The School
of Athens
The School of Athens

Ancient and pre-Renaissance
Contributors to Meteorology
(through 1300s AD)


Below are checklists of Ancient and pre-Renaissance Contributors to Meteorology on postal items (stamps, souvenir sheets, aerogrammes, postal cards, etc.) and numismatic items (banknotes and coins). Catalog numbers, years of issue, and notes on the items featured are given when available. If readers know of additional information or images, please contact the authors using the e-mail addresses at the bottom of this page.

Contributors to MeteorologyTime Period CoveredNumber
Ancient and pre-Renaissance (this page)Through 1300s AD32
Precursor EraRenaissance [~1400 AD] through World War I219
Modern EraPost World War I125
Chronological and Alphabetical Indexes376


Ancient and Pre-Rensissance Contributors to meteorology covered:


The Contributors on this page are listed in alphabetical order above, and are presented in chronological order below.


Noah

Noah
(2928? - 1979? BC)

Ark

Noah is the earliest historical character who can be linked in some way to meteorology. He obeyed God's command to build the Ark in order to save himself and his family and many animals from a devastating flood. In modern terms, he received a weather forecast, believed it and acted upon that information. Then after the flood, God promised Noah that never again would there be such a flood, and a rainbow appeared as a sign of that promise.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
This list is an incomplete sample of the numerous postal items that contain this person.
AjmanMi2196From se-tenant blocks of 6 (3x 2 stamps; Mi2194-2199)1972Noah sending out a dove
AjmanMi2199God's covenant with Noah
Armenia458 (BL?)SS11993"Noah's descent from Mt. Ararat" (in text)
Azerbaijan930 (Mi?)2010Noah's Mausoleum in Nakhchivan (traditional gravesite of Noah)
BatumiLocalSS11997Noah's Ark
Benin690G (Mi515)Dahomey C161 surcharged1992Noah sending out a dove
China (People's Republic)2032 fdc (Mi? fdc)Cachet on FDC1986"The Dove brought an olive branch to Noah signifying flood waters had subsided" (in text)
China (People's Republic)NonePostal card back2002"When all the polar ice melts, will we be able to build a Noah's Ark for the new era?" (text translation)
DahomeyC159 fdc (Mi? fdc)Cancel on FDC1972Noah sending out a dove
DahomeyC160 fdc (Mi? fdc)Cancel on FDC
DahomeyC161 (Mi482)
iC161

Imperforate
DahomeyC161 fdcStamp and cancel and cachet on FDC
France889 maxi (Mi? maxi)Cachet on maxicard1958Noah and the dove
France2648 (Mi?)
2648+label

Stamp and label
1998Noah's dove
France2648 maxiMaxicard
France2648+label fdc1Stamp and label on FDC
France2648+label fdc2Stamp and label and cachet on FDC
France2648+label fdc3Stamp and label and cachet (different) on FDC
France2648-2650 dsEngraving deluxe sheet strip of 3
France2653a (Mi?)Strip of 6 (2648-2653 + label)
France2654 (Mi?)Serpentine die cut
France2659a (Mi?)Booklet pane of 12 (2x (2654-2659)), from booklet (2659b)
FranceNoneCancel2008Noé (Noah) (town)
France3969 (Mi?)2011Symbolic Noah's Ark
Great BitainNoneCancel on cover2002Noah's Ark
Grenada1145 (Mi?)1983Construction of the Ark
Grenada1468 (Mi?)1987Noah and the Rainbow
Grenada1478 (Mi?)Noah's Ark
GrenadaUnknown (Mi?)Stamp on SS12013Michelangelo's painting "The Sacrifice of Noah"
GuyanaUnknown ss (BL?)SS1 (silver)1994Noah's Ark animals
GuyanaUnknown ss (BL?)SS1 (gold)
IsraelNonePostcard1930sNoah's Ark on Mt. Ararat
IsraelNonePostcard1958Noah's flood from Raphael
IsraelNonePostcard (different)1958Noah and family
IsraelNonePostcard (different)1958Noah's altar
Israel394 (Mi449)1969Noah's Ark
Israel395 (Mi450)
Israel396 (Mi451)
Israel397 (Mi452)
Israel398 (Mi453)
Israel394-396+tabs fdcThree stamps + tabs and cachet on FDC
Israel397-398+tabs fdcTwo stamps + tabs and cachet on FDC
IsraelNonePostal card (large printed stamp)1990Noah
Israel1125-1128 folder (Mi1240-1243 folder)Folder1992"Noah's Ark" (in text on cover)
Israel1712 (BL77)MS6 (1712 (a-f)) (Mi1948-1953)2007Noah's Ark
Israel1712 bookletBooklet (of ? stamps)
Israel1712 essayEssay (smaller face value)
Israel1712 fdcMS6 and cancel and cachet on FDC
Israel1712 bookletExhibition booklet, also back2008Noah's Ark
Israel1712_sa p00 (Mi1994-1999)Prestige booklet with serpentine-cut self-adhesive stamps (2x (1712a-f)), cover (p.00)2008Noah's Ark
Israel1712_sa p01Prestige booklet, p.01, with 1712b_sa (Mi1995)
Israel1712_sa p02Prestige booklet, p.02
Israel1712_sa p03Prestige booklet, p.03, with 1712c_sa (Mi1996)
Israel1712_sa p04Prestige booklet, p.04
Israel1712_sa p05Prestige booklet, p.05
Israel1712_sa p06Prestige booklet, p.06
Israel1712_sa p07Prestige booklet, p.07, with 1712f_sa (Mi1999)
Israel1712_sa p08Prestige booklet, p.08
Israel1712_sa p09Prestige booklet, p.09, with 1712d_sa (Mi1997)
Israel1712_sa p10Prestige booklet, p.10
Israel1712_sa p11Prestige booklet, p.11
Israel1712_sa p12Prestige booklet, p.12
Israel1712_sa p13Prestige booklet, p.13
Israel1712_sa p14Prestige booklet, p.14
Israel1712_sa p15Prestige booklet, p.15, with 1712e_sa (Mi1998)
Israel1712_sa p16Prestige booklet, p.16
Israel1712_sa p17Prestige booklet, p.17, with 1712a_sa (Mi1994)
Israel1712_sa p18Prestige booklet, p.18
Israel1712_sa p19Prestige booklet, p.19, with 1712a-f_sa (Mi1994-1999)
Israel1712_sa p20Prestige booklet, p.20, with reproduction of 1712a-f_sa (Mi1994-1999)
Israel1712_sa p21Prestige booklet, p.21
Israel1712a-f+1712a-f_sa coverSix perforated and six serpentine-cut self-adhesive stamps and cachet on (World Stamp Championship) cover2008Noah's Ark
Israel1712a-f_sa coverSerpentine-cut self-adhesive MS6 (from prestige booklet) and cachet (different) on (World Stamp Championship) cover
Liberia1319 (BL?)MS25 (1319 (a-y))1998Noah's Ark
Liberia1320 (BL?)SS1
Liberia2382 (BL?)MS4 (2382 (a-d))2006Noah's Ark
NetherlandsNoneMeter1965Noah's Ark
Nicaragua894 (Mi?)1971Reproduction of The Drunkenness of Noah by Michelangelo
Palau396c (Mi?)One of MS30 (396 (a-ad))1996Noah and wife
St. Vincent1152 (Mi1167-1191)MS25 (1152 (a-y))1989Noah's Ark
SwedenNonePostal card1973Noah's Ark
Sweden955 card (Mi? card)Card1981Noah's Ark (in drawing on card)
Sweden1691 (Mi1492)19881000th anniv. city of Skara; some Noah's Ark animals, from one of the stained glass windows in Skara's cathedral (the windows, by Bo Beskow, illustrate various biblical events)
Trinidad and Tobago185 (Mi?)1970Noah's Ark
Tonga650a (Mi?)
i650a
One of MS12 (650 (a-l))
One of imperforate MS12 (i650 (a-l))
1987Noah's Ark, Noah (in upper margin text)
Tonga650a specimenOne of MS12 (650 specimen (a-l))
Tonga650a proofMonochrome proof
TuvaUnlisted1995Noah's Ark
United StatesNoneMeter on cover1986Noah's Ark
Vatican City548 (Mi?)1974Noah's Ark
Vatican City551 (Mi?)


Yu

Yu, Da (King Da Yu)
(ca 2000 BC)

Da Yu was a famous king of China who became popular with his people because he had some success in his project to control the floods of the Yellow River. Large floods have continued to take place on the Yellow and other Chinese rivers through to modern times, due to occasional long periods of heavy rains. Da Yu was the first known person to attempt to mitigate the disastrous effects of such weather situations.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
China (People's Republic)NonePostal card2002Shangyu City, flood control (in Chinese text); statue probably of Da Yu, to mark his flood control achievements (also, Da Yu died in Zhejiang Province, which is where Shangyu City is located)
China (People's Republic)2353 cover (Mi? cover)Cancel on cover2003Da Yu (in text and in silhouette); also probably at the right of the pictorial cancel the flood monument in Harbin commemorating the devastating flood of 1958


Hesiod

Hesiod
(8th century BC)

Hesiod was a Greek writer whose poem Works and Days was a sort of farmers' almanac in verse form. In it, he associated astronomical events with certain weather events. For example, he said that "when the Pleiades plunge into the misty sea to escape Orion's rude strength, then truly gales of all kinds rage" (this occurs at the end of October or the beginning of November), and that "fifty days after the solstice…the season of wearisome heat is come to an end". Such observations could be considered one of the earliest forms of climatological study. Works and Days is at the beginning of a tradition of Greek and Roman works, often in the form of calendars, that related astronomical phenomena to the weather.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
GreeceP10750 drachmai (banknote)1939


Thales

Thales of Miletus
(624? - 546? BC)

Thales of Miletus was one of the seven Sages of ancient Greece, and the first of the Greek philosophers. He is considered the founder of Greek (and therefore European) philosophy and science, and made a number of discoveries in geometry, astronomy and physics. He believed that water is the first principle of everything and that the world rests on water. He considered a hydrologic cycle in which surface and below-ground water circulated up and down through the soil. He seems not to have considered the atmospheric component of the hydrologic cycle, but Anaximander, one of his young associates, put forth the idea that evaporation from the seas was the source of moisture that fell as rain. Unfortunately, none of Thales' texts have survived, but they are known through commentaries from a number of sources, including Apollodorus, Suidas, Callimachus, Herodotus, Plato and Aristotle.

One anecdote about Thales relates to his response to detractors who claimed that his wisdom was of little practical use. Using his knowledge of meteorology to forecast a bumper crop of olives, he cornered the market for olive presses, charged exorbitant rates for their rental, and, having become wealthy in less than a year, then sold the presses and continued with his life as a philosopher.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Greece1784 (Mi1849)1994
Greece1785c (Mi?)On cover of booklet


Heraclitus

Heraclitus
(535? - 475? BC)

Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher who emphasized the idea of the conflict of opposites, such as day and night, hot and cold, winter and summer, and life and death. When sick with the dropsy, he went to town and asked the doctors in a riddle if they could make a drought out of his rainy weather (here again, the play of opposites, in a meteorological sense). In addition, Heraclitus said that "everything flows" (panta rhei) … wind, water, life. These things are similar in that they are all dynamic. Who knows, perhaps his observations of the weather gave him this idea. Just as the winds and the waters are ever-changing, ever-flowing, so is life.

Heraclitus is one of the men depicted in Raphael's painting The School of Athens. He is seated in the foreground and leaning on a marble block. Several stamps reproduce the painting either in whole or in part. Those that include Heraclitus are listed in the table below.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Italy1911 (Mi?)1992Heraclitus (at lower right); (from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
ItalyP118500,000 lire (banknote)1997Heraclitus (leaning on marble block in foreground); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Korea (North)2285 (BL141)In (lower) margin of MS3 (2285 (a-c))1983Heraclitus (sitting man leaning against marble block); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Romania1442 (Mi?)1961
Romania1442+1445+1447 fdcOne of three stamps and cachet on FDC
Romania1443-1444+1446 fdcCachet on FDC
RomaniaNonePrinted stamp and cachet on postal card (blue)1961
RomaniaNonePrinted stamp and cachet on postal card (red)1961
St. Vincent2862a (Mi5126)From MS4 (2862 (a-d)) (Mi5126-5129)2001Heraclitus, the mournful philosopher
St. Vincent2862b (Mi5127)
Sierra Leone579 (Mi?)1983Heraclitus (leaning against marble block at right); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Sierra Leone580 (Mi?)Heraclitus (leaning against marble block at bottom); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
United States1530 (Mi1137)1974Heraclitus; (from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Vatican777 (Mi897)1986Heraclitus (at lower right); (from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)


Democritus

Democritus of Abdera
(460? - 370? BC)

Democritus of Abdera was a Greek natural philosopher who did studies of various natural phenomena, for which he became well-known. He was a student of Leucippus and co-originator of the theory that all matter is composed of indivisible and imperishable elements which he called atoma ("indivisible units"), from which we get the word "atom".

There is some evidence that Democritus predicted changes in the weather, and that he used this ability to convince people that he could predict other future events.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
GreeceP19020 drachmai (banknote)1955
Greece716 (Mi773)1961Democritus Nuclear Research Centre
Greece717 (Mi774)
Greece716-717 fdcTwo stamps and cancel on FDC(As above)
GreeceP196100 drachmai (banknote)1967Democritus Nuclear Research Centre
GreeceKM13210 drachmai (copper-nickel coin)1982
Greece1469 (Mi1528)1983International Democritus Congress
St. Thomas and Prince Islands693a (Mi821)In (lower-left and lower-right) margin of MS5 (5x 694 + label + 2x 2 different margin images)1983Mirror image of part of Democritus of Abdera painting by Rubens


Hippocrates

Hippocrates
(460? - 377? BC)

Hippocrates was a Greek natural philosopher who is considered to be the "Father of Medicine". His treatise Airs, Waters and Places is the earliest known work to include a discussion of weather. In it, he wrote that:

"Whoever wishes to investigate medicine properly should proceed by first considering the seasons of the year and what effects each of them produces, for they are not all alike, but differ much among themselves as regards their influence. Next, one should study the winds, the heat and cold, especially values which are common to all countries, and then those which are peculiar to each locality. Similarly, when someone arrives in a city to which he is a stranger, he ought to consider its situation as regards the prevailing winds and the rising of the Sun; for its influence is not the same if it faces north or south, or if it faces the rising or the setting Sun".

More generally, Hippocrates wrote about common diseases that occur in particular locations, seasons, winds and air. Galen, Maimonides and the medieval Islamic scholars al Razi and Avicenna continued this tradition.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Australia441 (Mi?)1968
Belize542 (Mi?)1981Project Hippocrates1
Belize538-544 fdcOne of seven stamps on FDC
Belize545a (Mi?)One of MS2 (545 (a-b))
Belize567 (Mi?)542 overprinted in gold "Independence 21 Sept 1981"1981Project Hippocrates1
Belize563-565+567 fdcOne of four stamps on FDC
Belize570 (Mi?)On one of MS2 (570 (a-b)), 545 overprinted in gold "Independence 21 Sept 1981"
Belize590 (Mi?)One of MS2 (590 (a-b)), 545 surcharged $1 with Espamer 1981 overprint1981Project Hippocrates1
Belize590 fdcMS2 on FDC
Equatorial GuineaUnlisted (Mi unlisted)?
France2112 (Mi2670)1988House of the Heads (Valence, France) with busts representing Winds, Fortune, Time, Law and Medicine. Hippocrates (Medicine) is possibly at the right
GermanyNoneCinderella (poster stamp)?
Greece514 (Mi?)1947
Greece521 (Mi?)1950
Greece528 (Mi557)1950
Greece529 (Mi558)
Greece657 (Mi?)1959plane tree of Hippocrates
Greece1326 (Mi?)1979
Greece1326+2x1200 coverOne of three stamps and cancel and cachet on cover1979
Greece1841 (Mi?)1996
Greece2295 (BL?)MS10 + 10 labels, from deluxe folder with text (pages 1, 2, 3, and 4)2007
Hungary3060 (Mi?)1987
Hungary3060 fdcStamp and cachet on FDC
Iran1226 (Mi?)1962Hippocrates (at left)
Iran1227 (Mi?)
Iran1226-1227 fdcTwo stamps and cancel and cachet on FDC
Iran1773 (Mi?)1974Hippocrates (left image of two in upper-right of stamp)
ItalyNonePhone card?
LebanonUnknown (5c)Revenue stamps1961, 1965, 1967, 197?Hippocrates (at left)
LebanonUnknown (10c)1961, 1965, 1967, 197?
LebanonUnknown (25c)196?, 197?
RomaniaNone(Blue) cachet on cover1981
RomaniaNone(Red) cachet on cover1981
RomaniaNoneCancel on postcard2010(~1550th anniv. birth)
RomaniaNoneCachet on postcard2010(~1550th anniv. birth)
San Marino1029 (Mi?)1982
San Marino1029 maxiMaxicard
SyriaC340 (Mi?)1965Hippocrates (at left)
Transkei97 (Mi?)1982
Transkei97-100 fdcOne of four stamps and cachet on FDCHippocrates' oath
Uganda564 (Mi?)1987
United StatesNoneCachet on stamped envelope1919(~1460th anniv. birth)
United States949 fdc (Mi? fdc)Cachet on FDC1947Hippocrates' oath
Yemen Arab Republic6676 (Mi530A)
i6676 (Mi530B)

Imperforate
1966
Yemen Arab Republic6679 (Mi533A)
i6679 (Mi533B)

Imperforate

1Project Hippocrates (HIghly PerfOrming Computer for Robot-AssisTEd Surgery) is a project of the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science and the Shadyside Medical Center, to "develop advanced planning, simulation and execution technologies for the next generation of computer-assisted surgical robots".


Eudoxus

Eudoxus
(408? - 355? BC)

Eudoxus was a Greek natural philosopher who wrote books and lectured on theology, astronomy and meteorology.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Liberia654 (Mi?)1973Eudoxus name (but Copernicus' portrait)


Aristotle

Aristotle
(384 - 322 BC)

In about 340 BC the Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote Meteorologica, a treatise on natural philosophy. This work represented the sum of knowledge of the time about natural science, including weather and climate (despite the title it also touched on astronomy, geology and geography). At that time, anything that fell from the sky (including rain and snow) and anything in the sky (including clouds) was called a meteor, from the Greek word meteoros, meaning 'high in the sky'. From meteoros comes our term meteorology.

In Meteorologica, Aristotle considered four "contraries" (hot, cold, moist and dry) and four "elements" (fire, air, water and earth) and used them to explain weather phenomena such as winds, clouds, rain, snow, hail, dew, lightning, halos and rainbows. In particular, he named and characterized 10 winds, based on their directions (Timosthenes of Rhodes would later add two more winds to make the complete set of 12, which were then depicted on the Tower of the Winds in Athens). Arisotle was unaware of the scientific method in which experiments would be conducted to prove or disprove his conclusions. We now know that his explanations were generally incorrect. Meteorologica, to modern eyes, is a work of intuitive natural philosophy rather than science. Nevertheless, it is important as the first known work that attempts to treat comprehensively a wide variety of meteorological topics.

Several years after the writing of Meteorologica, Theophrastus, a pupil of Aristotle, compiled a book on weather forecasting called The Book of Signs. This book presented ways to foretell the weather through various weather-related indicators, such as a ring around the moon (which is often followed by rain). The work of Aristotle, buttressed by that of Theophrastus, had such authority that it remained the dominant influence in the study of weather and weather forecasting for nearly 2000 years.

In Raphael's painting The School of Athens (referred to in the Notes below), the tall man in the blue robe is Aristotle.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
AjmanMi17181972Aristotle (in blue robe, at upper-left); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Antigua and Barbuda2385 (Mi3233-3249)In (left) margin of MS17 (2385 (a-q + label))2000"1274: Thomas Aquinas (Naples, 1225), the greatest of the Scholastics, [was] influenced by Albertus Magnus; and Maimonides enlightens European theology with Aristotle's ideas"
BarbudaUnknown (Mi?)In (left) margin of MS17 (a-q + label), Antigua and Barbuda 2385 overprinted2000"1274: Thomas Aquinas (Naples, 1225), the greatest of the Scholastics, [was] influenced by Albertus Magnus; and Maimonides enlightens European theology with Aristotle's ideas"
BelgiumB119 (Mi338)1932Bust of Aristotle (at left) and Cardinal Mercier
BelgiumB121 (Mi340)
ChadUnknown a (Mi?)One of MS9 (a-i)2009
ChadUnknown fdcOne of three stamps and cachet on FDC
ChadUnknown ms fdcMS9 on FDC
ChadUnknown a (Mi?)One of MS4 (a-d)
One of imperforate MS4 (a-d)
2009
ChadUnknown iss (BL?)Imperforate SS1
ChadUnknown fdcOne of four stamps and cachet on FDC
ChadUnknown ms fdc
Unknown ims fdc
MS4 on FDC
Imperforate MS4 on FDC
China (People's Republic)NonePostal card back1, also front2010?
China (People's Republic)NonePostal card back1 (different), also front2010?
China (People's Republic)NonePostal card back1, also front2010?Aristotle (in blue robe, at centre); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Comoro Islands256a (BL93)In (upper-right) margin of SS1 (256)1977Aristotle (in blue robe in front of arch in background); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Cyprus505 (Mi493)1978(2300th anniv. death)
France2112 (Mi2670)1988House of the Heads (Valence, France) with busts representing Winds, Fortune, Time, Law and Medicine. Aristotle (Winds) is possibly at the left
Gibraltar1198 (Mi1333)From 1198a (8x 1198))2009
Gibraltar1198-1201 fdcOne of four stamps on FDC
Greece (Kingdom)P3081 drachma (banknote)1917
Greece (Greek State)P3171 drachma (banknote)1941
GreeceP17410,000 drachmai (banknote)1945
GreeceP17510,000 drachmai (banknote)1946
GreeceP18210,000 drachmai (banknote)1947
GreeceP18610 drachmai (banknote)1954
GreeceRA91 (Mi91)1956
Greece1257 (Mi1316)1978(2300th anniv. death)
Greece1258 (Mi1317)
Greece1259 (Mi1318)
Greece1260 (Mi1319)
Greece1257-1260 fdcFour stamps and cancel and cachet on FDC
GreeceNoneCancel on WMD cover1981
Greece1742 (Mi?)1992
Grenada Grenadines1625 (Mi1833)1993Aristotle with the Bust of Homer (painting by Rembrandt, 1653)
Guinea RepublicBL1167In (upper-right) margin SS1 (Mi4653)2006Aristotle (in robe in upper-right margin); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Guinea RepublicMi6568One of MS6 (Mi6568-6573)2009(2330th anniv. death, in 2008)
ItalyP118500,000 lire (banknote)1997Aristotle (rightmost of two men in front of the arch); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Korea (North)2285a (Mi2341)One of and in (lower) margin of MS3 (2285 (a-c)) (BL141)1983Aristotle (in blue robe at right in stamp and in lower margin of MS3); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Lesotho1221j (Mi?)One stamp and in (left) margin of MS17 (1221 (a-q))1999Ibn Rushd translating Artistotle
Liberia655 (Mi898)1973Aristotle, Ptolemy, and Copernicus
MalawiUnknown a (Mi?)One of MS2 (a-b)2008
Mali315 (Mi655)
i315

Imperforate
1978(2300th anniv. death)
Mali315 proofDie proof
Mali315 proofs1Colour proof pair
Mali315 proofs2Colour proof pair (different)
Mali315 proofs3Colour proofs
ManamaMi11431972Aristotle with the Bust of Homer (painting by Rembrandt, 1653)
MexicoC579 (Mi1603)19782300th anniv. death
MexicoC579 fdcStamp and cancel and cachet on FDC
MexicoC580 (Mi1604)
Redonda (Antigua)Unknown (Mi?)1987
Redonda (Antigua)Unknown fdcStamp on FDC
Russia (USSR)5601 fdcCachet on FDC, also back1987
St. Thomas and Prince IslandsUnknown (Mi3385)One of MS4 (a-d) (Mi3385-3388)2008
Sierra Leone580 (BL14)SS1 (Mi707)1983Aristotle (in blue and brown robe, standing at centre-right); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Spain2491 (Mi2743)One of booklet pane of 6 (2496a (2491-2496)), from booket (2496b)1986Aristotle and quote; (2370th anniv. birth)
Uruguay1628 (Mi2192)1996
Vatican City1041 (Mi1210)1997Aristotle describing various species, from his De Historia Animalium
Yemen Arab RepublicMi7531968Aristotle (at right); (1990th anniv. death); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)

1This postal card is only one of a large number of similar cards issued by China for Aristotle. No effort is made to list all such cards.


Theophrastus

Theophrastus of Lesbos
(372? - 287? BC)

Theophrastus was a pupil of Aristotle. He was the first natural philosopher to take a systematic approach to the study of botany, and has been referred to as the father of taxonomy. He was aware of the influence of various factors such as soil and climate on the growth of plants.

Theophrastus was interested in all aspects of natural science. After Aristotle wrote his book Meteorologica, Theophrastus in turn wrote a book on weather forecasting called The Book of Signs. It included a large number of empirical rules relating certain conditions to the expected weather. For example, a ring around the moon was an indicator of possible rain. The work of Aristotle and Theophrastus in meteorology had such authority that it remained the dominant influence in the study of weather and weather forecasting for nearly 2000 years.

In Raphael's painting The School of Athens (referred to in the Notes below), the tall bald man in the orange robe is generally identified as Theophrastus.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
AjmanMi17181972Theophrastus (in orange robe); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
China (People's Republic)NonePostal card back, also front2010?Theophrastus (tall bald man in orange robe, just right of centre); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Comoro Islands256a (BL93)In (upper-right) margin of SS1 (256)1977Theophrastus (in orange robe in front of arch in background); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Greece1258 (Mi1317)1978Theophrastus (tall bald man in orange robe at far right); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
ItalyP118500,000 lire (banknote)1997Theophrastus (tall bald man in long robe at centre-right); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Korea (North)2285 (BL141)In (lower) margin of MS3 (2285 (a-c)) (BL141)1983Theophrastus (tall man in orange robe in lower margin); (from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
St. Thomas and Prince IslandsUnknown (Mi?)One of MS4 (a-d)2008"Teofrasto 372 - 288 BC", but image is of Paracelsus (Theophrastus Philippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim)
Sierra Leone580 (Mi?)1983Theophrastus (in orange robe at right); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)


Archimedes

Archimedes
(287? - 212? BC)

Archimedes was a Greek scientist who studied (among many other things) buoyancy and the hydrostatic principle, both of which are important concepts in meteorology. Archimedes' principle states that any body completely or partially submerged in a fluid is acted upon by an upward force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the body. If the displaced weight of fluid is greater than the weight of the body, then the body is forced upward. This is the situation in which an air parcel in the atmosphere rises if it is warmer than the surrounding atmosphere. In this situation, the parcel is said to have positive buoyancy. Positive buoyancy is one necessary condition in the formation of convective clouds (cumulus, cumulus congestus and cumulonimbus).

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
AltaiUnknown dOne of MS8 (a-h), also from imperforate MS8 (a-h), and from self-adhesive MS282011
BelgiumB1059 fdc (Mi? fdc)Cachet on FDC, also back1987(2200th anniv. death, in 1988)
China (People's Republic)NonePostal card back1, also front2009?
France1052 (Mi?)1963bathyscaphe Archimède
France1052 fdc1Stamp and cancel and cachet on FDC
France1052 fdc2Stamp and cancel (same) and cachet (different) on FDC
France1052 fdc3Stamp and cancel (same) and cachet (different) on FDC
France1052 scSouvenir card
France1052 maxi1Maxicard
France1052 maxi2Maxicard (different)
France1052 maxi3Maxicard (different)
France1052 maxi4Maxicard (different)
France1052 maxi5Maxicard (different)
France1052 coverStamp and cancel on cover1963bathyscaphe Archimède
FranceNoneCancel on cover1970Ballon l'Archimède
FranceNoneCachet on cover1979"Bathyscaphe Archimède" (in text)
FranceNoneCachet on cover2002"Bathyscaphe Archimède" (reproduction of France 1052)
GabonUnknown ss (BL?)
Unknown iss
SS1
Imperforate SS1
2010
GabonUnknown ss fdc
Unknown iss fdc
SS1 and cachet on FDC
Imperforate SS1 and cachet on FDC
Germany (East)1501 (Mi?)1973
Greece1460 (Mi?)1983
Greece1460 maxiMaxicard
Guinea RepublicUnknown ss (BL?)2006
Guinea-BissauBL679 stamp2008
Guinea-BissauBL679SS1
Guinea-BissauBL679 fdcSS1 and cachet on FDC
Italy1559 (Mi?)1983
Italy1559 maxiMaxicard
Italy1558-1559 fdcOne of two stamps and cachet on FDC
MalawiUnknown b (Mi?)One of MS2 (a-b)2008
MaliUnknown a (Mi?)One of MS2 (a-b)2011
MaliUnknown ms fdcMS2 on FDC
NicaraguaC765 (Mi?)
C765 back
1971Archimedes' principle of mass displacement
NicaraguaC761-765 fdcOne of five stamps on FDC
RomaniaNonePrinted stamp and cachet on stamped envelope2000
San Marino1021 (Mi?)From MS40 (1021a (40x 1021))1982
San Marino1021 maxi1Maxicard
San Marino1021 maxi2Maxicard (different)
San Marino1021-1022+1030 fdcOne of three stamps on FDC
Spain1159 (Mi?)1963
Spain1159 maxiMaxicard

1This postal card is only one of a large number of similar cards issued by China for Archimedes. No effort is made to list all such cards.


Bing Li

Bing Li
(3rd century BC)

In 250 BC, Bing Li was the governor of Shu (today the province of Sichuan). China was known as a land of droughts and floods, and the Yellow River in particular was known as the "father of floods", so that water management and flood control were critical issues. Bing Li worked to mitigate the effects of the droughts and floods that were a neverending part of the Chinese climate. In this, he was carrying on the tradition established by King Da Yu some 1800 years earlier.

Li's main accomplishment was the building of the first dam at a place called Dujiangyan. The dam was part of a project to divert the flow of the Minjiang River, a tributary of the Yangtze. The diverted water was directed into a series of spillways and channels that could be opened to irrigate fields in times of drought, and closed in times of flooding. Li had three stone figures representing gods of flood control in the form of men placed in the fields as gauges. If their feet were visible, then it was considered that drought conditions prevailed, and the gates were opened to let in water. If their shoulders were submerged, floodwaters had risen too high and the gates were closed.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
China (People's Republic)1637 (Mi?)1980


Hipparchus

Hipparchus of Alexandria
(190? - 120? BC)

Hipparchus of Alexandria was the greatest of the Greek astronomers. He produced an astrometeorological calendar of a traditional type dating back to Hesiod, which related expected weather conditions to astronomical events such as the risings and settings of stars and constellations. Unfortunately, Hipparchus' calendar is now lost.

Writings by Ptolemy are the source of most of our knowledge about Hipparchus. In particular, Ptolemy suggests in his Phases of the Fixed Stars and Collection of Weather Signs that Hipparchus was one of his sources.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Greece835 (Mi?)1965


Virgil

Virgil (Publius Virgil Maro)
(70 - 19 BC)

Virgil was a Roman poet who delighted in nature, but also sought to understand it through natural philosophy (the science of the time). He included weather signs in a handbook of animal husbandry. His work Georgics consisted of some 2000 lines of poetry on agriculture and weather. Here is an excerpt:

What need to tell of autumn's storms and stars,
And wherefore men must watch,
When now the day grows shorter, and more soft the summer's heat?
When Spring the rain-bringer comes rushing down,
Or when the beards of harvest on the plain bristle already …

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Aegean Islands3 (Mi?)Italy 248 overprinted19302000th anniv. birth
Aegean Islands4 (Mi?)Italy 249 overprinted
Aegean Islands5 (Mi?)Italy 250 overprinted
Aegean Islands6 (Mi?)Italy 251 overprinted
Aegean Islands7 (Mi?)Italy 252 overprinted
Aegean Islands8 (Mi?)Italy 253 overprinted
Aegean Islands9 (Mi?)Italy 254 overprinted
Aegean Islands10 (Mi?)Italy 255 overprinted
Aegean Islands11 (Mi?)Italy 256 changed colours and overprinted
Aegean IslandsC4 (Mi?)Italy C23 changed colours and overprinted
Aegean IslandsC5 (Mi?)Italy C24 changed colours and overprinted
Aegean IslandsC6 (Mi?)Italy C25 overprinted
Aegean IslandsC7 (Mi?)Italy C26 overprinted
France1781 (Mi?)19812000th anniv. death
Guinea RepublicMi3916One of MS8 (Mi3916-3924)2002Part of the painting The Barque of Dante (Dante and Virgil in Hell) by Eugène Delacroix; Virgil (in brown robe); (2020th anniv. death, in 2001)
Italy248 (Mi?)19302000th anniv. birth
Italy249 (Mi?)
Italy249 specimenOverprinted "specimen"
Italy250 (Mi?)
Italy251 (Mi?)
Italy252 (Mi?)
Italy252 specimenOverprinted "specimen"
Italy253 (Mi?)
Italy254 (Mi?)
Italy254 specimenOverprinted "specimen"
Italy255 (Mi?)
Italy256 (Mi?)
ItalyC23 (Mi?)
ItalyC24 (Mi?)
ItalyC25 (Mi?)
ItalyC26 (Mi?)
Italy1491 (Mi?)19812000th anniv. death
ItalyNoneCancel on cover19812000th anniv. death
Monaco626 (Mi?)1966Dante and Virgil boating across the muddy swamp of the 5th Circle from Dante`s Inferno (scene similar to the painting The Barque of Dante (Dante and Virgil in Hell) by Eugène Delacroix, see Sierra Leone 1616d and Guinea Republic Mi3916)
Monaco1360 (Mi?)19826th book of the Aenid; (2000th anniv. death)
San Marino1003 (Mi?)From strip of 3 (1005a (1003-1005))19812000th anniv. death
San Marino1004 (Mi?)
San Marino1005 (Mi?)
Sierra Leone1616d (Mi1993)One of MS8 (1616 (a-h + label) (Mi1990-1998)1993Part of the painting The Barque of Dante (Dante and Virgil in Hell) by Eugène Delacroix, Virgil (in brown robe)
Tripolitania43 (Mi?)Italy 248 changed colours and overprinted19302000th anniv. birth
Tripolitania44 (Mi?)Italy 249 overprinted
Tripolitania45 (Mi?)Italy 250 overprinted
Tripolitania46 (Mi?)Italy 251 overprinted
Tripolitania47 (Mi?)Italy 252 changed colours and overprinted
Tripolitania48 (Mi?)Italy 253 overprinted
Tripolitania49 (Mi?)Italy 254 overprinted
Tripolitania50 (Mi?)Italy 255 overprinted
Tripolitania51 (Mi?)Italy 256 overprinted
TripolitaniaC4 (Mi?)Italy C23 overprinted
TripolitaniaC5 (Mi?)Italy C24 overprinted
TripolitaniaC6 (Mi?)Italy C25 overprinted
TripolitaniaC7 (Mi?)Italy C26 overprinted
Tunisia1279 (Mi?)2002
Vatican City685 (Mi?)From MS16 (8x 685-686 + 9 labels)19812000th anniv. death
Vatican City686 (Mi?)


Strabo

Strabo
(64? BC - 23? AD)

Strabo was a Greek geographer and historian. His work Geography, completed just before his death, was an attempt to bring together all known geographical knowledge, and covered all the countries and peoples known to the Romans and the Greeks at that time. It includes an early description of the weather in the British Isles:

"Their weather is more rainy than snowy; and on the days of clear sky fog prevails so long a time that throughout a whole day the sun is to be seen for only three or four hours round about midday". From this description, some would say that not much has changed in the British weather during the last 2000 years!

Strabo was also interested in astronomy and studied celestial cartography, and so is shown holding the celestial globe in Raphael's painting The School of Athens.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Sierra Leone577 (Mi?)1983Strabo1 (in white robe, with long beard, partially hidden by Ptolemy and facing the viewer, holding the celestial sphere); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)

1 Some authors, and the stamp Sierra Leone 577, identify this figure as Zoroaster, with the idea that the celestial sphere represents his knowledge of astrology. However, Strabo is the more commonly-accepted identity, because of his studies of astronomy and celestial cartography.


Ovid

Ovid (Publius Ovidius Nasso)
(43 BC - 17 AD)

Ovid was a Roman poet. He was banished (for reasons that remain obscure) by Emperor Augustus in 8 AD to Tomis (modern Constanta, Romania) on the west coast of the Black Sea. There he suffered because of the harsh climate compared to what he was used to in Rome. His works Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto describe the Black Sea weather, and more particularly the winter. In them he lamented his exile and described his physical and emotional discomfort.

In terms of weather, the poems were probably accurate in some ways and exaggerated in others. In Tristia, Ovid makes many observations related to the weather he experienced, such as:

  1. the continuous blanket of winter snow is turned to ice by the wind, and thereafter remains impervious to the sun and rain;
  2. no period of thaw is to be had between snowfalls, and in some places the snow can remain on the ground for two years on end;
  3. the wind can cause towers and houses to crash to the ground;
  4. people wear skins and trousers to protect themselves from the cold, with only their faces showing, and men's beards shine from the frost on them;
  5. if wine is left outside it freezes, taking the shape of its container, and so people drink it in chunks rather than draughts;
  6. streams ice over, and drinking water is removed from them in pieces;
  7. even the Danube freezes over, with water flowing only beneath the ice. Then men and horses can walk on the ice;
  8. in summer, the Danube wards off the surrounding barbarian tribes, but in winter they can cross the frozen river easily.

What is accurate and what is exaggerated in Ovid's description of the winter weather in Constanta is uncertain, but it is clear that he must have suffered through some very cold winters indeed! He never gave up hope that he might return to Rome, but died in Constanta.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Italy721 (Mi979)19572000th anniv. birth
Italy721 fdcStamp on FDC
Romania1183 (Mi1669)19572000th anniv. birth; statue at Constanta
Romania1369 (Mi1900)1960Statue at Constanta
Romania1875 (Mi2540)1966Statue at Constanta
RomaniaNoneCachet on postal card19972040th anniv. birth; statue at Constanta
Romania4604 (Mi5771)2003Statue at Constanta


Ptolemy

Ptolemy
(90? - 168? AD)

Ptolemy was a Greek mathematician, geographer, astronomer and astrologer. In his work Phases of the Fixed Stars and Collection of Weather Signs, he described techniques to forecast the weather according to astronomical events. This work was clearly part of the Greek tradition of astrometeorological calendars relating astronomical phenomena to the weather. It introduced some innovations to the tradition, however. For example, it emphasized first and second magnitude stars rather than the constellations.

Phases of the Fixed Stars and Collection of Weather Signs is also important because it is a source of information about earlier authorities in the astrometeorological calendar tradition, including Hipparchus. The tradition in fact dates back as far as Hesiod in the 8th century BC.

In Raphael's painting The School of Athens (referred to in the Notes below), the man in a golden robe with his back to the viewer and holding the Earthly sphere is generally identified as Ptolemy.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
BelgiumBL167 (Scott ?)In (upper-right) margin of MS2 (a-b)2012
Bophuthatswana266-269 fdc (Mi? fdc)Cachet on FDC1991
Burundi433 (Mi939-942)
i433
MS4 (433 (a-d))
Imperforate MS4 (i433 (a-d))
1973
Burundi434a (BL69)
i434a
MS16 (431-434) (Mi931-946)
Imperforate MS16 (i431-i434)
Germany (East)NoneCancel and cachet on card1981
Liberia655 (Mi?)1973Aristotle, Ptolemy, and Copernicus
ParaguayC336 (BL?)SS11971"Ptolomeus" (in text); also Kepler
RwandaUnknown a (Mi?)One of MS15 (a-o)2010Ptolemaic geocentric model
Sierra Leone577 (Mi?)1983Ptolemy (in a golden robe, with his back to the viewer, holding the earthly sphere); (detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens)
Sri Lanka1128 (Mi?)1995
Yemen Arab RepublicMi903From MS12 (12x Mi903)1969
Yemen Arab RepuglicMi910Mi903 imperforate with changed colours


Galen

Galen
(130? - 200? AD)

Galen was a Greek physician. For one of his treatments, bloodletting, he believed that the amount of blood to let depended not only on the patient's age, constitution and location, but also on the season and the weather. In general, Galen thought that living bodies are composed of an unequal mixture of hot, cold, wet and dry - the "contraries" of Aristotle. He believed that the mixture could become "ill-balanced", and that these imbalances could have various effects on living bodies, including sickness. Galen wrote a commentary on Hippocrates' Airs, Waters and Places. He believed, as did Hippocrates, that climatic and environmental effects were one cause of diseases.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
China (People's Republic)2147 fdc (Mi? fdc)Cachet on FDC, also back1987
Greece1842 (Mi?)1996
Hungary3213 (Mi?)1989
Yemen Arab Republic6675 (Mi529A)
i6675 (Mi529B)

Imperforate
1966
Yemen Arab Republic6678 (Mi532A)
i6678 (Mi532B)

Imperforate


Isidore

Isidore of Sevilla
(Saint Isidorus Hispalensis)
(560? - 636)

Isidorus of Sevilla was a Spanish bishop, historian and author. In his work De Natura Rerum (On the Nature of Things), he wrote about astronomy, cosmology and meteorology. In the chapters on meteorology, he wrote about thunder, clouds, rainbows and wind. "Corruption of the air" (pestilence) was also discussed. However, he was hampered by the prevailing theological view that the only legitimate way to study natural science was through scripture.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Spain1202 (Mi?)1964Crypt of San Isidro in León
Spain1202 fdc1Stamp and cachet on FDC
Spain1202 fdc2Stamp and cachet (different) on FDC
Spain1202 maxiStamp on maxicard
SpainP1511000 pesetas (banknote)1965
Spain1742 (Mi?)1972Mural in Collegiate Basilica of San Isidro in León
Spain1743 (Mi?)
SpainNoneCancel on cover with 4x 12021984San Isidro (in cancel)
Spain2493 (Mi2745)One of booklet pane of 6 (2496a (2391-2496))1986San Isidro and text from Etymologias; (1350th anniv. death)
Spain3716 fdc (Mi? fdc)Cancel and cachet on cover2010Biblioteca Visigótha San Isidoro de León


al Jahiz

al Jahiz (al Hayawan)
(776? - 869?)

Al Jahiz was an early Arab writer, zoologist and philosopher. In his work Kitab al Hayawan (The Book of Animals), he introduced the idea that the climate and environmental factors were important in the behaviour and evolution of animals. Goethe would later say that al Jahiz was "a Darwinian before Darwin".

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Qatar232 (Mi?)1971
Syria519 (Mi?)1968
Syria520 (Mi?)


al Kindi

al Kindi, Yaqub Ibn Ishaq
(800? - 873?)

Al Kindi was an Arab scholar who wrote hundreds of books, most relating to the science of the time. Several of his works relate to meteorology, optics and the reflection of light. Two of his books can even be considered as early treatments of air pollution: A Treatise on the Incenses that Treat the Atmosphere against Epidemics, and A Treatise on the Drugs Which Cure from Annoying Odours. Al Kindi was perhaps the leading exponent of Arabic meteorology, which was essentially Aristotlean, though he did work to simplify the complicated assumptions made by Aristotle centuries earlier in his treatment of meteorology.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Egypt998 (Mi681)1975
Iraq303 (Mi?)1962
MaliC107 (Mi244)
iC107

Imperforate
1970
Syria1109 (Mi?)1987(possible) al Kindi
Syria1320 (Mi?)1994
Yemen Mutawakelite KingdomMi3631967


al Razi

Razi, Abu-Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakarayya (Rhazes)
(860? - 925?)

Al Razi was a Persian physician. Following the tradition that originated with Hippocrates and Galen, he wrote in his al-Hawi fi al-Tibb that well-balanced and clean air are one essential prerequisite for good health: polluted air would cause diseases in men. Avicenna in his work al-Qanun fi al-Tibb had much the same idea. One day, al Razi was asked by the Caliph to choose a site for the proposed Adudi Hospital in Baghdad. To find the answer, he sent out several of his students to hang pieces of fresh meat in the different quarters of the city. The next day, the site at which the meat showed the least tendency to putrefaction was chosen to build the hospital.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Iran1312 (Mi?)1964
Iran1313 (Mi?)
Iran1989 (Mi?)1978
SyriaC414 (Mi?)1968
Syria1256 (Mi?)1991


al Farabi

al Farabi, Abu al Nasr
(870? - 950?)

Al Farabi was an Afghan philosopher and scientist. He wrote such rich commentaries on Aristotle's physics, meteorology and logic, in addition to a large number of books on subjects of his own original contribution, that he came to be known as the "Second Teacher" (Aristotle being the first). Some of al Farabi's work paved the way for the later work of Avicenna.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
DjiboutiUnknown f (Mi?)One of MS6 (a-f)2010
DjiboutiUnknown c+selvedge (Mi?+selvedge)One of MS3 (a-f) and selvedge
Egypt997 (Mi683)1975
Iran947 (Mi?)1951(1000th anniv. death)
Iran948 (Mi?)
Iran1854 (Mi?)1975
Iran2057 (Mi?)1980al Farabi (left), al Biruni, and Avicenna
IranUnknown1 (Mi?)Stamp and label2009?(possible) al Farabi (on label)
IranUnknown2 (Mi?)
IranUnknown3 (Mi?)
KazakhstanP71 tenge (banknote)1993
KazakhstanP14200 tenge (banknote)1993
KazakhstanP161000 tenge (banknote)1994
KazakhstanP172000 tenge (banknote)1996
KazakhstanP185000 tenge (banknote), also back1998
KazakhstanP20200 tenge (banknote)1999
KazakhstanP21500 tenge (banknote)1999
KazakhstanP221000 tenge (banknote)1999
KazakhstanP232000 tenge (banknote)1999
KazakhstanP245000 tenge (banknote), also back2001
Qatar234 (Mi?)1971
Russia (USSR)4360 (Mi4393)1975
Turkey1037 (Mi?)1950(1000th anniv. death)
Turkey1038 (Mi?)
Turkey1039 (Mi?)
Turkey1040 (Mi?)


al Hazen

al Hazen (al Haitham) (Abu Ali al Hasan ibn al Haitam)
(965 - 1040)

Al Hazen was an Arab and/or Persian scientist who discussed the density of the atmosphere, and correctly explained the refraction of light in the atmosphere. From his studies of refraction he determined that the atmosphere has a definite height, which he calculated to be about 50 km, and also that twilight is caused by refraction of solar radiation from beneath the horizon. For his pioneering work in these areas, he became known as the "Father of Optics".

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Jordan682 (Mi?)1971
MalawiUnknown (Mi?)2008
MalawiUnknown ms (BL?)
Unknown ims
On one of MS2 (a-b)
One of imperforate MS2
2008
MalawiUnknown ms fdc
Unknown ims fdc
MS2 on FDC
Imperforate MS2 on FDC
2008
Pakistan281 (Mi?)1969"Ibn al Haitam" in words
Pakistan281 fdcStamp and cancel and cachet on FDC
Qatar235 (Mi?)1971


al Biruni

al Biruni, Abu al Rayhan
(973 - 1048)

Al Biruni was a Persian scholar and scientist. His Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology was in fact a primer of 11th century science. In what he called 'natural' astrology, he was concerned with meteorology, earthquakes, floods and all the other "vicissitudes and disasters" of nature.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Afghanistan881 (Mi?)19731000th anniv. birth
Algeria511 (Mi?)1974(1000th anniv. birth, in 1973)
IranUnknown (Mi?)Stamp and label2009?al Biruni (on label)
Egypt996 (Mi682)1975
Guinea-BissauBL671 stamp2008(950th anniv. death)
Guinea-BissauBL671SS1
Guinea-BissauBL671A fdc
BL671B fdc
SS1 and cachet on FDC
Imperforate SS1 on FDC
Iran1728 (Mi?)19731000th anniv. birth
Iran2057 (Mi?)1980al Farabi, al Biruni (centre), and Avicenna
Iran3014b (Mi?)One of block of 4 (3014 (a-d))2010"Abu Reyhan Biruni"
Pakistan357 (Mi?)19731000th anniv. birth
Pakistan358 (Mi?)
Pakistan357-358 fdcTwo stamps and cachet on FDC
Russia (USSR)4099 (Mi?)19731000th anniv. birth
Syria671 (Mi?)1973925th anniv. death; (1000th anniv. birth)
Tunisia763 (Mi?)1980
Turkey1948 (Mi?)1973(1000th anniv. birth)


Avicenna

Avicenna (Ibn Sina)
(980 - 1037)

Avicenna was an Persian physician, philosopher and natural scientist. His written works include his Encyclopaedia of Philosophy and Natural Sciences, in which he devotes six chapters to meteorology:

  1. Clouds and rain;
  2. Causes of rainbows;
  3. Features associated with sun reflection on clouds, and rainbows;
  4. Winds;
  5. Thunder, lightning, comets and meteorites;
  6. Catastrophic events that affect the surface of the Earth.

Avicenna made repeated observations of rainbows, but was unable to produce a satisfactory explanation of the rainbow colours.

As a physician, Avicenna followed the school of thought originated by Hippocrates, and extended by Galen and al Razi regarding the relationship of good air to health and diseases. In Avicenna's work al-Qanun fi al-Tibb, he presented some guidelines on how to identify good air: "Air is deemed fresh when it is free from pollution with smoke and (water) vapour. It should be really free and open and not enclosed by walls or undercover. If however the outside air is polluted, indoors should be preferred. The best type of air is that which is pure, clean and free from vapour from ponds, ditches, bamboo fields, cabbages and the dense overgrowth of trees, such as yew-trees, walnuts and figs. It is also essential that air be free from pollution with foul gases. Good air should be open to fresh breezes and it should come from plains and high mountains. It should not be confined to pits and depressions where it warms up quickly by the rising sun and cools down immediately after sunset. Air which is surrounded by recently-painted or plastered walls is not fresh. Air is not healthy if it produces choking or discomfort".

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
This list is an incomplete sample of the numerous postal items that contain this person.
Afghanistan390 (Mi369)1951
Afghanistan391 (Mi370)
Algeria650 (Mi?)1980
Algeria650 fdcStamp and cancel and cachet on FDC
Austria1208 (Mi?)1982Urine analysis, canone de Avicenna manuscript
Austria1208 maxiMaxicard
Comoro Islands506 (Mi?)
i506

Imperforate
1980
Comoro Islands506 proof1Die proof
Comoro Islands506 proof2Proof pair
DubaiC58 (Mi399)1971
Egypt (UAR)741 (Mi?)1968
France3156 (Mi?)2005(1025th anniv. birth)
Germany (East)106 (Mi314)1952
Hungary3061 (Mi?)1987
IranB1 (Mi?)1948Surtax for reconstruction of Avicenna's tomb at Hamadan, but no direct reference to Avicenna
IranB2 (Mi?)
IranB3 (Mi?)
IranB4 (Mi?)
IranB5 (Mi?)
IranB6 (Mi?)1949Surtax for reconstruction of Avicenna's tomb at Hamadan, but no direct reference to Avicenna
IranB7 (Mi?)
IranB8 (Mi?)
IranB9 (Mi?)
IranB10 (Mi?)
IranB11 (Mi?)
IranB12 (Mi?)
IranB13 (Mi?)
IranB14 (Mi?)
IranB15 (Mi?)
IranB17 (Mi?)1950Surtax for reconstruction of Avicenna's tomb at Hamadan, but no direct reference to Avicenna
IranB18 (Mi?)
IranB19 (Mi?)
IranB20 (Mi?)
IranB21 (Mi?)
IranB31 (Mi?)1954Hamadan, site of Avicenna's tomb
IranB32 (Mi?)
IranB33 (Mi?)tower of Avicenna's new tomb
IranB34 (Mi?)Avicenna's old tomb
IranB35 (Mi?)Avicenna's new tomb
IranB31-B35 fdc1Five stamps and cachet on FDC
IranB31-B35 fdc2Five stamps and cachet (slightly different) on FDC
Iran1226 (Mi?)1962Avicenna (at right)
Iran1227 (Mi?)
Iran1226-1227 fdcTwo stamps and cachet on FDC
Iran1773 (Mi?)1974Avicenna (right image of two in upper-right of stamp)
Iran2057 (Mi?)1980al Farabi, al Biruni, and Avicenna (right)
Iran2141 (Mi?)1983
Iran2141 fdcStamp and cachet on FDC
Iran2377 (Mi2349)From pair (2378a (2377-2378))1989
Iran2378 (Mi2350)
Iran2378a fdc1Pair of stamps on FDC
Iran2378a fdc2Pair of stamps on FDC (different)
Iran2378a fdc3Two pair of stamps and cachet on FDC
Iran2529 (Mi?)One of pair (2530a (2529-2530))1992Avicenna treating child
Iran2530a fdcOne of pair of stamps and cancel and cachet (which partially reproduces Iran 2141 at middle-right) on FDC
Iran2895a (Mi?)From strip of 2 (2895 (a-b))2004Avicenna memorial
Iran2895b (Mi?)
Iran2895 folderFolder
IranUnknown1 (Mi?)Stamp and label2009?Avicenna (on label)
IranUnknown2 (Mi?)Avicenna (on label); Avicenna memorial (on stamp)
IranUnknown fdcStamp and label on FDC
Jordan678 (Mi?)1971
Kuwait452 (Mi446)1969
Kuwait453 (Mi447)
Kuwait837 (Mi?)1980
Kuwait838 (Mi?)
Kuwait837-838 fdcTwo stamps on FDC
Lebanon223 (Mi?)1948
Lebanon224 (Mi?)
Lebanon224a (BL?)Two of imperforate MS10 (224a (220-224+C141-C145))
LebanonUnknown (5c)Revenue stamps1961, 1965, 1967, 197?Avicenna (at right)
LebanonUnknown (10c)1961, 1965, 1967, 197?
LebanonUnknown (25c)196?, 197?
Libya872 (Mi?)1980
Mali373 (Mi?)1980
Mali373 dsDeluxe sheet (373)
Mali373 proofDie proof
Mali374 (Mi?)
Mali374 dsDeluxe sheet (374)
Mali374 proofDie proof
Mali374 proofsColour proofs
Mauritania438 (Mi669A)
i438 (Mi669B)

Imperforate
1980(probable) silhouette of Avicenna
Mauritania439 (Mi670A)
i439 (Mi670B)

Imperforate
Pakistan229 (Mi?)1966
Pakistan229 fdcStamp and cachet on FDC
Poland558 (Mi?)1952
Qatar237 (Mi?)1971
Russia (USSR)NoneCachet1962925th anniv. death
Russia (USSR)NoneCachet on stamped envelope1962?925?th anniv. death
Russia (USSR)NoneCachet on stamped envelope1979
Russia (USSR)4852 (Mi?)1980
Russia (USSR)4852 fdcStamp and cancel and cachet on FDC
Russia (USSR)NoneExtra (4852) stamp and cancel and cachet on stamped envelope1980
Russia (USSR)NoneCachet on stamped envelope1983
SomaliaUnknown (Mi?)2004
SyriaC340 (Mi?)1965Avicenna (at right)
Syria932 (Mi1512)1981
Tajikistan267-272 (Mi?)Set of 6 stamps2005
Tunisia762 (Mi?)1980
Turkey2158 (Mi?)1980
Turkey2159 (Mi?)
Turkey2158-2159 fdcTwo stamps and cancel and cachet on FDC
Yemen Arab Republic6677 (Mi531A)
i6677 (Mi531B)

Imperforate
1966
Yemen Arab Republic6680 (Mi534A)
i6680 (Mi534B)

Imperforate
Yemen Arab Republic6681 (BL54)Imperforate SS1


Kuo

Kuo, Shen (Cunzhong, Mengxi Weng)
(1031 - 1095)

Shen Kuo was a Chinese natural philosopher and savant who worked in all scientific areas. He experimented with making weather forecasts and made observations of atmospheric phenomena, some of which he published in 1088 in his Dream Pool Essays. There he included a vivid description of tornadoes, which was the first known discussion of them in east Asia. He also presented his ideas about rainbows: he believed that they were formed through a shadow effect when the sun shone on falling rain. Roger Bacon would later (in the 13th century) conclude that the colours of the rainbow must be caused by the reflection and refraction of sunlight moving through raindrops. Kuo had also thought about refraction in a more general sense: he hypothesized that the sun's rays must refract in the atmosphere before reaching the Earth's surface, so that observers of the sun would not view it in its exact position. This was a novel idea for the time. In 1021 al Haitham in his Book of Optics would also discuss atmospheric refraction (with reference to twilight). In the Essays Kuo also noted a curious type of lightning that would no more than scorch the walls of a house it passed through, but would completely melt any metal objects found inside. Was this related to what is today called 'ball lightning'?

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
China (People's Republic)643 (Mi?)1962
China (People's Republic)644 (Mi?)Kuo making field notes


Averroes

Averroes (Ibn Rushd)
(1126 - 1198)

Averroes was an Andalusian Muslim philosopher, physician and writer. He produced a vast body of work, including commentaries on most of Aristotle's writings. He wrote two commentaries on Aristotle's Meteorologia (Short Commentary on the Meteorologia, and Middle Commentary on the Meteorologia). All his commentaries were translated from Arabic to Latin. In this way, Aristotle's pioneering works in natural philosophy, including meteorology, were transmitted to Europe, where they remained an important force in Western thought through the Middle Ages and the medieval period. In particular, Albertus Magnus commented on and taught the texts of Aristotle through the Latin translations of the commentaries of Averroes. Over the centuries, Averroes' original texts in Arabic were lost, but the Latin translations have survived.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Egypt1095 (Mi?)1978(780th anniv. death)
Egypt1095 fdcStamp and cancel and cachet on FDC
Jordan679 (Mi?)1971
Spain 1461 (Mi?)From MS25 (1461a (25x 1641))1967(840th anniv. birth, in 1966; 770th anniv. death, in 1968)
Spain1461 fdcStamp and cachet on FDC
SpainKM-none5 ecu1 (pattern coin)1993
Syria832 (Mi?)1978(780th anniv. death)
Tunisia1171 (Mi?)1998(800th anniv. death)

1The Ecu (European Currency Unit) was a predecessor to the Euro. This Spanish 5 ecu is a pattern coin, and not legal tender.


Maimonides

Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon)
(1135 - 1204)

Maimonides was a Jewish writer who took a particular interest in questions of public health. He followed in the tradition of Hippocrates, Galen, al Razi and Avicenna. Like them, he believed that climate along with environmental and geographical factors influence diseases, and stressed that physicians should carefully study the climate of certain locations in order to better treat patients and maintain their health. Maimonides recommended the best possible place for the people to live, as follows: "If there is no choice in this matter, for we have grown up in the cities and have become accustomed to them, you should at least select from the cities one of open horizons, especially toward the north and the east, high in the hills or the mountains, and sparse in trees and waters. If you have no choice and cannot emigrate from the city, endeavour at least to dwell on the outskirts ith the city, facing north and east".

In the area of public health, Maimonides recommended fresh air, clean water, and a healthy diet. These were not new ideas, but he was one of the first to place these principles in the context of particular diseases such as asthma.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Antigua and Barbuda860 (Mi?)1985850th anniv. birth
Antigua and Barbuda861 (BL?)SS1
Antigua and Barbuda2385 (Mi3233-3249)In (left) margin of MS17 (2385 (a-q + label))2000"1274: Thomas Aquinas (Naples, 1225), the greatest of the Scholastics, [was] influenced by Albertus Magnus; and Maimonides enlightens European theology with Aristotle's ideas"
Barbuda748 (Mi?)Antigua and Barbuda 860 overprinted1985850th anniv. birth
Barbuda749 (BL?)SS1, Antigua and Barbuda 861 overprinted
BarbudaUnknown (Mi?)In (left) margin of MS17 (a-q + label), Antigua and Barbuda 2385 overprinted2000"1274: Thomas Aquinas (Naples, 1225), the greatest of the Scholastics, [was] influenced by Albertus Magnus; and Maimonides enlightens European theology with Aristotle's ideas"
Bolivia645a (BL149)SS11985850th anniv. birth
Bolivia645a fdcSS1 and cancel on FDC
British PalestineNoneCinderella1930s
ChadUnknown b (Mi?)One of MS9 (a-i)2009
ChadUnknown fdcOne of three stamps on FDC
ChadUnknown ms fdcMS9 on FDC
ChadUnknown b (Mi?)One of MS4 (a-d)
One of imperforate MS4 (a-d)
2009
ChadUnknown iss (BL?)Imperforate SS1
ChadUnknown fdcOne of four stamps on FDC
ChadUnknown ms fdc
Unknown ims fdc
MS4 on FDC
Imperforate MS4 on FDC
Dominica932 (Mi?)1985(850th anniv. birth)
Dominica2185p (Mi?)One stamp and in (left) margin of MS17 (2185 (a-q + label))1999
Gambia2962a-b (Mi?)Strip of 2 (a-b)2005800th anniv. death
Gambia2962 (Mi?)MS4 (2x 2962 (a-b))
Grenada1339 (Mi?)1985(850th anniv. birth)
Grenada401 (Mi?)1971
Grenada402a (BL?)On one of MS2 (402a (401-402))
Grenada Grenadines710 (Mi?)1985(850th anniv. birth)
Grenada Carriacou2611 (Mi?)2005800th anniv. death
Grenada Carriacou2611a (Mi?)MS4 (4x 2611)
Guinea Republic932 (Mi?)1985Maimonides and Cordoba Jewish Quarter; 850th anniv. birth
Guinea Republic932a (BL53)SS1 (932)
Israel74+tab (Mi88+tab)Stamp and tab from MS16 (74a (16x 74))1953
Israel74 fdcStamp on FDC
Israel109 cover (Mi123 cover)Cachet on cover1957
IsraelNoneMedallion?
IsraelP491000 sheqalim (banknote)1983850th anniv. birth
IsraelNone(Espana 84) show card no.61984Contains reproduction of Israel 74
IsraelP51A1 new sheqel (banknote), also back1986(850th anniv. birth)
Israel1114In (upper-right) margin of MS3 (a-c)1992
IsraelNone(Grenada 92) show card no.291992Contains Israel 1114 and reproduction of Israel 74
Israel1604+tab (Mi?+tab)Stamp and tab from MS6 (1604a (6x 1604)2005(800th anniv. death)
Israel1604 maxi1Maxicard
Israel1604 maxi2Maxicard (different)
Israel1604a fdcMS6 and cancel and cachet on FDC
IsraelNone fdc1automat stamp on FDC2005(800th anniv. death)
IsraelNone fdc2automat stamp on FDC (different)
IsraelP51A + stamps1 new sheqel (banknote) pair with stamps and cancels2005(800th anniv. death)
Lesotho495 (Mi?)1985(850th anniv. birth)
Micronesia355k (Mi?)One stamp and in (left) margin of MS17 (355 (a-q + label))1999"1135: Birth of Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides"
MozambiqueUnknown ss (BL?)SS12009
ParaguayC629 (BL424)On stamp of SS11985850th anniv. birth
Portugal2658 (Mi?)2004Mishnah Tora of Maimonides
St. Vincent3454a (Mi?)From vertical pair (3454 (a-b)); note the yellow frame on "a" and yellow and black frame on "b"2005800th anniv. death
St. Vincent3454b (Mi?)
St. Vincent3454c (BL?)MS4 (2x (3454 (a-b)))
Sierra Leone743 (Mi?)1985(850th anniv. birth)
Sierra Leone2789 (Mi?)2005800th anniv. death
Sierra Leone2789a (Mi?)MS4 (4x 2789)
Spain1462 fdcCachet on FDC1967
Spain1463 (Mi?)
Spain1461+1463 fdcOne of two stamps and cachet on FDC
Spain2872 (Mi?)1996Maimonides memorial in Cordoba
Uruguay2078 (Mi?)2004(800th anniv. death)
Uruguay2078 fdcStamp and cancel and cachet on FDC


Magnus

Magnus, St. Albertus
(1193? - 1280)

St. Albertus Magnus was a Dominican scientist and philosopher. He has been called the "Doctor Universalis" in recognition of his vast learning. His writings on the natural sciences include physics, meteorology, geology, physiology, and plant and animal life. He was one of the primary transmitters of Greek philosophy, and in particular commented on and taught the texts of Aristotle in Paris through the translations of Averroes.

Magnus was the first to propose the idea that each drop of falling rain had the form of a small sphere, and that this form meant that the rainbow was produced by light interacting with each raindrop. However, he thought that the colours were produced somehow within the curtain of drops, by the unknown effects of some kind of layering.

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Antigua and Barbuda2385 (Mi3233-3249)In (left) margin of MS17 (2385 (a-q + label))2000"1274: Thomas Aquinas (Naples, 1225), the greatest of the Scholastics, [was] influenced by Albertus Magnus; and Maimonides enlightens European theology with Aristotle's ideas"
BarbudaUnknown (Mi?)In (left) margin of MS17 (a-q + label), Antigua and Barbuda 2385 overprinted2000"1274: Thomas Aquinas (Naples, 1225), the greatest of the Scholastics, [was] influenced by Albertus Magnus; and Maimonides enlightens European theology with Aristotle's ideas"
Belgium713 (Mi?)
i713

Imperforate
1969
GermanyNoneCinderella (poster stamp)pre-WWI(700th anniv. death)
Germany (West)824 (Mi?)1961
Germany (West)1328 (Mi1049)1980
Germany (West)1328 blackBlackprint
Germany (West)1328-1329 fdc1One of two stamps and cachet on FDC
Germany (West)1328-1329 fdc2One of two stamps and cachet (different) on FDC
Germany (West)1328-1329 scSouvenir card
Germany (West)1328-1329 black scBlackprint souvenir card
Vatican City677 (Mi?)1980(700th anniv. death)
Vatican City678 (Mi?)


Khan

Khan, Kublai
(1215 - 1294)

Kublai Khan was a Mongol leader who according to Marco Polo maintained some 5000 court astrologers, whose duties included the hazardous task of weather prediction. Why so many? Guessing wrong, he explained, could lead to "early retirement".

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Antigua and Barbuda2385o (Mi3247)One stamp and in (left) margin of MS17 (2385 (a-q + label)) (Mi3233-3249)2000"1294: Kublai Khan dies. Grandson of Genghis Khan, he was a brilliant statesman, the last great emperor of the Mongol dynasty that completed the unification of China."
BarbudaUnknown o (Mi?)One stamp and in (left) margin of MS17 (a-q + label), Antigua and Barbuda 2385o overprinted2000"1294: Kublai Khan dies. Grandson of Genghis Khan, he was a brilliant statesman, the last great emperor of the Mongol dynasty that completed the unification of China."
Grenada Carriacou2229c (Mi?)One of MS6 (2229 (a-f))2000"Queen of Kublai Khan"
Liberia1341 (Mi?)1998
MaliUnknown ms (BL?)MS2 (a-b)2010
MongoliaUnknown ms (BL?)MS2 (a-b)2012
Sierra Leone2316 (BL?)SS12000


Aquinas

Aquinas, St. Thomas
(1225 - 1274)

St. Thomas Aquinas was a philosopher and theologian from the Kingdom of Naples. In his Summa Theologica, Aquinas wrote about the diabolical origin of storms: "Rains and winds, and whatsoever occurs by local impulse alone, can be caused by demon It is a dogma of faith that the demons can produce wind, storms, and a rain of fire from heaven". Aquinas also wrote that bells, "provided they have been duly consecrated and baptised, are the foremost means of frustrating the atmospheric mischiefs of the devil, for the tones of the consecrated metal repel the demons and avert storm and lightning".

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Andorra (French Admin.)303 (Mi?)1982
Antigua and Barbuda2385h (Mi3240)One stamp and in (left) margin of MS17 (2385 (a-q + label)) (Mi3233-3249)20001274: Thomas Aquinas (Naples, 1225), the greatest of the Scholastics, [was] influenced by Albertus Magnus; and Maimonides enlightens European theology with Aristotle's ideas; (725th anniv. death, in 1999)
BarbudaUnknown h (Mi?)One stamp and in (left) margin of MS17 (a-q + label), Antigua and Barbuda 2385h overprinted20001274: Thomas Aquinas (Naples, 1225), the greatest of the Scholastics, [was] influenced by Albertus Magnus; and Maimonides enlightens European theology with Aristotle's ideas; (725th anniv. death, in 1999)
BelgiumB119 (Mi338)1932Bust of Aquinas (at right) and Cardinal Mercier
BelgiumB121 (Mi340)
Bhutan1318 (Mi?)MS4 (1318a (4x 1318))2000(725th anniv. death, in 1999)
Germany (West)1134 (Mi?)1974(700th anniv. death)
Germany (West)1134 fdcStamp and cachet on FDC
ItalyNoneCinderella (poster stamp)~1923600th anniv. canonization, 1323
Italy1164 (Mi?)1974(700th anniv. death)
Sierra Leone1487A (Mi?)
i1487A

Imperforate
1992Aquinas' visit to St. Bonaventure
Vatican City557a (Mi?)Strip of 3 (555-557)1974(700th anniv. death)
Vatican City555 maxiMaxicard
Vatican City556 maxiMaxicard


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Updated: 2014-04-16