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Tower of winds
On the Roman agora, overlooked by the acropolis and the parthenon stands the octagonal marble edifice of the Horologion of Andronicos, which was erected by the Macedonian astronomer Andronicos around 50 BCE.
Pentelic marble is quarried from the Penteli mountains just north of Athens and has a mesmerizing white crystalline surface. It looks delicate as glass but continues to stand the test of time and was used by the great sculptors of ancient Greece, including Phidias and Praxiteles. Moreover, pentelic marble was used to make the Elgin marbles.
This Tower of winds was build with pentelic marble and stands over 12 metres high, originally topped by a revolving bronze weather vane depicting Triton. A pointed wand in his hand indicated the direction from which the wind was blowing.
To the ancients, the winds had divine powers and on the frieze of each side below the conical rooftop there is a sculpted figure of the wind deity ruling the compass point to which it faces.
The term Horologion also acknowledges the other features of the tower that Andronicos incorporated: sundials and a complicated internal water clock with a supply from the Acropolis above.
The eight Winds
|Wind Deity||Sculpted Character |
|Boreas||Man wearing a heavy cloak, blowing through a twisted shell|
|Kaikias||Man carrying & emptying a shield of small round objects|
|Apeliotes||Young man holding a cloak full of fruit and grain|
|Euros||Old man wrapped tightly in a cloak against the elements|
|Notos||Man emptying an urn and producing a shower of water|
|Lips||Boy pushing the stern of a ship, promising a good sailing wind|
|Zephyros||Youth carrying flowers into the air|
||Bearded man with a bronze pot full of hot ashes and charcoal|
In the early Christian period, the Tower of the Winds was converted into a church. Later on, it became covered with the earth and debris that had accumulated over the centuries, but was excavated by the Greek Archaeological Society around 1837-1845. Modern restorations took place during WO I and recently in 1976.