|© 1998 Bernard SUZANNE||Last updated December 5, 1998|
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One of the Sporades Islands, west of Samos (area
The name of the island and of the nearby sea along the coast of Samos, called the Icarian Sea, come from that of Icarus, the son of Dædalus. After king Minos had jailed Icarus and his father in the Labyrinth at Cnossus Dædalus had built him to lock up the Minotaur, because of the help Dædalus had offered Ariadne and Theseus to help them kill the Minotaur and flee (he was the one who suggested Ariadne to give Theseus the life saving thread in order to find his way out of the Labyrinth on his way back), Dædalus devised artificial wings for his son and him and glued them to their bodies with wax. Father and son could then fly out of the Labyrinth, but then, Icarus flew too close to the sun , so that the wax melted, he lost his wings and fell into precisely that part of the Ægean Sea that later took his name. In another tradition, wings are replaced by sails that Dædalus would have invented then : in that version father and son fled Crete each on a sailboat, but Icarus drowned either because he could not hold his boat or when landing on the island of Icaria and jumping from the boat. Still another tradition offers a different version of Icarus' death, that again puts it in relation with the island of Icaria : Dædalus and his son had been banished from Athens after Dædalus, having become jealous of his nephew and too bright to his taste disciple Talus, had killed him. Dædalus was banished first and seeked refuge at the court of Minos in Crete. When later Icarus was in turn banished, he set out to find his father, but perished in the wreck of his ship near the island of Samos. His body was then cast up by the sea on the shore of Icaria where Heracles gave him a decent burial.