Phoenix (mythology)

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This article is about the bird Phoenix. For other things that the word "Phoenix" means, go to Phoenix (disambiguation).'

The phoenix is ​​the sacred bird of myth, mentioned in Persian, Greek, Egyptian, and Chinese mythology. But once every thousand years, he spreads his wings and sings over a large mass of firewood, and when he is overjoyed by his song, he kindles a fire in his beak, and when it burns in the fire, an egg emerges from it, which immediately catches fire and burns. Another phoenix is ​​born from its ashes. Phoenix is ​​considered a symbol of immortality and longevity in most cultures. But some cultures have attributed other characteristics to him. The story goes that the bird lives for several hundred years before it dies by setting itself on fire. However, it then starts a new life from the ashes of the fire.


In European culture[change | change source]

In English culture, the Phoenix is ​​a mythical bird, very beautiful and unique in its kind, which, according to legend, lives in the western desert for 500 or 600 years, burns itself on a pile of debris, and from the resulting ashes, he himself once again. He emerges with a youthful freshness and begins and passes another round of life. Phoenix in European culture is often an allegory of immortality and eternal life. Phoenix originally entered European culture from ancient Iran. During the eight centuries BC, the Phoenix bird is mentioned in nine references, eight of which have come down to us through quotations from later authors, and only one case by Herodotus, a Greek historian from 484 to 424 BC, is preserved in full. remained. Another Greek, Claudius Aelianus, also known as Aelian, wrote about Phoenix 200 AD: "Phoenix keeps the arithmetic of 500 years correct without the help of arithmetic or finger counting, because he learns everything from nature, which is the whole intellect. Although it seems necessary to know about Phoenix, among the Egyptians - perhaps only a handful of priests - no one knows when 500 years will pass, but at least we need to know where Egypt is and Heliopolis where Phoenix is. "Where is it and what kind of coffin does this bird put its father in and where does it bury it?" According to the English text, this historian calls Phoenix's father a father, but calls Phoenix the neutral form (it). Subsequent authors have often used the feminine form for Phoenix, but since this bird is a unique myth and its offspring did not derive from mating, the discussion of its sex did not seem to be very important. A Roman historian named Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, is the first Roman to write about Phoenix in Latin. "How many creatures walk on earth today, but in the beginning they were different. There is only one being that will remain forever as it was from the beginning, that is, it will remain unchanged for many years, and finally, after extinction, it will be born again in its original form. This is a bird that the Assyrians, or in some sources probably the Syrians or the Phoenicians, call the phoenix. This bird does not eat ordinary seeds and grass, but eats fruit extracts and rare spices. When he is 500 years old, he builds a nest on a tall palm tree and with his fork makes a bed for himself from the finest materials, from tree bark to cinnamon and other spices and gums, and then he dies and his soul travels far away with fragrant smoke and steam, and the story It goes on to say that a small phoenix then rises from the chest of his lifeless body to live, as they say, another 500 years, and at that time, after his old age, he found the necessary courage to raise his throne and nests where his father is buried. A tall palm tree sets in motion and begins its journey to the city of the sun, where the Phoenix Nest Temple shines brightly in the Temple of the Sun. ” From all that has been said about the phoenix in European culture, two general accounts of the phoenix can be given: First, Phoenix arises from his father's lifeless body and takes his father's body to the city of Heliopolis and burns it on the altar of the Temple of the Sun; And another narration is that the phoenix burns in a pile of fragrant wood and debris, flutters its wings and ignites a flame, burns itself in the fire, and from its ashes another phoenix is ​​born. So, in a nutshell, this myth can be said in European culture: "The phoenix burns in the fire and is born again from its ashes." In this regard, it is common in English to say, "Every fire may contain a phoenix.

In Modern Egypt[change | change source]

During the first century AD, Phoenix was mentioned 21 times by ten authors. From all these sources it appears that the myth of Phoenix originated in ancient Egyptian civilization and was later spoken of in Greek, Roman and Christian civilizations, respectively. Among the Egyptians, the myth of Phoenix was originally the myth of the sun rising again at dawn after each night, and the name of the city of Heliopolis in Herodotus must have been related to this. The Egyptians consider the phoenix a sacred bird, which is very rare. According to the people of Heliopolis, the phoenix appears in Egypt once every 500 years after the death of the previous phoenix. There are only a few pictures of this bird, and as can be seen from its shape and size in these pictures, the wings and jump are red and yellow are golden, and its general size is like an eagle. A strange story is told about the work of this bird, and that is that this bird brings its father's body, which is covered with a kind of fragrant plant gum, all the way from the Arab land to the Temple of the Sun and buries it there. It is said that in order to bring a corpse, first it makes a gum large enough to carry it, then it empties it and puts the corpse in it and closes its mouth with fresh gum, and then the bullet, which is correct. It has regained its original weight, is brought to Egypt, and while the entire surface of the bullet is covered with gum, it is placed inside the Temple of the Sun, as mentioned. In

In Persian mythology[change | change source]

Persian mythology, the phoenix means swan, a counterpart to the Indo-European and Chinese word phoenix, and appears to be the result of an arrangement of a pheasant, a Chinese chicken, and a mixture with other mythical birds. In Persian narrations, like in Indo-European narrations, this hen is a rare and lonely hen that is not a mate and as a result, she will not give birth. Phoenix lives a thousand years, and when his life comes to an end, he produces a large pile of firewood, and when he sits on that pile, he sings so much that he rejoices in his song, and by breaking his wings and with the help of his beak, he kindles a fire, and burns in the door. Fire produces a testicle (egg) from him and thus another phoenix is ​​born. In this narrative, Phoenix is ​​the swan counterpart in European literature who ends his life by singing. Basically, in Persian literature, as in Indo-European literature, burning in one's suffering and rising from one's ashes and being born again have their way into the myth of Phoenix. In Chinese mythological culture, the phoenix is ​​known as Feng Huang or the red bird, which is a genus of fire and is a symbol of summer and the south, which causes drought. For this reason, Phoenix contains the negative and material element of the world, namely yin, and is considered the symbol of the queen. In front of the phoenix is ​​the dragon, which is always considered to be the representative of Khaqan in Chinese mythology. According to Chinese tradition, the phoenix flies less to the surface of the earth, and when it does, all the birds gather around it. According to Koyaji about Phoenix, he does not sit on the ground, but whenever he sits on the ground, he dances on one foot. Some have suggested that the Chinese phoenix is ​​the counterpart of Shang Shang or the rainbird in the Confucian version, while the Shang Shang or rainbird is the bird that symbolizes the yin, but the phoenix is ​​commonly considered the symbol of the yang. Phoenix in Chinese mythology is a symbol of joy and happiness and a sign of heavenly satisfaction. In these myths, the dragon is the spirit of the rain and the symbol of Khaqan, and the phoenix is ​​the symbol of the queen and the south and the helper of the farmers.

In Chinese mythology[change | change source]

In Chinese mythology, the red bird or phoenix was a symbol of the south and was worshipped. Phoenix later replaced the pheasant. In the surviving maps, this bird had a curved beak, a long, sharp claw in the shape of a bird of prey, and was considered a help to farmers on the arid farms of the south. There is another phoenix in Chinese mythology called Qi Sang or Phoenix of the Mountains. This phoenix is ​​the phoenix that provided the map of rivers to Yu in the time of the Athenian dynasty.

THE feng, or phoenix, is the legendary king of all avian species according to Chinese myth.

“A Hundred Birds Paying Homage to the Phoenix” is one of the most popular themes in traditional Chinese painting. This is also the name of a traditional Chinese music piece featuring complicated suona playing skills.

According to Chinese legend, the phoenix was originally an inconspicuous bird with a plain appearance. Unlike most birds that busied themselves with playing around, he collected fruit and seeds in his den from dawn to dust. Unable to understand his behavior, other birds mocked him for being greedy.

Later, an unexpected draught left many birds without anything to eat. The phoenix opened his den, and shared his food with the other birds, saving their lives.

When the rain finally returned, bringing life back to the forest, the birds wanted to show their gratitude to the phoenix. Each bird pulled out one of their most beautiful feathers, and together they made the feathers into a dazzling garment. They presented the garment to the phoenix, and crowned him as their king.

Hence, each year, all birds will fly to the phoenix on one particular day, and pay their respects to the king. This image has inspired countless artists.

Though the phoenix is often called fenghuang today, the words feng and huang originally referred to a pair of colorful birds. Feng is a male bird and huang is female. However, just as the Chinese dragon was used as a symbol for the emperor in the royal court, the phoenix, with its beautiful appearance, was selected to symbolize the empress. The empress’s crown at formal events was usually called the “phoenix crown,” while her dress was called the “phoenix dress.” Both crowns and dresses were decorated with many phoenix images.

Thus, the phoenix and dragon became “golden partners,” and they often appear together in phrases with positive connotations. “Prosperity brought by the dragon and the phoenix” (long feng cheng xiang) is widely used as an expression of luck. “The talent of the dragon and the presence of the phoenix” (long zhang feng zi) is an expression used to describe the elegance of a person. “The dragon flies and phoenix rises” (long fei feng qi) refers to when an emperor or a saint appears. “Dragon’s heart and phoenix’s liver” (long xin feng gan) refer to a precious and rare dishes. “Climb the dragon and attach to the phoenix” (pan long fu feng) means to flatter the powerful for one’s own benefit.

And phoenix’s powers are also to some extent complimentary to the dragon’s. While the Chinese dragon can summon wind and call for rain, the phoenix is capable of manipulating fire.

However, the phoenix in Chinese myth did not have the ability of rising from the ashes until contemporary litterateur Guo Moruo used the concept of the Western phoenix in his poetry.

Phoenix in Literature[change | change source]

Phoenix Short Story by Sylvia Town Sand Warner Edited In the book Phoenix by Sylvia Townsend, Warner Phoenix depicts a mythical creature as a reality and symbolizes the identity and existence of a nation, which is a toy of the lusts and desires of profiteers. In this short and influential story. The Phoenix is ​​a beautiful, ancient Eastern bird that lives in a region in the Middle East near Saudi Arabia when it is captured by a British capitalist named "Mr. Paldero" and imprisoned in a cage to make money from displaying it in a zoo. He pockets well, but after a while, when he sees that the phoenix in the cage and captivity is not attractive to the people and does not attract the attention of the people, he decides to make a humble and ridiculous creature out of this magnificent bird in order to be interesting to the people. Reach. He constantly torments this bird, but finally, after enduring a lot of hardship and oppression, Phoenix rises like a nation under oppression and tyranny, burns all those who caused his suffering in his fire, and is born again free. . In part of the story we read:  "The other birds were taken to his cage. Inherently fierce and warlike birds. They beheaded Phoenix and harassed him; But Phoenix was so sociable and kind that other birds gave up on him after a day or two of hostility. Mr. Paldero then used stray cats. They could no longer leave the field with good manners. But Phoenix flew quickly over their heads and fluttered his golden wings in their faces, frightening them. The phoenix was transferred to a small cage with a sprinkler on the roof. The sprinkler was turned on every night, and Phoenix coughed. Mr. Paldero had another idea in mind. Every day he stood in front of the phoenix cage, mocking and ridiculing it, and abusing it. When spring came, Mr. Paldero was thinking of starting a public campaign about the declining phoenix. "Phoenix, which has long been popular, is declining," he said. Then, a few days later, Mr. Paldero put the stinking phoenix reaction in the cage to put the stinking straw bundles and some rusty barbed wire in the cage to see if he was still inclined to nest. One day Phoenix began to wander in the straw and grass. Mr. Paldero signed a contract for the filming rights. Finally the promised day arrived. It had been a few weeks since people became more and more interested in Phoenix, and the right to enter had reached five shillings. All around the fence was a roaring crowd. Lights and cameras were aimed at the cage, and a speaker through the loudspeaker seldom reminded the audience of what was happening. "Phoenix is ​​the aristocrat of the bird world," the speaker said. "Only the rarest and most precious specimens of Oriental wood, impregnated with perfume, can seduce Phoenix to establish its legendary love nest." At this moment, clean bundles of fragrant sticks and wood chips were thrown into the cage. The speaker continued from the speaker: "Phoenix, like Cleopatra, is capricious, and like a magnificent charm, like the native music of intoxicated gypsies. "All the splendor of the ancient East, its eternal magic, and its skillful tyranny." A woman in the crowd shouted, "Look, she wants to set herself on fire." Trembling fell on the phoenix horns. He turned his head from side to side. He came down and walked back and forth from his seat. He moved the chips and sticks with fatigue and exhaustion. The cameras started working and light shone on Phoenix from all sides. "Ladies and gentlemen," said Mr. Paldero, running to the speaker. This is an exciting moment that the world is waiting for with its soul trapped in its chest. The legend of centuries ago is unfolding before our eyes today. The phoenix sat on a pile of wood that burned like a fire, as if asleep. "If that was the whole story, write down the educational film," said the film's director. At that moment, Phoenix and his nest suddenly ignited. The sparks rose up and spread to all sides. "In a minute or two, everything turned to ashes, and several thousand people, including Mr. Paldero, died in the fire."

In Persian Literature[change | change source]

In ancient Persian poetry, only Attar Neyshabouri mentions Phoenix in his poems. He also considered the phoenix as other mortal beings and emphasized the pervasiveness of the phenomenon of death. In the logic of Attar al-Tair, the phoenix is ​​the heart of the bird of your heart, which is its refuge in India. He is a bird that has about a hundred holes in his beak and he is not a pair; According to the narration, the phoenix sits in the heights and when the wind blows on his beak, a pleasant melody appears and other birds gather around him with this song and become intoxicated and hunted by him. In his poems, Attar Neyshabouri mentions the phoenix as a bird that has 360 holes on its tip and a pleasant melody comes out of each hole. He knows the origin of the phoenix in India.

References[change | change source]

John. Russell. Heinels (2006), Understanding Persian Mythology

Anthony Christie, Chinese Mythology

Phoenix. Encyclopædia Britannica, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. <>.