CHRISTIAN DARKIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRISTIAN DARKIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Phoenix. This mythical bird was first described by Hesiod in the 8th century BC. Only one phoenix could exist at any one time. As a phoenix neared the end of its life, it would make a nest of aromatic branches and spices, before setting it on fire. From the ashes or the midst of the flames, a new phoenix would emerge. The ancient Eygptians linked the phoenix myth with their culture's longing for immortality, while Clement of Rome was the first Christian to interpret the myth as an allegory of the ressurection and of life after death. In Chinese mythology, the phoenix is the symbol of virtue, grace, power and prosperity, and it represents the union of yin and yang.
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