"A Rose By Any Other Name..."
The "wind rose" is a circular directional emblem found on vintage maps and charts. It evolved from the four primary wind directions schematically arranged around a circle that represented the horizon. In the sixteenth century, cartographers expressed their most imaginative work within the rose, incorporating brilliant colors with gold and silver laced trims. Possibly through some means of uniformity, principal winds, half-winds, and quarter winds were done in different colors. Fifteenth century Italian cartographers used gold, green and red hues for their winds. Cherubs were added while blowing the principal winds from their mouths and sometimes accompanied by wild animals. Where the compass and GPS set our course today, the wind rose was the primitive directional indicator on navigational charts. At the mercy of the wind, mariners used this circular, directional emblem for several hundred years. Early Italian wind roses indicated an east wind with an "L" for "levanter" with the west wind designated as a setting sun. A wind such as the "grecco" or northeast wind was marked with a "G". An "S" marked a "sirocco" or southeast wind and the symbol for a northwest wind or "maestro" carried an "M". The north wind originally was noted with a variety of symbols depicting celestial stars. In the 1500s, north was often marked with a symbol familiar to us, the fleur-de-lis. The discovery of the lodestone or magnetite, once touched to a steel needle, began the development of the compass.