(ORDO NEWS) — Believe it or not, the ideas of artificial intelligence and automata were alive and kicking over 2,000 years ago in Greek mythology. The myth of Talos (‘Τάλως’), the first robotic creature in mythology, is certainly an interesting example.
His name is associated with Zeus, since in Crete Zeus was also called Talios, and in the ancient Greek dialect Talos was the name of the Sun.
The story of Talos, the ancient Greek robot
According to Greek legends, Talos was not a man, but an automaton created by Zeus himself. Another version of Greek myth attributes its creation to Hephaestus, the god of fire and iron.
According to other versions, Talos was the son of Croesus and the god Hephaestus. The idea of Talos being man-made rather than nature-born was first mentioned by Hesiod around 700 BC.
Talos was the sun god of Crete and was supposedly made of bronze. One vein, starting at the neck and descending to the ankles, flowed his life blood – liquid metal, and a screw was screwed on each ankle to prevent the liquid metal from flowing out.
Talos was depicted on coins and paintings in different ways: some depicted him with wings, others without.
Talos was presented by Zeus to the king of Crete Minos to protect Crete from any invaders; however, according to the ancient Greek author Apollonius Rodius, Talos was a gift from Zeus to Europe to protect her and her children, whom she later gave to King Minos.
Talos and his mission: Protecting Crete from enemies
Plato claimed that Talos defended Crete by circling the island three times a day. Given that Crete is the largest island in Greece, going around it three times a day would have been an impossible task, meaning either Talos was a gigantic creature or he had other means of transportation such as flight, which may explain why he is sometimes depicted with wings.
When any enemy ship approached Crete, Talos threw huge rocks and destroyed the ships from a distance. If the enemies managed to penetrate the land of Crete, Talos heated his body to white heat and killed the enemies.
However, the defense of Crete was not his only mission. Talos also had to ensure that the divine laws were observed by all the inhabitants of the island. To fulfill this duty, he visited all the villages of the island three times a year, carrying with him metal plates on which divine laws were inscribed.
Talos defended Crete for many years until he was finally defeated by Jason and the Argonauts, not with weapons, of course, but with cunning.
When Jason and the Argonauts approached Crete, the sorceress Medea, speaking with Talos and casting spells, persuaded him to remove the screws from his ankles. As a result, the liquid metal poured out and Talos died.
Could it be that the story of Talos is actually based on reality?
And if so, what exactly was Talos?
Is it possible that Talos was actually a spaceship, a mechanically generated device, or even an alien?
The descriptions, of course, correspond to some kind of mechanical apparatus – made of metal (bronze color), with wings, capable of circling over a vast territory three times a day and firing some kind of weapon at enemy ships.
Talos remains a fascinating and mysterious story that is kept alive in Greek mythology. The story of Talos is not the only myth that explores the idea of artificial intelligence and robots, as they also appear in the stories of Medea, the craftsman Daedalus, Prometheus, and Pandora.
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