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Boris Johnson Wants to Be “Boreas,” the Ancient Greek God of North Wind

Boris Johnson
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he wants to be renamed after Boreas, the ancient Greek god of the north wind. Credit: Simon Dawson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson dedicated his address at the UN General Assembly to climate change, and gave a nod to the ancient Greek god Boreas while doing so.

Johnson said that “We have put in great forests of beautiful wind turbines on the drowned prairies of Doggerland beneath the North Sea. In fact we produce so much offshore wind that I am thinking of changing my name to Boreas Johnson in honor of the North Wind.”

Johnson spoke about the early days of his childhood, a time when the UK produced “almost 80% of its electricity from coal,” something he said “is now down to two percent or less and will be gone altogether by 2024.”

The PM celebrated the UK government’s “Promethean faith in new, green technology” for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Johnson announced the UK’s plan for a “green industrial revolution” in November of last year. He said the plan would “create, support, and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050.”

The $15 billion plan mandates that sales of new petrol and diesel cards be outlawed in the UK by 2030 as part of a wider move toward electric vehicles. There will also be a $1.7 billion investment in charging stations in homes, streets, and trunk roads.

Boris Johnson invokes the ancient Greek god of the north wind Boreas at UN

Ancient Greeks believed that the weather — like nearly everything else on earth– was the result of divine activity. Wind, specifically, was associated with the Anemoi, or the Greek gods of the wind.

The Anemoi are the four gods named Boreas, Zephyrus, Notus, and Eurus, which each are ascribed a cardinal direction, according to the way the wind blows, and a season.

Boreas is the Greek god of the North wind, which is cold, and is therefore linked to winter. Thought to bring the winter, he is described as extremely strong with a violent temper.

Frequently, Boreas is depicted as a winged old man with long hair and a beard. The first of the Anemoi is often depicted holding a conch shell and wearing a long cloak.

The second of the Anemoi, Zephyrus, is the god of the west wind, which is the gentlest of all winds.

Believed to be the bringer of spring, according to Greek mythology, Zephyrus lived in a cave in Thrace, northern Greece.

Notus, or Notos, was the Greek god of the south wind, which was linked to the hot, dry wind of midsummer. Also associated with the storms of late summer and early autumn, he was feared by farmers as a destroyer of crops.

There is some debate about the nature of Eurus, or Euros, as some believe he was the god of the southeast wind, while others claim the east wind.

Eurus is linked to turbulent windstorms, including those that sent ships down as they traveled across the rough seas. He is also linked to hot winds, but was not associated with any of the specific ancient Greek seasons, of which they had only three.

There were a host of other, more minor, Greek deities whose names were given to the particular winds which would blow at different times of the year.

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