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Project 955 Borei

Borei = the north-wind, is the name given to the fierce snow-storms that blow from the north-east over the steppes of Russia. A wintry north wind is always and everywhere a disagreeable enemy to face. From boreas (bo're-as), n. (L. boreae, Gr. boreat, the north wind] - the north wind; a cold northerly wind. Boreal (bo're-al), a. [L. borealis] Northern; pertaining to the north or the north wind. Boreal pole, in effect, the pole of the magnetic needle which points to the south: opposed to austral pole, or that which seeks the north.

The climate of Russia has a well-marked continental character, with extremes of temperature which surprise the traveler accustomed to the milder seasons and more gradual transitions of western Europe. The openness of the country to the north wind, the lack of modifying influences from the Gulf Stream, make the winter of Russia, even in southern latitudes, one of extreme rigor.

The Venti, the winds, appear personified, even in the Homeric poems, but at the same time they are conceived as ordinary phenomena of nature. The master and ruler of all the winds is Aeolus, who resides in the island Aeolia [aeolus] ; but the other gods also, especially Zeus, exercise a power over them. Homer mentions by name Boreas (N. wind), Eurus (E. wind), Notus (S. wind), and Zephyrus (W. wind). According to Hesiod, the beneficial winds, Notus, Boreas, Argestes, and Zephyrus, were the sons of Astraeus and Eos; and the destructive ones, such as Typhon, are said to be the sons of Typhoeus. Later, especially philosophical, writers endeavoured to define the winds more accurately, according to their places in the compass.

Anciently Boreas signified the north-east wind blowing at the time of the summer solstice. He is represented on the temple at Athens with his robe before his mouth, as if he felt the cold of the climate over which he presides, agreeably to the description of Ovid, who calls him gelidus tyrannus, " the shivering tyrant," Met. vi. ver. 711. But he is usually described by the Roman poets as violent and impetuous ; ibid. ver. 686-ver. 707. In painting, he is generally represented like an old man with a horrible look, his hair and beard covered with snow or hoar frost, with the feet and tail of a dragon. M. Spierlingius has a treatise in praise of Boreas, wherein he shows the honours paid to him by antiquity. Boreas, according to this author, purifies the air, renders it calm and salubrious, preserves buildings from decay, drives away the plague and other noxious diseases, and expels locusts and other vermin hurtful to the grounds.

In Athens on the north side and near the base of the hill on which the upper city-the Acropolis-is built, there is a small temple still standing, altho its walls were completed twenty-two centuries ago. It is known as the Tower of the Winds. They did what moderns fail to do, namely, give distinctive names to the winds. They represented figuratively the characteristics of the weather as the wind blew from each of the eight cardinal directions.

The northeast wind Kaikias is a trifle more pleasant looking than Boreas, but still not much to brag about. Master of the squall and thunderstorm, he carries in his shield an ample supply of hailstones, ready to spill them on defenseless humanity. Last of all, but by no means least important, is Skiron, lord of gusty northwest gales. Freezing in winter, parching in summer, he carries with him a brazen fire basket and spills a generous stream of hot air on all below. His husky Highness might not inappropriately adorn legislative halls and editorial sanctums. He would displace the blindfolded lady holding scales very much out of balance. Think of the deep significance of his presence.

Boreas, the north wind, is perhaps the most important of all winds. At Athens this a cold, boisterous wind from the mountains of Thrace. The noise of the gusts is so loud that the Greek sculptor symbolized the tumult by placing a conch shell in the mouth of Boreas. His modern namesake, the Bora of the Adriatic, is the same noisy, blustering, cold wind-rush from the north.

Boreas, according to the tradition of the Greeks, married Orithya, an Athenian female, daughter of Erectheus: from this, if fame may be believed, the Athenians were induced to consider Boreas as their son-inlaw ; and during their station off the Euboean Chalcis to watch the motions of the enemy, they sacrificed to Boreas and Orithya, invoking their interposition to destroy the Barbarian fleet, as they had before done near mount Athos. In consequence of their supplications, Boreas dispersed the Barbarian fleet; the Athenians do not scruple to affirm, that Boreas, who had before been favourable to them, repeated his efforts to assist them on this occasion. They afterwards erected a shrine to Boreas on the banks of the Ilissus.

Festivals were celebrated in honour of Boreas, and the people regaled on those days. On the banks of the Ilissus, and near' the temple of Diana Agreea (the huntress) was an altar of Boreas. The inhabitants of Thurium testified their devotion to this wind, and reckoned no less than those of Athens on its assistance. Delivered from a great danger by a wind which destroyed the fleet of Dionysius the tyrant, with whom they were at war, they offered sacrifices to this wind, conferred on it the right of citizenship, assigned it a chapel with a fixed revenue, and annually celebrated a festival in honour of it. The Megalopolitans did nearly' the same thing.

Lapland is called the land of the north wind.




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