The Wind in Antiquity

  • Giovanni SolariEmail author
Part of the Springer Tracts in Civil Engineering book series (SPRTRCIENG)


This chapter addresses the will of men, which took place in the period that goes from the beginning of history to the Renaissance, to know the wind, to exploit its beneficial aspects and to protect themselves from its harmful effects. Accordingly, it describes a mythological view that emphasises the dualism between the wind as a source of life and as a means of death, the advent of a naturalistic speculation inspired by observation and the first scientific concepts, prodromes of experience, mainly focused on mathematical, mechanical and astronomical problems, as well as the innate interest of man for weather knowledge and forecasting. At the same time, it describes the first man’s attempts to exploit the wind power as an energy source, equipping boats with sails, using atmospheric currents to support kites, taking advantage of wind power to operate mill blades for multiple forms of work. In the same spirit of profound dualism, the development of architectural principles inspired by local climate is described as well as the mechanical role of wind actions and effects on buildings. The chapter ends dealing with the outstanding interest of Leonardo da Vinci towards wind and his studies on fluid and solid mechanics, meteorological instrumentation, aerodynamics and human flight.


  1. 1.
    Melaragno MG (1982) Wind in architectural and environmental design. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Watson L (1984) Heaven’s breath: a natural history of the wind. Hodder and Stoughton, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Whipple ABC (1982) Storm. Time-Life Books, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dampier WC (1929) A history of science and its relations with philosophy and religion. Cambridge University Press, CambridgezbMATHGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Rouse H, Ince S (1954–1956). History of hydraulics. Series of Supplements to La Houille Blanche. Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, State University of IowaGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brown S (1961) World of the wind. Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sorbjan Z (1996) Hands-on meteorology. American Meteorology SocietyGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Palmieri S (2000) Il mistero del tempo e del clima: La storia, lo sviluppo, il futuro. CUEN, NaplesGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hamblyn R (2001) The invention of clouds. Rizzoli, MilanGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Shaw N (1926) Manual of meteorology. Volume I: meteorology in history. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pitoni R (1913) Storia della fisica. Società Tipografia, TurinzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Aynsley RM, Melbourne W, Vickery BJ (1977) Architectural aerodynamics. Applied Science Publishers, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Benvenuto E (1981) La scienza delle costruzioni e il suo sviluppo storico. Sansoni, FlorenceGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Anderson JD Jr (1998) A history of aerodynamics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgezbMATHGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Miller DC (1935) Anedoctodal history of the science of sound. Macmillian, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Smith DE (1958) History of mathematics. Dover, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rao SS (2005) Mechanical vibrations. Pearson, Prentice Hall, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Licheri S (1997) Storia del volo e delle operazioni aeree e spaziali da Icaro ai nostri giorni. Aeronautica Militare, Ufficio Storico, RomeGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hardy R, Wright P, Gribbin J, Kington J (1982). The weather book. Harrow HouseGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Karapiperis PP (1986, June) The tower of the winds. Weatherwise, 152–154Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Jenks S (1983) Astrometeorology in the middle ages. ISIS 74:185–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Phillips-Birt D (1971) A history of seamanship. George Allen & UnwinGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Giorgetti F (2007) History and evolution of sailing yachts. White Star, VercelliGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Temple R (2007) The genius of China: 3000 years of science, discovery and invention. Carlton Publishing Group, LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Niccoli R (2013) History of flight. White Star, VercellizbMATHGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    von Karman T (1954) Aerodynamics. Cornell University Press, IthacazbMATHGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Lloyd A, Thomas N (1978) Kytes and kite flying. Hamly, LondonGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Cella P (1979) L’energia eolica. Longanesi, MilanGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Woelfle G (1997) The wind at work. An activity guide to windmills. Chicago Review Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Brooks L (1999) Windmills. Metro Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Singer C, Holmyard EJ, Hall AR, Williams TI (eds) (1956) A history of technology. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Klemm F (1954) Technik, eine geschichte ihrer probleme. Karl Alber, Freiburg and MunchenGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Le Courieres D (1980) Energie eollien: Theorie, conception et calcul pratique des installations. Eyrolles, ParisGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Gipe P (1995) Wind energy comes of age. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Eldridge FR (1980) Wind machines. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Ackermann T, Soder L (2000) Wind energy technology and current status: a review. Renew Sust Energ Rev 4:315–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Bennett R, Elton J (1898–1904) History of corn milling. Simpkin, Marshall and Company, LondonGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Egli E (1951) Die neue stadt in landschaft und klima. Verlag fur architektur, Erlenbach, ZurichGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Aronin JE (1953) Climate and architecture. Reinhold, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Olgyay V (1963) Design with climate. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Fathy H (1986) Natural energy and vernacular architecture. The University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Skinner S (2004) Feng Shui style. Periplus, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Markus TA, Morris EN (1980) Buildings, climate and energy. Pitman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Landsberg HE (1981) The urban climate. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Gallo C (1998) Architettura bioclimatica. ENEA, RomeGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Izard JL, Guyot A (1979) Archi Bio. Parentheses, MarseilleGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Wolf A (1935) A history of science, technology and philosophy in the 16th & 17th centuries. George Allen & Unwin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Levy M, Salvadori M (1994) Why buildings fall down—how structures fail. Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Hopkins HJ (1970) A span of bridges. David & Charles, Newton AbbotGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Delli S (1992) I ponti di Roma. Newton Compton, RomeGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Dani F (1988) Il libro dei ponti. Sarin, PomeziaGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Peters TF (1987) Transitions in engineering. Birkhauser Verlag, BaselCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Xiang H (ed) (1993) Bridges in China. Tongji University Press, ShanghaiGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    von Hagen VW (1976) Realm of the Incas. Newton Compton, RomeGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Lloyd S, Muller HW (1986) History of world architecture. Ancient architecture, Electa, MilanGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Heinle E, Leonhardt F (1988) Towers. Deutsche Verlags-Austalt GmbH, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Heyden D, Gendrop P (1989) History of world architecture. Pre-Columbian architecture of Mesoamerica, Electa, MilanGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Bussagli M (1981) History of world architecture. Oriental architecture, Electa, MilanGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Hoag JD (1978) History of world architecture. Islamic architecture, Electa, MilanGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Tamura Y (2003) Design issues for tall buildings from accelerations to damping—Tribute to Hatsuo Ishizaki and Vinod Modi. In: Proceedings of the 11th international conference on wind engineering, Lubbock, pp 81–114Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Di Stefano R, Viggiani C (1992) La Torre di Pisa ed i problemi della sua conservazione. Restauro 120:3–63Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Grodecki L (1976) History of world architecture. Gothic architecture, Electa, MilanGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Follet K (1989) The pillars of the earth. Pan Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Baker CJ (2007) Wind engineering—past, present and future. J Wind Eng Ind Aerod 95:843–870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Cianchi M (1984) Le macchine di Leonardo. Becocci, FlorenceGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Laurenza D (2004) Leonardo: Il volo. Giunti, FlorenceGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Polytechnic SchoolUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly

Personalised recommendations