previous next


The theory of the winds1 is of a somewhat more intricate nature. After observing the quarter in which the sun rises on any given day, at the sixth2 hour of the day take your position in such a manner as to have the point of the sun's rising on your left; you will then have the south directly facing you, and the north at your back: a line drawn through a field in this direction3 is called the "cardinal"4 line. The observer must then turn round, so as to look upon his shadow, for it will be behind him. Having thus changed his position, so as to bring the point of the sun's rising on that day to the right, and that of his setting to the left, it will be the sixth hour of the day, at the moment when the shadow straight before him is the shortest. Through the middle of this shadow, taken lengthwise, a furrow must be traced in the ground with a hoe, or else a line drawn with ashes, some twenty feet in length, say; in the middle of this line, or, in other words, at the tenth foot in it, a small circle must then be described: to this circle we may give the name of the "umbilicus," or "navel." That point in the line which lies on the side of the head of the shadow will be the point from which the north wind blows. You who are engaged in pruning trees, be it your care that the incisions made in the wood do not face this point; nor should the vine-trees5 or the vines have this aspect, except in the climates of Africa,6 Cyrenæ, or Egypt. When the wind blows, too, from this point, you must never plough, nor, in fact, attempt any other of the operations of which we shall have to make mention.7

That part of the line which lies between the umbilicus and the feet of the shadow will look towards the south, and indicate the point from which the south wind8 blows, to which, as already mentioned,9 the Greeks have given the name of Notus. When the wind comes from this quarter, you, hasbandman, must never fell wood or touch the vine. In Italy this wind is either humid or else of a burning heat, and in Africa it is accompanied with intense heat10 and fine clear weather. In Italy the bearing branches should be trained to face this quarter, but the incisions made in the trees or vines when pruned must never face it. Let those be on their guard against this wind upon the four11 days at the rising of the Vergiliæ, who are engaged in planting the olive, as well as those who are employed in the operations of grafting or inoculating.

It will be as well, too, here to give some advice, in reference to the climate of Italy, as to certain precautions to be observed at certain hours of the day. You, woodman, must never lop the branches in the middle of the day; and you, shepherd, when you see midday approaching in summer, and the shadow gradually decreasing, drive your flocks from out of the sun into some well-shaded spot. When you lead the flocks to pasture in summer, let them face the west before midday,12 and after that time, the east: if this precaution is not adopted, calamitous results will ensue; the same, too, if the flocks are led in winter or spring to pastures covered with dew. Nor must you let them feed with their faces to the north, as already mentioned;13 for the wind will either close their eyes or else make them bleared, and they will (lie of looseness. If you wish to have females,14 you should let the dams have their faces towards the north while being covered.

1 Many of his statements are drawn from Aristotle's Treatise, "De Mundo."

2 Our mid-day.

3 From due north to due south.

4 Cardo.

5 "Arbusta." The trees on which the vines were trained.

6 I. e. the north-west of Africa; the Roman province so called.

7 In the next Chapter.

8 Ventus Auster.

9 In B. ii. c. 46.

10 Incendia.

11 See B. xvii. c. 2.

12 See B. viii. c. 75.

13 He seems to be in error here, as he has nowhere made mention of this.

14 Aristotle, on the other hand, and Columella, B. vii. c. 3, say "males." See also B. viii. c. 72, where males are mentioned in connection with the north-wind. Also the next Chapter in this Book.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (3):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: