The Myths and Folklore Wiki is a website for cataloging, studying, and celebrating the various mythological and folkloric traditions that have existed throughout humanity. Our goal is to create a website that serves as an open, easy access, and scholarly resource in the study of mythology and folklore. We plan to fulfill this goal by creating accessible, easy to understand articles on both mythology and folklore that are accurate and credibly sourced. Feel free to jump right in and begin adding material to existing articles or create new ones!
The Phoenix (Ancient Greek: Φοῖνιξ (Phoînix)) is a mythical, sacred firebird that can be found in the mythologies of the Greeks, and Romans. The Phoenix may have been inspired by a similar creature from Egyptian mythology called the Bennu. In later time periods, Christians used the Phoenix as both an allegory of and proof for Christ's death and resurrection.
The appearance of the Phoenix differs over time depending on the source. According to Herodotus, the Phoenix is an eagle-like bird with red and gold feathers. In Roman wall art, the Phoenix is depicted as having a crest similar to a peacock's. In Medieval Christian Bestiaries, the Phoenix was considered to be Phoenician purple in color, as an explanation for it's name. The most extensive and imaginative description of a Phoenix comes from "The Travels of Sir John Mandeville," which was a supposed travel memoire written in the 14th century CE by an unknown author:
"This bird men see often-time fly in those countries; and he is not mickle more than an eagle. And he hath a crest of feathers upon his head more great than the peacock hath; and is neck his yellow after colour of an oriel that is a stone well shining, and his beak is coloured blue as ind (indigo); and his wings be of purple colour, and his tail is barred overthwart (crosswise) with green and yellow and red. And he is a full fair bird to look upon, against the sun, for he shineth full gloriously and nobly."
The Phoenix is a mythical bird with colorful plumage that is said to be either from Arabia or India. There is only ever one Phoenix alive at a time. It has a 500 year life-cycle, near the end of which, it builds itself a nest of incense and sacred materials that it then ignites. The bird is then consumed by the fire of it's nest, but from it's ashes a young Phoenix arises, reborn anew. The newborn Phoenix is destined to live as long as its previous incarnation. In some stories, the new Phoenix embalms the ashes of its old self in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis (literally "Sun-City" in Greek).