God of the South Wind
Notus on the relief of the Tower of the Winds, Athens, Greece.
Personal information
ParentsEos and Astraeus
SiblingsWinds (Boreas, Eurus, and Zephyrus), Stars (Eosphorus/Hesperus, Pyroeis, Stilbon, Phaethon, and Phaenon), Memnon, Emathion, Astraea
Roman equivalentAuster

In Greek mythology and religion, Notus (Ancient Greek: Νότος, romanizedNotos, lit.'south') is the god of the south wind and one of the Anemoi (wind-gods), sons of the dawn goddess Eos and the star-god Astraeus. A desiccating, hot wind of heat, Notus was associated with the storms of late summer and early autumn, wetness, mist, and was seen as a rain-bringer. Unlike his two more notable brothers, Boreas (the god of the north wind) and Zephyrus (the god of the west wind), Notus has little to no unique mythology of his own.

His Roman equivalent is the god Auster.


The Greek noun νότος refers both to the south cardinal direction and the south wind that blows from it.[1] Its ultimate etymology remains unknown, although a pre-Greek origin seems to be the most likely origin.[2]


Notus, like most of the wind gods, the Anemoi was said to be the son of Eos, the goddess of the dawn, by her husband Astraeus, a minor god related to the stars.[3] Thus, he is brother to the five star-gods (Astra Planeta) and the justice goddess Astraea, and half-brother to the mortals Memnon and Emathion, sons of his mother Eos by the Trojan prince Tithonus. Notus has no known consorts, lovers or offspring.

The ancient Greeks distinguished the three types of wind blowing from the south; the first was notos (the one Notus mostly represents) which blew from various directions in winter and was seen as the rain-bringer that obscured visibility, the second was leukonotos ("white notus") which was milder and cleared up the sky, and the third was the hot bringer of dust, identified with sirocco.[4]


Byzantine fresco depicting Notus.

Notus is one of the three wind-gods mentioned by Hesiod, alongside his brothers Boreas and Zephyrus,[5] the three wind gods seen as beneficial by the ancient Greeks.[6] Unlike his two more prominent brothers however, Notus has very little mythology, and mostly appears in conjugation with his brothers, with too few unique appearances to differate him from the rest.[7]

In his preparation for the Great Deluge, Zeus locked up Boreas and the other cloud-blowing gales, and let Notus free, to rain upon the earth, who let it pour all over the globe, drowing almost everyone.[8]

Statue of Notus.

In the Odyssey the winds seem to dwell on the island of Aeolia, as Zeus has made Aeolus keeper of the winds.[9] Aeolus receives Odysseus and his crew, and keeps them as guests for a month.[10] As they part, Aeolus gives Odysseus a bag containing all the winds, except for Zephyrus; although warned not to open the bag, Odysseus's crewmates however foolishly open the bag, thinking it to contain some treasure, and set free Notus along with all the other winds as well, who then blow the ships back to Aeolia.[9]

In the Dionysiaca meanwhile, he and his brothers live with their father Astraeus; Notus serves water from a jug when Demeter pays a visit.[11] In the Iliad, Notus dined together with his brothers in a far away land as Iris visited to summon Boreas and Zephyrus.[12][13] Much later, he and Eurus strand Odysseus on Thrinacia, the island of the sun-god Helios, for an entire month.[14]

In the Pergamon Altar which depicts the battle of the gods against the Giants, Notus and the other three wind gods are shown as horse-shaped deities who pull Hera's chariot;[15][16] their equine form is also found in Quintus Smyrnaeus's works, where they pull Zeus instead.[17]

In one of his few defining appearances, Notus features in two of the Dialogues of the Sea Gods, a satirical work by Lucian of Samosata. In the first, he and Zephyrus discuss the woes of the Argive princess Io at the hands of Zeus and Hera,[18] while in the second Zephyrus enthusiastically describes the marvellous scene of the abduction of Europa by the bull, while Notus admits in disappointment having seen nothing of note.[19]


For the Romans, Notus was identified with the god Auster ("south"), closely associated with the sirocco wind. Like Notus himself, Auster has no big role in mythology. The name, Auster, means south and is the root of words such as Australia, literally "south land."


Notus's family tree[20]
The RiversThe OceanidsHeliosSelene[21]EosAstraeusPallasPerses
Astraea[22]The Stars
IapetusClymene (or Asia)[23]Mnemosyne(Zeus)Themis
Atlas[24]MenoetiusPrometheus[25]EpimetheusThe MusesThe Horae

See also


  1. ^ Liddell & Scott 1940, s.v. νότος.
  2. ^ Beekes 2010, s.v.Νότος.
  3. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 378, Hyginus Preface; Apollodorus 1.2.3; Nonnus, Dionysiaca 6.28
  4. ^ Hünemörder, Christian; Käppel, Lutz (2006). Cancik, Hubert; Schneider, Helmuth (eds.). Translated by Christine F. Salazar. "Notus". referenceworks-brillonline-com/subjects. Hamburg, Kiel. doi:10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e825330. Retrieved April 17, 2023.
  5. ^ Kerenyi 1951, p. 205.
  6. ^ Rausch, Sven (2006). Cancik, Hubert; Schneider, Helmuth (eds.). Translated by Christine F. Salazar. "Zephyrus". referenceworks-brillonline-com/subjects. Hamburg. doi:10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e12216400. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  7. ^ Grimal 1987, p. 312.
  8. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.262
  9. ^ a b Myrsiades 2019, p. 104.
  10. ^ Homer, Odyssey 1-45
  11. ^ Nonnus, Dionysiaca 6.28
  12. ^ Homer, the Iliad 23.192-225
  13. ^ Hard 2004, p. 48.
  14. ^ Gantz 1996, p. 705.
  15. ^ LIMC 617 (Venti)
  16. ^ Kunze, Max (1988). Der grosse Marmoraltar von Pergamon [The Large Marble Altar of Pergamon] (in German). Berlin: Staatliche Museem zu Berlin. pp. 23–24.
  17. ^ Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 12.189
  18. ^ Lucian, Dialogues of the Sea Gods 7: South Wind and West Wind I
  19. ^ Lucian, Dialogues of the Sea Gods 15: South Wind and West Wind II
  20. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 132–138, 337–411, 453–520, 901–906, 915–920; Caldwell, pp. 8–11, tables 11–14.
  21. ^ Although usually the daughter of Hyperion and Theia, as in Hesiod, Theogony 371–374, in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes (4), 99–100, Selene is instead made the daughter of Pallas the son of Megamedes.
  22. ^ Astraea is not mentioned by Hesiod, instead she is given as a daughter of Eos and Astraeus in Hyginus Astronomica 2.25.1.
  23. ^ According to Hesiod, Theogony 507–511, Clymene, one of the Oceanids, the daughters of Oceanus and Tethys, at Hesiod, Theogony 351, was the mother by Iapetus of Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus, and Epimetheus, while according to Apollodorus, 1.2.3, another Oceanid, Asia was their mother by Iapetus.
  24. ^ According to Plato, Critias, 113d–114a, Atlas was the son of Poseidon and the mortal Cleito.
  25. ^ In Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 18, 211, 873 (Sommerstein, pp. 444–445 n. 2, 446–447 n. 24, 538–539 n. 113) Prometheus is made to be the son of Themis.