In Greek mythology, who flew too close to the sun and accidentally melted the wax on their wings?

And the answer is: Icarus.    

Photo credit: IkarusGlobal.net

His father was Daedalus, the creator of the Labyrinth. To help his son escape captivity, Daedalus created wings with feathers and wax, and warned his son not to fly too high, as the sun would melt the wax. Icarus ignored his father's warnings, flew too high, separated from his wings, and fell into the ocean.

In mythological ancient Greece, there was one irrevocable rule: mortals could not, under any circumstance, attempt to cross the line that separated god from man. This meant that any attempts to defy mortality and live boundless under the guise of a god would be punished. Severely. And, unfortunately for genius inventor Daedalus, such a fate befell him and his son as they attempted to take to the sky.

The painful fate of the two men begins much further back, however. Daedalus was an incredibly talented inventor who, according to myth, invented skills such as carpentry and designed spaces such as the first bath house and the first dance floor. In Athens, he was widely regarded as a genius. However, jealousy soon overtook him. Fearing the talents of his nephew, Perdix, Daedalus killed him, and was consequently banished to the island of Crete. Yet, Daedalus was preceded by his popular reputation, and was welcomed with open arms.

But it was not to last. Daedalus helped devise an invention that led to the creation of a monstrosity: the Minotaur, a half-man, half-bull. King Minos was furious, and forced Daedalus to construct a labyrinth in which the Minotaur was sentenced to wile away his days, then banished the inventor and his son Icarus to a tall tower.

Soon, however, Daedalus began to devise another invention: wings. Using candle wax and the feathers of birds, Daedalus and his son soared above the sea to freedom, becoming the first mortals to ever take to the sky. But the power was too great. Icarus flew higher and higher, despite the warnings from his father. Finally, fate befell him, and the wax melted from his wings. Plummeting, Daedalus received a resounding reminder which he would never forget: just as Daedalus ignored the consequences of defying the natural laws of mortal men, Icarus was carried away by his own hubris. In the end, both men paid the price for their departure from the path of moderation.

Learn more about this ancient myth below.


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