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Ancient Greek Rulers of the Winds

In Greek mythology, Aeolus was known as the ruler of the winds. Interestingly, he appears throughout the Greek culture as three different personalities, including the founder of the Aeolian race and as the son of Poseidon. All three personalities are connected to one another in genealogy, yet the exact relationships are unknown. In this article, you will also encounter the Anemoi – the wind gods.

Anemoi , gods of the winds

As for gods of the winds, the Anemoi represent four deities associated with a specific direction that describes where their winds come from. Various seasons and weather conditions were linked to the wind gods. Sometimes, they are depicted as gusts of wind, while other mentions see them personified as me with wings. Some myths see the gods as horses that Aeolus keeps in his stables. In the Odyssey, the Anemoi are provided to Odysseus during his travels.

In addition to the four main gods, there were lesser Anemoi sometimes referenced in myths. They represented the wind that came from the northeast, southeast, northwest, and southwest. The four central Anemoi include:

Boreas: The North Wind

Boreas is the wind that comes from the north and brings the colder winter air. Boreas’ name translates into “North Wind” or “Devouring One”. He is described as a rather strong god with a violent temper. His image often shows a winged old man with a shaggy beard and hair. Holding a conch shell in his hand, he also wears a billowing cloak. Boreas had a close relation to horses and it is said that he had fathered 12 colts after he took the form of a stallion. He bred with the mares of Erichthonius , the king of Troy. The horses appeared in myths with the ability to race across a field of grain without trampling the plants under their hooves.

Notus: The South Wind

With winds coming in from the south, Notus is responsible for the storms that come in late summer and autumn. The god is linked to the hot winds that rise after midsummer and is believed to bring storms that are feared for their ability to destroy crops.

Zephyrus: The West Wind

The west wind god also causes the breezes of late spring and early summer. Zephyrus represents the gentlest of all the winds and is seen as the messenger of spring. Different myths place the god with various wives. Some say he was the husband of his own sister Iris , the goddess of the rainbow. He is said to have kidnapped his sister Chloris , a goddess that he gave the domain of flowers. With her, he fathered Carpus , whose name translates into ‘fruit.’ The god also appears in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, where Zephyrus transported Psyche to his cave.

Eurus: The East Wind

Eurus is the east wind (which was considered unlucky). This is probably why he is not associated with any of the three Greek seasons. He is also the only god of the four that does not appear in Hesiod’s Theohony or in the Orphic Hymns. However, the god still brought warmth and rain.