The Official Collection of Fantastical Creature Information--Updated Randomly

For all your fantastical creature needs! This is the beginning of my encyclopedia, and I'm collecting as much information as I can on various fantasy creatures. Most of my stuff can be found on wikipedia. However, no source is perfect, so the stuff that is my input is often italicized. Help me by sending me more information at Questkid13@gmail.com

Side Note: There have been concerns about my using Wikipedia because it is not a reliable resource. I am well aware of wikipedia's unreliable nature--but that's exactly why I use it. Fantasy creatures are available to all, and everyone should have a chance to add their "discoveries." This website is supposed to be a fun collection of fantastical creature information with fun images to go with. I am not a reliable source--I'm just a collector. Though at this point, I am flattered that people are concerned with the validity of my site. :)

!!!!This is NOT a forum. Comments are to be informative and generally helpful. Clean humor is acceptable, but NOT if it detracts from the entry. This site is to help people find out more about fantastical creatures!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Phoenix


The phoenix is a mythical sacred firebird in ancient Phoenicia mythology
Description
Said to live for 500 or 1461 years (depending on the source), the phoenix is a bird with beautiful gold and red plumage. At the end of its life-cycle the phoenix builds itself a nest of cinnamon twigs that it then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix arises. The new phoenix is destined to live, usually, as long as the old one. In some stories, the new phoenix embalms the ashes of the old phoenix in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis ("the city of the sun" in Greek). The bird was also said to regenerate when hurt or wounded by a foe, thus being almost immortal and invincible — a symbol of fire and divinity. The Phoenix has the power to summon conflagration around it in addition to its miraculous ability to heal through tears. It is a symbol of fierce destruction by fire, followed by glorious rebirth.
History
Although descriptions (and life-span) vary, the phoenix became popular in early Christian art, literature and Christian Symbolism, as a symbol of Christ representing his resurrection, immortality, and life-after-death. 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, however, it was the "flourishing of Christian Hebraist interpretations of Job 29:18 that brought the Joban phoenix to life for Christian readers of the seventeenth century. 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."
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.

Myth origins
The Greeks adapted the word bennu (and also took over its further Egyptian meaning of date palm tree), and identified it with their own word phoenix φοινιξ, meaning the colour purple-red or crimson (cf. Phoenicia). They and the Romans subsequently pictured the bird more like a peacock or an eagle. According to the Greeks the phoenix lived in Arabia next to a well. At dawn, it bathed in the water of the well, and the Greek sun-god Apollo stopped his chariot (the sun) in order to listen to its song.

One inspiration that has been suggested for the Egyptian phoenix is flamingo of East Africa. This bird nests on salt flats that are too hot for its eggs or chicks to survive; it builds a mound several inches tall and large enough to support its egg, which it lays in that marginally cooler location. The convection currents around these mounds resembles the turbulence of a flame.

Some medieval Jewish commentators comment upon the Hebrew word Hol (חול) in the biblical book of Job ("...Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand (Hol)...", Job 29:18, the King James translation) as referring to phoenix.

Modern Related usage
In China, the phoenix is called Fenghuang ("鳳凰"), and is the second most-respected legendary creature (second to the dragon), mostly used to represent the empress. The phoenix is the leader of birds. In Japan, the phoenix is called hō-ō(kanji:"鳳凰").

In Russian folklore, the phoenix appears as the Zhar-Ptitsa (Жар-Птица), 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 Second Hellenic Republic. However, its use by the military junta of 1967-1974 made it extremely unpopular, and it has almost disappeared from use after 1974, with the notable exception of the Greek Order of the Phoenix).

In Jewish folklore, it is said that the phoenix was the only animal not to join Adam in his banishment from the Garden of Eden.

The phoenix is also a prominent symbol on the flag and seal of the City and County of San Francisco, symbolizing the city rising from the ashes of the devastation caused by the 1906 earthquake. Similarly, the phoenix is also the central feature of the seal and flag of the City of Atlanta, along with the word Resurgens (Latin for having been restored/rebuilt, revived, rose up/appeared again; rared up again, lifted oneself), symbolizing the seemingly continual rebirth of the city after several devastating fires, most notable of which are General Sherman's burning of the city during the American Civil War on November 15, 1864 and the Great Atlanta fire of 1917.

Phoenix, Arizona was so named due to the town's usage of old Hohokam (Native American) canal paths, and the fact that the area contained the remains of various Hohokam settlements. It is believed that this group migrated out of the area due to devastating floods and droughts between 1300-1450 AD. The establishment of modern Phoenix was seen as a rebirth of this older civilization. The new city itself suffered damage from several large floods in its early years, such as in 1900, but eventually grew into one of the US's largest metropolitan areas as of the 21st century. The mythological bird is present on the city's flag and logo.

In Taiwan the phoenix provides a popular nickname for the coastal city of Tainan, called "the Phoenix city" because of its history of transformations and renewals. Three of the birds, flying clockwise in a circle, appear on the flag and logo of the Tainan University of Technology.The Phoenix is used to symbolize the physical tests in Kyokushin Karate and is the mascot of the Phoenix Karatedo Association.
A special thanks to Wikipedia!

1 comment:

Jekka Goaty Senoj said...

that's a beautiful picture! where did you find it?