Tower of the Winds Picture

Athens – Greece.
The Tower of the Winds on the Roman Agora
and the Lycabettus Hill in the background.

The Tower of the Winds (Aerides) or Horologion (timepiece) of Andronicos is an octagonal tower representing the eight directions of the wind. The structure is 12 m tall with a diameter of about 8 m and was topped in antiquity by a weathervane-like Triton that indicated the wind direction. It stands on a base of three steps and is built of white Pentelic marble. It has a conical roof, a cylindrical annex on the south side, and two Corinthian porches. The frieze depicts the eight wind deities: Boreas (N), Kaikias (NE), Eurus (E), Apeliotes (SE), Notus (S), Livas (SW), Zephyrus (W), and Skiron (NW). There are eight sundials on the external walls and an elaborate waterclock (clepsydra) in the interior, driven by water coming down from the Acropolis. It was supposedly built by the Greek astronomer Andronicus of Cyrrhus (Kyrrhos of Syria or Macedonia) around 50 BC, but according to other sources might have been constructed in the 2nd century BC before the rest of the forum. The monument had been half-buried by the earth accumulated over the centuries. It was excavated between 1837 and 1845 by the Greek Archaeological Society.

© 2009 Jordan Kevrekidis

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