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.