The Phoenix (the myth)

Posted by: Maria Atalanti

Published on: 20/12/2020

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The Phoenix is a mythological bird. It is mentioned first by Hesiod, and then by Herodotus (ancient Greek historians). It is also mentioned by the Latin poet Ovid as well as by Lucius Lactantius, author of the early Christian period.

Furthermore, it is an immortal bird, beautiful, with golden wings, that every 500 years dies, burnt in its nest and at the same time reborn to live another 500 or, for others, 1000 years. At the time of his death, a wonderful smell fills the atmosphere from the burning myrrh in its nest. Before being engulfed in flames, he appears in the world, and his arrival portends important events for mankind. His song is so melodic that no one can reproduce. It is said that at the time of his burning he sounds the sweetest of singing.

It is also impressive that this bird refers to many ancient mythologies such as Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Persian, Slavic, and even to South African and ancient cultures of Central and South America. Although some of these peoples had relations with each other, it is interesting that it is presented to others who had no communication. It is also noticed that for the early Christians, the Phoenix represents the Christ.

The Phoenix, as a symbol, was used, and it is used by alchemists and many other groups or movements who wanted or want to declare the rebirth they expect through their activities and actions. In modern literature, among others, it was used by the author J.K. Rowling, in the best-seller book and film of Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).

For the origin of his name, there are several versions. That it comes from the word “φοινός”, which means purple, from the word “φοίνικας” (palm tree) on which it builds its nest to be reborn, or from the ancient country of Phoenicia, where it lived. Babiniotis in his dictionary mentions the origin of the word: unknown origin, although it is believed that the word has Egyptian origin (Egyptian bnu/ bjn) while, according to another view, the origin is Semitic.

 

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Sources:
Internet – Wikipedia
https://www.willowisps.gr/main/-/2/2/2018
G. Babiniotiis dictionary of the Greek language

 

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