How Was Weather Predicted in Ancient Greece?

How Was Weather Predicted in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, where the field of meteorology originated, weather prediction was a fascinating and complex endeavor. Despite the absence of advanced technology, the Greeks employed various methods and observations to forecast the weather. Let’s delve into the techniques they used and explore how they managed to predict weather patterns without modern instruments.

The Role of Divination

Divination played a significant role in ancient Greek weather prediction. Greeks believed that gods controlled all aspects of life, including the weather. They sought divine guidance through oracles and interpreted various signs and omens to predict upcoming weather events.

One popular form of divination was aeromancy, which involved observing the movements and formations of clouds. Certain cloud formations were thought to signify specific weather conditions. For example, thick cumulus clouds were associated with rain showers, while high cirrus clouds indicated fair weather.

Astronomy and Celestial Observations

Astronomy played a crucial role in ancient Greek weather forecasting. The Greeks closely observed celestial events such as the movement of stars, planets, and constellations to anticipate changes in the weather.

The position of the Pleiades, a star cluster also known as the Seven Sisters, was particularly significant in predicting seasonal changes. When the Pleiades appeared above the horizon just before sunrise, it signaled that winter was approaching. On the other hand, when this star cluster disappeared from view at sunset during springtime, it indicated summer’s arrival.

Natural Phenomena Observation

Ancient Greeks also relied on keen observation of natural phenomena to forecast upcoming weather conditions. They noticed patterns in animal behavior, plant growth, and atmospheric changes to make predictions.

Animal behavior was a valuable indicator of approaching weather. For example, if birds flew low and close to the ground, it hinted at an upcoming storm. Similarly, the behavior of animals like ants, bees, and spiders was closely watched to anticipate impending rain or thunderstorms.

Plant growth also provided insights into weather prediction. For instance, if plants bloomed earlier than usual, it suggested a warm spring. Conversely, delayed blooming indicated a late arrival of spring or even a cooler summer.

The Role of Meteorological Instruments

Although ancient Greeks lacked advanced meteorological instruments like today’s barometers or thermometers, they made use of simpler tools to observe and measure weather conditions.

Anemometers, which were essentially wind indicators, were used to gauge wind speed and direction. These consisted of simple devices such as wind vanes or flags that helped determine the movement and strength of winds.

Hygrometers, designed to measure humidity levels in the air, were made using materials such as hair or parchment strips that could expand or contract based on moisture content in the atmosphere.


Ancient Greeks exhibited an impressive understanding of weather patterns through their observations and interpretations. By combining divination practices with astronomical observations and natural phenomena analysis, they managed to predict weather conditions without modern technology.

Their methods may seem rudimentary by today’s standards, but they laid the foundation for modern meteorology. As we marvel at advanced forecasting techniques today, let us not forget the ancient Greeks who paved the way for our understanding of weather prediction.