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Compass rose: meaning and symbolism

Compass rose: meaning and symbolism

Wind rose, how many times have we happened to see one but never, perhaps, to investigate thoroughly what it represents. It is clear that it is not a flower, but what is it and above all what is it used for? There wind rose it can be formed by 4, 8 or 16 points and represents in a simple way, with a graphic sign, the origins of the winds that blow in a certain area of ​​the world over a certain period of time.

The first thing that catches the eye looking at it is that it is divided into four quadrants: from North to East, from East to South, from South to West and from West to North, it can be useful even if you are a fan of weather reports as the winds are sometimes indicated with the name, others with the direction from which blow. With the wind rose we are always able to understand what the air is like.

Compass rose: origins

Who invented the Wind rose to depict directions and origins, he thought that a flower could well sum up all the useful information for those who sailed. And not just any flower, a flower with many petals and a certain fame: the Rose. Over time, and with use, the appearance of the Compass Rose has changed, in particular with the development of Maritime Republics, in particular of the Republic of Venice.

It was originally theZakynthos island the reference point of the wind rose and the users were all those who spent their lives sailing, sailing. In fact, it is essential for these adventurers to have the in mind and at hand Wind rose to be able to know the direction and, thus, decide how to move and when.

It is not vintage, the wind rose, still during the weather forecast it is well in sight and those who go to sea or work with the wind are very interested in what it represents. Then there are the curious and the enthusiasts who, even if they are on dry land, have an interest in know the names of the winds and the stories they carry from afar up to our peninsula.

Wind rose: meaning

We have already explained that the Wind rose has been the graphic tool for centuries, today it is also useful for a statistical analysis of directional data, in meteorology, for example, when it becomes necessary to represent in a synthetic way the distribution of wind speeds by direction of origin in a specific place.

In addition to being fascinating, to the eye, it has its own reason that has nothing to do with gardening: it is a polar graph whose arms, for each direction, have a different color and a length that varies according to the frequency of winds, always as the direction changes. There are also various bands corresponding to the wind speed classes.

Wind rose: symbolism

There Compass rose symbolizes the winds and nothing different from what reality is. Homer makes this clear immediately, in Book V of the Odyssey, when he speaks of the four main winds: Borea, Euro, Noto and Zefiro. We can also call it "star of the winds" or "symbol of the winds", it is and remains a diagram that summarizes without too many words - something appreciated by those who go to sea - from where the winds come and where they go, over a rather long period of time.

We will also find very different versions of the wind rose, from an aesthetic point of view, but the meaning and purpose is always the same, the "basic" model has four points that correspond to the four cardinal points: North, South, East and West.

Compass rose: pictures

The oldest image of Wind rose, at least among those that have reached our hands, is the star that appears on the Catalan Atlas. It is said that it was made by Abraham Cresques, it is certain that today we can admire it at the National Library of France.

According to some experts, it is in the days of Maritime Republics that the Compass Rose has begun to become famous and appreciated, today it is even used by those who design the runways of airports: by consulting it it is possible to understand how to position the structures to ensure that there are the best take-off and landing conditions.

Compass rose: list of winds and direction

Before you go "Gone With the Wind", let's see which are the main winds proceeding clockwise. I will indicate the name of the wind, the cardinal point and the direction. Tramontana (north, 0 °), Grecale (North-East, 45 °), Levante (East, 90 °), Scirocco (South-East, 135 °), Ostro or Mezzogiorno (South, 180 °), Libeccio (South- West, 225 °), Ponente (West, 270 °),
Mistral (North-West, 315 °).

Let's start from north wind to explore the secrets of the Rose of the winds, we start despite myself from a cold wind that comes from the north with both clear and clouds, in fact we are talking about a dark north wind. It has nothing to do with the sunset, this wind derives from the Latin phrase "trans montes" because it blows from the center of the Alps, the North for the ancient Romans.

Coming from the island of Zakynthos, the Grecale that's what it's called, it blows from the North-East, it's cold in winter but in summer it's a welcome breeze that blows along the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts. From east to west, the wind rose shows us the Levant, at the time known as Apeliote or Euro: in Italy it can be felt on the Tyrrhenian and the central-southern part of the Adriatic, cool and humid, in fact it brings rain, even strong.

The sirocco, it arrives hot, in autumn and in a very warm weather, from the South-East and usually takes 3 days to leave room for 24 hours of cold wind. When dust reaches us from the coasts of Africa, it is this wind that is the culprit, as is the rise in temperature, especially in Sicily, but also in Liguria. Also called Midday, the Ostro it is a wind with a name that derives from the Latin “Auster” (southern wind), it blows from the South into the Mediterranean Sea, it is hot that brings with it rain, “sticky” humidity.

The Libeccio (or Garbino or Africo) in the Rose of the winds it is the one that blows from the South-West, in the summer it is a sea breeze on the western Italian coasts, of long land on the east, in any case it brings African sand.

From the west wind ( or Zephyr or Hesperus), during the summer, especially in Tuscany and Lazio, we can expect good news: the end of bad weather. In winter it also moves to Campania and Calabria. Last wind, very important, so much to be said "Master wind", is what comes from the North West: the Mistral. It occurs when polar or arctic air currents reach the coasts of Provence and reach the Mediterranean and brings snow, even to the plains.

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