Aeolus and the Winds
of Greek Mythology

by Alessandro Gatto

In Greek mythology Aeolus, God of the Winds, was the son of Poseidon and Arne, and was invested by Zeus with the task of governing the winds. Aeolus aroused and stilled the winds, confining them within a wine-skin in a cavern on Lipari, one of the Aeolian Islands, the small archipelago to the north of Sicily, where he had his palace. The Winds, having caused serious damage, including the separation of Sicily from the mainland, had to be kept under control.

God of the Winds

Among these were four brothers who represented the principal Winds. Boreas, the most violent, the North Wind, who for love of the Dardan mares, transformed himself into a horse and begot twelve foals as swift as the wind. Zephyr, the West Wind, gentle and favourable, which announces the Spring. Eurus, the East Wind, sometimes stormy, sometimes dry and bearer of fine weather. And Auster, the South Wind, a hot wind bearer of rain, always shown as rain-laden.

Other Winds are the Libeccio, the South-west Wind, shrouded in mist; the Cecia, the North-east Wind, very old, with the tail of a snake and a plate of olives in his hand; Apeliotes, the South-east wind, bearing ripe fruit in his hands; Schirone, the North-west Wind , bearing an urn full of water ready to be poured over the earth.
Aeolus had twelve children, six sons and six daughters, who united with one another to produce other winds.

Schirone e Cecia

When Ulysses landed on the Aeolian Islands on his return from the Trojan Wars, he was entertained by Aeolus, who was so moved by the Grecian hero's tale that he made him a present of the wine-skin containing the winds unfavourable to navigation. During the voyage Ulysses allowed only the gentle Zephyr to blow. Until one night, as the hero slept, his companions opened Aeolus' wine-skin which they believed to be full of gold, provoking a terrible storm which only Ulysses' own ship survived.

Blue Planet
Via Faentina, 127 - 50133 Florence, Italy
tel. (+39) 55 575488 - fax (+39) 55 587321
© Blue Planet - All rights reserved