THE AUTOMATONES were metalic statues of animal, men and monsters crafted and made animate by the divine smith Hephaistos. Automatons were also manufactured by the great Athenian craftsman Daidalos.
Plato, Euthyphro 11d (trans. Lamb) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
“I am a more clever artist than Daidalos, inasmuch as he made only his own works move.”
Plato, Meno 97d :
“Sokrates : You have not observed with attention the images of Daidalos. But perhaps there are none in your country.
Meno : What is the point of your remark?
Sokrates : That if they are not fastened up they play truant and run away; but, if fastened, they stay where they are . . . To possess one of his works which is let loose does not count for much in value; it will not stay with you any more than a runaway slave: but when fastened up it is worth a great deal, for his productions are very fine things.” [N.B. Socrates pretends to believe the old legend according to which Daedalus, the first sculptor, contrived a wonderful mechanism in his statues by which they could move.]