Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 330: 260-261

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Pliny: Natural History

sed lucri, non scientiae, gratia; nec reputat caeca mens et tantum avaritiae intenta id ipsum scientia posse tutius fieri. quapropter scrupulosius quam instituto fortassis conveniat operi tractabo ventos, tot milia navigantium cernens.


XLVI. Veteres quattuor omnino servavere per totidem mundi partes (ideo nec Homerus plures nominat) hebeti, ut mox iudicatum est, ratione; secuta aetas octo addidit nimis subtili atque concisa. proximis inter utramque media placuit ad brevem ex numerosa additis quattuor. sunt ergo bini in quattuor caeli partibus: ab oriente aequinoctiali Subsolanus, ab oriente brumali Volturnus (illum Apelioten, hunc Graeci Eurum appellant); a meridie Auster et ab occasu brumali Africus (Notum et Liba nominant); ab occasu aequinoctiali Favonius, ab occasu solstitiali Corus (Zephyrum et Argesten vocant); a septentrionibus Septentrio, interque eum et exortum solstitialem Aquilo (Aparctias et Boreas 120dicti). numerosior ratio quattuor his interiecerat, Thrascian media regione inter Septentrionem et occasum solstitialem, itemque Caecian media inter Aquilonem et exortum aequinoctialem ab ortu solstitiali, Phoenica media regione inter ortum


Book II

on voyages—but their object is profit not knowledge; and in their blind engrossment with avarice they do not reflect that knowledge is a more reliable means even of making profit. Consequently in view of these thousands of persons who go on voyages I will give a more detailed account of the winds than is perhaps suited to the task I have set in hand.

XLVI. The ancients noticed four winds in all,Designation of winds. corresponding to the four quarters of the world (this is the reason why even Homer mentions no more)—a dull-witted system, as it was soon afterwards considered; the following age added eight—this system on the other hand was too subtle and meticulous. Their successors adopted a compromise, adding to the short list four winds from the long one. There are consequently two winds in each of the four quarters of the heaven: Subsolanus blowing from the equinoctial sunrise (E). and Vulturnus from the winter sunrise (S.E.)—the former designated by the Greeks Apeliotes, the latter Eurus; Auster from the sun at midday (S.) and Africus from the winter sunset (S.W.)—named in Greek Notus and Libs; Favonius from the equinoctial sunset (W.), Corus from the sunset at the solstice (N.W.)—these the Greeks call Zephyr and Argestes; Septentrio from the North and Aquilo between him and sunrise at the solstice (N.E.)—called in Greek Aparctias and Boreas. The more numerous scheme had inserted four between these: Thrascias (N.N.W.) in the space between Septentrio (N.) and the sunset at the solstice (N.W.) and also Caecias (E.N.E.) in the space between Aquilo (N.E.) and the equinoctial sunrise (E.) on the side of the sunrise at the solstice, and Phoenix

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938