“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.”
It’s clear Daedalus never read of the sins of the father in the Book of Deuteronomy. But then, that would have been impossible. The earliest record of one of ancient Greece’s most talented architects and inventors is 560 B.C., when he and his ill-fated son first appear in archived artwork. This fell some 850 years before the first known Bible was even thought to have been published. The idea of Greeks and the Bible is enough to twist the brain. But the two are remarkably intertwined. The Greeks descended from Javan, the fourth son of Japheth, who was the third son of Noah, of Ark fame. Moreover, the Book of Daniel predicted the coming of Alexander and the Greeks.
For the sake of Christianity, it’s a good thing Alexander was great. He Hellenized as he conquered assimilating the world to Greek ideas, culture and, of course, its tongue. The Greek language became the “Lingua Franca” English is today. Thus, the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ was first facilitated. Indeed, the Codex Vaticanus, safely housed at the Vatican Library since around the 15th century, is the oldest known Bible in existence. Printed on sheets of vellum, it was written only a few centuries after Jesus’ death…in Greek.
As for Daedalus, as fondly as he is remembered as a master sculptor and craftsman, he was no stranger to transgressions. After his son Icarus was born in Athens, he tried to impart his talents. Alas, the boy was unteachable, incapable even of imitation. Daedalus’ frustrations ended with the arrival of his nephew, Talos, who enthusiastically embraced, and in turn, emulated, his uncle’s ingenuity. The son was discarded, and nephew incorporated, until, that is, the mentee showed more than pure promise. As the stories go, inspired by either a snake’s jaw or the spine of a fish, Talos conceived a saw and even began devising tools that could realize the dream of flight. Beset by jealousy and fearing his nephew would best him, Daedalus pushed him off the top of the Acropolis to his death.
Fugitives, Daedalus and Icarus fled for their lives, assuming the lives of vagabonds, peddling their wares from one place to the next. Their fates were sealed, however, when their paths crossed with King Minos of Crete, who took such delight in the figurines on offer, he offered them a home in Knossos, the ancient Minoan palace. Soon enough, they realized it was less palace and more prison. Conscripted as such, he built the first open-air dance floor for Princess Ariadne before being swept away in a conspiratorial, royal scandal that culminated with the illegitimate birth of the Minotaur – the beast with the head of a bull and body of a man. While the story does carry on intriguingly, for our purposes it ends with Daedalus and Icarus ultimately being imprisoned in the very maze the artisan had designed to contain the Minotaur.
From thence, the escape and subsequent legend were born. Recalling that Icarus was none too bright. Upon devising a double set of wings to fly free of the ravenous beast’s clutches, Daedalus implored his son to fly above the sea, whose waves would swallow him whole, but equally importantly, beneath the sun that would melt the wings of wax. The lesson through the ages has survived — that one mustn’t fly too close to the sun. To this, a humble addition should always follow…One mustn’t fly too close to the sun, lest he pay with his life for the sins of the father. For that was Icarus’ full fate.