Talos: The legend of the world’s first robot

There is a legend that the oldest robot in the world was created in ancient Greece, and it even had the name Talos. But how and who created it? Did it exist at all? Let’s try to understand.

According to myths, there are three versions of the creation of this miracle of technical thought. The first says that after Zeus stole Europe and sent her to the island of Crete, he gave her three gifts, and one of them was Talos.

According to the second version, Hephaestus and Cyclops forged the giant and then gave it to King Minos.

Illustration of the robot: Talos
Illustration of the robot: Talos

And according to the last version, Talos may have been the brother of Minos. In these myths, he had the appearance of a bull, as people of the time compared his image with the Minotaur.

Talos means Sun in Greek, this metal robot was the protector of the whole island of Crete, circling the island three times in one day. He protected it from invasions of strangers, throwing stones at their ships, and if they still managed to get to the shore, this copper robot plunged into the volcano lights and, warmed up to redness there, dashed at the enemies.

This guard even made sure that no one left the island without the permission of King Minos, and three times a year, he came to the local settlements with copper tablets of the laws of Minos. Jason and the Argonauts faced this copper protector, but they could not defeat the giant of metal until he himself, fighting off the attack, struck his weak point on sharp stones. And his Achilles’ Fifth was a small vein on his ankle in which fluid flowed, and the machine could not move without it.

Talos, believed to be the first robot
Talos, believed to be the first robot

If we seriously consider these myths, it is more likely that Talos was a metaphorical embodiment of the war with mainland Greece. But still, it cannot also be denied that such a robot or something similar could have existed in reality, since we all know that the ancient Greeks were a very inventive people. Or perhaps people witnessed the creation of such a machine by someone else from outside…

We know very little about the Cretan civilization. There is another similar legend that the ancient Greek mathematician Architus built a machine in 350 BC that not only resembled a bird but could fly due to ascending air currents. So perhaps in the future, thanks to the development of our own technology, we will be able to disprove or prove these legends.

We must not forget that Troy, too, was once a myth…

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