5.Tower of the Winds

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Πειραματικό Λύκειο Αγ. Αναργύρων, Athens/1st Grade, 2009-2010
3. THE SOLAR CLOCK OF ANDRONICOS KYRRESTES
(TOWER OF THE WINDS)
THE TOWER OF THE WINDS

is actually the Clock
(Horologion/ὡρολόγιον of
the astronomer
Andronicos Kyrrestes
(Andronicos of Cyrrhus)/
Ἀνδρόνικος Κυρρήστης.

It was built in the middle
of the 1st century BC or,
according to certain
archaeologists, in the
Hellenistic period (2nd
century BC)
THE ATHENIAN AGORA IN THE 2ND AD
1
4
3
5
2
1. Acropolis, 2. Athenian Agora, 3. Roman Agora, 4. Library of Hadrian, 5. Stoa of
Attalos.
The Solar Clock of Kyrrestes is located east of the Roman Agora, in the red circle.
The Solar Clock of Kyrrestes, east of the Roman Agora, between
the Agoranomeion and the Vespasianae
A’ EKPA in Βλίζος, 2008
LOCATION
The Tower and the Agoranomeion
(reconstruction)
1.Library of Hadrian, 2.Pantheon (?), 3.Roman Agora, 4.Vespasianae,
5.Tower of the Winds, 6. Agoranomeion.
The Structure of the Tower

The octagonal Pentelic marble
building (of an 8m diameter) is
ca 12m high.

It has two propylons/πρόπυλον
(entrance porches), one on the
NE side, the other on the NW
side. Each porch had 2
corinthian columns in front of
the doorways.

Attached to the South side is a
cylindrical annex.

The structure
features a
combination of 8
sundials, a water
clock and a wind
vane. It was topped
in antiquity by a
weathervane-like
Triton (Τρίτων/ a
creature with the
body of a man and
the tail of a fish) that
indicated the wind
direction.
Reconstruction by Stuart-Rovett
The circular chamber on the exterior of the southern side of the building roofed two
tanks of water, one over the other. The flow of water from the upper tank into
the lower one provided the power which turned the gears of an elaborate,
probably metal, clock inside the building.

3d reconstruction of the Solar Clock of Kyrrestes. On the right
you can see the East Propylon of the Roman Agora

In the doric order interior, the
water clock (or clepsydra) was
driven by water coming down
from the Acropolis.

Recent research has shown that
the considerable height of the
tower was motivated by the
intention to place the sundials
and the wind vane at a visible
height on the Agora, making it
effectively an early example of a
clock tower. It was also
important for the merchants to
know the winds in order to
estimate the arrival of products
coming by sea.
Reconstruction of the clock mechanism
according to Price and Noble

The clock itself may have
been shaped like a disk that
slowly turned to reveal the
passing of the hours, days,
and even phases of the
moon.
Reconstruction of the clock mechanism
according to Price and Noble
The sundials are under the frieze which depicts
personifications of the winds, so that one could tell the time
from several different directions from outside
View of the octagonal construction with the two propylons. The Tower was a sort of
meteorological station, as it is evident from the sundials on the exterior, the
hydraulic clock inside and the bronze weather vane, no longer preserved, at the
top of the pyramidal roof.
The frieze depicting the eight wind deities — ΒΟΡΕΑΣ (N), ΚΑΙΚΙΑΣ (NE),
ΕΥΡΟΣ (E), ΑΠΗΛΙΩΤΗΣ (SE), ΝΟΤΟΣ (S), ΛΙΨ (SW), ΖΕΦΥΡΟΣ (W), and
ΣΚΙΡΩΝ (NW). You can also see the Erechtheion on the Acropolis (5th
century BC) in the background.
THE WINDS AS GODS

North (Βορέας,
Septentrio)
Man wearing a heavy
cloak, blowing through a
twisted shell
North East (Καικίας,
Aquilo)
Man carrying & emptying
a shield with small round
objects
GREEK STAMPS (1943)
THE WINDS WERE GODS
AND GREEK STAMPS

East (Ἀπηλιώτης,
Solanus)
Young man holding a
cloak full of fruit and
grain

South East (Εὖρος,
Eurus)
Old man wrapped tightly
in a cloak against the
elements of nature
THE WINDS WERE GODS
AND GREEK STAMPS

South (Νότος,
Auster)
Man emptying an urn
and producing a
shower of water
South West (Λίψ,
Africus)
Boy pushing the
stern of a ship,
promising a good
sailing wind
THE WINDS WERE GODS
AND GREEK STAMPS


West (Ζέφυρος,
Favonius)
Young man
carrying flowers
into the air
North West
(Σκίρων,
Caurus/Corus)
Bearded man
holding a bronze
pot filled with hot
ashes and charcoal
The South East Wind (Εὖρος, Euros)
VITRUVIUS, DE ARCHITECTURA I. 6. 4-5 ON THE
SOLAR CLOCK OF KYRRESTES
Nonnullis placuit esse ventos quattuor: ab oriente aequinoctiali solanum, a meridie
austrum, ab occidente aequinoctiali favonium, ab septentrionali septentrionem.
sed qui diligentius perquisierunt, tradiderunt eos esse octo, maxime quidem
Andronicus Cyrrestes, qui etiam exemplum conlocavit Athenis turrem
marmoream octagonon et in singulis lateribus octagoni singulorum ventorum
imagines excalptas contra suos cuiusque flatus designavit, supraque eam turrim
metam marmoream perfecit et insuper Tritonem aereum conlocavit dextra manu
virgam porrigentem, et ita est machinatus, uti vento circumageretur et semper
contra flatum consisteret supraque imaginem flantis venti indicem virgam
teneret.
Itaque sunt conlocati inter solanum et austrum ab oriente hiberno eurus, inter
austrum et favonium ab occidente hiberno africus, inter favonium et
septentrionem caurus, quem plures vocant corum, inter septentrionem et
solanum aquilo. hoc modo videtur esse expressum, uti pateat numerus et
nomina et partes, unde flatus certi ventorum spirent.
(F. Krohn, Lipsiae 1912)
Some have held that there are only four winds: Solanus from due east; Auster
from the south; Favonius from due west; Septentrio from the north. But
more careful investigators tell us that there are eight. Chief among such
was Andronicus of Cyrrhus who in proof built the marble octagonal tower in
Athens. On the several sides of the octagon he executed reliefs
representing the several winds, each facing the point from which it blows;
and on top of the tower he set a conical shaped piece of marble and on this
a bronze Triton with a rod outstretched in its right hand. It was so contrived
as to go round with the wind, always stopping to face the breeze and
holding its rod as a pointer directly over the representation of the wind that
was blowing.
Thus Eurus is placed to the southeast between Solanus and Auster: Africus to
the southwest between Auster and Favonius; Caurus, or, as many call it,
Corus, between Favonius and Septentrio; and Aquilo between Septentrio
and Solanus. Such, then, appears to have been his device, including the
numbers and names of the wind and indicating the directions from which
particular winds blow.
Vitruvius: The Ten Books on Architecture, transl. Morris Hicky Morgan, Cambridge:
Harvard University Press. London: Humphrey Milford. Oxford University Press 1914.
VARRO DE RE RUSTICA 3.5 ON THE SOLAR
CLOCK OF KYRRESTES
Intrinsecus sub tholo stella lucifer
interdiu, noctu hesperus, ita
circumeunt ad infimum
hemisphaerium ac moventur, ut
indicent, quot sint horae. In
eodem hemisphaerio medio
circum cardinem est orbis
ventorum octo, ut Athenis in
horologio, quod fecit Cyrrestes;
ibique eminens radius a cardine
ad orbem ita movetur, ut eum
tangat ventum, qui flet, ut intus
scire possis.
Inside, under the dome of the rotunda, the
morning-star by day and the evening-star at
night circle around near the lower part of
the hemisphere, and move in such a
manner as to show what the hour is. In the
middle of the same hemisphere, running
around the axis, is a compass of the eight
winds, as in the horologium at Athens,
which was built by the Cyrrestrian; and
there a pointer, projecting from the axis,
runs about the compass in such a way that
it touches the wind which is blowing, so
that you can tell on the inside which it is.
W. D. Hooper - H. B. Ash , Loeb Classical Library,
London, 1934

In early Christian times, the building
was used as the bell tower of a
Byzantine Church. Under Ottoman
rule it became a tekke (a lodge for
dervishes). At that time it was
buried up to half and this can be
observed in the interior, where
Turkish inscriptions can be detected
on the walls. It was fully excavated
in the 19th century by the
Archaeological Society of Athens.
SIMILAR STRUCTURES

Many other
constructions have
been influenced by the
structure of the Tower of
the Winds. The design
of the 18th-century
Radcliffe Observatory in
Oxford, England, is
based on it. You can see
the eight anaglyphs of
the wind gods on the
frieze.
Tower of the Winds in
Sevastopol, Russia built in
1849.
The 15th century Torre del
Marzocco in Livorno, Italy
The mausoleum of the founder of the
Greek National Library Panayis
Vaglianos at West Norwood Cemetery,
London.
The Temple of the Winds, Mount
Stewart, near Newtownards in
Northern Ireland.
The Tower of the Winds is one of
the few most well preserved
monuments in the Roman Agora.
Sophia Athanasiou – Panagiotis Sarantopoulos, students/Alexandra Melista, teacher
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