Phoenix, fabulous bird that periodically regenerated itself, used in literature as a symbol of death and resurrection.
According to the legend, the phoenix lived in Arabia; when it reached the end of its life (500 years), it burned itself on a pyre of flames, and from the ashes a new phoenix arose.
As a sacred symbol in Egyptian tradition, the phoenix represented the sun, which dies each night and rises again each morning. According to Herodotus, the bird was red and golden and resembled an eagle.
The phoenix symbolizes immortality, resurrection, and life after death. On some of the oldest and best pictures the bird resembles a heron. Ovid and Mela told that the phoenix bird built itself a nest of Incense and died in it.
According to Artemidor, the bird burned in its nest made by incense and myrrh, after which a new phoenix bird emerged from the ashes.
In 1850 Andersen published a short prose hymn called "The Phoenix Bird".
In "The Phoenix Bird" the phoenix bird is connected with the garden of Paradise and with the fall of man:
"Beneath the tree of knowledge in the garden of paradise stood a rosebush. And here, in the first rose, a bird was born. His plumage was beautiful, his song glorious, and his flight was like the flashing of light. But when Eve plucked the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and she and Adam were driven from paradise, a spark fell from the flaming sword of the angel into the nest of the bird and set it afire. The bird perished in the flames, but from the red egg in the nest there flew a new bird, the only one of its kind, the one solitary phoenix bird. The legend tells us how he lives in Arabia and how every century he burns himself to death in his nest, but each time a new phoenix, the only one in the world, flies out from the red egg."
Petronella wrote, "Let the bird of loudest lay/ On the sole Arabian tree / Herald sad and trumpet be / To whose sound chaste wings obey."