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Φοίνιξ). A fabulous bird, of which Herodotus gives the following account in that part of his work which treats of Egypt (ii. 73): “The phœnix is another sacred bird, which I have never seen except in effigy. He rarely appears in Egypt; once only in five hundred years, immediately after the death of his father, as the Heliopolitans affirm. If the painters describe him truly, his feathers represent a mixture of crimson and gold, and he resembles the eagle in outline and size. They affirm that he does the following thing, which to me is not credible. They say that he comes from Arabia, and, bringing the body of his father inclosed in myrrh, buries him in the temple of the Sun; and that he brings him in the following manner: First, he moulds as great a quantity of myrrh into the shape of an egg as he is well able to carry; and, after having tried the weight, he hollows out the egg, and puts his parent into it, and stops up with some more myrrh the hole through which he had introduced the body, so that the weight is the same as before: he then carries the whole mass to the temple of the Sun in Egypt. Such is the account they give of the phœnix.” Similar stories of marvellous birds are found in Persian literature (of the bird Simorg) and in Sanskrit literature (of the bird Semendar).

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