Talos

Talos Didrachm (ΤΑΛΩΝ ) Coin, c. 300-250 BC, Crete, Talos hurling stone

In Greek mythology, Talos (alt. Talus, Τάλως) was a bronze automaton whom Zeus gave to Europa. In one telling he was forged by Hephaestus and the Cyclopes. According to Apollodorus and Argonautica he may have been a member of the Bronze Generation who had survived to the age of the demigods. Europa took him to Crete and he stayed there, circling the island's shore three times daily while guarding it. He threw stones at any approaching ship.

Talos is said to have heated himself red-hot and clasped strangers in his embrace as soon as they landed on the island.

Talos had one vein which went from his neck to his ankle, bound shut by only one bronze nail. The Argo, containing Jason and the Argonauts, approached Crete after obtaining the Golden Fleece. As guardian of the island, Talos kept the Argo at bay by hurling great boulders at it. According to Apollodorus, Talos was slain either when Medea the sorceress drove him mad with drugs, deceived him that she would make him immortal by removing the nail, or was killed by Poeas's arrow (Apollodorus 1.140). In Argonautica, Medea hypnotizes him from the Argo, driving him mad so that he dislodges the nail and dies (Argonautica 4.1638). In any case, when the nail is removed, Talos's ichor flows out, exsanguinating and killing him. Compare it to the story of the heel of Achilles. After his death, the Argo was able to land safely.

Apollodorus. Bibliotheke I, 26; Apollonius Rhodius. Argonautica IV, 1638-93


Talos according to Ray Harryhausen in the movie Jason and the Argonauts.

Interpretation

A political interpretation of the myth tells that Talos is the Minoan fleet armed with metallic weapons. When the Greeks from the Argo defeat him, the power of Crete vanishes.

E. Pottier, who does not dispute the historical personality of Minos, in view of the story of Phalaris considers it probable that in Crete (where a bull-cult may have existed by the side of that of the double axe) victims were tortured by being shut up in the belly of a red-hot brazen bull. That would be also the origin of the myth of the Minotaur.

Robert Graves suggests that this myth is based on a misinterpretation of a picture of Athena demonstrating the Lost Wax process for casting bronze, which Daedalus brought to Sardinia.

Jason opens a valve of the hell of the giant Talos in the movie Jason and the Argonauts.
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See also

The story of Talos may have inspired the origin of the Japanese anime robot Mazinger Z.

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