Online Encyclopedia

BOREAS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 247 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BOREAS, in Greek mythology, a personification of the north wind. He was described as the son of Astraeus and Eos, brother of Hesperus, Notus and Zephyrus. His dwelling-place was on Mount Haemus in Thrace, or at Salmydessus, near the country of the Hyperboreans. He was said to have carried off the beautiful Oreithyia, a daughter of Erechtheus, king of Athens, when he found her leading the dance at a festival, or gathering flowers on the banks of the Ilissus or some other spot in the neighbourhood of Athens. He had before wooed her in vain, and now carried her off to Mount Haemus, where they lived as king and queen of the winds, and had two sons, Zetes and Calais, and two daughters, Cleopatra and Chione (Apollodorus iii. 15; Ovid,,Metam. vi. 677). For the loss of Oreithyia the Athenians in after times counted on Boreas's friendliness, and were assured of it when he sent storms which wrecked the Persian fleet at Athos and at Sepias (Herodotus vii. 189). For this they erected to him a sanctuary or altar near the Ilissus, and held a festival (Boreasmos) in his honour. Thurii also, which was a colony of Athens, offered sacrifice to him as Euergetes every year, because he had destroyed the hostile fleet of Dionysius the elder (Aelian, Var. Hist. xii. 61). In works of art Boreas was represented as bearded, powerful, draped against cold, and winged. On the Tower of the Winds at Athens he is figured holding a shell, such as is blown by Tritons. Boreas carrying off Oreithyia is the subject of a beautiful bronze relief in.the British Museum, found in the island of Calymna. The same subject occurs frequently on painted Greek vases.
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