Wednesday, September 05, 2007


One of the clues in yesterday's cryptic crossword was "Ruler of the winds found in USA Leo (6)". The answer is (of course) Aeolus, the ruler of the winds according to Greek and Roman mythology (and an anagram of 'USA Leo').

In the opening lines of the Aeneid, Juno comes to Aeolus and asks him to set free his winds, in order to create a storm which will sink the Trojans' ships.

Here Aeolus is king and here in a vast cavern he keeps in subjection the brawling winds and howling storms, chained and bridled in their prison. They murmur in loud protest round bolted gates in the mountainside while Aeolus sits in his high citadel, holding his sceptre, soothing their spirits and tempering their angry passions. But for him they would catch up the sea, the earth and the deeps of the sky and sweep them along through space. In fear of this, the all powerful father banished them to these black caverns with massive mountains heaped over them, and gave them a fixed charter, a king who knew how to hold them in check or, when ordered, to let them run with free rein...

To Juno's request, Aeolus answers, "Your task, O queen, is to decide your wishes; my duty is to carry out your orders. It is thanks to you that I rule this little kingdom and enjoy this sceptre and the blessing of Jupiter. Through you I have a couch to lie on at the feasts of the gods, and my power over cloud and storm comes from you.'

At these words he struck the side of the hollow mountain with the butt of his spear and the winds seemed to form a column and pour out through an open gate to blow a hurricane over the whole earth. The east wind and the south and the south-west with its squalls all fell upon the sea at once, whipping it up from its bottom-most depths and rolling huge waves towards its shores. Men shouted, ropes screamed, clouds suddenly blotted out the light of the sky from the eyes of the Trojans and black night brooded ove the sea as the heavens thundered and lightning flashed again and again across the sky.

Aeneid I.52ff

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