The (Ancient) Science of Snow

Seneca, Natural Questions IVB 13.2

“You want more? Do you imagine that this exploration of nature offers nothing to what you want? When we examine how snow develops and claim that it has characteristics like frost, that it contains more air than water, don’t you consider it a criticism of those people who–even though it is shameful to purchase water–buy less water when they do than air?”

Quid porro? Hanc ipsam inspectionem naturae nihil iudicas ad id quod vis conferre? Cum quaerimus quomodo nix fiat et dicimus illam pruinae similem habere naturam, plus illi spiritus quam aquae inesse, non putas exprobrari illis, cum emere aquam turpe sit, si ne aquam quidem emunt?

Sextus Empicirus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism 1.33

“Anaxagoras argued against snow’s whiteness because snow is frozen water and water is black therefore snow is black.”

 ὁ Ἀναξαγόρας τῷ λευκὴν εἶναι τὴν χιόνα ἀντετίθει, ὅτι ἡ χιὼν ὕδωρ ἐστὶ πεπηγός, τὸ δὲ ὕδωρ ἐστὶ μέλαν, καὶ ἡ χιὼν ἄρα μέλαινά ἐστιν.

Aetius, 3.4.1

“Anaximenes says that clouds develop when air is super condensed and if it is compressed even more, rain happens. Snow, too, [happens] if this water freezes as it falls. Hail is when some air is trapped up in the moisture.”

Ἀναξιμένης νέφη μὲν γίνεσθαι παχυνθέντος ἐπὶ πλεῖστον τοῦ ἀέρος, μᾶλλον δ’ ἐπισυναχθέντος ἐκθλίβεσθαι τοὺς ὄμβρους, χιόνα δέ, ἐπειδὰν τὸ καταφερόμενον ὕδωρ παγῇ, χάλαζαν1 δ’ ὅταν συμπεριληφθῇ τῷ ὑγρῷ πνεῦμά τι

Ps. Aristotle, On the Cosmos 394a

“Snow develops when super condensed clouds break apart and separate before changing to water. The breaking is what makes the white foaminess of the snow. The coldness comes from structure of the moisture inside it which did not get to fully develop or purify. When there is a lot of snow falling together, it is called a snowstorm.”

χιὼν δὲ γίνεται κατὰ νεφῶν πεπυκνωμένων ἀπόθραυσιν πρὸ τῆς εἰς ὕδωρ μεταβολῆς 35ἀνακοπέντων· ἐργάζεται δὲ ἡ μὲν κοπὴ τὸ ἀφρῶδες καὶ ἔκλευκον, ἡ δὲ σύμπηξις τοῦ ἐνόντος ὑγροῦ τὴν ψυχρότητα οὔπω χυθέντος οὐδὲ ἠραιωμένου. σφοδρὰ δὲ αὕτη καὶ ἀθρόα καταφερομένη νιφετὸς ὠνόμασται.

Galen, Constitution of the Art of Medicine 253K

“If you separate snow into the smallest pieces, you still have snow. But if you heat it, you put an end to the snow.”

τὴν γοῦν χιόνα διαιρῶν μὲν εἰς ἐλάχιστα μόρια φυλάξεις χιόνα, θερμήνας δὲ παύσεις χιόνα

Cross eyed Stereo image of snow crystals. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stereo_snow_crystals.jpg

It Was Winter, It Was Snowing

Thucydides 4.103

“It was winter and it was snowing”

χειμὼν δὲ ἦν καὶ ὑπένειφεν…

Homer, Il. 3.222-3

“Yet, then a great voice came from his chest And [Odysseus’] words were like snowy storms”

ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ ὄπα τε μεγάλην ἐκ στήθεος εἵη καὶ ἔπεα νιφάδεσσιν ἐοικότα χειμερίῃσιν,

Hermippus 37 (Athenaeus 650e)

“Have you ever seen a pomegranate seed in drifts of snow?”

ἤδη τεθέασαι κόκκον ἐν χιόνι ῥόας;

Pindar, Pythian 1. 20

“Snowy Aetna, perennial nurse of bitter snow”

νιφόεσσ᾿ Αἴτνα, πάνετες χιόνος ὀξείας τιθήνα

Plutarch, Moralia 340e

“Nations covered in depths of snow”

καὶ βάθεσι χιόνων κατακεχωσμένα ἔθνη

Herodotus, Histories 4.31

“Above this land, snow always falls…

τὰ κατύπερθε ταύτης τῆς χώρης αἰεὶ νίφεται

Diodorus Siculus, 14.28

“Because of the mass of snow that was constantly falling, all their weapons were covered and their bodies froze in the chill in the air. Thanks to the extremity of their troubles, they were sleepless through the whole night”

διὰ γὰρ τὸ πλῆθος τῆς κατὰ τὸ συνεχὲς ἐκχεομένης χιόνος τά τε ὅπλα πάντα συνεκαλύφθη καὶ τὰ σώματα διὰ τὸν ἀπὸ τῆς αἰθρίας πάγον περιεψύχετο. διὰ δὲ τὴν ὑπερβολὴν τῶν κακῶν ὅλην τὴν νύκτα διηγρύπνουν·

Ammianus Marcellinus, History V. V. Gratianus 27.9

“He will tolerate sun and snow, frost and thirst, and long watches.”

solem nivesque et pruinas et sitim perferet et vigilias

Basil, Letter 48

“We have been snowed in by such a volume of snow that we have been buried in our own homes and taking shelter in our holes for two months already”

καὶ γὰρ τοσούτῳ πλήθει χιόνων κατενίφημεν, ὡς αὐτοῖς οἴκοις καταχωσθέντας δύο μῆνας ἤδη ταῖς καταδύσεσιν ἐμφωλεύειν.

Livy, 10.46

“The snow now covered everything and it was no longer possible to stay outside…”

Nives iam omnia oppleverant nec durari extra tecta poterat

Plautus, Stichus 648

“The day is melting like snow…”

quasi nix tabescit dies.

Seneca, De Beneficiis 4

“I will go to dinner just as I promised, even if it is cold. But I certainly will not if it begins to snow.”

Ad cenam, quia promisi, ibo, etiam si frigus erit; non quidem, si nives cadent.

Snowy Mountain

Snow istotle

It Was Winter, It Was Snowing

Thucydides 4.103

“It was winter and it was snowing”

χειμὼν δὲ ἦν καὶ ὑπένειφεν…

Homer, Il. 3.222-3

“Yet, then a great voice came from his chest And [Odysseus’] words were like snowy storms”

ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ ὄπα τε μεγάλην ἐκ στήθεος εἵη καὶ ἔπεα νιφάδεσσιν ἐοικότα χειμερίῃσιν,

Hermippus 37 (Athenaeus 650e)

“Have you ever seen a pomegranate seed in drifts of snow?”

ἤδη τεθέασαι κόκκον ἐν χιόνι ῥόας;

Pindar, Pythian 1. 20

“Snowy Aetna, perennial nurse of bitter snow”

νιφόεσσ᾿ Αἴτνα, πάνετες χιόνος ὀξείας τιθήνα

Plutarch, Moralia 340e

“Nations covered in depths of snow”

καὶ βάθεσι χιόνων κατακεχωσμένα ἔθνη

Herodotus, Histories 4.31

“Above this land, snow always falls…

τὰ κατύπερθε ταύτης τῆς χώρης αἰεὶ νίφεται

Diodorus Siculus, 14.28

“Because of the mass of snow that was constantly falling, all their weapons were covered and their bodies froze in the chill in the air. Thanks to the extremity of their troubles, they were sleepless through the whole night”

διὰ γὰρ τὸ πλῆθος τῆς κατὰ τὸ συνεχὲς ἐκχεομένης χιόνος τά τε ὅπλα πάντα συνεκαλύφθη καὶ τὰ σώματα διὰ τὸν ἀπὸ τῆς αἰθρίας πάγον περιεψύχετο. διὰ δὲ τὴν ὑπερβολὴν τῶν κακῶν ὅλην τὴν νύκτα διηγρύπνουν·

Ammianus Marcellinus, History V. V. Gratianus 27.9

“He will tolerate sun and snow, frost and thirst, and long watches.”

solem nivesque et pruinas et sitim perferet et vigilias

Basil, Letter 48

“We have been snowed in by such a volume of snow that we have been buried in our own homes and taking shelter in our holes for two months already”

καὶ γὰρ τοσούτῳ πλήθει χιόνων κατενίφημεν, ὡς αὐτοῖς οἴκοις καταχωσθέντας δύο μῆνας ἤδη ταῖς καταδύσεσιν ἐμφωλεύειν.

Livy, 10.46

“The snow now covered everything and it was no longer possible to stay outside…”

Nives iam omnia oppleverant nec durari extra tecta poterat

Plautus, Stichus 648

“The day is melting like snow…”

quasi nix tabescit dies.

Seneca, De Beneficiis 4

“I will go to dinner just as I promised, even if it is cold. But I certainly will not if it begins to snow.”

Ad cenam, quia promisi, ibo, etiam si frigus erit; non quidem, si nives cadent.

Snowy Mountain

Snow istotle

It Was Winter, It Was Snowing

Thucydides 4.103

“It was winter and it was snowing”

χειμὼν δὲ ἦν καὶ ὑπένειφεν…

Homer, Il. 3.222-3

“Yet, then a great voice came from his chest And [Odysseus’] words were like snowy storms”

ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ ὄπα τε μεγάλην ἐκ στήθεος εἵη καὶ ἔπεα νιφάδεσσιν ἐοικότα χειμερίῃσιν,

Hermippus, 37 (Athenaeus 650e)

“Have you ever seen a pomegranate seed in drifts of snow?”

ἤδη τεθέασαι κόκκον ἐν χιόνι ῥόας;

Pindar, Pythian 1. 20

“Snowy Aetna, perennial nurse of bitter snow”

νιφόεσσ᾿ Αἴτνα, πάνετες χιόνος ὀξείας τιθήνα

Plutarch, Moralia 340e

“Nations covered in depths of snow”

καὶ βάθεσι χιόνων κατακεχωσμένα ἔθνη

Herodotus, Histories 4.31

“Above this land, snow always falls…

τὰ κατύπερθε ταύτης τῆς χώρης αἰεὶ νίφεται

Diodorus Siculus, 14.28

“Because of the mass of snow that was constantly falling, all their weapons were covered and their bodies froze in the chill in the air. Thanks to the extremity of their troubles, they were sleepless through the whole night”

διὰ γὰρ τὸ πλῆθος τῆς κατὰ τὸ συνεχὲς ἐκχεομένης χιόνος τά τε ὅπλα πάντα συνεκαλύφθη καὶ τὰ σώματα διὰ τὸν ἀπὸ τῆς αἰθρίας πάγον περιεψύχετο. διὰ δὲ τὴν ὑπερβολὴν τῶν κακῶν ὅλην τὴν νύκτα διηγρύπνουν·

Ammianus Marcellinus, History V. V. Gratianus 27.9

“He will tolerate sun and snow, frost and thirst, and long watches.”

solem nivesque et pruinas et sitim perferet et vigilias

Basil, Letter 48

“We have been snowed in by such a volume of snow that we have been buried in our own homes and taking shelter in our holes for two months already”

καὶ γὰρ τοσούτῳ πλήθει χιόνων κατενίφημεν, ὡς αὐτοῖς οἴκοις καταχωσθέντας δύο μῆνας ἤδη ταῖς καταδύσεσιν ἐμφωλεύειν.

Livy, 10.46

“The snow now covered everything and it was no longer possible to stay outside…”

Nives iam omnia oppleverant nec durari extra tecta poterat

Plautus, Stichus 648

“The day is melting like snow…”

quasi nix tabescit dies.

Seneca, De Beneficiis 4

“I will go to dinner just as I promised, even if it is cold. But I certainly will not if it begins to snow.”

Ad cenam, quia promisi, ibo, etiam si frigus erit; non quidem, si nives cadent.

Snowy Mountain

Snow istotle

“Snow Always Falls” More Passages on Snow For the Stranded

Arsenius 18.19a1

“A woman is a storm in the homes of men…”

Χειμὼν κατ’ οἴκους ἐστὶν ἀνδράσι γυνή.

Pampeprius of Panopolis, fr. 3.115-116

“there, after the snowy dance of ethereal loves,
Deo the wheat-goddess weds Ares the worker of the earth.”

[ἔν]θα μετ’ αἰθερίων χιονώδεα κῶμο[ν ἐρ]ώτων
[῎Α]ρει γειοπόνῳ νυ[μ]φεύεται ὄμπνια Δηώ.

Hermippus, 37 (Athenaeus 650e)

“Have you ever seen a pomegranate seed in drifts of snow?”

ἤδη τεθέασαι κόκκον ἐν χιόνι ῥόας;

Pindar, Pythian 1. 20

“Snowy Aetna, perennial nurse of bitter snow”

νιφόεσσ᾿ Αἴτνα, πάνετες χιόνος ὀξείας τιθήνα

Plutarch, Moralia 340e

“Nations covered in depths of snow”

καὶ βάθεσι χιόνων κατακεχωσμένα ἔθνη

Herodotus, Histories 4.31

“Above this land, snow always falls…

τὰ κατύπερθε ταύτης τῆς χώρης αἰεὶ νίφεται

Diodorus Siculus, 14.28

“Because of the mass of snow that was constantly falling, all their weapons were covered and their bodies froze in the chill in the air. Thanks to the extremity of their troubles, they were sleepless through the whole night”

διὰ γὰρ τὸ πλῆθος τῆς κατὰ τὸ συνεχὲς ἐκχεομένης χιόνος τά τε ὅπλα πάντα συνεκαλύφθη καὶ τὰ σώματα διὰ τὸν ἀπὸ τῆς αἰθρίας πάγον περιεψύχετο. διὰ δὲ τὴν ὑπερβολὴν τῶν κακῶν ὅλην τὴν νύκτα διηγρύπνουν·

Ammianus Marcellinus, History V. V. Gratianus 27.9

“He will tolerate sun and snow, frost and thirst, and long watches.”

solem nivesque et pruinas et sitim perferet et vigilias

Basil, Letter 48

“We have been snowed in by such a volume of snow that we have been buried in our own homes and taking shelter in our holes for two months already”

καὶ γὰρ τοσούτῳ πλήθει χιόνων κατενίφημεν, ὡς αὐτοῖς οἴκοις καταχωσθέντας δύο μῆνας ἤδη ταῖς καταδύσεσιν ἐμφωλεύειν.

Livy, 10.46

“The snow now covered everything and it was no longer possible to stay outside…”

Nives iam omnia oppleverant nec durari extra tecta poterat

Image result for ancient roman snow
Picture taken from https://chowbellaroma.wordpress.com/category/rome/

Snow-Struck: Ancient Greek for Our Current Pain

νιφοβλής, “snow-struck”
νιφοκτύπος, “snow-hammered”
νιφάς, ή: “snow, snow flake”
νιφετώδης: “snowy, like snow”
νιφοβολία: “snowstorm”
νιφοστιβής: “snow-covered”
νιφοψυχής: “snow cold”

Thucydides 4.103

“It was winter and it was snowing”

χειμὼν δὲ ἦν καὶ ὑπένειφεν…

Homer, Il. 3.222-3

“Yet, then a great voice came from his chest And [Odysseus’] words were like snowy storms”

ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ ὄπα τε μεγάλην ἐκ στήθεος εἵη καὶ ἔπεα νιφάδεσσιν ἐοικότα χειμερίῃσιν,

Homer, Il. 13.754

“And then Hector surged up like a snowy mountain”

῏Η ῥα, καὶ ὁρμήθη ὄρεϊ νιφόεντι ἐοικὼς

Simonides, Gr. Anth. 6.217

“Once he avoided the winter onslaught of the snow..”

Χειμερίην νιφετοῖο κατήλυσιν ἡνίκ᾿ ἀλύξας

Od. 4.565-66

“There humans have the easiest life indeed—
There is no snow, nor storms, nor ever too much rain…”

τῇ περ ῥηΐστη βιοτὴ πέλει ἀνθρώποισιν·
οὐ νιφετός, οὔτ’ ἂρ χειμὼν πολὺς οὔτε ποτ’ ὄμβρος…

Euteknios Sophista, 18.15

“Then the snow must be eaten again.”

τοτὲ χιονοφαγητέον δ’ αὖ

Pherecrates 24 (from harpokration

“Whenever you have the time, make it snow…”

ὁπόταν σχολάζῃς, νεῖψον

Pindar, Paean 9 fr. 52K

“…or the indescribable power of the snowstorm…”

ἢ νιφετοῦ σθένος / ὑπέρφατον,

Antipater, 6. 19 (Greek Anthology)

“Driven by Zeus’ limb-freezing snow…”

Ζανὸς ἐλαστρησθεὶς γυιοπαγεῖ νιφάδι

Leonidas 6.222 (Greek Anthology)

“Fleeing the snow and chilling frost…”

καὶ νιφετὸν φεύγων καὶ κρυόεντα πάγον

Ok. Some Latin too…

Plautus, Stichus 648

“The day is melting like snow…”

quasi nix tabescit dies.

Seneca, De Beneficiis 4

“I will go to dinner just as I promised, even if it is cold. But I certainly will not if it begins to snow.”

Ad cenam, quia promisi, ibo, etiam si frigus erit; non quidem, si nives cadent.

χιών, ὁ: “snow”
χιονόβατος: “snow-path” (“where one walks in snow”)
χιονοβλέφαρος: “with a dazzling white eye”
χιονόβλητος: “snow-struck”
χιονοθρέμμων, ὁ: “snow-nourishing”
χιονόκτυπος: “snow-beaten”
χιονόμελι: “snow-honey”
χιονόπεπλος, “robe of snow”
χιονωπός: “snow-white”
χιονωτός: “snow-beaten”

Longus, Daphnis and Chloe 3.3.1

“A winter more bitter than war fell upon Daphnis and Chloe: for a great snowstorm descended suddenly and blocked all the roads, closing off all the farmers.”

Γίνεται δὲ χειμὼν Δάφνιδι καὶ Χλόῃ τοῦ πολέμου πικρότερος: ἐξαίφνης γὰρ περιπεσοῦσα χιὼν πολλὴ πάσας μὲν ἀπέκλεισε τὰς ὁδούς, πάντας δὲ κατέκλεισε τοὺς γεωργούς.

Solon, fr.9 1-4

“The fury of snow and hail comes from a cloud
and thunder comes from bright lightning.
A city is destroyed by great men and the people fall
into the slavery of monarchy thanks to ignorance.”

ἐκ νεφέλης πέλεται χιόνος μένος ἠδὲ χαλάζης,
βροντὴ δ’ ἐκ λαμπρῆς γίγνεται ἀστεροπῆς·
ἀνδρῶν δ’ ἐκ μεγάλων πόλις ὄλλυται, ἐς δὲ μονάρχου
δῆμος ἀϊδρίηι δουλοσύνην ἔπεσεν.

Diogenes Laertius 6.34.4 (on Diogenes)

“He used to walk in the snow with bare feet…”

γυμνοῖς ποσὶ χίονα ἐπάτει….

Image result for Ancient Greek snow

Suda, s.v. niphetos

Niphetos: This denotes thin, falling snow. There are four results of water condensing in the air. High, above the earth, the lesser type is snow and the greater force is hail. Below on the land, the lesser type is hoar-frost and the greater part is frost. But snow falling [niphetos] is not a specific type of condensing, instead it is just a different type of appearance. “When the Skythian land is blanketed in show, they cannot live without freezing weather” [Men. Fr. 10.10. And elsewhere: “Queen, even a snow storm brings you fruit as you are” [Gr. Anth. 6.242].

Νιφετός: ἡ κατάλεπτος καταφερομένη χιών. τέσσαρές εἰσι πήξεις τῆς ἐν τῷ ἀέρι ὑδατώδους πήξεως ὑγρότητος: ὑπὲρ γῆν μὲν ἄνω, ἐπ’ ἔλαττον μὲν χιών, ἐπὶ πλέον δὲ χάλαζα: ἐπὶ γῆς δὲ κάτω, ἐπ’ ἔλαττον μὲν πάχνη, ἐπὶ πλέον δὲ κρύσταλος: ὁ δὲ νιφετὸς πῆξις οὐκ ἔστιν, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον περὶ τὴν ἀλλοίαν χροιὰν ἡ ποιότης αὕτη. ἅτε τῆς χώρας τῶν Σκυθῶν θαμὰ νιφετῷ παλυνομένης, καὶ ἀδύνατον ὂν αὐτοῖς ἄνευ κρυμώδους καταστήματος βιοτεύειν. καὶ αὖθις: ἐς δέ σ’, ἄνασσα, τοίην χὠ νιφόεις κρυμὸς ὀπωροφορεῖ.

This is how the narrative describes Penelope and Odysseus during their encounter while Odysseus is in disguise.

Odyssey 19.204–212

‘As she was listening her tears began to flow and her skin’s color receded
As when snow melts on the highest mountaintops,
The snow the east wind melts after the west wind piles it up,
And rivers grow full and flow from the thaw—
That’s how her beautiful cheeks melted, pouring tears
As she wept for her own husband even as he sat there. But Odysseus
Pitied his wife as she mourned in his heart—
But his eyes stood motionless like horn or iron
Under his brows as he cloaked his tears with a trick.”

τῆς δ’ ἄρ’ ἀκουούσης ῥέε δάκρυα, τήκετο δὲ χρώς.
ὡς δὲ χιὼν κατατήκετ’ ἐν ἀκροπόλοισιν ὄρεσσιν,
ἥν τ’ εὖρος κατέτηξεν, ἐπὴν ζέφυρος καταχεύῃ,
τηκομένης δ’ ἄρα τῆς ποταμοὶ πλήθουσι ῥέοντες·
ὣς τῆς τήκετο καλὰ παρήϊα δάκρυ χεούσης,
κλαιούσης ἑὸν ἄνδρα, παρήμενον. αὐτὰρ ᾿Οδυσσεὺς
θυμῷ μὲν γοόωσαν ἑὴν ἐλέαιρε γυναῖκα,
ὀφθαλμοὶ δ’ ὡς εἰ κέρα ἕστασαν ἠὲ σίδηρος
ἀτρέμας ἐν βλεφάροισι· δόλῳ δ’ ὅ γε δάκρυα κεῦθεν.

Related image
Penelope and Odysseus, by Johann Heinrich Tischbein

Cicero, in Catilinam 2.23

“How will they bear the Appenines covered in frosts and snow? Maybe they think that they can tolerate the cold, because they learned to dance naked at dinner parties.”

Quo autem pacto illi Appeninum atque illas pruinas ac nivis perferent? Nisi idcirco se facilius hiemem toleraturos putant, quod nudi in conviviis saltare didicerunt.

Snow Words: Compounds and Passages from Ancient Greek

νιφάς, ή: “snow, snow flake”
νιφετώδης: “snowy, like snow”
νιφοβολία: “snowstorm”
νιφοστιβής: “snow-covered”
νιφοψυχής: “snow cold”

Thucydides 4.103

“It was winter and it was snowing”

χειμὼν δὲ ἦν καὶ ὑπένειφεν, Thuc. 4.103

Homer, Il. 3.222-3

“Yet, then a great voice came from his chest And [Odysseus’] words were like snowy storms”

ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ ὄπα τε μεγάλην ἐκ στήθεος εἵη καὶ ἔπεα νιφάδεσσιν ἐοικότα χειμερίῃσιν,

Homer, Il. 13.754

“And then Hector surged up like a snowy mountain”

῏Η ῥα, καὶ ὁρμήθη ὄρεϊ νιφόεντι ἐοικὼς

Simonides, Gr. Anth 6.217

“Once he avoided the winter onslaught of the snow..”

Χειμερίην νιφετοῖο κατήλυσιν ἡνίκ᾿ ἀλύξας

Od. 4.565-66

“There humans have the easiest life indeed—
There is no snow, nor storms, nor ever too much rain…”

τῇ περ ῥηΐστη βιοτὴ πέλει ἀνθρώποισιν·
οὐ νιφετός, οὔτ’ ἂρ χειμὼν πολὺς οὔτε ποτ’ ὄμβρος…

χιών, ὁ: “snow”
χιονόβατος: “snow-path” (“where one walks in snow”)
χιονοβλέφαρος: “with a dazzling white eye”
χιονόβλητος: “snow-struck”
χιονοθρέμμων, ὁ: “snow-nourishing”
χιονόκτυπος: “snow-beaten”
χιονόμελι: “snow-honey”
χιονόπεπλος, “robe of snow”
χιονωπός: “snow-white”
χιονωτός: “snow-beaten”

Longus, Daphnis and Chloe 3.3.1

“A winter more bitter than war fell upon Daphnis and Chloe: for a great snowstorm descended suddenly and blocked all the roads, closing off all the farmers.”

Γίνεται δὲ χειμὼν Δάφνιδι καὶ Χλόῃ τοῦ πολέμου πικρότερος: ἐξαίφνης γὰρ περιπεσοῦσα χιὼν πολλὴ πάσας μὲν ἀπέκλεισε τὰς ὁδούς, πάντας δὲ κατέκλεισε τοὺς γεωργούς.

Solon, fr.9 1-4

“The fury of snow and hail comes from a cloud
and thunder comes from bright lightning.
A city is destroyed by great men and the people fall
into the slavery of monarchy thanks to ignorance.”

ἐκ νεφέλης πέλεται χιόνος μένος ἠδὲ χαλάζης,
βροντὴ δ’ ἐκ λαμπρῆς γίγνεται ἀστεροπῆς·
ἀνδρῶν δ’ ἐκ μεγάλων πόλις ὄλλυται, ἐς δὲ μονάρχου
δῆμος ἀϊδρίηι δουλοσύνην ἔπεσεν.

Diogenes Laertius 6.34.4 (on Diogenes)

“He used to walk in the snow with bare feet…”

γυμνοῖς ποσὶ χίονα ἐπάτει….

Image result for Ancient Greek snow

Suda, s.v. niphetos

Niphetos: This denotes thin, falling snow. There are four results of water condensing in the air. High, above the earth, the lesser type is snow and the greater force is hail. Below on the land, the lesser type is hoar-frost and the greater part is frost. But snow falling [niphetos] is not a specific type of condensing, instead it is just a different type of appearance. “When the Skythian land is blanketed in show, they cannot live without freezing weather” [Men. Fr. 10.10. And elsewhere: “Queen, even a snow storm brings you fruit as you are” [Gr. Anth. 6.242].

Νιφετός: ἡ κατάλεπτος καταφερομένη χιών. τέσσαρές εἰσι πήξεις τῆς ἐν τῷ ἀέρι ὑδατώδους πήξεως ὑγρότητος: ὑπὲρ γῆν μὲν ἄνω, ἐπ’ ἔλαττον μὲν χιών, ἐπὶ πλέον δὲ χάλαζα: ἐπὶ γῆς δὲ κάτω, ἐπ’ ἔλαττον μὲν πάχνη, ἐπὶ πλέον δὲ κρύσταλος: ὁ δὲ νιφετὸς πῆξις οὐκ ἔστιν, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον περὶ τὴν ἀλλοίαν χροιὰν ἡ ποιότης αὕτη. ἅτε τῆς χώρας τῶν Σκυθῶν θαμὰ νιφετῷ παλυνομένης, καὶ ἀδύνατον ὂν αὐτοῖς ἄνευ κρυμώδους καταστήματος βιοτεύειν. καὶ αὖθις: ἐς δέ σ’, ἄνασσα, τοίην χὠ νιφόεις κρυμὸς ὀπωροφορεῖ.

Snow in Words, Battle and, In season, On the Ground–Ancient Words for Modern Snow

This is a re-post for all of our friends in the Northeast. Stay safe and warm!

(And if you have any favorite ancient lines about snow or storms, add them to the mix…)

Homer Il. 3.222-3

“Yet, then a great voice came from his chest And [Odysseus’] words were like snowy storms”

ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ ὄπα τε μεγάλην ἐκ στήθεος εἵη καὶ ἔπεα νιφάδεσσιν ἐοικότα χειμερίῃσιν,

Homer, Il. 13.754
“And then Hector surged up like a snowy mountain”

῏Η ῥα, καὶ ὁρμήθη ὄρεϊ νιφόεντι ἐοικὼς

Cicero, in Catilinam 2.23

“How will they bear the Appenines covered in frosts and snow? Maybe they think that they can tolerate the cold, because they learned to dance naked at dinner parties.”

Quo autem pacto illi Appeninum atque illas pruinas ac nivis perferent? Nisi idcirco se facilius hiemem toleraturos putant, quod nudi in conviviis saltare didicerunt.

Solon, fr.9 1-4: Causation–Lightning comes from Thunder?

“The fury of snow and hail comes from a cloud
and thunder comes from bright lightning.
A city is destroyed by great men and the people fall
into the slavery of monarchy thanks to ignorance.”

ἐκ νεφέλης πέλεται χιόνος μένος ἠδὲ χαλάζης,
βροντὴ δ’ ἐκ λαμπρῆς γίγνεται ἀστεροπῆς·
ἀνδρῶν δ’ ἐκ μεγάλων πόλις ὄλλυται, ἐς δὲ μονάρχου
δῆμος ἀϊδρίηι δουλοσύνην ἔπεσεν.


From a commenter named Luke:

Xenophon. 4.4.11:

νυκτερευόντων δ’ αὐτῶν ἐνταῦθα ἐπιπίπτει χιὼν ἄπλετος, ὥστε ἀπέκρυψε καὶ τὰ ὅπλα καὶ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους κατακειμένους· καὶ τὰ ὑποζύγια συνεπόδισεν ἡ χιών· καὶ πολὺς ὄκνος ἦν ἀνίστασθαι· κατακειμένων γὰρ ἀλεεινὸν ἦν ἡ χιὼν ἐπιπεπτωκυῖα ὅτῳ μὴ παραρρυείη.

But there came such a tremendous fall of snow while they were bivouacked there that it completely covered both the arms and the men as they slept, besides hampering the baggage animals; and everybody was very reluctant to get up, for as the men lay there the snow that had fallen upon them–in case it did not slip off–was a source of warmth.

From Palaiophron::

iam satis terris nivis atque dirae grandinis misit pater? -Horace

From PlatoSparks:

Daphnis and Chloe by Longus.

Γίνεται δὲ χειμὼν Δάφνιδι καὶ Χλόῃ τοῦ πολέμου πικρότερος: ἐξαίφνης γὰρ περιπεσοῦσα χιὼν πολλὴ πάσας μὲν ἀπέκλεισε τὰς ὁδούς, πάντας δὲ κατέκλεισε τοὺς γεωργούς.

Winter came more bitter than the war to Daphnis and Chloe. For a large amount snow falling suddenly blocked off all the roads and shut all the farmers indoors.

Longus 3.3.1

Snow in Words, Battle and, in season, On the Ground

We braved the winter gauntlet yesterday by plane, bus and automobile.  This means, of course, that I have to repost some snow-lines from the ancient world. (I would love to hear some more).

 

Homer Il. 3.222-3
“Yet, then a great voice came from his chest And [Odysseus’] words were like snowy storms”
ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ ὄπα τε μεγάλην ἐκ στήθεος εἵη καὶ ἔπεα νιφάδεσσιν ἐοικότα χειμερίῃσιν,

Homer, Il. 13.754
“And then Hector surged up like a snowy mountain”

῏Η ῥα, καὶ ὁρμήθη ὄρεϊ νιφόεντι ἐοικὼς

 

Cicero, in Catilinam 2.23

“How will they bear the Appenines covered in frosts and snow? Maybe they think that they can tolerate the cold, because they learned to dance naked at dinner parties.”

Quo autem pacto illi Appeninum atque illas pruinas ac nivis perferent? Nisi idcirco se facilius hiemem toleraturos putant, quod nudi in conviviis saltare didicerunt.

 

Solon, fr.9 1-4: Causation–Lightning comes from Thunder?

“The fury of snow and hail comes from a cloud

and thunder comes from bright lightning.

A city is destroyed by great men and the people fall

into the slavery of monarchy thanks to ignorance.”

 

ἐκ νεφέλης πέλεται χιόνος μένος ἠδὲ χαλάζης,

βροντὴ δ’ ἐκ λαμπρῆς γίγνεται ἀστεροπῆς·

ἀνδρῶν δ’ ἐκ μεγάλων πόλις ὄλλυται, ἐς δὲ μονάρχου

δῆμος ἀϊδρίηι δουλοσύνην ἔπεσεν.

Two Snow Moments in Homer

Homer Il. 3.222-3

“Yet, then a great voice came from his chest

And [Odysseus’] words were like snowy storms”

 

ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ ὄπα τε μεγάλην ἐκ στήθεος εἵη

καὶ ἔπεα νιφάδεσσιν ἐοικότα χειμερίῃσιν,

 

Homer, Il. 13.754

“And then Hector surged up like a snowy mountain”

῏Η ῥα, καὶ ὁρμήθη ὄρεϊ νιφόεντι ἐοικὼς

 

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