Seneca, Natural Questions, Volume II

LCL 457: 312-313

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SE—indeed in one old system even NE. From the SSE came the Εὐρόνοτος (“east-south”), Phoenix. The southern direction proper was μεσημβρία, meridies, “mid-day”, and the south wind was Νότος (“wet”, “damp wind”), Auster (“hot wind”)—names applied also to south-westerlies and their directions. To the SSW wind were applied the names Λευκόνοτος (“clear-weather damp”—it was naturally used also for a due south wind) and Λιβόνοτος (“Libyan-African damp”). The SW wind was Λίψ, Africus, though the name Λίψ was used not only more precisely for the SSW but also widely for the western direction and sometimes for the southern. Any west wind was for long called Ζέφυρος (“wind of the dark”), Favonius, “favourable wind”; but later the name Ζέφυρος was usually the due west wind. Across southern Gaul and the sea to the central Italian coast blew Circius from the WNW. This is the mistral. Another Celtic wind Caurus or Corus came from the NW; and in Greece there was Θρασκίας or Θρᾳκίας, “Thracian wind”, from the NNW. There were other winds, some locally named. In particular Ἀργέστης (Argestes in mythology was a son of Astraeus, father of the winds) was vague. In Homer ἀργεστής means “clearing”, “brightening” and is applied to a southern wind. By some later writers it was, as applied to a particular wind, held to blow like Λίψ from the south-west; but by most people perhaps like Corus from the NW.

With regard to Book V. 16.3–V. 17.2, although there are two solstices, the summer and the winter, Seneca, in accordance with common Roman custom, uses the epithet solstitialis with reference to summer only.

—E. H. Warmington.

Diagram of the Winds at the Earth's surface, and their directional sources

Winds at the Earth’s surface, and their directional sources.

Sen. N.Q.V. 16.1–17.5. See also pp. 311–312. O: observers.