after the Bull; and by the Art of Daedalus, she prostituted her self to the Beast, and brought forth the Minotaur so famous in ancient Stories.

They ascribe a double nature to this Creature, that from the Head to the Shoulders, he resembled a Bull, and in all his lower Parts was like to a Man. It's said, that for the keeping and feeding of this Monster, Daedalus built the Labyrinth full of windings and turnings, this way and that way, impossible to be found out by any Stranger before unacquainted. Here it was that the Minotaur devour'd the Seven Boys, and the like number of Girls Yearly sent thither from Athens, as we have before declar'd.

Daedalus being inform'd of Minos his Threats for making of the Cow, fearing the Rage of the King, by the help of the Queen got on Shipboard, and secretly escap'd out of the Island. Icarus his Son fled away with him, and both arriv'd at a certain Island, situated in the Ocean far off from any Land, where the Young Man being too rash, and hasty to Land, dropt into the Sea, and there perish'd; from whom it's call'd the Icarian Sea, and the Island Icaria.

From hence Daedalus sail'd into Sicily, and landed there where Cocalus reign'd, who receiv'd him very courteously, and upon the account of his great skill, and the Fame that went of him, made him his Bosom Friend.

Some report this Story concerning him, That Daedalus continuing still in Crete, was hid by Pasiphae; Minos in the mean time making diligent search after him, in order to punish him, but not able to find him out, he promis'd great Rewards to such as should discover him.

Daedalus utterly despairing to get away by Shipping, made for himself and Son, artificial Wings, joynted and compacted in a wonderful manner with Wax, and fastn'd them to his own and his Son's Body, and with them Daedalus suddenly flew away, and got over the Cretian Sea: But Icarus soaring too high (such is the folly of Young Men) fell down into the Sea, the Sun melting the Wax wherewith the Feathers of the Wings were joyn'd together. But his Father flying low near the Surface of the Sea, and sprinkling his Wings in the Water, pass'd over safe into Sicily. Though this may seem an absurd Fable, yet we judg'd it not sit to be past by.

Daedalus staid with Cocalus and the Sicilians a long time, and was highly honour'd and esteem'd by all for his excellent Art and Skill in his Profession: There are some Works of his there that remain to this day; for in the Territory of Megaris, he made a Fish-pond with wonderful Art, through which the great River Alabone emptied it self into the Sea. He built likewise a City (now call'd Agrigentina in Camacus) upon a Rock so strong, that it was inexpugnable. The Passage to it was so straight and winding, that the Place might be easily defended

Bibliotheca Historica

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