Daedalus is a historical character mentioned in Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth. He is responsible for the creation of the titular labyrinths, and also has connections to the Minotaur myth. He is also a prominent character in Greek myths, including those of the Minotaur, Perseus, Ariadne, Perdix and Icarus.
In Greek Myth
Before becoming King, Minos of Crete was in competition with his brothers. He prayed to Poseidon, God of the Sea, for a snow-white bull as a sign of support, and indeed a snow-white bull was born in Minos' herd, with the condition that Minos sacrifice the bull to Poseidon when he became king. When he did so, Minos decided instead to keep the white bull, and sacrificed another instead. In punishment for defying Poseidon, Aphrodite (Goddess of Love) made Minos' wife, Pasiphae, fall in love with the white bull.
Having seen Daedalus' architectural prowess in constructing a dancing ground for their daughter, Ariadne, Pasiphae ordered him to construct a hollow wooden cow so that she could hide within to mate with the white bull. The offspring of this union was the Minotaur, and after seeking advice from the Oracle of Delphi, King Minos ordered Daedalus to construct a labyrinth in which to imprison the creature. The Minotaur would later be killed by Theseus, who used a simple ball to string to mark his way through the maze.
After construction of the labyrinth was complete, Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his young son Icarus in a tower so that he could never build another labyrinth. In order to escape, Daedalus constructed two pairs of wings from wax, string and feathers to allow him and Icarus to fly to safety. However, he warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun. Once they were free, Icarus forgot his father's warning, and did fly too close to the sun. The heat melted the wax holding his wings together, and Icarus plummeted to his death in the ocean below. Daedalus landed safely, and named the island where he landed Icaria in memory of his dead son.
Daedalus then found safety in Sicily, where he constructed a temple to Apollo, the Sun God, and gave up his wings as an offering to him. Minos, however, began searching for Daedalus by asking rulers a riddle which he knew only Daedalus could solve - how to get a string through a shell. When the riddle reached King Cocalus of Sicily, he sent for Daedalus who solved the riddle by tying a string to an ant and luring it through the shell with a drop of honey. When he heard the riddle had been solved, Minos travelled to Sicily and demanded that Daedalus be handed over to him. King Cocalus persuaded Minos to have a bath first, where Cocalus' daughters (and some sources say Daedalus) murdered him with boiling water.
Another story tells of Daedalus' pride, and how he could not bear to have a rival. His sister sent her son, which some sources call Perdix and others Talos, to learn from Daedalus, but Perdix began to surpass Daedalus in skill, inventing the saw and the compass. In jealousy, Daedalus tricked Perdix into jumping over a cliff, but Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, transformed Perdix into a partirdge. For this crime, Daedalus was tried and exiled, some sources saying that's how he ended up on Crete in the first place.
In The Fourth Labyrinth
Tyr Henriksen's research teams gathers a large amount of data on Daedalus from the labyrinths to create several theories surrounding his life and the labyrinths.
Daedalus was an architect in a group who knew the secret of the White Hellebore flower, which could be used to create a mixture that would render those who drank it comletely obedient and docile. The mixture also had the side-effect of causing some of those who drank it to mutate into Minotaurs, an image which would be used as the guardians of the labyrinths.
Using the Hellebore, Daedalus pulled off elaborate cons. He arrived in the courts of Kings or other rulers claiming to be an alchemist, and offering to build them a labyrinth to act as an impenetrable treasury. Once he had been granted workers to build his labyrinth, Daedalus used the White Hellebore to turn them into willing slaves and convince them that he was, indeed, an alchemist. Once the labyrinth was complete, and the Kings had stored their treasure in the central chamber, Daedalus and his accomplices would steal it and escape the country.
Olivia Hzujak theorises that the labyrinth on Crete (the famous one in Greek myth) was first constructed, around 1550 BCE, before Daedalus moved on to Crocodilopolis in Egypt to construct the Labyrinth of Sobek. A third labyrinth was constructed on the island of Thera, now Santorini, and a new ruler in the far east had become interested in building his own labyrinth. Daedalus sent his nephew, Talos, to oversee the construction of the fourth labyrinth in modern-day Nanjing, China.
When Daedalus died, shortly after completion of the third labyrinth, Talos took over the con, and ordered the treasure and Daedalus' body moved to China, where they were entombed in the central chamber.
- Although they are not mentioned in the novel, the other myths surrounding Daedalus could have been occurred as well. For example, it was not unknown for rulers to kill or imprison artisans after thay had completed a masterwork in order to prevent them from repeating the feat for another kingdom.