The Anemoi were four Greek gods considered to be the deities of the wind. They were the descendants of Eos and Eole. Aeolus was the god of the winds. The goddess Eos, also known as “the bringer of darkness”, would have been the daughter of a Titan, Pallas, Athens or Nyx. According to the Greek poet Hesiod, their parents would be Astraeus and Eos.
The Anemoi are characterized in different ways in the stories of the ancient Greeks. Sometimes they are depicted as the general wind, sometimes as winged men. In the Odyssey, the Anémoi are horses kept in the stables of the god Aeolus. All were associated with agriculture, harvests, horses and storms.
The four Anemoi are: Borée, Euros, Notos and Zéphir.
For the Greeks, Boreas was the god or spirit of the north wind. He was responsible for winter and cold temperatures. He was seen as an old man blowing his conch to summon the north wind. He is often depicted with a thick white beard and smiling eyes. The Romans called Boreas Aquilon or the north-east winter wind. For the Romans, the true north wind was Septentrion.
Euros was the Greek god of the east or southeast wind. He was responsible for the rain and the warmer days. Sometimes he is referred to as “the god of the unlucky east wind”. The great Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder called the east wind Vulturnus.
Notos was the Greek god of the warm south wind. He was responsible for the crops dying under the late summer sun and thunderstorms. The Romans called the god of the south winds Auster. This one brought cloudy days and heavy rains. It is thought that the name Australia may come from Auster.
Zephyr was the Greek god of the life-creating winds of spring. There are many stories about him, not the least of which is that he was married to the messenger goddess Iris. He would also have been involved, together with the god Apollo, in a competition against a Spartan called Hyacinth. Zephyr is also the god of plants and flowers.