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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.
Tower of the winds The Tower of the winds on the Roman agora. Detail of the Tower of the winds

The eight Winds

Wind Direction
Wind DeitySculpted Character
BoreasMan wearing a heavy cloak, blowing through a twisted shell
North East
KaikiasMan carrying & emptying a shield of small round objects
ApeliotesYoung man holding a cloak full of fruit and grain
South East
EurosOld man wrapped tightly in a cloak against the elements
NotosMan emptying an urn and producing a shower of water
South West
LipsBoy pushing the stern of a ship, promising a good sailing wind
ZephyrosYouth carrying flowers into the air
North WestSkiron 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.

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3 April 2019
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