There have been automata, or legends of them, around since ancient Greek mythology.
Probably the most well-known automata from the Greek mythology are the helpers that Hephaestus, the blacksmith, made. Hephaestus also made several other automatons. This link has descriptions from the poems, and also has some automatons that Daedalus made. The Cabeirian Horses may be my favorite:
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 29. 193 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
“[The Kabeiroi] rode in a car of adamant; a pair of colts beat the dust with rattling hooves of brass, and they sent out a dry whinnying from their throats. These father Hephaistos had made with his inimitable art, breathing defiant fire between their teeth, like the pair of brazenfooted bulls which he made for Aietes the redoubtable ruler of the Kolkhians, with hot collars and burning pole. Eurymedon [one of the Kabeiroi] drove and guided the fiery mouths of…
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