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EOLUS. Aeolus was the ruler of the winds and the father of Alcyone and Athamas (Met IV.487, XI.431, 748). As a servant of Juno, he lived on Aeolia, an island near Thrace, where he kept the winds in a cave (Aeneid I.50-87). In medieval iconography Aeolus was represented blowing two trumpets, as in a miniature in a manuscript of Fulgentius Metaforalis (c. 1331), by John Ridewall (Panofsky, Plate XIII). There Aeolus blows two trumpets while working a pair of bellows with his feet. The trumpets and bellows are briefly described by Albericus Philosophus, De deorum imaginibus libellus XIII (1342). The trumpets of Fame appear in Gower's Mirour de l'omme, 22129-22152.

As Juno's servant, Eolus obeys her command to blow the Trojan ships off their course, HF I.198-206. Fame sends her messenger to fetch Eolus and his trumpets from Thrace, HF III.1572. The trumpets are named Sklaundre and Clere Laud, HF III.1575-1582. When blown, Sklaundre emits a black, blue, greenish, red smoke; the trumpet itself is black and "fouler than the devel." This foul smoke represents worldly praise, and the farther it spreads, the worse it becomes. When Eolus blows Clere Laud, a strong perfume like that of balsam in a basket of roses pervades the room, HF III.1678-1687. The pleasant odor represents popular recognition or honest praise. Sklaundre is made of brass, befitting the discord its filthy smoke creates, and Clere Laud is golden with a bright, clear sound. When one group of people, who had done good deeds, requests that their works' reputation be dead, Fame orders Eolus to blow Clere Laude and so send their fame throughout the world, HF III.1702-1726, giving them exactly the opposite of their request. Eolus has a servant, Triton, who carries the trumpets, HF III.1604. In Ovid (Met I.337-338), Triton blows a horn, and perhaps this detail gave Chaucer the idea of making Triton the bearer of Eolus's trumpets.

Eolus, the ME and OF development of Latin Aeolus, appears thirteen times in medial positions, HF I.203; HF III.1571, 1586, 1602, 1623, 1636, 1671, 1719, 1764, 1769, 1789, 1800, 2120; and once in final rhyming position, HF III.1861.

Seven names for the winds appear in Boece, Chaucer's translation of Boethius's De consolatione philosophiae. Aquylon is the OF name for the Latin Aquilo, the name for Boreas, the North Wind, and denotes the horrible wind that brings tempests, Bo I, Metr 6.11, Bo II, Metr 3.15. Auster, the Latin name for Greek Notos, the South Wind, stirs up the sea and makes it boil, Bo I, Metr 7.3. If the cloudy wind Auster blows heavily, the flowers on the thorns blow away, Bo II, Metr 3.11; the biting wind Auster torments the top of the mountain, and the loose sands refuse to bear the weight, Bo II, Metr 4.7. If Boreas, the North Wind, chases the clouds covering the sun, then Phebus shines with sudden light and smites the marveling eye, Bo I, Metr 3.12. Boreas blows away the autumn leaves, Bo I, Metr 5.24. Chorus, the swift wind, blows the clouds which hide the sun and the stars, Bo I, Metr 3.7. No one wonders when the blasts of Chorus stir up the seashore with floods, Bo IV, Metr 5.24. Chorus appears as a sea god, LGW 2422, a possible misreading of Aeneid V.823. Even the most stable man would be cast down by Eurus, the East Wind or the Southeast Wind, Bo II, Metr 4.4. Eurus blew Ulysses's ships to Circe's island, where his men lost their human shapes, Bo IV, Metr 3.1. Nero ruled all the peoples whom the violent wind, Notus, scorched: the people of the south, Bo II, Metr 6.25. The stars shine more brightly when Notus stops his ploughing blasts, Bo III, Metr l.8. Zephirus, the West Wind with the sweet breath, appears in Gen Prol 5; debonair Zephirus brings the new spring leaves, Bo I, Metr 5.22. Zephirus the warm makes the wood flower in the first summer season, Bo II, Metr 3.10. Zepherus brings the tender green leaves, Tr IV.10. Zephyrus is Flora's mate and makes the flowers grow, BD 402. Zepherus and Flora give the flowers their sweet breath, LGW F 171. Ypermestre quakes like a branch shaken by Zepherus, LGW 2681. [Flora: Triton]

J.A.W. Bennett, Chaucer's Book of Fame, 158; J.H. Fisher, John Gower, 213-215; John Gower, The Complete Works, ed. G.C. Macaulay, I: 248; Ovid, Met, ed. and trans. F.J. Miller, I: 42-43, II: 150-151; E. Panofsky, Studies in Iconology, Plate XIII; J.S.P. Tatlock, The Development and Chronology of Chaucer's Works, 38-39; Virgil, Aeneid, ed. and trans. H.R. Fairclough, I: 244-247.
Copyright © 1988, 1996 Jacqueline de Weever
Published by Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London.

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