|Icarus was the son of the
inventor Daedalus and a slave named Naucrate. King Minos
of Crete imprisoned Daedalus and Icarus in the Labyrinth
to punish Daedalus for helping the hero Theseus to kill
the monster called the Minotaur and to escape with Minos'
daughter, Ariadne. Daedalus knew that Minos controlled
any escape routes by land or sea, but Minos could not
prevent an escape by flight. So Daedalus used his skills
to build wings for himself and Icarus. He used wax and
string to fasten feathers to reeds of varying lengths to
imitate the curves of birds' wings.
When their wings were ready, Daedalus warned Icarus to fly at medium altitude. If he flew too high, the sun could melt the wax of his wings, and the sea could dampen the feathers if he flew too low.
Once they had escaped Crete, Icarus became exhilarated by flight. Ignoring his father's warning, he flew higher and higher. The sun melted the wax holding his wings together, and the boy fell into the water and drowned. Daedalus looked down to see feathers floating in the waves, and realized what had happened. He buried his son on an island which would be called Icaria, and the sea into which Icarus had fallen would ever after be called the Icarian Sea (between the Cyclades and Asia Minor).