ZEPHYROS (Zephyrus) was the god of the west wind, one of the four seasonal Anemoi (Wind-Gods). He was also the god of spring, the husband of Khloris (Chloris) (Greenery), and father of Karpos (Carpus, Fruit).
In myth Zephyros was a rival of the god Apollon for the love of Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus). One day he spied the pair playing a game of quoits in a meadow, and in a jealous rage, blew the disc off-course with a gust of wind, causing it to strike the boy in the head killing him instantly. Apollon, stricken with grief, transformed the dying youth into a larkspur flower.
Zephyros was depicted in classical art as a handsome, winged youth. In Greek vase painting, the unlabelled figures of a winged god embracing a youth are often identified as Zephyros and Hyakinthos--although some commentators interpret them as Eros (Love) with a generic youth. In Greco-Roman mosaic the god usually appears in the guise of spring personified carrying a basket of unripe fruit.
FAMILY OF ZEPHYRUS
[1.1] ASTRAIOS & EOS (Hesiod Theogony 378, Hyginus Pref, Nonnus Dionysiaca 6.18 & 47.340)
[2.1] GAIA (Aeschylus Agamemnon 690)
[1.1] XANTHOS, BALIOS (by Podarge) (Homer Iliad 16.149, Quintus Smyrnaeus 3.743)
[2.1] EROS (by Iris) (Alcaeus Frag 327)
[2.2] POTHOS (by Iris) (Nonnus Dionysiaca 47.340)
[3.1] AREION (by a Harpyia) (Quintus Smyrnaeus 4.569)
[4.1] KARPOS (by Khloris) (Ovid Fasti)
[5.1] THE TIGERS (Oppian Cynegetica 3.350)
ZE′PHYRUS (Zephuros), the personification of the west wind, is described by Hesiod (Theog. 579) as a son of Astraeus and Eos. Zephyrus and Boreas are frequently mentioned together by Homer, and both dwelt together in a palace in Thrace. (Il. ix. 5, Od. v. 295.) By the Harpy Podarge, Zephyrus became the father of the horses Xanthus and Balius, which belonged to Achilles (Hom. Il. xvi. 150, &c.); but he was married to Chloris, whom he had carried off by force, and by whom he had a son Carpus. (Ov. Fast. v. 197; Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. v. 48.) On the sacred road from Athens to Eleusis, there was an altar of Zephyrus. (Paus. i. 37. § 1.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
PARENTAGE OF ZEPHYRUS
Hesiod, Theogony 378 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"And Eos (Dawn) bare to Astraios (Astraeus, the Starry) the strong-hearted winds, brightening Zephyros (Zephyrus, the West Wind), and Boreas (the North Wind), headlong in his course, and Notos (Notus, the South Wind)--a goddess mating in love with a god."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Astraeus and Aurora [Eos] : Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus, Favonius [Zephyros]."
LOVE OF ZEPHYRUS & HYACINTHUS
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 19. 3 - 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"On the altar [of Apollon at Amyklai (Amyclae) near Sparta] are wrought in relief . . . the Moirai (Moirae, Fates) and Horai (Horae, Seasons), and with them Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis. They are carrying to heaven Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus) and Polyboia (Polyboea), the sister, they say, of Hyakinthos, who died a maid. Now this statue of Hyakinthos represents him as bearded, but Nikias (Nicias), son of Nikomedes (Nicomedes), has painted him in the very prime of youthful beauty, hinting at the love of Apollon (Apollo) for Hyakinthos of which legend tells . . . As for Zephyros (Zephyrus), how Apollon unintentionally killed Hyakinthos, and the story of the flower, we must be content with the legends."
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 24 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting depicting the death of Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus) :] A lout is Zephyros (Zephyrus), who was angry with Apollon (Apollo) and caused the discus to strike the youth [Hyakinthos], and the scene seems a laughing matter to the Wind-god and he taunts the god from his look-out. You can see him, I think, with his winged temples and his delicate form; and he wears a crown of all kinds of flowers, and will soon weave the hyacinth in among them."
Philostratus the Younger, Imagines 14 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting depicting the death of Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus) :] The discus [lies] at his feet ((lacuna)) . . Eros (Love), is both radiant and at the same time downcast, and Zephyros (Zephyrus) , who just shows his savage eye from his place of look-out--by all this the painter suggests the death of the youth, and as Apollon makes his cast, Zephyros, by breathing athwart its course, will cause the discus to strike Hyakinthos."
Ovid, Fasti 5. 223 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"I [Khloris (Chloris)] first made a flower from Therapnean blood [the blood of Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus), love of Zephyros], and its petal still inscribes the lament."
Colluthus, Rape of Helen 240 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poetry C5th to C6th A.D.) :
"The shrine of Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus) [at Amyklai (Amyclae), Lakedaimon (Lacedaemon)], whom once while he played as a boy with Apollon the people of Amyklai marked and marvelled whether he too had not been conceived and borne by Leto to Zeus. But Apollon knew not that he was keeping the youth for envious Zephyros (Zephyrus). And the earth, doing a pleasure to the weeping king, brought forth a flower to console Apollon, even that flower which bears the name of the splendid youth."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 3. 153 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"On the learned leaves of Apollon's mournful iris was embroidered many a plant-grown word [i.e. the flower of Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus), which was marked with the Greek word for the cry of grief] ; and when Zephyros (Zephyrus) breathed through the flowery garden, Apollon turned a quick eye upon his young darling, his yearning never satisfied; if he saw the plant beaten by the breezes, he remembered the quoit, and trembled for fear the wind, so jealous once about the boy, might hate him even in a leaf: if it is true that Apollon once wept with those eyes that never wept, to see that boy writhing in the dust, and the pattern there on the flower traced its own ‘alas!' on the iris, and so figured the tears of Phoibos (Phoebus)."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 10. 253 ff :
"The deathbringing breath of Zephyros (Zephyrus) might blow again, as it did once before when the bitter blast killed a young man while it turned the hurtling quoit against Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus)."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 11. 362 ff :
"A young Lakonian (Laconian) [Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus)] shook Zephyros (Zephyrus); but he died, and the amorous Wind found young Kyparissos (Cyparissus) a consolation for Amyklaian (Amyclaean) Hyakinthos."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 29. 95 ff :
"Apollon bemoaned Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus), struck by the quoit which brought him quick death, and reproached the blast of Zephyros (the West Wind's) jealous gale."
ZEPHYRUS, PHAETHON & THE SWANS
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 9 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting depicting Erotes (Loves) riding swans in a marsh :] On the banks round about stand more musical swans, singing the Orthian strain [i.e. a high-pitched melody], I think, as befits the contestants. The winged youth you see is an indication that a song is being sung, for he is the wind Zephyros (the West Wind) and he gives the swans the keynote of their song. He is painted as a tender and graceful boy in token of the nature of the south-west wind, and the wings of the swans are unfolded that the breezes may strike them."
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 11 :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting depicting the fall of Phaethon :] In his passion for driving [Phaethon] the son of Helios (the Sun) ventured to mount his father's chariot, but because he did not keep a firm rein he came to grief and fell into the Eridanos (Eridanus) . . . Now the youth is thrown from the chariot and is falling headlong--for his hair is on fire and his breast smouldering with the heat; his fall will end in the river Eridanos and will furnish this stream with a mythical tale. For swans scattered about, breathing sweet notes, will hymn the youth; and flocks of swans rising aloft will sing the story to Kaÿstros (Cayster) and Istros (Istrus) [rivers of Lykia (Lycia) and Skythia (Scythia)]; nor will any place fail to hear the strange story. And they will have Zephyros (the West Wind), nimble god of wayside shrines, to accompany their song, for it is said that Zephyros has made a compact with the swans to join them in the music of the dirge. This agreement is even now being carried out, for look! The wind is playing on the swans as on musical instruments."
ZEPHYRUS, IRIS & THEIR SON POTHUS
The Lyric poets made Zephyros the father of Pothos (Passion) by Iris the rainbow. The imagery of rainbow (iris) and west wind (zephyros) symbolised the variegated brilliance of passion (pothos). It was also a play on the love story of Zephyros and Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus), who was tranformed into an iris-flower on his death--"iris" in Greek was the word for both the flower and the rainbow.
Alcaeus, Fragment 327 (from Plutarch, Dialogue on Love) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (Greek lyric C6th B.C.) :
"The most grim of gods [Eros (Love)], whom Iris (Rainbow) of the fair sandals bore, having lain with golden-haired Zephyros (the West Wind)."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31. 103 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"The wife of jealous Zephyros (the West-Wind), Iris (Rainbow), the messenger of Zeus when he is in a hurry . . . Iris, goldenwing bride of plantnourishing Zephyros, happy mother of Eros (Love) [i.e. the eros Pothos]!"
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 47. 340 ff :
"[Ariadne abandoned by Theseus on the island of Naxos laments :] ‘Who stole the man of Athens [Theseus]? . . . If Zephyros torments me [i.e. if the west-wind has carried away Theseus' ship], tell Iris the bride of Zephyros and mother of Pothos (Desire), to behold Ariadne maltreated.’"
THE LOVE OF ZEPHYRUS & CHLORIS (ROMAN FLORA)
Ovid, Fasti 5. 197 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"I [the Roman goddess Flora] was Chloris (Flower), nymph of the happy fields [Elysion (Elysium)], the homes of the blessed (you hear) in earlier times. To describe my beauty would mar my modesty: it found my mother a son-in law god. It was spring, I wandered; Zephyrus (the West Wind) saw me, I left. He pursues, I run : he was the stronger; and Boreas gave his brother full rights of rape by robbing Erechtheus' house of its prize [Oreithyia]. But he makes good the rape by naming me his bride, and I have no complaints about my marriage. I enjoy perpetual spring: the year always shines, trees are leafing, the soild always fodders. I have a fruitful garden in my dowered fields, fanned by breezes, fed by limpid fountains. My husband filled it with well-bred flowers, saying : ‘Have jurisdiction of the flower, goddess.’"
Ovid, Fasti 5. 223 ff :
"I [Flora-Khloris] first made a flower from Therapnean blood [Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus), love of Zephyros], and its petal still inscribes the lament."
Ovid, Fasti 5. 316 ff :
"[Flora (Khloris) upset that the Romans were neglecting her worship :] I failed to guard the fields, and I neglected my fruitful garden. Lilies had fallen, you could see violets parched and tendrils droop on the crimson saffron. Zephyrus often said to me: ‘Do not ruin your dowry.’ My dowry was now worthless."
ZEPHYRUS SIRE OF HORSES
Zephyros was sometimes imagined as a equine god who sired horses.
Homer, Iliad 16. 149 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Xanthos (Xanthus) and Balios (Balius), who tore with the winds' speed, horses stormy Podarge [one of the Harpyiai (Harpies)] once conceived by Zephyros (Zephyrus) and bore, as she grazed in the meadow beside the swirl of the Okeanos (Oceanus)."
Homer, Iliad 19. 415 ff :
"[The horses Xanthos (Xanthus) and Balios (Balius), sons of Zephyros, speak :] ‘But for us, we two could run with the blast of the West Wind (Zephryos) who they say is the lightest of all things; yet still for you there is destiny to be killed in force by a god and a mortal.’"
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 3. 743 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Over the Okeanos' (Oceanus') streams, over Tethys' (the Sea Queen's) caverns, unto where divine Podarge bare that storm-foot twain [the immortal horses Xanthos and Balios] begotten of Zephyros (the West-wind) clarion-voiced yea."
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 4. 569 :
"Arion the foal begotten by the loud-piping Zephyros (West-wind) on a Harpyia (Harpy), the fleetest of all earth-born steeds, whose feet could race against his father's swiftest blasts."
Virgil, Georgics 3. 267 ff (trans. Fairclough) (Roman bucolic C1st B.C.) :
"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 (chiefly in spring, for in spring the heart returns to their breasts), they all, 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 (the East Wind), nor the Sun's, but to Boreas (the North Wind), and Auster (the North-West Wind), or thither whence rises blackest Notus (the South Wind), saddening the sky with chilly rain."
ZEPHYROS SIRE OF TIGERS
Oppian, Cynegetica 1. 320 (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd A.D.) :
"The swift tigers, the offspring of rapid Zephyros (Zephyrus)."
Oppian, Cynegetica 3. 350 ff :
"Swifter is it [the tiger] than all wild beasts that are; for it runs with speed like its sire, Zephyros (the West Wind) himself. Yet Zephyros is not its sire; who would believe that wild beasts mated with an airy bridegroom?"
ZEPHYRUS GOD OF THE WEST WIND
Homer, Iliad 9. 4 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"As two winds rise to shake the sea where the fish swarm, Boreas and Zephyros (Zephyrus), north wind and west, that blow from Thraceward, suddenly descending, and the darkened water is gathered to crests, and far across the salt water scatters the seaweed."
Homer, Iliad 19. 415 ff :
"The blast of the West Wind (Zephryos) who they say is the lightest of all things."
Homer, Iliad 23. 194 ff :
"The pyre of the dead Patroklos (Patroclus) would not light. Then swift-footed brilliant Akhilleus (Achilles) thought of one more thing that he must do. He stood apart from the pyre and made his prayer to the two winds Boreas and Zephryos (Zephyrus), north wind and west, and promised them splendid offerings, and much outpouring from a golden goblet entreated them to come, so that the bodies might with best speed burn in the fire and the timber burst into flame. And Iris, hearing his prayer, went swiftly as messenger to the Winds for him. Now the Winds assembled within the house of storm-blowing Zephyros were taking part in a feast, and Iris paused in her running and stood on the stone doorsill; but they, when their eyes saw her, sprang to their feet, and each one asked her to sit beside them. But she refused to be seated and spoke the word to them : ‘I must not sit down. I am going back to the running waters of Okeanos (Oceanus) and the Aithiopians' (Ethiopians') land, where they are making grand sacrifice to the immortals; there I, too, shall partake of the sacraments. But Akhilleus' prayer is that Boreas and blustering Zephyros may come to him, and he promises them splendid offerings, so that you may set ablaze the funeral pyre, whereon lies Patroklos, with all Akhaians (Achaeans) mourning about him.’
She spoke so, and went away, and they with immortal clamour rose up, and swept the clouds in confusion before them. They came with a sudden blast upon the sea, and the waves rose under the whistling wind. They came to the generous Troad and hit the pure, and a huge inhuman blaze rose, roaring. Nightlong they piled the flames on the funeral pyre together and blew with a screaming blast . . .
At that time when Eosphoros (the Dawn-Star) passes across earth, harbinger of light, and after him Dawn (Eos} of the saffron mantle is scattered across the sea, the fire died down and the flames were over. The Winds took their way back toward home again, crossing the Thracian water, and it boiled with a moaning swell as they crossed it."
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 (Eurus, the East Wind) and Notos (Notus, the South Wind) clashed together, the stormy Zephyros (Zephyrus, the West Wind) and the sky-born billow-driving Boreas (the North Wind)."
Homer, Odyssey 10. 1 ff :
"He [Aiolos (Aeolus)] gave me a bag made from the hide of a full-grown ox of his, and in the bag he had penned up every Anemos (Wind) that blows whatever its course might be . . . to Zephyros (Zephyrus, the West Wind) only he gave commission to blow for me, to carry onwards my ships and men."
Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 14 (from Papyri Greci e Latini 2. 130) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"The breath of Zephyros (Zephyrus, the West-Wind) stirred the shining garment."
Homeric Hymn 4 to Aphrodite 2 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"Sea-set Kypros (Cyprus). There the moist breath of Zephyros (Zephyrus, the West Wind) wafted her [new-born Aphrodite] over the waves of the loud-moaning sea (thalassa) in soft foam."
Pindar, Nemean Ode 7. 29 (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"The swift breath of straight-flown Zephyros (the West Wind)."
Sappho, Fragment 90 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric II) (Greek lyric C6th B.C.) :
"May the breath of Zephyros (the West Wind) be silent for me."
Sappho or Alcaeus, Fragment 1 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric II) (Greek lyric C6th B.C.) :
"Strongly-blowing Zephyros (the West Wind)."
The Anacreontea, Fragment 41 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric II) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Light Zephryos blows the sweetest breeze."
Philoxenus of Cythera Fragment 835 (from Theophrastus, On Winds) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric V) (Greek lyric C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"In some places Zephyros (Zephyrus) is a stormy wind, which explains why Homer calls it ‘ill-blowing’; in others it blows moderately and gently, and that is why Philoxenus makes its breath sweet."
Aeschylus, Agamemnon 690 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"She sailed the sea before the breath of earth-born (gigantos) Zephyros."
Callimachus, Aetia Fragment 110 (trans. Trypanis) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"At once [Zephyros] the brother of Memnon the Aithiopian (Ethiopian), the gentle breeze, the steed of Lokrian (Locrian) Arsinoe of the violet girdle, moving his swift wings in circles dashed and seized me with his breath, and carrying me through the humid air he placed me in the lap of Kypris (Cypris) [Aphrodite, love]."
[N.B. The temple of Arsinoe was built at a place known as Zephyrium, so Zephyros is here called her steed.]
Strabo, Geography 7 Fragment 57 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Pindar says in his hymns, those who were sailing with Herakles (Heracles) from Troy through Helle's maidenly strait, on touching the Myrtoan Sea, ran back again to Kos (Cos), because Zephryos blew contrary to their course."
Orphic Hymn 81 to Zephyrus (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"To Zephyros (Zephyrus, the West-Wind), Fumigation from Frankincense. Sea-born, aerial, blowing from the west, sweet Breezes (Aurai, Aurae), who give to wearied labour rest. Vernal and grassy, and of murmuring sound, to ships delightful through the sea profound; for these, impelled by you with gentle force, pursue with prosperous fate their destined course. With blameless gales regard my suppliant prayer, Zephyros unseen, light-winged, and formed from air."
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 3. 580 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"For honour to the Goddess [Thetis], Nereus' child, he [Zeus] sent to Aiolos (Aeolus) Hermes, bidding him summon the sacred might of his swift Anemoi (Winds), for that the corpse of Aiakos' (Aeacus') son [Akhilleus (Achilles)] must now be burned. With speed he went, and Aiolos refused not: tempestuous Boreas (the North Wind) in haste he summoned, and the wild blast of Zephyros (the West Wind); and to Troy sped they on their whirlwind wings. Fast in mad onrush, fast across the deep they darted; roared beneath them as they flew the sea, the land; above crashed thunder-voiced clouds headlong hurtling through the firmament. Then by decree of Zeus down on the pyre of slain Akhilleus, like a charging host swooped they; upleapt the Fire-god's madding breath: uprose a long wail from the Myrmidons. then, though with whirlwind rushes toiled the Anemoi (Winds), all day, all night, they needs must fan the flames ere that death-pyre burned out. Up to the heavens vast-volumed rolled the smoke. The huge tree-trunks groaned, writhing, bursting, in the heat, and dropped the dark-grey ash all round. So when the Winds had tirelessly fulfilled their mighty task, back to their cave they rode cloud-charioted."
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 12. 189 ff :
"Zeus, at the utmost verge of earth, was ware of all: straight left he Okeanos's (Oceanus') stream, and to wide heaven ascended, charioted upon the Anemoi (Winds), Euros (the East Wind), Boreas (the North), Zephyros (the West), and Notos (the South) : for Iris rainbow-plumed led 'neath the yoke of his eternal ear that stormy team, the ear which Aion (Aeon, Time) the immortal framed for him of adamant with never-wearying hands."
[N.B. in this passage the wind-gods are presumably conceived as horses, cf. Zephyrus Father of Horses (above).]
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 20 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting depicting the flautist Olympos :] He sleeps after having played his flute, a tender youth lying on tender flowers, whilst the moisture on his forehead mingles with the dew of the meadow; and Zephyros summons him by breathing on his hair, and he breathes in response to the wind, drawing the air from his lungs." [N.B. Zephyros was an admirer of youths.]
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 21 :
"[From a description of a painting depicting the mythical flautist Olympos (Olympus) :] Your reflection is broken by ripples may be due to your flute breathing upon the water of the fountain, or all that we see may be due to Zephyros, who inspires you in playing the flute, the flute in breathing its strain, and the spring in being moved by the flute-playing."
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 2. 2 :
"His [the boy Akhilleus' (Achilles')] hair is charming and loose; for Zephyros in sport seems to shift it about, so that as it falls, now here, now there, the boy's appearance may be changed."
[N.B. Zephyros was a lover of youths, cf. the story of Hyakinthos. In the passage, however, the god is simply the admiring touch of the breeze.]
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 2. 17 :
"As though we were sailing in and out among them [the islands] in the spring-time, when Zephyros (the West Wind) makes the sea glad by breathing his own breeze upon it."
Callistratus, Descriptions 14 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C4th A.D.) :
"The breakers that were wont to surge in billows were spreading out . . . and something of Zephyros (the West Wind) pervaded the waters as he with shrill blast lulled the sea to rest."
Pankrates, Antinous (trans. Page, Vol. Select Papyri III, No. 128) (Greek poetry C2nd A.D.) :
"He raged like a wave of the surging sea, when Zephyros (the West Wind) is awaked after the wind from Strymon [i.e. Boreas the North Wind]."
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), Father Time?] 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 . . . The evening and the shores that glow beside the setting sun became Zephyrus' (the West Wind's) abode."
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 [Boreas the North Wind], over whom he rules, and over thy pinions, wanton Eurus (the East Wind). He rules the winds."
Ovid, Heroides 15. 207 ff :
"But do my prayers accomplish aught . . . and do the Zephyri (Zephyrs) bear away my idly falling words?"
Seneca, Medea 329 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"Unsullied the ages our fathers saw [before men first sailed the seas] . . . Then every man inactive kept to his own shores and lived to old age on ancestral fields, rich with but little, knowing no wealth save what his home soil had yielded. Not yet could any read the sky and use the stars with which the heavens are spangled; not yet could ships avoid the rainy Hyades [constellation] . . . not yet did Boreas (the North Wind), not yet Zephyrus (the West Wind) have names."
Seneca, Oedipus 37 ff :
"[In a time of drought :] No soft breeze with its cool breath relieves our breasts that pant with heat, no gentle Zephyrus blows; but Titan [Helios the Sun] augments the scorching dog-stars's [Seirios' (Sirius')] fires."
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 [the island of Lipara] . . . 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 of 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, Silvae 3. 2. 1 (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"[Prayer to the Winds :] ‘And may the father [Aiolos (Aeolus)] whose Aeolian prison constrains the Winds, whom the various blasts obey, and every air that stirs on the world's seas, and storms and cloudy tempests, keep Boreas (the North-Wind) and Notos (the South-Wind) and Eurus (the East-Wind) in closer custody behind his wall of mountain; but may Zephyros (the West-Wind) alone have the freedom of the sky, alone drive vessels onward and skim unceasingly o'er the crests of the billows, until he bring without a storm thy glad sail safe to the Paraetonian haven.’ My prayer is heard. Zephyrus himself calls the ship and chides the laggard crew."
Apuleius, The Golden Ass 4. 35 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"But as Psyche wept in fear and trembling on that rocky eminence [where she had been left as a sacrifice to what she believed was a monster], Zephyrus' (the West Wind's) kindly breeze with its soft stirring wafted the hem of her dress this way and that, and made its folds billow out. He gradually drew her aloft, and with tranquil breath bore her slowly downward [from the mountainside]. She glided down in the bosom of the flower-decked turf in the valley below [and the hidden palace of Eros (Love)]."
Apuleius, The Golden Ass 5. 4 ff :
"[Psykhe (Psyche) addresses Eros :] ‘But one further concession I beg for my prayers: bid your servant Zephyrus (the West Wind) spirit my sisters down to me, as he earlier wafted me down.’ . . . She [Psykhe] then summoned Zephyrus, and reminded him of her husband's instruction. He speedily obeyed the command, and at once whisked them [her sisters] down [the mountainside to the hidden palace of Eros] safely on the gentlest of breezes."
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 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) [Anemoi], 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!"
ZEPHYRUS GOD OF SPRING
Callimachus, Hymn 2 to Apollo 81 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Thine [Apollon's] altars wear flowers in spring, even all the pied flowers which the Horai (Horae, Seasons) lead forth when Zephyros (Zephyrus) breathes dew."
Virgil, Georgics 2. 323 ff (trans. Fairclough) (Roman bucolic C1st B.C.) :
"Spring it is that clothes the glades and forests with leaves . . . and the meadows ungirdle to Zephyrus's (the West Wind's) balmy breeze; the tender moisture avails for all."
Virgil, Georgics 3. 322 ff :
"At the Zephyrus' call, joyous summer sends both sheep and goats to the glades and pastures."
Seneca, Phaedra 11 (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"Where meadows lie which Zephyrus soothes with his dew-laden breath and calls forth the herbage of the spring."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 2. 133 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"The swallow dear to Zephyros in spring-time, harbinger of roses and flowery dew, prattling bird that sings a sweet song under the tiles."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 45 ff :
"The bight of Libya [the city of Beroe in Lebanon, now Beirut] is fanned by the dewy whistle of Zephryos (the West Wind) as he rides with shrill-sounding heel over the western channels, where is a flowery land, where nurseries bloom hard by the sea, and the fragrant forest pervaded by humming winds sings from its leafy trees."
CULT OF ZEPHYRUS
Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 1. 188 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"[The Argonauts prepae to depart on their voyage :] Next in joy they pile altars; chiefly unto thee, lord of the waters [Poseidon], is reverence paid, unto thee, unto Zephyros (the West Wind) [for a favourable sailing wind] and unto Glaucus upon the shore Ancaeus sacrifices an ox decked with dark blue fillets, unto Thetis a heifer."
I. RHODES Island (Greek Aegean)
Bacchylides, Epigrams 1 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Eudemos (Eudemus) [of Rhodes] dedicated this temple on his land to Zephyros (Zephyrus), richest of all winds; for in answer to his prayer he came to help him, so that he might winnow most speedily the grain from the ripe ears."
II. LACIADAE (LAKIADAI) Town in Attica (Attika) (Southern Greece)
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 37. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[At Lakiadai (Laciadae), Attika :] There is also an altar of Zephyros (Zephyrus)."
ANCIENT GREEK & ROMAN ART
- Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
- Homer, The Odyssey - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
- Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th - 7th B.C.
- Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragments - Greek Epic C8th - 7th B.C.
- The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C8th - 4th B.C.
- Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
- Greek Lyric I Alcaeus, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th B.C.
- Greek Lyric I Sappho, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th B.C.
- Greek Lyric II Anacreontea, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th - 4th B.C.
- Greek Lyric V Philoxenus, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th - 4th B.C.
- Aeschylus, Agamemnon - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Callimachus, Hymns - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
- Callimachus, Fragments - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
- Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
- The Orphic Hymns - Greek Hymns C3rd B.C. - C2nd A.D.
- Philostratus the Elder, Imagines - Greek Rhetoric C3rd A.D.
- Philostratus the Younger, Imagines - Greek Rhetoric C3rd A.D.
- Callistratus, Descriptions - Greek Rhetoric C4th A.D.
- Oppian, Halieutica - Greek Poetry C3rd A.D.
- Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy - Greek Epic C4th A.D.
- Nonnus, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th A.D.
- Colluthus, The Rape of Helen - Greek Epic C5th - 6th A.D.
- Musaeus, Hero and Leander - Greek Poetry C6th A.D.
- Greek Papyri III Pankrates, Fragments - Greek Poetry C2nd A.D.
- Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Ovid, Fasti - Latin Poetry C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Ovid, Heroides - Latin Poetry C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Virgil, Georgics - Latin Bucolic C1st B.C.
- Seneca, Medea - Latin Tragedy C1st A.D.
- Seneca, Oedipus - Latin Tragedy C1st A.D.
- Seneca, Phaedra - Latin Tragedy C1st A.D.
- Valerius Flaccus, The Argonautica - Latin Epic C1st A.D.
- Statius, Silvae - Latin Poetry C1st A.D.
- Apuleius, The Golden Ass - Latin Novel C2nd A.D.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.