From the Vault: Talos


You know, people say necessity is the mother of invention. But that's not always true. Sometimes the mother of invention is advertising. Yeah. Or pure accident. How about ego maniacal delusion? Absolutely. Or just a desperate longing. To be cool. I'm Robert lamb, and I'm Joe McCormick. You're the host of the science podcasts stuff to blow your mind. And now we're branching off into the exploration of invention. Invention is the story of human history told one piece of technology at a time the things we made and how they made us invention publishes every Monday, listen and subscribe to invention on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you find your podcasts. Hey, welcome to stuff to blow your mind. My name is Robert lamb, and I'm Joe McCormick. And it Saturday. I think we're supposed to venture into the vault. But I'm hearing some odd creaking and squealing of metal in there. That is giving me pause. Yes. We are going to be talking about Talos, the the atomic Tomasson of Greek myth in this episode this I have to say an episode that air January second two thousand eighteen one of my favorite episodes of twenty eighteen I think one of mine too. This one was a lot of fun. And you know, who would have thought that the best traditions of thinking about robot life, go all the way back to ancient Greece. It's true. Let's pull the plug out. Let that equal drain. Welcome to stuff to blow your mind from how stuff works dot com. Hey, wasn't this stuff to blow your mind? My name is Robert glam. And I'm Joe McCormick. Today. We're gonna be talking about themes of technology in ancient Greek literature before we get there. We have to go to the slightly related actually, very related topic of what's your favorite killer robot movie, Robert, oh, well, outside of some of the obvious choices from say, the Terminator movies can't say Terminator or even the RoboCop movies. You get into a weird. Territories. That a robot is a disabled, right? I would say my easy pick is the killer red robot Maximilian from the Disney movie the black hole. Oh, yeah. I've never seen it. Oh, he's terrifying. 'cause he just he floats around and do not touch the surface of the ship and has his missing red visor disappears into your soul, and has these spinning blade hands that it utilizes to at one point murder, Anthony Perkins and co blood, no any Perkins. Yeah. Well after. Psycho. I guess he had it coming. Well, no in this movie was great. And this movie felt sorry for him. If he'd showed up showing up in psycho than that, would that would be a different matter altogether. Now, I have probably gotta go to the movie chopping mall. Oh, yes is a eighties robot slasher set in a shopping mall at night where security robots go haywire. I think they're computer gets struck by lightning or something. And then they decide well they've got to kill the people who are hanging out overnight in the in the mall that is a delicious movie. Yeah. But also how about you'll burner in the original Westworld? Oh, yeah. He's super missing I'm up until his face falls off. I guess but before Westworld was like a thoughtful HBO series. It was a cheesy old movie with Yul Brynner pulling guns on people. Yeah. Yeah. He was. He was terrifying. I mean, you'll Brennan was always entertaining. But if he was kind of made to play a killer emotionless robot, I would say some of the best killer robot stuff in movies when killer robots are scary. The fact. They're scary comes not from malice or ill intent like it might in a monster or in a human villain or something. Like that the great thing about a killer robot in a scary movie. Is that it's terror is derived from the fact that it has no will of its own or no intention. It's just sort of like a an efficient emotionless killing machine. Yeah. All it has is directive, and it it absolutely will not stop until achieves it. Now, we obviously think of themes like this emerging in the fiction, primarily of the twentieth century. That's when we think science fiction in earnest really shows up the way, we know it now, I know you Jules Verne before that. But the twentieth century's when you really start getting your killer, robots everywhere. But today we're going to go back. Oh, yes. We're going to go back to a fabulous example of what is perhaps the very first killer robot that humans ever dreamt up and it it's not from the twentieth century. It's not from the nineteenth or even the eighteenth. It is from the ancient Greek world. And its name is Talos Talos. Yes. The man of bronze. The bronze Tomasson I want to quote from Edith Hamilton's version of the classic story of the quest for the golden fleece now. Ethane Milton's classic mythology. This is a great old textbook on Greek mythology. If you haven't had a chance to check it out. It's just wonderful leaf through every personal library needs a copy of this. But so she does a really good job of taking disparate elements of story traditions, and sort of pasting them together into composites that versions of the stories. So I wanna sorta summarize the quest for the golden fleece. You can't hit all the great points. But here's how it goes. So you've got this young hero Jason and in order to reclaim his rightful kingdom from usurper king. Jason is on a quest to retrieve a sacred artifact, which is a golden fleece from a magic ram that saved the life of a Greek prince long ago. And he's a company by crew other heroes as the Argonauts this is where we get Jason and the Argonauts and on the way to retrieve the artifact he has to face many trials with his companions one of the trials that Hamilton talks about is how Hercules is on the on the ship with him and Hercules friend gets yanked down into a spring by this nymph type creature and Hercules as roaming around the woods trying to find him and eventually gets lost and wanders off. So you would think you know, you got Hercules in your crew your said, but it turns out he's easily distracted. Yes, another trial is when Jason and the Argonauts have to battle with evil harpies on behalf of this wretched old man who has the gift of future site. So the old man is a profit. But he's been cursed. So that anytime he goes to eat some food harpies zoom down down out of the sky, and they terrorize him and they follow the food. He's eating. I'm not sure exactly what they do. It's their described as foul smelling. So maybe they just put him off it. Well, I'm just. Imagining just a tussle heartbe feathers and in heartbe excrement, and and it just all manner of nastiness. Yeah. And so they have to sail the ship through some crashing rocks and all kinds of stuff like that. But eventually Jason is able to capture the artifacts the golden fleece. But only with the help of the powerful which Princess Madisha one of the greatest sources in all of fiction. Medina's awesome. So she has fallen in love with him, but not entirely of her own volition because she was compelled into love by aero of cupid because Aphrodite he intervened on his behalf. So after they get the fleece Jason and Medina and the rest of the crew of the Argo are sailing toward Jason's home in on the journey. They pass by the island of Crete, and here I wanna read a direct quote from Hamilton's telling the story next came Crete where they would have landed. But for Madisha, she told them that Tallis's lived there. The last man left of the ancient bronze race a creature made all of bronze except one ankle where a loon he was Volna Rable, even as she spoke. He appeared terrible to behold and threatened to crush the ship with rocks. If they drew nearer they rested on their oars and Madisha kneeling prayed to the hounds of Hades to come in destroy him. The dread powers of evil heard her as the bronze man lifted appointed crag to hurl at the Argo. He grazed his ankle and the blood gushed forth until he sank and died than the heroes could land and refresh themselves for the voyage still before them. Now. This is only one telling of the story of Talos the mighty man of bronze and get a little bit more detail. I think we should look at a translation of the text of the story as told by Appalachia severe roads in his work, the Argonaut IKA, which is one version of of the story of just been talking about. Yes. Appaloosas ri-. Writes, he was of the stock of bronze of the men spring from ash-trees the last left among the sons of the gods, and the sons of Kronos gave him to Europa to be the water of Crete and to stride round the island thrice a day with his feet of bronze now in all the rest of his body and limbs he was fashioned of Bruns and invulnerable, but the Neath the sinew of his ankle was a blood red vein and this with his issue of life and death was covered by a thin skin. Now. So you've got a bronze guy you got a bronze guy, and he has this weak point in his his his ankle very much like achilles village. Individuals also week only in his ankle his he'll right because that's where he was held as he was dipped into into the river sticks. But we get a different explanation for the ability in this story now, it's technological vulnerability. Yeah. And I think this this is the key. And this is something we're going to discuss over and over again in this episode is that it it's easy to just dismiss this tale because Tallus does not have other adventures he basically shows up kinda dungeons and dragons random encounter, and he's dispatched the main story about him is his death. Right. And you can also say we'll Heatley sounds a lot like achilles. It's kind of like a bronze a robot knockoff of achilles to a certain extent. But when you really start digging into it, the technological aspect of this is absolutely phenomenal. No one great source on the tradition of the. Talis character is the author Merlin Perez who wrote the article Talos Daedalus a review of the authorship of the abominable bronze man in the Salen journal of humanities from nineteen seventy one and this is a fantastic article. So we will bring him up several times throughout the episode now one thing Paris points out is that not all versions of the towel story described housing xactly, the same sometimes his body has different features or characteristics, depending on who the author is. Yes. And is we'll discuss even the size fluctuates, right one that we always have to remember with Greek myths in particular is that they evolve I mean, all myths are subject to change over time and over place, depending on who's telling the tale and in win they are telling it in certainly the case with Greek mythology. So for example, apple onea's of roads, who's writing in the third century had said that this this vein this vein inside him was only apparent under the sinew of his ankle. Right. The ryan. Title. But then there are other accounts that say that it stretched from the neck down to both ankles. So that was apple Doris. Right. Yes. So this vein is full of what's known as e core which in Greek myth is the lifeblood of the gods. Sometimes it's described as golden instead of red though in most of the stories of seen about Tallus. It is described as red in the Iliad when the gods, for example, Aphrodite E R cut or stabbed with spears. They can be harmed. Their skin can be pierced and they leak fluid, but the fluid they leak is not blood, but e core so to quote from the Iliad, quote, the point tore through the Umbro Joel robe, which the Grace's had woven for Aphrodite -i and Pierce the skin between her wrist in the palm of her hand. So that the immortal blood or e core that flows in the veins of the blessed? God's came pouring from the wound for the gods. Do not eat bread nor drink wine hints. They have no blood such as ours and are. Portal. I love the conflicting ideas here like the idea that the God can be injured and the God can bleed, but they are in some sense, immortal. They have bodies they can leak fluid. They can be hurt. But the idea of immortality is somehow more bound up in what goes into their body, and what comes out of it than what can be done to it. Yes. And it's important to note here that this does not mean Talis is a God all accounts indicate that he is a manufactured thing. But of course, the manufacturer changes depending on the different tales. Yeah. But but still he is he's like this. Artificial creation that has been filled with life because he's been filled with the core. So the echo or maybe for for. The bronze mentality is not essential to his nature. But is something that has been used to give him the properties. He has maybe the properties of life or animation. Right. Yeah. The gasoline for your large. Bronze death Gullam the oil in the car now this makes. Me think about how both monsters and robots fiction are often identified by the different color of their blood. I think about like the aliens in X files that have green blood or in not just the X files. I think about the there's a great scene in fright night, where there's a guy who just think is like normal vampires familiar, but then he starts bleeding, and I think is blood is green that. Right. I believe so. Yeah. But anyway, it's it's all all over the place in fiction, but it's not just monsters robots to I think about ash spring, the milk white blood everywhere in early, and when he gets bashed up, and I think this goes to the deep metaphorical understanding, we have of blood as like the essence of person in the sense that close family members, which in material terms are those animals with which you share the most essential genetic, similarity are quote, your blood. Indeed. And of course, it's also worth noting that I believe film rating sometimes come into play. I've read that if you have a humanoid spa. Founding green pink wide or say, amber blood. You can still earn yourself a PD thirteen. But if it's if the stuff is red, then you're probably gonna get an are. Oh, wow. You know is going to say, well, I wonder if that played a role in its in its use in the Iliad, but no the Iliad full of blood. They didn't shy away from blood there. Oh, well, without getting into the whole issue of colors in the the works of Homer, right? That's an entirely different topic. Maybe a different day so tallow. So we've got him as this bronze man made of bronze. He's got this vein of equal or somewhere in his body going down to his ankle or both ankles that contains this life blood or essential theory liquid inside the gods that is animated. This bronze creature to some extent and he stands on the island. Throwing rocks at any ship that tries to dock we saw in Appalachia tail. The apparently runs around the island of Crete three times a day retired day, and it was impossible. I was tempted to do the math on it. Or I was actually kinda surprised that nobody else has a paper out there. Breaking down. Exactly how fast and how large Tallus would have to be to pull this off. But that's not the only thing that tells can do so he can curl rock set you ship. But what if you come ashore does he still pose a risk then? Oh, does he ever? He has this this beautifully. Grotesque superpower of being able to apparently jump into the fire heat. It's body up and then come out and embrace the enemy. So so the enemy soldiers say they've landed here comes towels leaping out of the fire. Applies huge bear hug and just immolates you his embrace, and according to the that's as ING, and it gets even better, according to to Merlin Paris, some argue that the term sardonic grin may have originated with the victims of this death, this at least according to Simonis who wrote the Tallus resided in Sardinia before coming to Crete, and he'd. Already destroyed. Many of this Orden's presumably leaving them with peeled back appealed back grin of of of the burnt dead. Yeah. The idea of the grimace, and this is a big question actually in the the end of the term where does the idea of the sardonic grin? Come from the the Rizza Sardonicus, which I think actually literally means Sardana laughter not sardonic grin. But the ideas get conflicted in the history of the terms. So yeah. Yeah. Where does this idea come from? Now another version I've heard so one is that he is crushing the Sardinians and the he's crushing them and burning them with his red hot embrace in that in their death grimaces turn into grins. But then also I a Paris talks about the idea that the grin goes to the robot itself. Right. Then this that Talos would grin have this creepy grin win. He was hugging. People to death with his burning arms. Another version of the explanation for this, which is kind of a side note from Telus. But I thought it was interesting. So I. Should bring it up. No one knows for sure where it came from. But the idea of the sardonic grin has also been potentially traced to a totally different Sardinian threat. So ancient historians told these stories that on the island of Cerdan the pre Roman inhabitants had this ritual custom for dealing with criminals and for youth Anais ING elderly people who couldn't care for themselves. And what they do is. They would drug them with an intoxicating poison that caused the victims facial muscles to contract into a creepy grin and become paralyzed hints the sardonic grin of Sardenia. And then while the victims were drugged out. They could be thrown off a cliff or beaten to death. It started off sounding reasonably humane for the ancient world, maybe it Stiller's depending on how you look at it just not much that's reasonably humane world. But anyway, so in two thousand nine studied by scientists at the university of eastern Piedmont in Italy claimed trace this story if true to an herb native to start any called the him lock water drop ward or eaten ans- CRA Cada also known commonly as water celery. But this is not a good candidate to stick in your Bloody Mary because the stem and the root of this plant are apparently a significant threat to fatal human poisonings one example sometime in the late nineties Acer Denia and shepherd committed suicide by eating water drop ward and his corpse was apparently found grinning now the name n anthem means wine. Flour and CRA kata in particular has apparently a quote paradoxical Swedish and pleasant taste and odor. And this makes it more dangerous than a lot of other plants, especially plants in the same genus, which are also. Poisonous, but have a bitter taste, which kind of keeps you from eating too much of it. And because of its ability to cause the facial muscles to contract into the Rizza Sirdana Casse, and because Denia is the only place in the Mediterranean where this plant commonly grows. The researchers think that it is probably the Sardinian death or from the agent stories, and thus the origin of the idea of the sardonic grin now back to Tallus though. Okay. So sorry to take. It's a fascinating diversion. But the the bronze the killer awaits is. We'll explore their too key origin stories for this mechanical marvel. So in some tales heat in really most of the older tales. He was created by Festus the God of the forge right? The the later known as Volkan the blacksmith God of Olympics. Yeah. Deformed a God. We who if you visit Birmingham, Alabama, you get to see his likeness on the horizon because the statue Volkan, really. Yeah. It's it's interesting one of the few pagan tourist stops in the American South. But in later telling 's the inventor Daedalus constructs this artificial being Daedalus. Yeah. The master inventor the creator of the the Minoan maze. The wings of Chris and other marvels, right? The famed mythical inventor. Yeah. And it's but this is interesting as well. Because Talos the the bronze Tomasson here curiously bears the same name as the inventor the Daedalus tried to murder out of jealousy. Earlier on pushing them out at out of tower. Although theme saves this mortal Tallus by turning him into a Partridge. So it can fly away. Yeah. In his paper, Paris talks about the the number of stories along these lines. But it's like an Athenian tradition that Daedalus was in Athens, and he had this pupil who was very talented, and he was a little too talented. Daedalus got a little territorial got a little jealous and pushed him off the Acropolis. Yeah. The original Tallus if we want to call them that the moral Tallus, he's attributed with with inventing the saw own thing. So. Yeah. Daedalus standing there's like, geez, you Assad. That's genius. Why didn't I think of that? I just wanna push you out of a tout. And he does this is a great argument for not showing up your boss in a meeting or being too clever. You're gonna get pushed out of a tower. You just know it's coming exactly no one last note about that Tallus that original human Talis was apparently also known as callous in some traditions. So there are some differences in the name. But anyway, so back to tell us in the story of the golden fleece. So we've got Jason and the Argonauts and Medina's especially now in most of the good versions of the story. Medina's the one who takes him down, right, right? And it in most of them in has to do with the removing of Bruns nail from that ankle again that weak point. That's good. That's connected to the vein that runs all the way through Tallis's body. She unplugged it she unplugged. The bronze nail which causes the Eaker to pour out of his body. Draining him of all life and movement, and there's actually a wonderful vase and Athenian vase from four hundred BC that illustrates. This makes you include that image on the landing page for this episode stuff to blow your mind dot com. You should take a look at this because it's awesome Tallis's ripped his PECS or like the size of cars. But actually one thing that you might notice in this case is that so okay, you've got LeBron's man. And he seems to be stumbling and falling down, but he's the same size as all the other dudes around him, which makes sense when you think about the the the embrace the deadly burning bear hug of the giant. Exactly. So when I read the story in the say the version told by Polonius roads, I think of Tallus as this hundred foot tall giant. And it seems that most modern commentators have just assumed him to be towering to be a giant like in the Ray Harry house in movies, though, where when you see Tallus he's this huge Godzilla like figure mid Paris points out that most of the ancient authors didn't describe him this way. That logically like you're saying he couldn't have been that much bigger than a man. How else could he do this this heating embrace heating? The the scalding burning roasting embrace now one exception to this seems to be the author of the or Fiqh Argonaut, which is different telling of the Argonauts data who called him quote. A bronze thrice giant or tree gigantea the line from there is we suffered a great enemy on Crete. When we observed a bronze giant who allowed? No one to go into the harbor. So at least some ancient authors picked up on the side that he was a giant. But it's not there in most of the stories in most he's more like the tin man or something very strong powerful metal figure, but basically human sized. And I believe there's also sometimes some crossover from counts of the colossus of Rhodes. Oh, yeah. The literally giant statue that stood as a sort of guardian of of the harbor. Yeah. So wait a minute. We gotta go back to. How Talos gets defeated stories. So they're they're four different versions of his death seem to exist. But they all relate to draining the equal or out of the ankle. So in one the hero poeace shoots him in the ankle. Which is I is one I reject that's fine. Don't don't give this guy a chance to do it. It's this is a Medina's role. Right. So there's another one where Medina's tricks him into thinking she can make him immortal by pulling out the nail. Now. This is a common trick up media sleeve because later in the same story. Medina also kills the serpent king by tricking him into thinking he can be a more actually not by tricking him. But she plays this wonderfully fatal and devious hoax on the daughters of the pretender king. Jason's trying to get thrown back from believes name Pelaez. Right. So she goes to Pelly os's daughters and says, hey, look, I can make an old lamb young again, not a lamb. All ram, and so she chops. It up puts it in boiling water and does a spell to make young lamb jump out. And then so Pelly os's daughters are like we'll great we're going to do that for dad. Happy birthday. And so they chop them up and they boil him, and they try to do the spell, and it doesn't work. She something an anti hero isn't. Yeah. Well, no, I mean Medina. You gotta feel for her. Like, she's she's the tr-. I would say she's the tragic heroine despite all of the killings. She does the other two versions of this relate to magical efforts on media's part, her hypnotic gaze spells or even some sort of a magical potion a- drugging of Tallus if you will that somehow make him stumble and rupture his ankle on Iraq, or or at least open him up for attack allow her to move in and pull that nail from the membrane. I would say the actual text of the Argonauts is too good not to read. So I think we should read the section where Medina kills Tallus inside this. This would be a good one to throw some drums over some barbarian Trump. Exactly. So please Sabam in here. So Talos shows up on a cliff he threatens to crush them with rocks and Medina Jason and his men to back away from the shore and let her take care of it. And then the translation of what follows is by our RC Seton in with songs did she prepares she ate and invoked. The death spirits devours of life. The swift hounds of heydays who hovering through all the air swoop down on the living kneeling in supplication. Thrice? She called on them with songs and thrice with prayers and shaping her soul to mischief with her hostile glance. She which to the eyes of Tallus the man of bronze and her teeth gnashed bidder wrath against him, and she sent forth baneful phantoms in the frenzy of her rage. Father Zeus, Shirley, great wonder rises in my mind. Seeing that dire destruction meets us not from disease and wounds alone. But low even from far may be it tortures us so Talos for all his frame of Veron's yielded, the victory to the might of Medina the Sorus. And as he was heaving. Massey. Rocks to stay them from reaching the haven. He grazed his ankle on a pointed crag and the equal or gushed forth like melted lead and not long there after did he stand towering on the jutting cliff? But even as some huge pine high up on the mountains, which woodmen have left half Hyun through their sharp axes when they returned from the forest at first shivers in the wind by night. Then last snaps at the stump and crashes down so Talos for awhile stood on his tireless feet swaying to and fro when at last all strength Pless fell with the mighty thud. All it's beautiful. I love that. That is a robot deaths have read one that's better than the T one thousand melting. It's better than any of it. And I should also note it's better than what we see in the nineteen sixty three film Jason and the Argonauts with those wonderful Ray, Harry house and affects because in that one. Jason kills Tallus rather than Madisha sexist, red con-. Yeah. And it's boring to Jason just runs up to his foot and pulls the thing out, and then all the fluid gushes out of Emini falls over. Why? I mean, you gotta give them a DEA. Some spells to do. I agree. She's in the movie, you might as well use it for that purpose is she not in the movie at that, point belief. She shows up after the Tallus encounter and they encounter Tallus not on Crete. But on some island of bronze or something? Well, that's a bummer. You gotta get the hands of heydays. You do the house eighties. A great line. Now. I love the way Medina does this. Because she's of course, you got Jason and all his meathead buddies, the I guess they probably just wanna rush in there and slash him up with swords, but Medina's like hold on. I got this, and that's actually possibly there in her name because as. Adrienne mayor points out. The name DEA seems to be derived from Greek word that means to plan or to devise whereas she surrounded by these heroes who are who are powerful because they're strong and brave. She's powerful because she's cunning, and she can think it out. So she's definitely one of the the really cool aspects of the story the other, of course, being the giant bronze robot. Yes. A where does Tallus come from in the literary tradition? Like where wince this bronze sentinel? We're gonna answer that question when we come back. You know, people say necessity is the mother of invention. But that's not always true. Sometimes the mother of invention is advertising. Yeah. Or pure accident. How about eagle maniacal delusion? Absolutely. Or just a desperate longing. To be cool. I'm Robert lamb, and I'm Joe McCormick. The host of the science podcasts stuff to blow your mind. And now we're branching off into the exploration of invention. Invention is the story of human history told one piece of technology to time the things we made and how they made us invention publishes every Monday, listen and subscribe to invention on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you find your podcasts. We're back. So before we proceed here. I wanna read this. Excellent quote from Merlin Paris in that Talos in Daedalus article that we've been discussing that really drives home. What why we're doing an episode about this myth to begin? With quote, Talis was not a mortal creature like the rest of them. But a product of the bronze founders are. In other words, we have in him a robot perhaps man's first conception of such not only in the outer form, but replete with an imaginary mechanical device, which was thought to activate him and in this capacity. He does not draw his plausibility as the other monsters did from the wild and fantastic nature's that belonged to prehistory rather. He is remarkably futuristic anticipating the scientific possibilities of the present age. And even then belonging more with the Zohar imaginings of the new mythos. Science fiction than with the mechanisms created and used in real life. I think something that's interesting about looking at the fantastical literature of the ancient world is that a lot of times we have troubled discerning, the difference between what was to them sort of magic fantasy and what was to them. They're equivalent of science fiction, as we would imagine it today because to us it all looks ancient it's all you know, because they're forward looking is still sort of backward to us. But I think there's a lot of literature in the ancient world the could quite well be characterized as sort of like science fiction. I think sometimes when you read, for example, the book of revelation or other apocalyptic literature, we read that now is feature is kind of like a epic fantasy or something like that. But I think from the time it was created the attitude toward it would have been more like our ideas like this. Topi and future Seifi. I think it's a strong point. Yes. Now at this point. We wanted to discuss some of the different versions of the tale. Relating wear Talos came from because they're important in breaking down what this tale says about technology. So the first one that we've been talking about a good bit has been the story told by Appalachia of roads and the Argonaut IKA, right? Yeah. This is the idea that he was a survivor of the age of bronze. And this is something that the Merlin Peres viewed as a quote dubious tradition. Right. So the bronze age were discussing here. This is not a an historical time period. This is not the technological bronze age that we will talk about that later. Yeah. What we're discussing. Here is one of the poet Hessy odds. Five races a race of humans created by Zeus from ash-trees, violent clad in bronze destroyed in the flood of of decor. Leeann who is the son of me and who's now confined to the quote dank house of Haiti's Haiti's house. I didn't even know. It was dang. Yeah. It's. Sank down there. So this would frame Talos as last bronze man, given by Zeus to Europa to protect your children, and then given to me knows to guard Crete. However, there seems little to suggest that anyone else viewed. The bronze men is actual men of bronze in Paris suspects that this was abalone os's invention. Okay. So we're seeing sort of a mishmash of different ideas. Here you got Hessy bronze age of creatures these human creatures who are not literally made of bronze. But, but it seems like apple Oni sort of taking that idea and applying it to a creature that he he does say explicitly is made of bronze again myths. Evolve myths are retold retold and changed so if he's made of bronze who made him well in those popular version of the tale as we've discussed tallows is the create is a creation a machine of some sort born from the forge and in the earlier traditions to creator is fastest aka Vulcan, God of the forge in Homer's, the Iliad we're told that. Hypothesis creates golden females and we'll driven tripod stools to serve the table of the gods. And he's also the one who forged the arm or the arms of Kelly's Simonis among others dinovite talents as a creature of Festus. Okay. So created by the gods that sort of takes away to some extent for me, the scifi nature of of the creature. Right. Yeah. If it's an animated statue of bronze. But it's created by the gods. It seems like it's nature is essentially magical, right? Yeah. Now Paris reminds us that the association here might have been Talis was a creation in the art of Festus, perhaps by another I suppose, this would be like using satanic magic to make a monster. Right. Who is who's the the master of the monster? Who's the true monster maker? Here's the wizard or the devil over time that we see this growth of association with Daedalus. And I think this is where we really can get into some fun questions about technology. So in time Daedalus comes to serve. As a human represent Representative of the skills and crafts that Festus rules over. So the mythological inventor again he said to have had walking statues of his own. He created the Minoan maze in crafted the wings of Chris. He was a master of at least art if not technology. Yeah. And usually in the traditions, both or at least overtime, but with and Paris makes a lot of this history of sociation between Daedalus and statuary that he was a great innovator in life sculpture is for example, Peres points out the Diodoros writes, quote in the sculptor's art, he Daedalus, so far excelled all other men the statues. He made were like human beings. They could see they said and walk in a word preserved. So well, the composition of the whole body that is handiwork seemed to be a living creature? So we're gonna the skeptically it just sounds like he's he's an accomplished sculptor and can make lifelock like sculpture. There's right. But this does seem to be taken literally all over the place. There are platonic dialogues where Socrates and it's there in the youth of fro. And it's there in the men. Oh, I think they're platonic dialogues for Socrates talks about Daedalus statues literally walking away. So he'll use them as a metaphor for something. Like, don't let this thing. Get away from you like Daedalus statues walking off from the workshop, but the idea of the innovation of lifelike poses in artistic sculpture does make me think about how when you look at stone age figurines, maybe I just haven't seen enough of them. But almost all the ones I can think of seemed to be posed with arms at their sides. Almost like corpses. They don't seem to be an action even the low and Mench is like this whole the Venus figurines, the low image. Just racking my brain for stone-age statues that really have much much action or stuff going on as if they're alive. But once you get closer. Or to the modern age once you get the empire's of Egypt and elsewhere guess later in the stone age and into the bronze age you start to see more figurines of humans animated with action like the striding figurines of ancient Egypt. Robert annot you've seen these right? Where the their legs are clearly like walking the walk sign on the street. Yes. Walking like any to shin. If you will. And so you add to this para says, the Theniet tradition about Daedalus that we talked about earlier which to remind you is that he wants a young pupil named Talos or callous who was so talented. The Daedalus got really jealous. Pushed him off the Acropolis to his death. And then for this crime Daedalus was banished Crete. And then Meanwhile, Paris notes that there are these traditions suggesting that the ancient Greeks knew of historical tabloid, the plural of Tallus in places like Attica, and sir Denia which were not actual robots, but bronze statues set up on rocky coastlines as figures of aperture pic- magic, meaning warding off magically gargoyles driving away evil forces and beings and Paris mentions the idea that there could have been such a figure once posed on the Acropolis which fell off. And so for Paris. It seems like these disparate narrative traditions and historical memories, get blended together into the idea. That Daedalus created Talos not just as a bronze statue. But as an animated living walking Brawn's robot, and I have to say this is the version of the tale. I like the most I like the idea that that the Daedalus is perhaps using the the craft and the power of Festus, but he's creating thing himself. Yeah. Oh, it's much better. If it's created by humans instead of created by the gods because of its created by the gods. Like, we said is magic if it's created by humans. This is Sifi. No. Of course, if it's Sifi one thing, we know from size. You've gotta give a plausible pseudoscientific explanation for why things work, right? You can't just invoke magic. You've got to give some kind of chemical or material explanation for the technology. Well, yeah, we have this idea that perhaps the inventions of Daedalus powered by quicksilver in this para says he suspects that Sophocles was the one who managed to steer the tradition towards Daedalus and this idea of quicksilver as the the really the animating e- core. Now, you can see why that would be the case because if you've ever seen quicksilver, it's got this kind of dancing dancing, jiggling quality, the mix it loc- as if it's quick as if it's alive. And so this provides an interesting chemical substitute to the mythological magical concept of e core, the lifeblood of the gods. All right on that note. We're. Gonna take one more break when we come back. We're going to discuss technology and Talis. Everybody run burgundy has a podcast now. That's right. It's a co production of heart radio and funnier die, and this a momentous moment marks the return of the legendary newsman who's been delighting fans all over the world since the hit movie anchorman was released in two thousand four in each episode of the Ron burgundy podcast, Ron engages in conversation with another notable person on the topic at hand, including some of Ron's closest friends such as Peter inkling a ten year old child and the San Diego chicken. Now, we ran some some kind of annoying ads for this podcast earlier on. But after say, I've listened to all the episodes that are out and I find it to be a very enjoyable show. It's it's it's low key. It's hilarious. It's a great way to pass the time when you drive into work. So you're a died in the wool burgundy act. I wasn't before. Like, I wasn't really crazy about the movies. But I like the show so go figure all right. Well in season one Ron addresses important issues like bullying looks at some bone chilling true crime cases and attempts to ultimately answer the. Question. Seriously. What is podcast you can listen and subscribe to the Ron burgundy podcast on the iheartradio app. Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcast. All right. We're back. We've already talked about the bronze age as defined as one of SEI's five ages. The mythological bronze age brought about the technological bronze age. Yeah. This this is where we get into some really interesting technological explanations here. So the bronze age generally covers the period of Greek history from thirty two hundred BC to twelve hundred BC, and we know that they used other metals during this time gold, silver lead, Tim electro, and even iron on rare occasions bronze, however was the predominant metal of choice for weapons tools vessels in statutes. Right. So what exactly did it mean for this robot to be composed of bronze as opposed to any other thing that could have been composed of the story? Well for starters. It means that he's composed of bronze which is an alloy which is ninety percent. Copper and ten percent tin. Yes. So for thousands of years before the bronze age people had been making crafts. Out of copper, copper was a metal. You could find in the rocks. But copper was soft and easily deformed. You can't make a sword out of copper because you know, you clash against a shield or some is just gonna bend or break. So the alloy with ten changed all that and left us with bronze, which is a metal that changed the world yet. It was the hardest and strongest medal at their disposal and could they could form complex shapes with it. Plus there were no production obstacles for for preparation because the we're talking to casting the hammering of bronze all of this was fully mastered at the time. This was this was an age of peak bronze technology. Yeah. And bronze was important. It was a major innovation in the history of technology because it meant we suddenly had access to hard objects that could be formed into blades and pre-cast shapes that wouldn't chip or shatter under impact. And could hold a sharp edge after heavy use iron, of course, later would be stronger, but before people figured out the process. As for drawing iron out of its or at scale. Bronze was the best humankind had, and I've even read I know in the past that bronze working may have been one of the first real drivers of long distance trade because sources of tin were very rare, and it often had to be imported to the Mediterranean or the mess potato empires from somewhere far away. So you might have you might think did bronze create the foundations of globalism. Also, just a side question. I wonder why it is that so many technological revolution seem based on the creation of blades and cutting materials. Well, well, I think there's there's an answer there that that relates the the basic nature of humanity. Well, yeah, obviously one of them is the idea of weapons, but I think it actually goes deeper than that. Because I think it's almost as if blades by being able to cleave naturally adhering materials represent the very essence of technological power in the natural world, which is the transformation of things by. By cutting thing, you change its nature shape it to what you want. Now that could be changing the nature of a live person into a dead person. But it could also be changing the nature of piece of wood into a building material that you can easily work with or any number of things like that. Now, some of you might be saying all right? Robert, Joe, you're you're chewing more than you bid off here. But I want to add it in the book, the robot the life story of technology by Lisa knocks the author points out that despite the imaginative in symbolic nature of tale such as this. We shouldn't dismiss connections between myths and the history of technology because we we look closely we can derive clues about people's attitudes toward technology toward toolmaking and the use of tools Joan are Mertens in Greek bronzes in the Metropolitan Museum of art writes that Talos illustrates a recurring trope in Greek myth the endowment of works of art with animate being we see it in the bull Daedalus makes for. Pacify as well as such notable miss as Pandora and Pygmalion quote in the hands of an inspired craftsman the proper combination of imitation imagination could result in a creation of extrordinary potential Talisma. Three minds us also that these creations were always made to serve a purpose in the case of the giant to guard the island of Crete here, again, we've got an author assuming it's a giant kind of impossible to resist that. But yeah, I I see exactly what's going on. Here. Mertens is is drawing this connection between the creative power of human beings. And the idea that you could actually create something animated something that's alive. And we totally see the the blurring of that distinction, and what we were talking about with Daedalus Daedalus, creating lifelike statues and sculptures that it some point are seen to be literally alive. Now, one of the cool ways to look at the talisman is to see it as a metaphor for bronze versus. Iron of the bronze age essentially ending in the iron age dawning. So we've already discussed how in some versions of the myth Talos is a gift given to king Minos or another person of power in this Knox points out that it quote reflects the way that bronze objects were reserved for the elite classes by the time. The Iliad was I told so the here's the thing size in power may imply important civil and military applications of practical, metallurgy and historians believe that the invaders who attacked Greece from the north around twelve hundred BC used iron weapons. So it's possible that this tale. This is a tale of the transition from bronze to iron it showing that here's this marvellous weapon. Symbolic. Well, this is basically bronze weaponry and bronze technology in Karnataka, and it crumbles if it goes up against this new metal that is even more potent all the more. More reason that you should always show Talos being destroyed by magic the magic of Medina. And the spells rather than by just somebody shooting an aero really good, right? Because if it's magic that implies this higher advanced level level of technology. The iron working of some of their culture is in fact, magic to you. You can't figure it out. So it is a power beyond your reach. Now, there's there's one more fascinating technological angle and all this, and it it relates to that vein of Talos that we see. So here's a quote, a once more from Joan art Mertens in Greek bronzes, quote, the myth also relates in an interesting way to the production of bronze objects one's attention is drawn to the mention of a single vein running through Tallis's body and plugged at the ankle a detail that may possibly have been taken from the molds for casting by the lost wax technique the lost wax technique. Yes. Tell me about this. All right. So first of all I want to mention that. This is an intern. Operation that seems to originate with British classical scholar. Arthur Bernard cook who lived a eighteen sixty eight through nineteen fifty two. Okay. But the idea here is that the functionality of Talos the thing that gives him live closely resembles the way, you would make a bronze statue or least statuette. So here's the basic process of creating LeBron's work, an inanimate one mind should not one that walks around first of all you prepare core of soil and clay to mold into a figure, then you layer that in wax. Then you add a third layer of fine. Clay baked with coarser clay. And this is where you'd scoped in the details. Okay. So you've got like a clay mold, and then you put wax around the shape of it. And then another claim old on top. Right. And when you go into the details, of course effect in the wax Nayef, right? The wax been left exposed at two points at the base think again to the idea that there to Danes running down his body. So this leaves us with a three layer construction corps at the center wax, representation around it and a clay mold over the wax with metal pins holding everything in alignment, and then once the clay dries you heat it up in the wax drains out of those holes. So then you've got a gap, right? And then that's where you pour molten bronze. Pour that into the void. And then once it cools you remove the clay in the former wax details are now in bronze. So you were then you all you have to do is repair casting flaws smooth and polish the surface. Rework the details needed at additional embellishments desired, silver, inlays, etc. And you have perhaps a being of bronze? So this means that the Talos figure as depicted and myth could be a direct metaphor for how bronze figures and figurines are. Created because it's got this vein for the wax to drain out. Yeah. That's really interesting. It is idea that this. This thing is is Mirroring technology and more than one way in perhaps this in doing so in a way that would have been more obvious. I guess to people hearing the tale like it might have been kind of a joke. One can imagine at the time. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think very often the humor of ancient myths is lost on us because we don't get the context. I mean, you can you can even imagine it Dane kind of like, you know, what this robots achilles heel was what was his achilles heel. We just pulled the plug out. And then everything drained out any lost his his life force. And then Greek laughter ensues. It would be almost like if you in, you know, thousands of years we're looking back on some modern scifi story where somebody undoes the killer robot by unplugging it from the wall. Yes. And they think that like that is a, wow, it has this long-tailed. It's tach to the building. It's in like what a strange mythological feature. But in. Fact, it's just a joke about how easy it is to kill this thing by unplugging. They might think. Well, this is a metaphor for how shackled to electrobi- and technology that people at the time felt and that and and you know, all of these various complex interpretations when it's really just pluck. Now, speaking of of modern times, what if anything can we draw from Talos about modern technology now one thing to keep in mind all of this. We talked about how myths change over time. But of course, society changes as well. And there are changes in the moral and social dimension of how we treat our technology. Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, there's definitely a sense in which technology influences, the development of human ideology, and culture. But it also goes the other way, our ideas about technology, come from our values, and our the way our society is ordered in our beliefs, and one example is I wonder if you can draw broad parallels between. In the way technology is envisioned in free societies that value human rights versus slave owning societies. And so for example, in his politics Aerostat were written around three fifty BC Aristotle's writing about the idea of possessions versus instruments, and he sort of characterizes slaves who are human beings as a type of instrument or tool he says quote for if every instrument could accomplish its own work obeying or anticipating the will of others like the statues of Daedalus or the tripods of faced us, which says the poet quote of their own accord entered the assembly of the gods if in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrums touched the liar without a hand to guide them chief workman would not want servants nor master's slaves. So Aerostat will believed that that slavery that. That slavery and being masters were a state of nature. Some people for him were born to be masters and other people were born to be slaves. And this was a basic feature of the character of each person. Now, obviously this goes completely in the face of our modern ideas, but individual rights and equality and freedoms this is the worst part of Aristotle to read. And yet, I I wonder if it's illuminating about how perhaps a defender of a slave owning culture like Aristotle and other Greek elites would have had to blur the line between human labor and inanimate technology in order to justify their enslavement of other humans like, but by being pro slavery. They think of human labor and inanimate labor, or at least as they imagined sort of robot labor in their fantasies to be sort of similar things. So we in the modern age would make complete, you know, a very hard line distinction between the labor of human being. And the workings of mechanical robot. I'm not sure that era Stottlemyre in many of the Greeks always would. So if they didn't necessarily make that distinction. How did it inform their myths in their ideas of Tommaso and an robots and or deficient beings VIN arresting to when when you consider if I remember correctly, our word robot, even derives from an old Slavic word robotic, which means the servitude. So you could you see this definite connection between even our modern conception of a robot with slavery, slavery or servitude? Yeah. I think maybe this very firm distinction. We make between human beings and humanoid robots thinking them as very different fundamentally different things might come from our idea of human rights, right? Like, if you are in a society that just does not really have the idea of human rights. You may very well not have such a clear idea of the distinction. In between human and the robot. Indeed. And I think we see this line blurred very much in the different traditions of how the Talos is represented. But what can I wonder what Talos can tell us about modern technology for one thing it connects to ideas about the nature of a robot? Like, what is a robot or an Android and could a robot or an Android ever, attained the human kind of status, you know, we've just been talking about the distinction between humans and robots but can robot sinned, the latter and becomes something? We would think of like a human is a self move, but artificial creature capable of feeling now Peres says that according to erase doddle Daedalus statues were able to quote carry out tasks, which they had been instructed to do or had learned beforehand. So para says the deadly silence the impersonal officiency the tireless thoroughness with which he executed his gory tasks Mark amount as a machine. Without a speck of thought or feeling and on air Stuttle's idea that statue, especially a robot could carry out tasks, which they had been instructed to do or learn beforehand. This seems to imply that creative or novel behaviors are not possible for it that the robot does as it's programmed, but that it can't achieve a will of its own basically. But then at the same time tallows animated with e core for the ability to be self moved like the gods and the stories of tallow several times say he was quote alive. And that he was quote faded to die in that. When he fell he was not only deactivated or destroyed, but he died yet. Again, we're seeing the sort of blurring of the distinction between a human robot. We would talk about humans and robots much more differently. I think in modern science fiction than the ancient Greeks did when they talked about their their humans and their gods. And there. Robots seems like the lines are are much blurrier all throughout and certainly a lot of modern science fiction that re- blurs those lines. I mean, there's a tremendous amount of of of narrative fun to be had there. Oh, yeah. Well, I mean earlier we brought up the obvious robot of Yul Brenner in Westworld. But in the new Westworld, I think it's been a lot of times trying to re blur these lines. We were talking about being blurrier in the ancient literature, but becoming more distinct in the twentieth century, if you've if you've got a Westworld where these characters are robots, but you're wondering like do they feel is their labor more like human labor, can they be exploited? Should they have some kind of rights of their own? It's almost like they're like, we're reverting to this this Meazza of confusion about the nature of beings that can move and act. That's a good point another great show that comes to mind is Lisa channel four AMC co-production. But humans explores a lot of this. These humanoid robots created of to serve us. And then they some of them become conscious and complications arise. Yeah. And one thing we can definitely see being dealt with these new versions of science fiction that are blurring the lines between humankind and robots is that unlike many of these Greek myths, they're much more informed by the idea of human rights. And so what happens if you re blur the lines, but suddenly you've got a much higher standard for what humans deserve and how they should be treated are. I think that pretty much wraps it up for Talos. The man of bronze. However, I would be it'd be remiss if I did not mention the giant warriors Zaky's NAS IKA valley of the wind. Those are some amazing giant robots that play an important role in that film. Yeah. And now, I would say if you haven't seen Ray, Harry has Howson's Tallus from Jason and the Argonauts in nineteen sixty three. I know we were hating on it because they they take away Medina's role in it. But it's still a really cool. Stop motion. Yeah. All I mean, it's the same with all of areas and stuff, right? If nothing else seek out the Harry house and sequences and watch them because tell us does look amazing in this. Yeah. It's like all the Harry house and Sindbad move is usually the story is just garbage. But it's got some great monsters in it. Indeed. Now, I know we have some some listener thoughts on this. You'd like to share about Talos about the nature of robots and machines. I'm sure that anyone out there who was really inspired by the bicameral mind Soad's, you have some bicameral thoughts on this particular topic because we're talking about statues coming to life share those with us. We'd love to talk with you about them, either an Email or hey over at the discussion Montel, that's our Facebook group that you can join and interact with us, but plenty of other listeners to the show. And of course, you can find stuff to remind com. That's the mothership will you'll find all of our podcast episodes, our blog posts, videos and links out to. All those various social media accounts. Big shout out to Alex Williams, and Tari Harrison are excellent audio producers of for for making a sound better than we are as always. And of course, if you want to reach out to us, you can do so on Email at blow the mind at house to works dot com. For more on this and bathrooms of other topics. Visit how stuff works com. Impose. It's the wrong burgundy podcast. It's the Ron burgundy podcast. Guess what? I got up podcast, and you don't guess what? I got up podcast, and you don't Ron burgundy. Tuck cast. This is Ron burgundy remind you to tune into my new podcast brought to you by Sharman to paper the best in the biz. It's made by some good guys for some good drips to Duesseldorf. If you know what I mean, go to the store and pick up a role, you can't mess. This one up.

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