PHOENIX

ΦΟΙΝΙΞ

1. According to Homer the father of Europa (Hom. Il. xiv. 321); but according to others he was a son of Agenor by Agriope or Telephassa, and therefore a brother of Europa. Being sent out by his father in search of his sister, who was carried off by Zeus, he went to Africa, and there gave his name to a people who were called after him Phoenices. (Apollod. iii. 1. § l; Eustath. ad Dionys. Perieg. 905; Hygin. Fab. 178.) According to some traditions he became, by Perimede, the daughter of Oeneus, the farther of Astypalaea and Europa (Paus. vii. 4. § 2), by Telephe the father of Peirus, Astypale, Europa, and Phoenice (Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 5), and by Alphesiboea, the father of Adonis. (Apollod. iii. 14. § 4.)

2. A son of Amyntor by Cleobule or Hippodameia, was king of the Dolopes, and took part not only in the Calydonian hunt (Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 421; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 762; Hygin. Fab. 173 ; Ov. Met. viii. 307), but being a friend of Peleus, he accompanied Achilles on his expedition against Troy. (Hygin. Fab. 257; Ov. Heroid. iii. 27 ; Apollod. iii. 13. § 8.) His father Amyntor neglected his legitimate wife, and attached himself to a mistress, but the former desired her son to dishonour her rival. Phoenix yielded to the request of his mother, and Amyntor, who discovered it, cursed him, and prayed that he might never be blessed with any offspring. Phoenix now desired to quit his father's house, but his relations compelled him to remain. At last, however, he fled to Peleus, who received him kindly, made him the ruler of the country of the Dolopes, on the frontiers of Phthiia, and entrusted to him his son Achilles, whonm he was to educate. (Hom. Il. ix. 447, &c.) According to another tradition, Phoenix did not dishonour his father's mistress (Phthia or Clytia), but she merely accused him of having made imiproper overtures to her, in consequence of which his father put out his eyes. But Peleus took himt to Cheiron, who restored to him his sight. (Apollod. iii. 13. § 8.) Phoenix moreover is said to have called the son of Achilles Neoptolemnus, after Lycomedes had called him Pyrrhus. (Paus. x. 26, § l.) Neoptolemus was believed to have buried Phoenix at Eion in Macedonia or at Trachis in Thessaly. (Tzetz. ad Lyc. 417; Strab. ix. p. 428.) it must further be observed, that Phoenix is one of the mythical beings to whom the ancients ascribed the invention of the alphabet. (Tzetz. Chil. xii. 68.)

3. We must notice here the fabulous bird Phoenix, who, according to a belief which Herodotus (ii. 73) heard at Heliopolis in Egypt, visited that place once in every five hundred years, on his father's death, and buried him in the sanctuary of Helios. For this purpose Phoenix was believed to come fror Arabia, and to make lan egg of myrrh as large as possible; this egg he then hollowed out and put into it his father, closing it up carefully, and the egg was believed then to be of exactly the same weight as before. This bird was represented resembling an eagle, with feathers partly red and partly golden. (Comp. Achill. Tat. iii. 25.) Of this bird it is further related, thai when his life drew to a close, he built a nest for himself in Arabia, to which he imparted the power of generation, so that after his death a new phoenix rose out of it. As soon as the latter was grown up, he, like his predecessor, proceeded to Heliopolis in Egypt, and burned and buried his father in the temple of Helios. (Tac. Ann. vi. 28.) According to a story which has gained more currency in modern times, Phoenix, when he arrived at a very old age (some say 500 and others 1461 years), committed himself to the flames. (Lucian, De Mort. Per. 27; Philostr. Vit. Apollon. iii. 49.) Others, again, state that only one Phoenix lived at a time, and that when he died a worm crept forth from his body, and was developed into a new Phoenix by the heat of the sun. His death, further, took place in Egypt after a life of 7006 years. (Tzetz. Chil. v. 397, &c.; Plin. H. N. x. 2; Ov. Met. xv. 392, &c.) Another modification of the same story relates, that when Phoenix arrived at the age of 500 years, he built for himself a funeral pile, consisting of spices, settled upon it, and died. Out of the decomposing body he then rose again, and having grown up, he wrapped the remains of his old body up in myrrh, carried them to Heliopolis, and burnt them there. (Pompon. Mela, iii. 8, in fin.; Stat. Silv. ii. 4. 36.) Similar stories of marvellous birds occur in many parts of the East, as in Persia, the legend of the bird Simorg, and in India of the bird Semendar.