Daedalus, Minos and Agrigento


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The story of Daedalus, famous for its labyrinth and of Minos, king of Crete, are closely linked to the city of Agrigento.
Daedalus is a character from Greek mythology. Daedalus was a great sculptor, it was said that the statues he created were almost like living beings as they seemed to be able to see and walk. He was in fact the first to depict the eyes and to reproduce the legs spread apart in the act of walking. Daedalus was a great architect and is famous for being the creator of the famous labyrinth of the Minotaur. Daedalus was a great inventor, creator of the wax wings with which he managed to fly over the sea. But Daedalus was also a murderer who, envious of the talent of Talus, son of his sister, for fear that his fame would exceed his own, killed him.
For this reason he was sentenced to exile and so he came to Crete where, thanks to the grandeur of his genius, he became a friend of King Minos.
Minos each year sacrificed a bull to Poseidon but in that year a bull was born so beautiful that the king did not want to sacrifice it to the god and chose another one . This gesture unleashed the wrath of Poseidon who made Pasife, wife of Minos, fall in love with the beautiful bull.
It was Daedalus who devised a contraption with the appearance of a cow, which allowed Pasiphae to satisfy his desire with the bull. From this union the mythical Minotaur was born, with the features of a bull up to his shoulders, and of a man in the rest of his body.
It was then that Daedalus built a labyrinth where the Minotaur was raised and to which girls and boys were sacrificed.
Daedalus informed of the threat that Minos was moving to him, due to the construction of the cow, he left Crete. According to the myth he fled with wings of wax together with his son Icaro. During the journey his son got too close to the sun and died, while Daedalus flew low and wet his wings and managed to reach Sicily.He arrived in the territory where Cocalo reigned, who received him and who, thanks to his talent, made him his friend. According to the myth, it is said that during his stay in the kingdom of Cocalo, Daedalus built great works such as the water supply system, known today as kolymbethra garden; built a city on an impregnable rock, where Calico built his palace, in what is now the territory of Agrigento, on the so-called Camico; he dug caves on Mount Kronio from which hot vapors came out, today known as Stufe di San Calogero di Sciacca.
Minos informed of Daedalus' flight to Sicily, decided to lead an expedition against that island. Minos to find Daedalus devised a trap: he promised money to the one who would pass a thread through the spirals of a snail. Daedalus managed to pass the thread by tying it to an ant which he then made to enter the shell and made it come out of a small hole behind it. Minos then asked King Cocalus for the fugitive Daedalus, but Cocalus, after promising that he would do everything, killed him: while Minos was bathing, he kept him warm for a long time until he killed him and returned the body to the Cretans citing the reason for his death to the fact that he had slipped into the bathroom.
The Cretans who remained in Sicily, lost all hope of returning to their homeland as their ships had been set on fire by the Sicans of Cocalo, founded a city to which they gave a name inspired by that of their king, Minoa, today Eraclea Minoa, while others, after having wandered the interior of the island and occupied a site in a strategic position, founded a city which they gave the name Engion, Nicosia or Troina, derived from that of a spring that flowed in it.

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