FIRE AND FIREBIRDS : FROM PHOENIXTO FENICE
Octobre 2012 André J. Fabre
Myths and legends on a mythical firebird can be found all over the world
Its most celebrated appearance was a firebird named
In fact, there are several meanings for the word,
.PHOENIX THE FIREBIRD FROM EGYPT
Semis de roses et Phénix, mosaïque de sol (détail), maison de l'Atrium à Antioche, Ve siècle
Originally, the phoenix was identified by the Egyptians as a stork or heron-like bird called a benu, known from the Book of the Dead and other Egyptian texts as one of the sacred symbols of worship at Heliopolis, closely associated with the rising sun and the Egyptian sun-god Ra. The winged sun disk symbol of ancient
The Greeks identified it with their own word phoenix, meaning the color purple-red or crimson (cf.
They and the Romans subsequently pictured the bird more like a peacock or an eagle and, on late chronology, the myth of firebird
HERODOTUS (484-425 BC) 
"They have also another sacred bird called the phoenix which I myself have never seen, except in pictures. Indeed it is a great rarity, even in
They tell a story of what this bird does, which does not seem to me to be credible: that he comes all the way from Arabia, and brings the parent bird, all plastered over with myrrh, to the temple of the Sun, and there buries the body.
In order to bring him, they say, he first forms a ball of myrrh as big as he finds that he can carry; then he hollows out the ball, and puts his parent inside, after which he covers over the opening with fresh myrrh, and the ball is then of exactly the same weight as at first; so he brings it to Egypt, plastered over as I have said, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun."
OVID (43 BC-17 AD) 
 "Now these I named derive their origin from other living forms. There is one bird which reproduces and renews itself: the Assyrians gave this bird his name—the
[PLINY THE ELDER (23-79 AD)
"By report he is as big as an eagle: for color, as yellow and bright as gold; (namely, all about the neck;) the rest of the body a deep red purple: the tail azure blew, intermingled with feathers among, of rose carnation color: and the head bravely adorned with a crest and panache finely wrought; having a tuft and plume thereupon, fair and goodly to be seen. "
“Here reported, that never man was known to see him feeding : that in Arabia he is held a sacred bird, dedicated unto the Sun: that he lives 660 years: and when he grows old, and begins to decay, he builds himself a nest with the twigs and branches of the Cannel or Cinnamon, and Frankincense trees: and when he has filled it with all sort of sweet aromatic spices, yields up his life thereupon.” 
“…of his bones & marrow there breeds at first as it were a little worm: which afterwards proves to bee a pretty bird.”(The History of Nature or The Naturall History Of the
Much later arrives the myth of a
TACITUS Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus (ca. 56 – ca. 117)
Tacitus (Ann. vi. 28) says that the young bird lays his father on the altar in the city of the sun, or burns him there; but the most familiar form of the legend is that in the Physiologus, where the phoenix is described as an Indian bird which subsists on air for Soo years, after which, lading his wings with spices, he flies to Heliopolis, enters the temple there, and is burned to ashes on the altar. Next day the young phoenix is already feathered; on the third day his pinions are full grown, he salutes the priest and flies away. The period at which the phoenix reappears is very variously stated, some authors giving as much as 1461 or even 7006 years, but 500 years is the period usually named; and Tacitus tells us that the bird was said to have appeared first under Sesostris (Senwosri), then under Amasis (Ahmosi) under Ptolemy III., and once again in A.D. 34, after an interval so short that the genuineness of the last phoenix was suspected. The phoenix that was shown at Rome in the year of the secular games (A.D. 47) was universally admitted to be an imposture.2 The form and variations of these stories characterize them as popular tales rather than official theology; but they evidently must have had points of attachment in the mystic religion of Egypt, and indeed both Horapollon and Tacitus speak of the phoenix as a symbol of the sun.
During th 1st century and after comes the story of a
Marcus Valerius Martialis (Martial) (38-102 AD) 
To Vulcan, on the restoration of thecity after being partially destroyed by fire.
As the flames renew the nest of the Assyrian phoenix, when ever the solitary bird has lived through its ten centuries so
.Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Lucan) (39-65 AD)
"Then copious poisons from the moon distils / Mixed with all monstrous things which Nature's pangs / Bring to untimely birth ... nor ashes fail / Snatched from an altar where the
Publius Papinius Statius (Stace) (40-96)
One inspiration that has been suggested for the Egyptian phoenix is the flamingo of
The typical flamingo diet consists of diatoms, seeds, blue-green alage, crustaceans, and mollusks they filter out of the water. Using their long legs and partially webbed feet, flamingos will stamp on the muddy bottom of lagoons to mix the food particles with the water. Different species of flamingo have slightly different shaped bills; the different shapes helping it obtain slightly different types of food. Flamingos drink fresh water.
Flamingos use their large beaks to filter small food items from the water. A flamingo lowers its head into the water, upside-down. It moves its head from side to side, collecting the food/water mixture. The spiny, piston-like tongue acts to pump the water mixture past the toothlike ridges on the outside of the beak and the lamellae, or finger-like projections, inside the beak. The lamellae act as strainers to remove the food particles from the water.
Flamingos live in large groups all year long called colonies. Tens of thousands of flamingos can live in one colony! Within a colony, flamingos breed in pairs. Every pair of flamingos does not breed every year, however. Breeding
Flamingos are able to reproduce by the age of about six. There is no specific season associated with breeding, but it seems to be correlated with rain. Nest building may depend on rainfall and its effect on food supply.
When they are ready to lay their breed, birds will form pairs. Within the whole colony, groups of birds will be engaged in courtship displays -, a predictable sequence of displays including marching and head turning, calling and preening. Several hundred to several thousand flamingos are all doing the same behaviors at the same time. This helps to synchronize breeding within the colony, so that most of the birds are laying eggs or raising young at the same time.
Every flamingo does not nest every year. When they do nest, they typically lay one large, white egg. The nest is built of mud, small stones, and feathers on the ground and is in the shape of a volcano. Mounds can be as high as
Newly hatched chicks have gray or white down feathers, a straight red bill, and plump, swollen red or pink legs. In these large colonies, parents can recognize their own chicks by their vocalizations (voice). The parents will only care for their own chicks. When it is about 4 to 7 days old, the chick will fledge (leave the nest). All the fledglings from the colony and a few adult birds will group together, forming a crche. The crche is like a big nursery school for the young flamingos. Within about three years the chicks will turn from gray to pink.
Now we know from the Book of the Dead, and other Egyptian texts, that a stork, heron or egret called the benu was one of the sacred symbols of the worship of Heliopolis and it is clear that the benu was a symbol of the rising sun, whence it is represented as "self-generating" and called "the soul of Ra (the sun)," "the heart of the renewed Sun." All the mystic symbolism of the morning sun, especially in connexion with the doctrine of the future life, could thus be transferred to the benu, and the language of the hymns in which the Egyptians praised the luminary of dawn as he drew near 2
MEDIEVAL TALES AND LEGENDS
Although descriptions (and life-span) vary, the Egyptian phoenix (Bennu bird) became popular in early Catholic art, literature and Catholic symbolism, as a symbol of Christ representing His resurrection, immortality, and life-after-death.
EARLY CATHOLIC CHURCH FATHERS
Titus Flavius Clemens (Clement of
One of the Early Catholic Church Fathers, Clement, related the following regarding the
Michael W. Holmes points out that early Christian writers justified their use of this myth because the word appears in Psalm 92:12 [LXX Psalm 91:13], but in that passage it actually refers to a palm tree, not a mythological bird. At the heart of these interpretations is the proliferation of richly complementary meanings that turn upon three translations of the word chol -- as phoenix, palm tree, or sand -- in Job 29:18." 
Lucius Caelius (or Caecilius?) Firmianus Lactantius (240-320)
Widely attributed to Lactantius although it shows no overt sign of Christianity, the poem The Phoenix (de Ave Phoenice) tells the story of the death and rebirth of that mythical bird. That poem in turn appears to have been the principal source for the famous Anglo-Saxon poem to which the modern title The Phoenix is given
The phoenix is a bird of
Some medieval Jewish commentators commented that the Hebrew word "Hol" given in the biblical book of Job ("...Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand...") could be interpreted as an allusion to the
Guillaume le Clerc [13th century]
(Bestiary): There is a bird named the phoenix, which dwells in
Bartholomaeus Anglicus (1203-1272)
Sir John Mandeville [14th century]
On the contrary, the phoenix joined the symbolism of fire initiation rites of death and rebirth on contrary to Lucifer, the bearer of light precipitated in the flames of hell, embodies the fire did not consume and excludes regeneration.
In some cremation ritual, the fire is also considered as a vehicle or messenger of the world of the living to the dead and, the phoenix is often a star indicating the nature of heaven and living in another world. While the Middle Ages saw in him the symbol of the resurrection of Christ [ref. necessary].
The most memorable is the phoenix - the "Fire Bird." The phoenix originated as a bird of prey covered in flames, living in the hottest places of the world. It is said that the phoenix builds a nest out of ashes, and dies within it only to be reborn. It is also said that when one lays an egg, it dies as soon as its young hatches as it is reincarnated as its own child. Writers have taken the phoenix and applied its feathers-of-flame to other birds, and is known to be a fiery swan with rainbow-like feathers upon its wings.
In heraldry the mythical bird, therefore, also evokes the creative and destructive fire. As the sun, fire symbolizes the fertilizing [ref. necessary]. In consuming, it purifies and allows regeneration. Considering these qualities, the family with this crest can be assumed to have long lives. The phoenix itself, however, is a rare sight to see on shields. Since the phoenix is known for rebirth, the knight who bears the fire bird may have earned the honor of bearing the symbol by surviving when all hope is lost, or by being pronounced "dead" officially then returning back to life. (Ie, missing on the battle field and assumed dead, then returning perhaps several months later.) The phoenix can also be seen adorning the signs of towns that have been destroyed during a war or raid and then rebuilt
Here against weapons of Malet of Lussart: blue with a phoenix on his immortality, watching the sun, while gold, which illustrates the kinship with the eagle, known only able to watch the sun opposite
SWARMING OFF THE NEST
In Persian mythology, Si'morgh was a winged, bird-like creature that was very large and extremely ancient. The Simurgh appears in many Iranian literary classics such as Farid ud-Din Attar's Conference of the Birds as instructor and birds leader, and in Ferdowsi's epic Shahnameh (The Book of Kings);
The phoenix is a central figure in Lebanese ancient and modern cultures, as Lebanese are descendants of the Phoenicians and often claim themselves sons of the
BALKANS AND RUSSIA
In Russian folklore, the phoenix appears as the Zhar-Ptitsa or firebird, subject of the famous 1910 ballet score by Igor Stravinsky.
The phoenix was featured in the flags of Alexander Ypsilantis and of many other captains during the Greek Revolution, symbolizing Greece's rebirth, and was chosen by John Capodistria as the first Coat of Arms of the Greek State (1828-1832). In addition, the first modern Greek currency bore the name of phoenix. Despite being replaced by a royal Coat of Arms, it remained a popular symbol, and was used again in the 1930s by the
In 1774, the San Benedetto Theatre, which had been
The construction began in June 1790, and by May 1792 the theatre was completed. It was named "
From the beginning of the 19th century,
In December 1836, disaster struck again when the theatre was destroyed by fire. However, it was quickly rebuilt with a design provided by the architect-engineer team of the brothers, Tommaso Meduna and Giambattista Meduna
The helicopter worked the all night but the theatre was all destroy. But all the house near was safe. Another big danger was that the fire could spread in the nearest buildings. How you can see the house in
For months a lot of people did a pilgrimage to the theatre ....put the flowers ... crying .. put message ...It looked like if a real person was died .... very very strange ...
On 29 January 1996, it was completely destroyed by fire. Arson was immediately suspected. In March
Critical response to the rebuilt
However, for many Venetians, a painful wound in the historical, much-admired, much adored cityscape has begun to heal.
It is fascinating to observe that everywhere in folklores, birds and fire have played a decisive part in expansion of human dreams..
The Phoenix is clearly a symbol of the cycle immutable human activities with its alternations of glory and darkness and into our daily behaviour and the representation of what is at the heart of all existence: the human being he is not settled by the pulse of his heart systole and diastole image of unceasing renewal of life from death and regfenerescence of our cells
Both have been since the beginning of the world companions of human daily life and imagination and dreams
Sign of the presence of the gods, metamorphosis appears in mythology as essential trip Change shape, essence is probably in the eyes of humans the highest expression of the power of the gods, for if gods immortality is not always perceived by the human soul, metamorphosis, however, is a prodigy almost always visible and palpable
 (Histoire II. 73.1)
 (Mét. 15, 392-409)
 The History of Nature or The Naturall History of C. Plinius Secundus. Book X, Chpt. 2 Of the Phoenix
 The History of Nature or The Natural History of C. Plinius Secundus
Book X, Chpt. 2 Of the
 s The History of Nature or The Natural History of C. Plinius Secundus Book X, Chpt. 2 Of The
 The History of Nature or The Natural Historie of C. Plinius Secundus
Book X, Chpt. 2 Of the
 Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus (ca. 56 – ca. 117) was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those that reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors.
 Martial, Epigrams. Book 5. Bohn's Classical Library (1897) V.VII, same story in p. papinivs stativs 95
 As being the offspring of Mars, to whom Vulcan was an enemy on account of the liberties which he had taken with Venus
 Nets in which Venus and Mars were caught by Vulcan. See Odyss. B. viii
 (Pharsalia, book 6, verse 791-805)
 STACE Silves Livre III, II, 101-116 Adieu à Metius Céler
 Clement d'Alexandria (150-220) chapter 25 of The First Epistle of Clement:
 Lucius Caelius (or Caecilius?) Firmianus Lactantius (250-325)
 Etymologies, Book 12, 7:22
 Job 29:18, "Hol" could be read as "sand or "
 De proprietatibus rerum, book 12
 Travels, chapter 7
Date de dernière mise à jour : 29/07/2013