Frederic Leighton, Icarus and Daedalus, ca. 1869
Frederic Leighton, Icarus and Daedalus (ca. 1869)

Ἐνόσει Πασιφάη παράλογον ἔρωτα καὶ παστάδα παραλογωτέραν ἐπήξατο Δαίδαλος. ἐπὶ τούτοις ὀργίζεται Μίνως καὶ σπεύδει τὸν Πασιφάης καὶ ταύρου νυμφοστόλον ἑλεῖν, αλλ’ ἦν ἄρα ἐκεῖνος καὶ πῦρ ἀφροδίσιον ἀποσβέσαι σοφὸς καὶ βασιλέως ἀναφθέντα θυμὸν ἀποδράσαι σοφώτερος. ἀλλὰ κἀνταῦθα τέχνη τὴν φύσιν ὑπερεβάλλετο· καί, ἃ φύσις οὐκ ἴσχυσε, Δαίδαλος ἐτεχνήσατο καί, τὴν φύσιν ἄνθρωπος ὤν, τὸν ὄρνιν ἐσχηματίσατο. ἐπτέρωσε τῇ σοφίᾳ καὶ τὸν παῖδα Ἴκαρον, ἵν’ ὡς ἐκ μιᾶς μηχανῆς καὶ τὸ πατὴρ εἶναι μὴ ζημιωθῇ καὶ τὸ περιεῖναι κερδάνῃ· φιλόστοργον γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ καὶ τὸ παράπαν ἀπολιπέσθαι τοῦ παιδὸς οὐκ ἀνέχεται. ἵπταντο γοῦν ἄμφω καὶ τὸν Μίνω ξυναπεδίδρασκον, ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἅτε σοφὸς καὶ τὴν μηχανὴν εἰδώς, ἐφ’ ὅσον ἂν καὶ πτερύξαιτο, σύμμετρον τῷ σοφίσματι ποιεῖται τὴν πτῆσιν· ὁ δ’ ὑπὲρ τὰ πτίλα καὶ τὸν κηρὸν καὶ τὴν τέχνην πτερύσσεται καὶ περιφρονεῖ μὲν τὸν Ἥλιον, πιστεύει δὲ ταῖς ἀκτῖσι τὸν κηρὸν καὶ τρυφᾶν ἐθέλει μᾶλλον ἢ πρὸς ἀσφάλειαν ἵπτασθαι. τοιοῦτον γάρ τι χρῆμα νεότης· πρὸς ἡδονὰς ἀλόγιστα φέρεται καὶ τῆς χρείας ἐκφέρεται. οὐ φέρει περιφρονούμενος Ἥλιος, ἐπιβάλλει τῷ κηρῷ τὰς ἀκτῖνας, ἀπελέγχει τὸν σοφιστήν, λύει τὸ σόφισμα καὶ ῥίπτει κατὰ πελάγους τὸν Ἴκαρον. καὶ τοῦτο μιμεῖται Δαίδαλον Ἥλιος· ἐκ τῆς Ἡλίου παιδὸς Πασιφάης Μινώταυρον ἐκαινοτόμησε Δαίδαλος καὶ Ἥλιος ἐκ Ἰκάρου τοῦ Δαιδάλου παιδὸς Ἰκάριον πέλαγος ἀνθρώποις ἐγνώρισεν.
(Nikephoros Basilakes, Progymnasmata, Narr. 13)

Pasiphaë suffered from a strange passion, and Daedalus built for her an even stranger bridal chamber. Minos grew angry at this and strove to capture the man who married Pasiphaë to the bull, but Daedalus was clever enough to extinguish the fire of love and was even more clever at escaping the inflamed anger of the king. For yet again Daedalus did not lack a device; rather, once more art overcame nature: what nature could not accomplish, Daedalus contrived by art, and though human by nature, he took on the appearance of a bird. By means of his ingenuity he also fit wings to his boy, Icarus, so that, through a single device, he might preserve his role as father and might gain his own survival. For fathers are affectionate creatures and cannot bear at all to be separated from their sons. So the two flew off and escaped Minos. But the father, who in his wisdom understood how far his device could fly, made his flight according to the limits of his invention. Icarus, however, flew beyond the capacity of the feathers, the wax, and the artistry; he defied the Sun and entrusted the wax to its rays, wishing to indulge himself rather than fly safely. For such a creature is youth: it is driven irrationally toward pleasure and away from what it ought to do. The Sun did not tolerate this defiance. He attacked the wax with his rays; he repudiated the clever inventor and melted his invention; and then he cast Icarus down into the sea; And in this way the Sun imitated Daedalus, because Daedalus created a novel creature, the Minotaur, through Pasiphaë, the daughter of the Sun, and the Sun made the Icarian Sea known to humans through Icarus, the son of Daedalus. (tr. Jeffrey Beneker & Craig A. Gibson)