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Although it be thus in this little history, Dædalus, by the confession of all chronologists, is posterior to the edifices which I have just mentioned. Yet how could they imagine he should build without the help of instruments, which they fay had been invented either by that artist or by his nephew?
Further, there is great reason to doubt, whether thele practices were known, even in the ages in which historians have placed these discoveries. To judge of the reality of facts, and what to think of the tools used in the heroic times among the Greeks, it is Homer we ought to consult. We shall see that he does not seem to have any idea of the greatest part of the inventions attributed to Dædalus or his nephew. Without reckoning many places in his poems, where he had occasion to speak of the faw, the compass, and the square, the vessel which he caused to be built for Ulysses in the isle of Calypso, afforded him a fine field to speak of all the tools of which he could have any knowledge. These nevertheless which he gives to his hero, only conlist of a hatchet that cut at both ends, a plane, wimbles, a level, or a rule to make the wood straight ". There is no mention of the square, the compass, or even the faw. This last instrument would yet have been the most necessary for Ulysses for the construction of his ship. Shall we presume, that Homer neglected to give one to the King of Ithaca *? We cannot say, that this prince may be thought to have wanted tools necessary and proper for the work which he undertook. The poet has not placed him in a desert and a. bandoned island. Ulysses was then with a goddess in a capa. city of supplying him with all the helps of which he stood in any need. There is great room to believe, that Homer gives to his hero all the tools that were in use at this time. Since there is no mention made of the square, the compass, or the saw, we ought to presume, that these instruments were not yet invented. The Greeks, in the heroic times,
» Odys. 1. 5. V. 234. & 245. &C.
* The word agis, which in Greek fignifies a faw, iş not found in Homer, nor any thing equivalent to it.
were • See part 1. book 2, chap 3. P Lettr, edif. t. 18. p. 328. 4 Part 1. book 2. chap. 3. ; Voyage de Dampier, t. 2. p. 10. t. 4. p. 231. I See Virgil. georg. 1. 1. V, 144.
were almost as destitute of mechanical knowledge as the
. as a policed nation, were igno-
The doubts which I have raised about the inventions attributed to Dædalus, have engaged me to propose some on the monuments of which he is looked upon as the author.
They make him travel into Egypt to be instructed and perfected in the arts. He profited so well by the lessons which he received there, that he surpassed in a little time, say they, the most able architects of that country. They chose him to construct the vestibule of the temple of Vulcan at Memphis s. He executed it in a superior manner. This work acquired its author so much glory, that they placed in the temple his statue in wood made by himself. They did more. The genius and invention of Dedalus placed him in so high a reputation among the Egyptians, that these people phen for h decreed to him divine honours. If we should believe Gelubach Diodorus, there fubsifted, even in his time, a temple con. When secrated under the name of this famous artist in one of the
aga . ifles bordering upon Memphis. This temple, adds he, was in great veneration through all the country".
It was not only in Egypt that Dædalus exercised his talents : he had left in-many countries the testimonies of his skill in architecture. He built at Cumæ, on the coast of Italy, a temple to Apollo, in acknowledgment of his happy escape
Diod, l, 1. p. 1c9.
t. Id. ibid. I ld. ibid,
from Crete. They boasted of the architecture of this temple as very beautiful and very magnificent *.
In the residence which Dædalus made in Sicily, he em. bellished that ille with many works equally useful and ingenious: he built among others on the height of a rock a very strong citadel, and made it absolutely impregnable y. Mount Erix was fo steep, that the houses which they had been obliged to construct near the temple of Venus, appeared ready to fall every moment down the precipice. Dædalus augmented the size of the summit of that mountain by means of earth he brought there, and supported it with a wall . He dug also near Megara in Sicily a grand pond, through which the river Alabon discharged itself into the sea«. His industrious genius thone still more in the construction of a cavern which he dug in the territory of Selinunta : he knew how to manage and employ with so much art, the vapour of the subterraneous fires which came from thence, that the sick people who entered into that cavern, foon perceived themselves thrown into a gentle sweat, and were cured insensibly, even without finding any inconveniency from the heat b. Diodorus adds, that Dædalus made in Sicily many other works which the injuries of time have destroyed.
But these monuments, however commendable they might be, ought not to be put in comparison with the famous labyrinth which he made in the isle of Crete. This work alone would have been sufficient to immortalize the name of Dædalus. Ancient tradition says, that he had taken the model and the design from that which we fee in Egypt; hut be had only executed an hundredth part of its Dædalys had confined himself to imitate the entrance of the Jabyrinth of Egypt, where we met with such a surprising number of turnings and windings, so difficult to remark, that it was not possible to get out when we were once en
* Virgil. Æneid. 1. 6. v. 17. & seq.; Sil. Ital. 1. 12. V. 102.; Aufon. Idyll. 10. V. 300.& 31. y Diod.). 4. P. 32!. z Id. ibid. a Ibid.
b Ibid. <Ibid. p. 327. &1.2.p.71.; Plin. 1. 36.fcct. 19. p. 739.
gaged gaged among them : and it must not be imagined, says Pliny, that the labyrinth of Crete had a resemblance to those which we execute in gardens, where, by means of a great number of multiplied alleys, we find the secret of making many ways in a very small space. The labyrinth of Crete was a very spacious edifice, diitributed into a num. ber of separate pieces, which had on all sides openings and gates, the number and confusion of which hindered us from distinguishing the way out. This is what the ancients have related of the works executed by Dædalus.
It appears at first sight very singular, that such like edifices should have been built in ages so gross and so ignorant as those of which we are speaking at present: it is still inore surprising, that one single man should have been equal to so many labours of such different kinds, and these executed in countries so diftant from each other *. Nothing, at first sight, appears to be better established, than the long possession in which Dædalus has been supported to the present time of having been a universal genius. The fact is attested by a croud of authors as well Greek as Roman. Their testimony nevertheless does not persuade me, and I think, that all that the writers of antiquity have handed down to us on this subject, may be founded on no reality.
How could we persuade ourselves in effect, that the E. gyptians, who avoided all commerce with other nations de fhould have chose a stranger to decorate the temple of their principal divinity? This single consideration would suffice to render the fad very dubious ; but it entirely destroys it, when we see that Herodotus, who speaks of the fame monumente, does not speak a word of Dedalus, nor of his stay in Egypt. I pass over in filence the other works attributed to this artist, of which I could equally make a criticism : I confine it to the labyrinth of Crete, an edifice so boasted of by the ancients, and which appears alone to have caused the greatest reputation of Dædalus.
* In Greece, in Egypt, in Crete, in Italy, bc.
Let us examine the age of the authors who have made mention of this monument, and we shall see that they all lived more than 1200 years after the time to which they have referred its construction. Besides, they only speak by tradition : they agree, that though the labyrinth of Egypt exiited still in their times, that of Crete was destroyed'. Neither are they agreed 'as to the form and species of this work. Diodorus and Pliny say, that the labyrinth of Crete was an immense edifice, and of a wonderful structure s. But Philocorus, a very ancient author, did not think the same. It was, in his opinion, a prison where the criminals were fhut up very safely h. Cedrenus and Eustathius advance, that this fo boaited monument was only a cave where they found many avenues, turnings, and windings, and that art had helped nature a little i, This fentiment is confirmed by M. de Tournefort, who, in the year 1700, visited these places with great exactnessk, The testimony of this able traveller, joined to the diversity of opinions which reign among the authors who have spoken of the labyrinth of Dædalus, shews the little regard we ought to pay to their recitals. Let us finish by giving the proof.
Why has not Homer, who was, without comparison, znuch nearer to the age of Dædalus than all these writers, said any thing of the labyrinth of Crete? If such a work had existed in his time, is it to be believed, that he would have passed it in silence ? He who so often makes mention of the isle of Crete, he who very feldom fails to give to the cities and the countries of which he speaks some epithets, which are always taken from their arts or their natural history? But further, Homer speaks of Dxdalus!, and of the taking away of Ariadne by Theseus m; but he does not speak one word of the labyrinth. Yet an occasion of speak
f Diod. 1. 1. p. 71.; Plin. 1. 36. sect. 19. p. 740,
i Cedren. p. 122. Ķ Voyag. du Levant, t. 1. p. 65. &c. 1 Iliad. I, 18, V, 593, &c. Odys. 1. 11. v. 320. &c.