Bk 1.xxxvi 20-22 De schematibus (conc.)

Aeolus, master of the winds. detail from a sixteenth century Milanese sketch. (Met Museum Accession No. 2007.127)

Notos, bringer of storms. From the Tower of the Winds, Athens. (date disputed)

Any researcher trying to investigate ancient, classical and medieval names for the winds soon encounters a cacophony of views and customs, but it still seems curious that Isidore’s  Austros has been translated ‘East wind’ by the CUP English translation especially since Book XIII shows Auster opposed, in the usual way, to Aquilo as the North wind.

(detail) Brit.Lib. MS 2767 f. 16v. This 9thC manuscript is the oldest known copy of Vitruvius. The illustration – only part of which is shown –  accompanies Book I, vi, 12.

Further – as Smith says –  Notos dwelt in Aethiopia (Ethiopia), the southernmost realm in the geographies of myth.

Fairclough’s translation of the Aeneid (3.61)  reads:

      All are of one mind, to quit the guilty land, to leave a place where hospitality is profaned, and to give our fleet the winds.

A.S. Kline  again omits the wind’s name, but the context shows the south wind implied.   (text courtesy of the  Poetry in Translation website).

All were of one mind, to leave this wicked land, and depart/ a place of hospitality defiled, and sail our fleet before the wind./ So we renewed the funeral rites for Polydorus, and piled/ the earth high on his barrow: sad altars were raised/ to the Shades, with dark sacred ribbons and black cypress,/ the Trojan women around, hair streaming,/ as is the custom: we offered foaming bowls of warm milk,/ and dishes of sacrificial blood, and bound the spirit/ to its tomb, and raised a loud shout of farewell.

The intention is surely clear.  Death reigns for the moment; the fleet intends sailing north to Thrace despite the time of year, and must then be sent to the South wind –  which may bring storm, but carries one north if it be pacified. See that the poppy, as well as the sea-dragon is associated with the south, darkness and oblivion  by the Ara Pacis Augustiniae, completed in 9BC.

The Aeneid  continues

69] “Then, as soon as we can trust the main, and the winds give us seas at peace, and the soft-whispering South calls to the deep, my comrades launch the ships and crowd the shores. We put out from port, and lands and towns fade from view…


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