Phoenix (mythology)

A phoenix depicted in a book of legendary creatures by FJ Bertuch (1747–1822)

In Greek mythology, a phoenix (s/; Ancient Greek: φοῖνιξ, phoînix) is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again.

Associated with the Sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. According to some sources, the phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, although there are other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again.[1] There are different traditions concerning the lifespan of the phoenix, but by most accounts the phoenix lived for 500 years before rebirth.[2] Herodotus, Lucan, Pliny the Elder, Pope Clement I, Lactantius, Ovid, and Isidore of Seville are among those who have contributed to the retelling and transmission of the phoenix motif.

In ancient Greece and Rome, the phoenix was associated with Phoenicia, (modern Lebanon), a civilization famous for its production of purple dye from conch shells.

In the historical record, the phoenix "could symbolize renewal in general as well as the sun, time, the Empire, metempsychosis, consecration, resurrection, life in the heavenly Paradise, Christ, Mary, virginity, the exceptional man, and certain aspects of Christian life".[3]


Satellite photo of Lebanon (ancient Phoenicia), a civilization famous for its production of purple dye from conch shells

The modern English noun phoenix derives from Middle English phenix (before 1150), itself from Old English fēnix (around 750). A once-common typological variant is phœnix. Old English fēnix was borrowed from Medieval Latin phenix, which is derived from Classical Latin phoenīx. The Classical Latin phoenīx represents Greek φοῖνιξ phoinīx.[4].

In ancient Greece and Rome, the phoenix was sometimes associated with the similar-sounding Phoenicia (modern Lebanon), a civilization famous for its production of purple dye from conch shells. A late antique etymology offered by the 6th- and 7th-century CE archbishop Isidore of Seville accordingly derives the name of the phoenix from its allegedly purple-red hue. Because the costly purple dye was associated with the upper classes in antiquity and, later, with royalty, in the medieval period the phoenix was considered "the royal bird".[5]

In spite of these folk etymologies, with the deciphering of the Linear B script in the 20th century, the original Greek φοῖνιξ was decisively shown to be derived from Mycenaean Greek po-ni-ke, itself open to a variety of interpretations.[6]

Other Languages
العربية: عنقاء
azərbaycanca: Simurq
беларуская: Фенікс (міфалогія)
български: Феникс
bosanski: Feniks
brezhoneg: Feniks
čeština: Fénix
Cymraeg: Ffenics
eesti: Fööniks
español: Fénix
Esperanto: Fenikso (birdo)
euskara: Fenix
فارسی: ققنوس
français: Phénix
Gaelg: Beaynushag
Gàidhlig: Ainneamhag
galego: Fénix
한국어: 불사조
hrvatski: Feniks
Bahasa Indonesia: Feniks
íslenska: Fönix
italiano: Fenice
עברית: עוף החול
қазақша: Самұрық құсы
Latina: Phoenix
latviešu: Fēnikss
lietuvių: Feniksas
magyar: Főnix
македонски: Феникс (птица)
مصرى: العنقاء
Bahasa Melayu: Phoenix
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဇာမဏီ
Nederlands: Feniks
occitan: Fènix
polski: Feniks
português: Fénix
русский: Феникс
Simple English: Phoenix (mythology)
slovenčina: Fénix (vták)
slovenščina: Feniks
کوردی: قەقنەس
српски / srpski: Феникс
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Feniks
suomi: Feeniks
svenska: Fenix
тоҷикӣ: Қуқнус
Türkçe: Feniks
українська: Фенікс
اردو: ققنس
中文: 不死鳥