Aeolus, God of the Winds
He is called Warden, Keeper, and King of the Winds and Son of the Sea
Aeolus, aloft on his throne of power, sceptre and trident in hands, gentles and disciplines their fierce spirits.Ovid
Aeolus was King of the Isle of Aiolus and titled the Keeper of the Winds. He commanded the four winds that blew across the earth: Boreas (the north wind), Zephyrus (the west wind), Eurus (the east wind), and Notus (the south wind). His city was the town of Lipara, upon the fantastical island of Aiolus. His father was Poseidon, God of the Sea, by Arne, who when she declared she was pregnant with the seed of Poseidon, she was cast out of her land under claim she was a liar. Adrift and alone, Arne settled in Metapontum (modern day Italy), and gave birth to two sons: Aeolus and Beotulus. The latter died before reaching manhood, and the former wandered the seas before settling in what would become his kingdom. He reigned as a just and pious king who treated the natives of the island well, teaching them the navigation of sailing and foretold signs from the fires, winds and weather. It was this mastery that he came to be known as god of the winds and encountered the hero, Odysseus during his voyages.
“In whatever city or land he comes to, this man [Aeolus] wins everyone’s friendship and regard.”Odysseus
During his years, he collected various tools and weapons associated with mastery over the winds and seas. In this way, Aeolus was known for his great power and his ability to create storms. One such tool that he kept was a chest of the powerful Storm-Winds on his island, releasing them only upon command of the gods of Olympus to wreak devastation upon the world.
When once the Winds are loosed by Aeolus and seize the main, naught is forbidden them; the continents and oceans cower forsaken; in the sky they drive the clouds and with their wild collisions strike fiery lightnings crashing down the worldOvid
The kingdom of Aiolus consisted of seven islands near to Sicily and was a jovial place. His island was surrounded by storm walls made of bronze. He had six sons and six daughters who lived in the palace with him along with their mother. Continual feasts were known to be held in the palace; countless dainties and rich halls filled with savory smells and sounds of music.
The children of Aeolus, every one, received great approbation both because of the fame of their father and because of their own high achievementsOdysseus
Aeolus, as the keeper of the winds, represents the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of the forces of nature. His story serves as a reminder of the dangers of hubris and the need to respect the power of the natural world. In modern times, the name Aeolus has also been used as the name for various weather-related systems and technologies, such as the Aeolus satellite, which is used to study the Earth’s winds.
Aeolus and the Argonauts
Aeolus was first mentioned in the story of the Argonauts, a group of heroes who set out on a quest to find the Golden Fleece. When the Argonauts reached the island of Aeolia, they were welcomed by Aeolus and his wife, Arne. Aeolus provided the Argonauts with his Satchel of the Winds to help them on their journey, but one of the heroes, named Eurylochus, opened the bag and released the winds, causing a great storm that almost sunk their ship. Despite this mishap, the Argonauts were able to continue their journey and eventually succeeded in their quest.
Aeolus and Odysseus
Aeolus also appears in the story of Odysseus, the hero of the Trojan War. When Odysseus and his men arrived on the island of Aeolia, Aeolus welcomed them and offered to help them on their journey home. He gave Odysseus a bag of wind to help him sail back to Ithaca, but once again, one of the sailors opened the bag and released the winds, causing a great storm that forced Odysseus and his men to drift for nine days before they were able to reach land again. Despite the setbacks caused by the release of the winds, both the Argonauts and Odysseus were able to continue their journeys and achieve their goals, thanks to the help of Aeolus and his control over the winds.
Aeolus and Hephaestus
The greek god of fire, blacksmiths and metallurgy crafted all the greatest weapons for the Olympic gods. Hera eventually cast him out of sight from Olympus because he was disfigured, but he had a friend and ally in Aeolus. Together they were known to create fine weapons. Aeolus worked the bellows while Hephaestus worked the forges. It was said some of the greatest fires came from the volcanic islands of Aiolus, the island chain near Sicily where Aerolus ruled as king.
Aeolus and Iris
Iris came to the isle of caves, of echoing dungeons of mad-raging winds with rugged ribs of mountain overarched, to the palace of Aeolus to implore him to use the power of the winds to sweep the cliffs and upheave the sea upon Caphereus. She found him there with his wife and twelve children; and she told to him Athena’s purpose toward the homeward-bound Akhaians.
And Iris heard, and swift she darted, through cloud-billows plunging down–thou hadst said : ‘Lo, in the sky dark water and fire! Aeolus denied her not, but passed forth of his halls, and in resistless hands upswung his trident, smiting the mountain-side within whose chasm-cell the wild Anemoi (Winds) dwelt tempestuously shrieking. Ever pealed weird roarings of their voices round its vaults. Cleft by his might was the hill-side; forth they poured. He bade them on their wings bear blackest storm to upheave the sea, and shroud Caphereus’ heights.’Homer
Aeolus and Poseidon
Aeolus had an understanding with the god of the sea, his father, Poseidon. It was from this mighty Olympian that Aeolus sourced his great powers over the winds. So long as the sea kingdom was undisturbed, there was no interference. Once however, during the Trojan war, Aeolus released the winds upon the sea at Zeus’ behest, to wash away the fleet of Aeneas. Poseidon was stirred due to the great turmoil of the sea under the unbridled storm disturbing the waters down all the way to the sea-bed, he rose to the surface.
Irritated with Zeus’ vindictave nature as to command Aeolus to attack the fleets of the Trojans, Poseidon confronted his brother.
“Does family pride tempt you to such impertinence? Do you really dare, you Winds, without my divine assent to confound earth and sky, and raise this riot of water? You, whom I–! Well, you have made the storm, I must lay it. Next time, I shall not let you so lightly redeem your sins. Now leave, and quickly leave, and tell your overlord this–not to him but me was allotted the stern trident dominion over the seas. His domain is the mountain of rock, your domicile, O East Wind. Let Aeolus be king of that castle and let him keep the Winds locked up in its dungeon.”Poseidon
Poseidon was stirred to take control of the storms. By the time he was finished, the insurgent sea was calmed and he retreated.
Scepter – Among the gods of Olympus and the underworld, scepters were used as symbols of kingship and weapons of might. Aeolus possessed a kingly scepter of his own and was known to wield it when greeting guests, heroes, and emissaries of the gods.
Trident – These weapons were only known to be possessed by mighty gods associated with the sea. The most powerful of course was the trident of Poseidon, but Aeolus and his half-brother, Triton were also known to possess lesser-version copies of the famed trident.
Satchel – This was a unique object in Aeolus possession that he used to contain and control the winds. At times he would allow others to borrow the satchel but only with due warning. When Odysseus borrowed the satchel of the winds, his sailors opened it, thinking it contained gold and jewels, but the winds raged out of control.