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Talos 1

RV-0033: Death of Talos. The horsemen holding Talos are the Dioscuri. Notice the extraordinary position assumed by Polydeuces (the horseman to the left). Present: Medea and Argonauts. Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Göttingen, 1845- Dresden, 1923), Ausfürliches Lexikon der griechisches und römisches Mythologie, 1884.

Talos 1 was the brazen warder of Crete.

Flesh or Bronze. Man or bull

Some have said that Talos 1 was son of Cres and father of Hephaestus. But others affirm that he was a creature made of bronze, given by Zeus to Europa, or by Hephaestus to Minos 2, to be the warder of Crete; and whereas some have asserted that he was a brazen man, others have said that he was a bull. Talos 1, yet others affirm, was the last of a generation of men of bronze, sprung from the ash-trees. Talos 1 guarded Crete by running round the island three times every day, and when intruders appeared he pelted them with stones.

Talos 1 destroyed

So he did against the expedition of the ARGONAUTS, throwing at them stones which he had broken off from the cliffs. But as Medea was with the ARGONAUTS, she, they say, enchanted him, or drove him mad, promising to make him immortal. Now Talos 1, who was made of bronze, had beneath the sinew by his ankle a red vein with its issues of life and death covered by a thin skin; and in that part there was a nail, which Medea drew out, so that all the ichor gushed out. Yet it is also told that Talos 1, being bewitched by Medea, grazed his ankle on a pointed crag, causing the ichor to gush out. This is how Talos 1 perished, but others believe that Poeas, father of Philoctetes, shot him dead in the ankle.

Addition in the Suda

The Suda tells that Talos 1, who had been made by Hephaestus, was in possession of the Sardinians, and that when they refused to hand over the brazen man to Minos 2, Talos 1 leapt into a fire, clasping them to his breast and killing them with their mouths open. From this, the Suda tells, comes the expression "sardonic laugh", which is seen in those who laugh at their own or other's troubles.

Others with identical name

Talos 2 (Calos), was the son of Daedalus' sister Perdix. He was educated by Daedalus but, seeing that his disciple was more gifted than himself, Daedalus killed him (Apd.3.15.8; Dio.4.76.4; Pau.1.21.4). Talos 3 was a soldier in the army of Turnus, the man who opposed Aeneas in Italy. Talos 3 was killed by Aeneas (Vir.Aen.12.513). Talos 4 is remembered for having followed his father Oenopion 1, son of Ariadne, when he sailed with a fleet from Crete to Chios. Some have thought that this Talos is the same as Talos 1 (Pau.7.4.8). (See also Dictionary.)






Cres & unknown

Cres is otherwise unknown.
Talos 1 is also said to have sprung from the ash-trees, and to have been fashioned by Hephaestus.


This version has caused the following comment:

"The legends of Greece generally have different forms, and this is particularly true of genealogy." (Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.53.5).

Related sections



Apd.1.9.26; Arg.4.1639ff.; Pau.8.53.2ff.