Ancient and Classical Names

Daring Daedalus

Sometime this week I noticed the name Daedalus in the SSA data.  Whoa…as a former classics student, may I remark just how hardcore that is?  2015 saw the birth of 7 American baby boys named Daedalus.  Pronunciation: “Dead-uh-lus.”

The seemingly obvious namesake is mythological Daedalus.  He constructed the labyrinth for the Minotaur, but he’s even more famous for what came afterwards.  Stuck on the island of Crete and yearning to return home, he decided to travel by sky.  Daedalus fashioned wax-wings for himself and his son Icarus.  Unfortunately, during their escape, Icarus flew too close to the sun.  The wings melted and he fell to his watery grave.  Note: 10 boys were named Icarus last year, and that name has appeared in the SSA data since about 2010.


Several far more obscure references exist, however, that are also possible namesakes. There is a minor filmmaker from California named Daedalus Howell, and also a musician who goes by Daedelus.  Serious Harry Potter fans like myself are aware of a character named Dedalus Diggle, whom Harry meets in Sorceror’s Stone.  And like many other names from Greek and Roman mythology, Daedalus has astronomical and maritime ties; ever heard of the Daedalus crater, or the HMS Daedalus?  Funnily enough, it also seems that Star Trek uses Daedalus as a class of starships.  

What do you think of Daedalus?  


Further reading: Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  The edition I own is one of the “Oxford World’s Classics,” but since the story is thousands of years old and therefore public domain, you can also find it on Project Gutenberg.  The tale of Daedalus is contained in Book VIII.  


7 thoughts on “Daring Daedalus

  1. I don’t have anything to add to your research on Daedalus. Icarus on the other hand… When MapleStory started, and play was confined to Victoria Island, there was (and still is) an NPC named Icarus in Kerning City. Before Big Bang, a level 40 quest called Icarus and The Flying Pill originated with him (I remember harvesting witchgrass leaf, which could only be hit from the right side, to complete that quest), and the Icarus Cape, which was awarded on completion, was in high demand. Could some of those post-2010 baby boys be named after the Icarus of MapleStory instead of the son of Daedalus?

    In 2016, an all-new MMORPG, Riders of Icarus, became available. I predict that the popularity of the name Icarus for baby boys will continue to rise.

    Liked by 1 person

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