previous next


Having now explained the theory of the winds, it seems to me the best plan, in order to avoid any repetition, to pass on to the other signs and prognostics that are indicative of a change of weather. I find, too, that this is a kind of knowledge that greatly interested Virgil,1 for he mentions the fact, that during the harvest even, he has often seen the winds engage in a combat that was absolutely ruinous to the improvident agriculturist. There is a tradition, too, to the effect that Democritus, already mentioned, when his brother Damasus was getting in his harvest in extremely hot weather, entreated him to leave the rest of the crop, and house with all haste that which had been cut; and it was only within a very few hours that his prediction was verified by a most violent storm. On the other hand, it is particularly recommended never to plant reeds except when rain is impending, and only to sow corn just before a shower; we shall therefore briefly touch upon the prognostics of this description, making enquiry more particularly into those among them that have been found the most useful.

In the first place, then, we will consider those prognostics of the weather which are derived from the sun.2 If the sun is bright at its rising, and not burning hot, it is indicative of fine weather, but if pale, it announces wintry weather accompanied with hail. If the sun is bright and clear when it sets, and it' it rises with a similar appearance, the more assured of fine weather may we feel ourselves. If it is hidden in clouds at its rising, it is indicative of rain, and of wind, when the clouds are of a reddish colour just before sunrise; if black clouds are intermingled with the red ones, they betoken rain as well. When the sun's rays at its rising or setting appear to unite, rainy weather may be looked for. When the clouds are red at sunset, they give promise3 of a fine day on the morrow; but if, at the sun's rising, the clouds are dispersed in various quarters, some to the south, and some to the north-east, even though the heavens in the vicinity of the sun may be bright, they are significant of rain and wind. If at the sun's rising or setting, its rays appear contracted, they announce the approach of a shower. If it rains at sunset, or if the sun's rays attract the clouds towards them, it is portentous of stormy weather on the following day. When the sun, at its rising, does not emit vivid rays, although there are no clouds surrounding it, rain may be expected. If before sunrise the clouds collect into dense masses, they are portentous of a violent storm; but if they are repelled from the east and travel westward, they indicate fine weather. When clouds are seen surrounding the face of the sun, the less the light they leave, the more violent the tempest will be: but if they form a double circle round the sun, the storm will be a dreadful one. If this takes place at sunrise or sunset, and the clouds assume a red hue, the approach of a most violent storm is announced: and if the clouds hang over the face of the sun without surrounding it, they presage wind from the quarter from which they are drifting, and rain as well, if they come from the south.

If, at its rising, the sun is surrounded with a circle, wind may be looked for in the quarter in which the circle breaks; but if it disappears equally throughout, it is indicative of fine weather. If the sun at its rising throws out its rays afar through the clouds, and the middle of its disk is clear, there will be rain; and if its rays are seen before it rises, both rain and wind as well. If a white circle is seen round the sun at its setting, there will be a slight storm in the night; but if there is a mist around it, the storm will be more violent. If the sun is pale at sunset, there will be wind, and if there is a dark circle round it, high winds will arise in the quarter in which the circle breaks.

1 Georg. i. 313, et seq.
"Sæpe ego, quum flavis messorem induceret arvis
Agricola, et fragili jam stringeret hordea culmo,
Omnia ventorum concurrere prœlia vidi."

2 See the Treatise of Theophrastus on the Prognostics of the Weather.

3 This, Fée observes, is confirmed by experience. Aratus, as translated by Avienus, states to a similar effect.

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 (2 total)
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: