Friday, September 6, 2013

Winds of the Compass Rose

I happened upon this compass rose behind the Camden Public Library.

Then while taking these close ups, I saw that these weren't merely decorations but wind names. (all names are listed below.)

Some harken back to Greek or roman wind names.

Others like "Nor'easter" and "Trade"  seem to have a New England origin.

Plainly this needed more research.  At Wikipedia, I learned the following tidbits:   Linguistic anthropological studies show the majority of human languages(64%) have four cardinal directions; generally East-West equivalent indicating sun rise and sun set, and North-South equivalent for seasonal winds.

Aristotle referred to ten winds, North, South, and Pairings of East and West corresponding to various latitudes.

It was Timothenes of Rhodes who added to more points to make the classic 12 point compass rose.

These were interesting findings, and for awhile I thought this might be an augmentation of a classic compass rose.  But, after  looking up each name, I think this is merely an artistic decoration listing sixteen names of winds. 

The names from the Camden Compass, in case you're straining your eyes at the pictures are: 
NNW-N: Tramontana-  an Italian north wind
N-NNE: Boreas- Greek God of the North Wind
NNE-NE: Nor'easter
NE-ENE:  Trade
ENE-E: Foul
E-ESE: Eurus-  Greek God of the East Wind
ESE-SE: Tornado (from Spanish)
SE-SSE: Cyclone
SSE-S: Sirocco- a Greek wind from the Saraha
S-SSW: Auster - Roman God of the South Wind
SSW-SW:  Monsoon (from Arabic)
SW-WSW: Typhoon (from Persian)
WSW-W:  Fair
W-WNW:  Zephyrus- Greek God of the West Wind
WNW-NW:  Westerly
NW-NNW:  Mistral- a regional French wind
Referenced Wikipedia Articles:

Compass Rose :
Classical Compass Winds :

(And, yes, we have been paddling this summer, but we're kind of in a rut where we paddle the same waters over and over.)

1 comment:

  1. This is a really cool story. Thanks. The wind was really up around here last night. Something to think about on windy days. Plus, isn't it cool that when padding the same waters over and over again, it is never really the same as the conditions are always different, and sometimes you discover something new, or something you missed. That's one of the things I like about paddling. It's a happy rut to be in! Cheers from Canada!