Thunder on the left

English translation: seems to mean just that

09:34 Oct 25, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
English term or phrase: Thunder on the left
Back in the classical times of Greece and Rome, the superstition persisted that "Thunder on the left means the gods are displeased with us mortals."

I'm not sure what this means. The thunder really comes from the left? Thanks for any help!
CristinaPereira
Local time: 10:27
English translation:seems to mean just that
Explanation:
Many early cultures believed thunder was an omen. For example, the Greeks thought thunder on the right was a good omen; however, the Romans regarded thunder on the left as favourable. Both agreed that thunder in the east was more favourable than thunder in the west -- perhaps because, since weather generally moves from west to east, thunder to the east means the tempest has passed.
http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/elements/thunder1.htm
Selected response from:

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:27
Grading comment
Yes, now I'm conviced. Thank you, and all the others that helped!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +4anything "on the left" was said to be bad news
xxxCMJ_Trans
3 +4seems to mean just that
Jack Doughty
3thunder
petya yakova


  

Answers


10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
thunder on the left
seems to mean just that


Explanation:
Many early cultures believed thunder was an omen. For example, the Greeks thought thunder on the right was a good omen; however, the Romans regarded thunder on the left as favourable. Both agreed that thunder in the east was more favourable than thunder in the west -- perhaps because, since weather generally moves from west to east, thunder to the east means the tempest has passed.
http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/elements/thunder1.htm

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:27
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 80
Grading comment
Yes, now I'm conviced. Thank you, and all the others that helped!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Dave Calderhead
4 mins
  -> Thank you.

agree  Elizabeth Lyons
1 hr
  -> Thank you.

agree  Clauwolf: no problem, go to the other side and good luck!
5 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
6 hrs
  -> Thank you.
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23 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
thunder on the left
thunder


Explanation:
KYKLOPES & THE TITAN-WAR

"And he [Zeus] set free from their deadly bonds the brothers of his father [Kyklopes], sons of Ouranos whom his father in his foolishness had bound. And they remembered to be grateful to him for his kindness, and gave him thunder and the glowing thunderbolt and lightening: for before that, huge Earth had hidden these. In them he trusts and rules over mortals and immortals." - Hesiod, Theogony 492

"All mine [Zeus'] armoury [lightning] which the Kyklopes' might to win my favour wrought with tireless hands." - Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 14.445

"After ten years of fighting Ge prophesied a victory for Zeus if he were to secure the prisoners down in Tartaros as his allies. He thereupon slew their jail-keeper Kampe, and freed them from their bonds. In return the Kyklopes gave Zeus thunder, lightning, and a thunderbolt, as well as a helmet for Plouton and a trident for Poseidon. Armed with these the three gods overpowered the Titanes, confined them in Tartaros, and put the Hekatonkheires in charge of guarding them." - Apollodorus, The Library 1.1-7

petya yakova
Bulgaria
Local time: 12:27
Native speaker of: Native in BulgarianBulgarian
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32 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +4
anything "on the left" was said to be bad news


Explanation:
and since the word for left in Latin was "sinister", this is why the word "sinister" has its present meaning in English (and other languages)

xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 11:27
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Balaban Cerit: yes, the Romans originally regarded the left as "the lucky side". "However, they later changed back to the Greek methods" and began to associate the left -hand side with evil. (http://www.anythingleft-handed.co.uk/lefty_myths.html)
1 hr

agree  Arcoiris: Agree with the explanation regarding left and sinister, but how could they tell if the thunder was from the left? surely that depends where you are facing, and if you turn around 180 degrees, your left is on the other side! I agree anyway
2 hrs
  -> that is the whole point - you can lake it up as you go along and it will always fit! It's called hindsight

agree  jccantrell: And to answer the question, yes, the thunder WAS coming from the left.
4 hrs

agree  RHELLER: thunder was heard on one's left side - superstitions are usually NOT logical :-)
5 hrs
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