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>> Talos the guardian of Crete
Jason and the Argonauts in Crete with Medea.
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In this vase, the Argonauts Castor and Pollux capture Talos,  red-figured vase, 5th cent. B.C. from Apulia (Museum Jatta in Ruvo di Puglia)

Talos was the mythological guardian of Crete. He was an anthropomorphic giant made from copper. There are various versions concerning his origins.

The most popular version is that of Apollodoros who says that Talos was constructed by Hephaestus who donated him to King Minos in order to guard Crete.

Plato thinks he is a real person and brother of Rodamanthe. Apollonius the Rhodian states that he was a gift from Zeus to Europa who in turn gave him to her son Minos. Plato said that Talos was charged with maintaining the laws of Crete, engraved on copper plates, and carried by him physically.

Most sources suggest that he was an ever watchful guard, patrolling the coasts three times a day. Others say he had wings and carried put his duties flying. He kept his distance from approaching ships upon which he would throw large stones. In the event that foreign intruders had already landed he would burn them with his fiery breath or fire up his body and would then embrace them so tightly that they would burn.

Talos had one unique vein running from his neck and ending at his ankle where a copper nail plugged the outlet.Within this vein flowed the blood of the immortals- “Ichor” a divine liquid which gave him life.

Talos’ demise came when he confronted the Argonauts who were returning from Kolchida. As they were trying to berth the giant Talos approached threateningly but kept his distance. Medea who was traveling with the Argonauts charmed him with promises of immortality and so Jason was able to remove the nail from Talos’ ankle so that the “Ichor” flowed out, thus killing him.

Another version mentions that the father of Filoctitus Pias killed him with a bow, the arrow of which pierced the sensitive spot on his ankle.
>> Mythology