Zephyrus is usually depicted as a gentle, benevolent force in myth and literature. Indeed, he is often contrasted with his more violent brother, Boreas. But Zephyrus was not always so kind. One tale in particular reveals the darker side of Zephyrus's nature, and it involves a young man named Hyacinthus.
The god of the West Wind also played a role in mythology as the father of the immortal horses Xanthus and Balius. This magnificent pair of horses belonged to the Greek hero Achilles. The legend of their birth follows: in one version of the story, the Harpy Podarge was grazing in a meadow in the guise of a horse. Zephyrus, also in the form of a horse, mated with the lovely mare and their offspring were born in this equine shape. It is interesting to note that the wind gods were sometimes represented as horses - perhaps because in part of the legendary speed attributed to these beautiful creatures.
Zephyrus also appears in one of the masterpieces of Western art - Sandro Botticelli's Primavera. Learn more about the god of the North Wind's role in this painting, and his other contributions to art history, in the Mythography gallery (link below).
Zephyrus in Art History
Gallery | For pictures and information about Zephyrus in art, visit the Mythography gallery!
Who's Who in Classical Mythology