Greek Mythology >> Greek Gods >> Sky Gods >> Wind Gods >> Notus (Notos)


Greek Name




Roman Name



South Wind (notos)

Notus the south-wind as summer | Greco-Roman mosaic from Antioch C2nd A.D. | Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Notus the south-wind as summer, Greco-Roman mosaic from Antioch C2nd A.D., Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

NOTOS (Notus) was the god of the south wind, one of the four directional Anemoi (Wind-Gods). He was the wet, storm-bringing wind of late summer and early autumn. Notos dwelt in Aithiopia (Ethiopia), the southernmost realm in the geographies of myth.



ASTRAIOS & EOS (Hesiod Theogony 378, Hyginus Pref, Nonnus Dionysiaca 6.18)


Homer, Iliad 23. 194 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"The Winds assembled within the house of storm-blowing Zephyros (the West Wind) were taking part in a feast, and Iris (the Rainbow) paused in her running and stood on the stone doorsill."

Homer, Odyssey 5. 291 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Poseidon] massed the clouds, clutched his trident and churned the ocean up; he roused all the blasts of all the Winds and swathed earth and sea alike in clouds; down from the sky rushed the dark. Euros (the East Wind) and Notos (the South Wind) clashed together, the stormy Zephyros (West Wind) and the sky-born billow-driving Boreas (North Wind)."

Hesiod, Theogony 378 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"And Eos (the Dawn) bare to Astraios (the Starry) the strong-hearted Anemoi (Winds), brightening Zephyrus (West Wind), and Boreas (North Wind), headlong in his course, and Notos (South Wind)--a goddess mating in love with a god."

Hesiod, Theogony 869 ff :
"Notos (the South Wind) and Boreas (the North Wind) and clear Zephyros (the West Wind). These Winds are a god-sent kind, and a great blessing to men."

Hesiod, Works and Days 663 ff :
"Do not wait till the time of the new wine and autumn rain and oncoming storms with the fierce gales of Notos (the South Wind) who accompanies the heavy autumn rain of Zeus and stirs up the sea and makes the deep dangerous."

Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian Apollo 408 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"A rushing Notos (South Wind) hurried on the swift ship from behind."

Pindar, Maiden Songs Fragment 104 (trans. Sandys) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"To the notes of the lotus-pipe shall I mimic in song a siren-sound of praise, such as husheth the swift blasts of Zephyros (the West Wind); and when-ever chill Boreas (the North Wind) speedeth on with strength of tempest, and stirreth up the swift rush of Notos (the South Wind)."

Bacchylides, Fragment 13 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"On a dark-blossoming sea Boreas (the North Wind) rends men's hearts with the billows, coming face to face with them as night rises up, but ceases on the arrival of Eos (the Dawn) who gives light to mortals and a gentle breeze levels the sea, and they belly out their sail before Notos' (the South Wind's) breath."

Aristophanes, Birds 1397 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"Now rushing along the tracks of Notus (the South Wind), now nearing Boreas (the North Wind) across the infinite wastes of the Aither (Aether)."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 4. 550 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Wild as the blasts of roaring Boreas (the North Wind) or shouting Notos (the South Wind), when with hurricane-swoop he heaves the wide sea high, when in the east uprises the disastrous Altar-star bringing calamity to seafarers."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 12. 189 ff :
"Zeus, at the utmost verge of earth, was ware of all: straight left he Okeanos's stream, and to wide heaven ascended, charioted upon the Anemoi (Winds), Euros (the East Wind), Boreas (the North Wind), Zephyros (the West Wind), and Notos (the South Wind) : for Iris rainbow-plumed led 'neath the yoke of his eternal ear that stormy team, the ear which Aion (Time) the immortal framed for him of adamant with never-wearying hands." [N.B. In this passage the four winds were probably envisaged as horse-shaped gods.]

Aelian, On Animals 4. 6 (trans. Scholfield) (Greek natural history C2nd A.D.) :
"Horse-keepers frequently testify to mares being impregnated by the Wind, and to their galloping against Notos (the South Wind) or Borras (the North Wind). And the same poet [Homer] knew this when he said ‘Of them was Boreas enamoured as they pastured.’ Aristotle too, borrowing (as I think) from him, said that they rush away in frenzy straight in the face of the aforesaid Autai (Winds)."

Orphic Hymn 82 to Notus (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"To Notos (the South Wind), Fumigation from Frankincense. Wide-coursing gales, whose lightly leaping feet with rapid wings the air's wet bosom beat, approach, benevolent, swift-whirling powers, with humid clouds the principles of showers; for showery clouds are portioned to your care, to send on earth from all-surrounding air. Hear, blessed power, these holy rites attend, and fruitful rains on earth all-parent send." [N.B. Notos is portrayed as the god of the rain-bringing southerly wind of late summer and autumn.]

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Astraeus and Aurora [Eos] [were born] : Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus, Favonius [Zephyros]."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 56 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The World's Creator (Fabricator Mundi) [perhaps Khronos (Chronos)] did not grant the Venti (Winds) [Anemoi] full freedom of the sky; who, even so, though each in separate regions rules his blasts, can well nigh tear the world apart, so fierce is brother's strife . . . far opposite [the home of northern Boreas], wrapped in continual clouds, the flooded fields lie sodden as Auster (the South Wind) [Notos] brings the rain."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 262 ff :
"[Zeus prepares for the Great Deluge :] Better seemed a different punishment--to send the rain to fall from every region of the sky and in their deluge drown the human race. Swiftly within the Aeolus' cave he [Zeus] locked Aquilo (the North Wind) [Boreas] and the gales that drive away the gathered clouds, and set Auster (the South Wind) [Notos] forth; and out on soaking wings Notus (the South Wind) flew, his ghastly features veiled in deepest bloom. His beard was sodden with rain, his white hair drenched; mists wreathed is brow and streaming water fell from wings and chest; and when in giant hands he crushed the hanging clouds, the thunder crashed and storms of blinding rain poured down from heaven."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 8. 1 ff :
"Lucifer (the Morning Star) [Eosphoros] revealed the shining day, night fled, Eurus (the East Wind) fell, the rain-clouds rose, steady Auster (the South Wind) [Notos] blew."

Ovid, Fasti 5. 323 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The vines offered hope Auster (the South Wind) [Notos] blackens the sky and sudden rain ravishes their leaves."

Ovid, Heroides 11. 9 ff (trans. Showerman) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Fierce as he [Aiolos (Aeolus)] is, far harsher than his own Euri (East Winds) . . . Surely, something comes from a life with savage winds; his temper is like that of his subjects. It is Notus (the South Wind), and Zephyrus (the West Wind), and Sithonian Aquilo (the North Wind) [Boreas], over whom he rules, and over thy pinions, wanton Eurus (the East Wind). He rules the winds."

Virgil, Georgics 1. 441 ff (trans. Fairclough) (Roman bucolic C1st B.C.) :
"When, hidden in cloud, he [the sun] has chequered with spots his early dawn, and is shrunk back in the centre of his disc, beware of showers; for from the deep Notus (the South Wind) is sweeping, foe to tree and crop and herd."

Virgil, Georgics 3. 267 ff :
"But surely the madness of mares surpasses all. Venus [Aphrodite] herself inspired their frenzy, when the four Potnian steeds tore with their jaws the limbs of Glaucus. Love leads them over Gargarus and over the roaring Ascanius; they scale mountains, they swim rivers. And, soon as the flame has stolen into their craving marrow . . . with faced turned to Zephyrus (the West Wind), stand on a high cliff, and drink the gentle breezes. Then oft, without any wedlock, pregnant with the wind (a wondrous tale!) they flee over rocks and crags and lowly dales, not towards your rising, Eurus (East Wind), nor the Sun's, but to Boreas (the North Wind), and Auster (the South-West Wind), or thither whence rises blackest Notus (the South Wind), saddening the sky with chilly rain."

Seneca, Medea 581 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"When cloudy Auster (the South Wind) [Notos] has brought the winter's rains, and Hister's floods speeds on, wrecking bridges in its course, and wanders afield."

Seneca, Phaedra 1128 ff :
"The mountain-peaks, lifted to airy heights, catch Euros (the East Wind), catch Notos (the South Wind), mad Boreas' (the North Wind's) threats, and the rain-fraught Corus (the North-West Gale) [ Skiron]."

Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 1. 574 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"There stand in the Sicilian Sea on the side of retreating Pelorum a crag, the terror of the straits; high as are the piles it lifts into the air, even so deep are those that sink below the surface of the waters; and hard by may one see another land with rocks and caverns no less terrible; in the former dwell [the Kyklopes (Cyclops)] Acamas and naked Pyragmon, the latter is the home of Squalls and Winds and shipwrecking Storms; from here they pass to the lands over the wide ocean, from here in bygone days would they spread turmoil in the heavens nad in the disastrous sea--for at that time no Aeolus was their master, when the intruding sea broke Calpe off from Libya, when Oenotria to her sorrow lost the lands of Sicily and the waters burst into the heart of the mountains--until the All-powerful [Zeus] thundered from sky upon the trembling blasts and appointed them a king [Aiolos (Aeolus)], whom the fierce band were bidden to revere; iron and a twofold wall of rocks quell Euros (the East Wind) within the mountain. When the king can no longer curb their roaring mouths, then of his own will he unbars the doors and by granting egress lulls their savage complaints . . .
Within all the Winds began to roar and clamour for the open sea. Then did Hippotades [Aiolos son of Hippotas] drive against the mighty door with a whirling blast. Joyfully from the prison burst the Thracian horses, Zephyros (the West Wind) and Notus (the South Wind) of the night-dark pinions with all the sons of the Storms, and Eurus (the East Wind) his hair dishevelled with the blasts, and tawny with too much sand; they drew the tempest on, and in thunderous advance together drive the curling waves to shore, and stir not the trident's realms alone, for at he same time the fiery sky falls with a mighty peal, and night brings all things beneath a pitchy sky. The oars are dashed from the rowers' hands; the ship's head is turned aslant, and on her she receives the sounding shocks; a sudden whirlwind tears away the sails that flap over the tottering mast . . .
Now Euros (the East Wind) lashes and turns the ship this way and that; and now Notus (the South Wind) roaring with Zephyrus (the West Wind) carries it along : all round the waters boil, when suddenly Neptunus [Poseidon] armed with his three-pronged spear raised his dark-blue head from the depths . . . The Father lulled the sea and the beaten shores, and drove away Notus (the South Wind), in whose train dark curling waters, surge-laden folds of heavy billows and the rainstorm far behind move on together to the seas of the Aeolian gate."

Statius, Thebaid 1. 346 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"And now the rocky prisons of Aeolia are smitten and groan, and the coming storm threatens with hoarse bellowing: the Venti (the Winds) [Anemoi] loud clamouring meet in conflicting currents, and fling loose heaven's vault from its fastened hinges, while each strives for mastery of the sky; but Auster (the South Wind) [Notos] most violent thickens gloom on gloom with whirling eddies of darkness, and pours down rain which keen Boreas (the North Wind) with his freezing breath hardens into hail; quivering lightnings gleam, and from colliding air bursts sudden fire."

Statius, Thebaid 5. 705 ff :
"Auster (the South Wind) [Notos] black with rain has upheaved he sea."

Statius, Thebaid 8. 422 ff :
"When threatening Jove [Zeus] has loosed the reins of winds and tempests, and sends alternate hurricanes to afflict the world, opposing forces meet in heaven, now Auster's (the South Wind's) [Notos'] storms prevail, now Aquilo's (the North Wind's) [Boreas'], till in the conflict of the winds one conquers, be it Auster's overwhelming rains, or Aquilo's clear air."

Statius, Thebaid 9. 360 ff :
"Often does Alcyone deserted make lament for her wave-wandering, spray-drenched home, when savage Auster (the South Wind) [Notos] and envious Thetis have scattered her darlings and their shivering nests." [N.B. Alkyone was a queen transformed into a halcyon bird. The bird was believed to build a floating nest at sea during periods of calm.]

Musaeus, Hero & Leander 135 ff (Greek poet C5th or 6th A.D.) :
"Sea mingled with upper air, and everywhere rose the sound of warring winds; Euros (the East Wind) blew hard against Zephyros (the West Wind), and Notos (the South Wind) hurled mighty menacings against Boreas (the North Wind) and the din was unrelenting of the loud-thundering sea."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 6. 18 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"She [Demeter] hastened with quick foot to the house of Astraios (Astraeus) the god of prophecy . . . the Aetai (Winds), the sons of Astraios, welcomed the goddess with refreshing cups of nectar which was ready mixt in the bowl . . . The four Aetai (Winds) fitted aprons round their waists as their father's waiters. Euros (the East Wind) held out the cups by the mixing-bowl and poured in the nectar, Notos (the South Wind) had the water fready in his jug for the meal, Boreas (the North Wind) brought the ambrosia and set it on the table, Zephyros (the West Wind) fingering the notes of the hoboy made a tune on his reeds of spring-time--a womanish Aetes (Wind) this!"

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 13. 381 ff :
"Psyllos (Psyllus) the harebrained; the bridegroom she [Ankhiroe (Anchiroe)] held in her arms was the gods' enemy. Notos (the South Wind), that hot wind, once burnt his [Psyllos of Libya's] crops with parching breath; whereupon he fitted out a fleet and gathered a naval swarm of helmeted warriors, to stir up strife against the Aetai (Winds) of the south with avenging doom, eager to kill fiery Notos (the South Wind). To the island of Aiolos (Aeolus) sailed the shieldbearing fleet; but the Aetai (Winds) armed themselves and flogged the madman's vessel, volleying with tempestuous tumult in a whirlwind throng of concerted confederate blasts, and sank Psyllos and armament in water grave."





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