Culture . Tradition Mythology & Legends

Mythology: Talos, the bronze protector of Crete

Talos, the bronze protector of Crete
The legend of Talos was and is one of the most popular among the population of Crete. In ancient times it was even worshiped on one of the coins from Phaistos.
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The robot Talos was a huge creature with bronze body who ran 3 times a day with a brisk pace around the coastline of the island of Crete, a living guardian of Crete.

But he also had a weak point: a bronze nail into his heel was the only closure of its lifeline that ran from his head to his heel.

As regards its origin, the opinions are shared; the most widespread connects the robot with the legend of the abduction of Europa by Zeus. Under the shade of a plane tree in Gortyn (near Matala) Zeus seduced finally the beautiful princess Europe and then gave her 3 gifts: a dog, a quiver of arrows and the bronze giant Talos.

Others say, he was the son of Kritos, who in turn was son of Zeus and a nymph. Also it is said that the giant belonged to the tribe of the people of the Bronze Age. He also could have been a brother of Rhadamanthys and Minoa.

Talos carried the laws everywhere on his back…

Plato referred to, in addition to Rhadamanthys, the guardian of the laws within the city, Talos was responsible for the other regions of Crete. He was domiciled in the cave of Melidoni; from here he had each of the Cretan villages to visit 3 times a year and monitor compliance with the law.
Talos carried the laws everywhere on his back; they were engraved on copper plates. According to legend, Talos was equipped with exceptional agility, so he reached all parts of the island as fast as the wind, sometimes he is even depicted with wings. As a weapon he used huge boulders which he threw at the enemy fleets and thus this recessed or deterred.

And if a hostile ship succeeded in reaching the coast, he walked through the flames of a fire causing his bronze body to glow. Then he embraced red-hot the enemy warriors and burned them immediately.

Talos, the bronze protector of Crete

The death of Talos depicted on a 4th-century BC krater, Jatta National Archaeological Museum in Ruvo di Puglia.

The legend of Talos was and is one of the most popular among the population of Crete. In ancient times it was even worshiped on one of the coins from Phaistos.

His death 

Talos succeeded for many years to protect the island from its enemies, but one day he came to an end. The Argonauts Jason and Midea, sailed on board of the ship Argo to the fabled southern coast of Crete in order to recover here from their adventure in Kilchis where they had fought for the Golden Fleece.
Midea was the niece of Pasifae, the wife of King Minos, and this was probably the reason why they selected Crete as a place for recreation. As they neared the coast, they were immediately in the line of fire of Talos, who threw rocks at the ship and almost sank it. Suddenly Midea stood at the rail and talked to Talos. She promised him immortality and enchanted him so that he removed the bronze nail from the heel tore himself; his “blood” seeped into the sand and he fell lifeless on the beach.

Film clip “Jason and the Argonauts”: the death of Talos

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