What Was Wind Used for in Ancient Times?

Wind is a powerful natural force that has been harnessed by humans for thousands of years. In ancient times, people used wind in a variety of ways to help them with their daily tasks. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways wind was used in ancient times.

Wind for Sailing

One of the most common uses of wind in ancient times was for sailing. People used the wind to power their boats and ships, allowing them to travel long distances across oceans and rivers. The earliest evidence of sailing dates back to ancient Egypt, where boats were propelled by simple square sails made from flax or papyrus.

The Chinese Junk

In China, sailors developed the “junk,” a type of ship that was designed specifically to harness the power of the wind. The junk had multiple sails and could navigate shallow waters with ease.

Windmills for Grinding Grain

Another way that wind was used in ancient times was for grinding grain. Windmills were invented in Persia around 500 AD and were used throughout the Middle Ages in Europe. These early windmills had vertical blades that rotated around a horizontal axis and were used to grind grain into flour.

The Dutch Windmill

In the Netherlands, windmills were also used for drainage purposes. The Dutch developed a type of windmill called a “polder mill” that could pump water out of low-lying areas, allowing land to be reclaimed from the sea.

Wind Instruments for Music

Wind was also used in ancient times for making music. A variety of wind instruments were developed, including flutes, trumpets, and horns. These instruments were often made from materials such as wood or animal horns and were played at festivals and ceremonies.

The Greek Aulos

One notable wind instrument from ancient times was the Greek aulos. This double-reed instrument was played in pairs and was used in religious ceremonies and theatrical performances.


In conclusion, wind was a valuable resource that was used in many different ways in ancient times. From sailing ships to grinding grain, wind played an important role in the daily lives of people throughout history. Today, wind power continues to be an important source of renewable energy, providing electricity to millions of people around the world.