Tálos was a giant creature made of bronze in Greek mythology, that some writers say was the last survivor from the Bronze Age of man.
From Greek λως; Lat. Talus There are suppositions that the name "Talos" in the old Cretan language meant the Sun, and that Zeus was known in Crete by the similar name of Zeus Tallaios.
According to one version of the myths he was created in Sardinia by Hephaestus on Zeus' command, who gave him to the Cretan king Minos. In another version Talos came to Crete with Zeus to watch over his love Europa, and Minos received him as a gift from her.
Talos' purpose was to run from his seat in Phaestos around the island three times a day and to throw rocks at any foreign ship coming to Crete without permission. When people from Sardinia attempted to invade Crete, Talos made himself glow in the fire and he clutched the soldiers in a fiery embrace with a wild grimace, burning them to death. This led to the term "sardonic grin."
Talos was a very strong creature that had but one weak spot on his body, the vein in his ankle. His bronze body was kept alive by an ichor contained in that single vein. When the nail is removed, Talos's ichor flows out, exsanguinating and killing him.
According to Apollodorus, Talos was slain either when Medea the sorceress drove him mad with drugs, deceived him that she would make him immortal by removing the nail, or was killed by Poeas's arrow. In the Argonautica, Medea hypnotizes him from the Argo, driving him mad so that he dislodges the nail himself and dies.
Talos had one vein which went from his neck to his ankle, bound shut by only one bronze nail. The Argo, containing Jason and the Argonauts, approached Crete after obtaining the Golden Fleece. As guardian of the island, Talos kept the Argo at bay by hurling great boulders at it. Medea convinced Talos that she would give him a secret potion that would make him immortal if he would let her stop on the island. Talos agreed and drank the potion, and it made him fall asleep. Medea went to him in his sleep and pulled the plug in his ankle, whereupon Talos bled to death (Argonautica 4.1638). Other stories say that when Medea tried to land on the island, Talos scraped his ankle on a rock while trying to fight her off and bled to death.
According to an entirely different version, Talos was killed by the Argonaut Poeas, who shot him in the ankle with an arrow (Apollodorus 1.140). The story is somewhat reminiscent of the story regarding the heel of Achilles - Achilles, like Talos, could not be killed unless he was shot in the heel.
From ancient times various versions of this myth existed. First of all, this bronze creature Talos and his special anatomy represented a mythological transformation of a technique used for creating bronze statues, which was called "lost wax." This process of making bronze figures was common after the 16th century BCE in Crete, especially at Phaestos, which was believed to be the mythical dwelling of Talos.
According to Apollodorus and Argonautica, Talos may have been a member of the Ageg of Bronze generation which had survived to the age of the demigods. Europa took him to Crete and he stayed there, circling the island's shore three times daily while guarding it. He threw rocks at any approaching ship.
A political interpretation of the myth tells that Talos is the Minoan fleet armed with metallic weapons. When the Greeks from the Argo defeat him, the power of Crete vanishes.
Robert Graves suggests that this myth is based on a misinterpretation of a picture of Athena demonstrating the Lost Wax process for casting bronze, which Daedalus brought to Sardinia.