VIEW THE MOBILE VERSION of www.urbanmyths.ca Informational Site Network Informational
Privacy

Mythical Creatures -

Amazons
The race of Amazons or fighting women, is not yet extinct, ...

Pygmies
The antitheses of men--Dwarfs, and Giants--must not be over...

Giants
This last sentence seems almost a compendium of The History...

Early Men
On the antiquity of man it is impossible to speculate, beca...

Wild Men
Sometimes a specimen of humanity has got astray in infancy,...

Hairy Men
If, as we may conjecture from the above, the ancient Briton...

The Ouran Outan
Transition from hirsute humanity to the apes, is easy, and ...

Satyrs
He also mentions and delineates a curious Ape which closely...

The Sphynx
"The SPHYNGA or Sphinx, is of the kind of Apes, but his bre...

Apes
Sluper, who could soar to the height of delineating a Cyclo...

Animal Lore
We are indebted to Pliny for much strange animal lore--whic...

The Manticora
Of curious animals, other than Apes, depicted as having som...

The Lamia
The Lamiae are mythological--and were monsters of Africa, w...

The Centaur
This extraordinary combination of man and animal is very an...

The Gorgon
In the title-page of one edition of "The Historie of Foure-...

The Unicorn
What a curious belief was that of the Unicorn! Yet what myt...

The Rhinoceros
The true Unicorn is, of course, the Rhinoceros, and this pi...

The Gulo
Olaus Magnus thus describes the Gulo or Gulon:--"Amongst...

The Bear
As Pliny not only uses all Aristotle's matter anent Bears, ...

The Fox
By Englishmen, the Fox has been raised to the height of at ...

The Wolf
The Wolf, as a beast of prey, is invested with a terror pec...

Were-wolves
But of all extraordinary stories connected with the Wolf, i...

The Antelope
When not taken from living specimens, or skins, the arti...

The Horse
Aldrovandus gives us a curious specimen of a horse, which t...

The Mimick Dog
"The Mimicke or Getulian Dogge," is, I take it, meant fo...

The Cat
Aldrovandus gives us a picture of a curly-legged Cat, but, ...

The Lion
Of the great Cat, the Lion, the ancients give many wonderfu...

The Leontophonus The Pegasus The Crocotta
The Lion has a dreadful enemy, according to Pliny, who says...

The Leucrocotta The Eale Cattle Feeding Backwards
"There are oxen, too, like that of India, some with one hor...

Animal Medicine
We have already seen some of the wonderfully curative prope...

The Su
Topsell mentions a fearful beast called the Su. "There is a...

The Lamb-tree
As a change from this awful animal, let us examine the Plan...

The Chimaera
Aldrovandus gives us the accompanying illustration of a ...

The Harpy And Siren
The conjunction of the human form with birds is very eas...

The Barnacle Goose
Of all extraordinary beliefs, that in the Barnacle Goose, w...

Remarkable Egg
No wonder that a credulous age, which could see nothing ...

Moon Woman
One would have imagined that this Egg would be sufficien...

The Griffin
There always has been a tradition of birds being existent, ...

The Phoenix
Pliny says of the Phoenix:--"AEthiopia and India, more espe...

The Swallow
"And is the swallow gone? Who beheld it? Wh...

The Martlet And Footless Birds
Of the Martin, or, as in Heraldry it is written, Martlet, G...

Snow Birds
But we must leave warm climes, and birds of Paradise, and s...

The Swan
The ancient fable so dear, even to modern poets, that Swans...

The Alle Alle
"There is also in this Lake (the White Lake) a kind of b...

The Hoopoe And Lapwing
Whether the following bird is meant for the Hoopoe, or the ...

The Ostrich
Modern observation, and especially Ostrich farming, has ...

The Halcyon
Of this bird, the Kingfisher, Aristotle thus discourses:--"...

The Pelican
The fable of the Pelican "in her piety, vulning herself,...

The Trochilus
This bird, as described by Aristotle, and others, is of a p...

Woolly Hens
Sir John Maundeville saw in "the kingdome named Mancy, whic...

Two-headed Wild Geese
Near the land of the Cynocephali or dog-headed men, there w...

Four-footed Duck
Gesner describes a four-footed duck, which he says is li...

Fish
Terrestrial and Aerial animals were far more familiar to th...

The Sea-mouse
"The Sea-Mouse makes a hole in the Earth, and lays her Eggs...

The Sea-hare
"The Sea-Hare is found to be of divers kinds in the Ocean, ...

The Sea-pig
Again we are indebted to Gesner for the drawing of thi...

The Walrus
Of the Walrus, Rosmarus, or Morse, Gesner draws, and Ola...

The Ziphius
This Voracious Animal, whose size may be imagined by compar...

The Saw Fish
"The Saw fish is also a beast of the Sea; the body is huge ...

The Orca
is probably the Thresher whale. Pliny thus describes it:--"...

The Dolphin
Pliny says:--"The Dolphin is an animal not only friendly to...

The Narwhal
generally called the Monoceros or Sea Unicorn, is thus show...

The Swamfisck
The accompanying illustration, though heading the chapte...

The Sahab
"There is also another Sea-Monster, called Sahab, which hat...

The Circhos
"There is also another Monster like to that, called Circhos...

The Remora
Of this fish Pliny writes:--"There is a very small fish tha...

The Dog-fish And Ray
Olaus Magnus writes of "The cruelty of some Fish, and th...

The Sea Dragon
Of the Ray tribe of fishes, the Sea Dragon is the most ...

The Sting Ray
Pliny mentions the Sting Ray, and ascribes to it marvellous...

Senses Of Fishes
He also tells us about the senses of fishes, and first of t...

Zoophytes
Writing on the lower phases of Marine Animal life, he says:...

Sponges
"We find three kinds of sponges mentioned; the first are th...

The Kraken
This enormous monster, peculiar to the Northern Seas, is sc...

Crayfish And Crabs
Pliny tells us that in the Indian Ocean are Crayfish four c...

The Sea-serpent
Of the antiquity of the belief in the Sea-Serpent there can...

Serpents
Of Serpents Topsell has written a "Historie," which, if not...

The Crocodile
The largest of the Saurians which we have left us, is the C...

The Basilisk And Cockatrice
Aldrovandus portrays the Basilisk with eight legs. Topse...

The Salamander
Many writers have essayed this fabled creature, but almost ...

The Toad
Toads were always considered venomous and spiteful, and the...

The Leech
The Leech has, from a very early age, been used as a means ...

The Scorpion
Of the Scorpion, Pliny says:--"This animal is a dangerous s...

The Ant
No one would credit the industrious Ant, whose ways we are ...

The Bee
The Busy Bee, too, according to Olaus Magnus, developed, in...

The Hornet
So also, up North, they seem to have had a special breed...



The Phoenix








Pliny says of the Phoenix:--"AEthiopia and India, more especially produce
birds of diversified plumage, and such as quite surpass all
description. In the front rank of these is the Phoenix, that famous bird
of Arabia; though I am not sure that its existence is not a fable.

"It is said that there is only one in existence in the whole world, and
that that one has not been seen very often. We are told that this bird
is of the size of an eagle, and has a brilliant golden plumage around
the neck, whilst the rest of the body is a purple colour; except the
tail, which is azure, with long feathers intermingled, of a roseate hue;
the throat is adorned with a crest, and the head with a tuft of
feathers. The first Roman who described this bird, and who has done so
with great exactness, was the Senator Manilius, so famous for his
learning; which he owed, too, to the instructions of no teacher. He
tells us that no person has ever seen this bird eat, that in Arabia it
is looked upon as sacred to the Sun; that it lives five hundred and
forty years. That when it is old it builds a nest of Cassia and sprigs
of incense, which it fills with perfumes, and then lays its body down
upon them to die: that from its bones and marrow there springs at first
a sort of small worm, which, in time, changes into a little bird; that
the first thing it does is to perform the obsequies of its predecessor,
and to carry the nest entire to the City of the Sun near Panchaia, and
there deposit it upon the altar of that divinity.

"The same Manilius states also, that the revolution of the great year is
completed with the life of this bird, and that then a new cycle comes
round again with the same characteristics as the former one, in the
seasons and the appearance of the stars; and he says that this begins
about midday of the day in which the Sun enters the sign of Aries. He
also tells us that when he wrote to the above effect, in the consulship
of P. Licinius, and Cneius Cornelius, (B.C. 96) it was the two hundred
and fifteenth year of the said revolution. Cornelius Valerianus
says that the Phoenix took its flight from Arabia into Egypt in the
Consulship of Q. Plautius and Sextus Papinius, (A.D. 36). This bird was
brought to Rome in the Censorship of the Emperor Claudius, being the
year from the building of the City, 800, (A.D. 47) and it was exposed to
public view in the Comitium. This fact is attested by the public Annals,
but there is no one that doubts that it was a fictitious Phoenix."

Cuvier seems to think that the bird described above was a Golden
Pheasant, brought from the interior of Asia--at a time when these birds
were unknown to civilised Europe.

Du Bartas, in his metrical account of the Creation, mentions this winged
prodigy:--

"The Heav'nly Phoenix first began to frame
The earthly Phoenix, and adorn'd the same
With such a Plume, that Phoebus, circuiting
From Fez to Cairo, sees no fairer thing:
Such form, such feathers, and such Fate he gave her
That fruitfull Nature breedeth nothing braver:
Two sparkling eyes; upon her crown, a crest
Of starrie Sprigs (more splendent than the rest)
A goulden doun about her dainty neck,
Her brest deep purple, and a scarlet back,
Her wings and train of feathers (mixed fine)
Of orient azure and incarnadine.
He did appoint her Fate to be her Pheer,
And Death's cold kisses to restore her heer
Her life again, which never shall expire
Untill (as she) the World consume in fire.
For, having passed under divers Climes,
A thousand Winters, and a thousand Primes;
Worn out with yeers, wishing her endless end,
To shining flames she doth her life commend,
Dies to revive, and goes into her Grave
To rise againe more beautifull and brave.
With Incense, Cassia, Spiknard, Myrrh, and Balm,
By break of Day shee builds (in narrow room)
Her Urn, her Nest, her Cradle, and her Toomb;
Where, while she sits all gladly-sad expecting
Some flame (against her fragrant heap reflecting)
To burn her sacred bones to seedfull cinders,
(Wherein, her age, but not her life, she renders.)

* * * * *

And Sol himself, glancing his goulden eyes
On th' odoriferous Couch wherein she lies,
Kindles the spice, and by degrees consumes
Th' immortall Phoenix, both her flesh and plumes.
But instantly, out of her ashes springs
A Worm, an Egg then, then a Bird with wings,
Just like the first, (rather the same indeed)
Which (re-ingendred of its selfly seed)
By nobly dying, a new Date begins,
And where she loseth, there her life she wins:
Endless by'r End, eternall by her Toomb;
While, by a prosperous Death, she doth becom
(Among the cinders of her sacred Fire)
Her own selfs Heir, Nurse, Nurseling, Dam and Sire."





Next: The Swallow

Previous: The Griffin



Add to del.icio.us Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Del.icio.us Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
SHAREADD TO EBOOK


Viewed 697