Epiphanius of Salamis
Epiphanius of Salamis was the bishop of Salamis, Cyprus at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a Church Father by both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, he gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy. He is best known for composing the Panarion, a large compendium of the heresies up to his own time, full of quotations that are the only surviving fragments of suppressed texts. According to Ernst Kitzinger, he "seems to have been the first cleric to have taken up the matter of Christian religious images as a major issue", there has been much controversy over how many of the quotations attributed to him by the Byzantine Iconoclasts were by him. Regardless of this he was strongly against some contemporary uses of images in the church. Epiphanius became a Christian in his youth. Either way, he was a Romaniote Jew, born in the Old Yishuv in the small settlement of Besanduk, near Eleutheropolis, lived as a monk in Egypt, where he was educated and came into contact with Valentinian groups.
He returned to Palestine around 333, when he was still a young man, he founded a monastery at Ad nearby, mentioned in the polemics of Jerome with Rufinus and John, Bishop of Jerusalem. He was ordained a priest, lived and studied as superior of the monastery in Ad that he founded for thirty years and gained much skill and knowledge in that position. In that position he gained the ability to speak in several tongues, including Hebrew, Egyptian and Latin, was called by Jerome on that account Pentaglossis, his reputation for learning prompted his nomination and consecration as Bishop of Salamis, Cyprus, in 365 or 367, a post which he held until his death. He was the Metropolitan of the Church of Cyprus, he served as bishop for nearly forty years, as well as travelled to combat unorthodox beliefs. He was present at a synod in Antioch where the Trinitarian questions were debated against the heresy of Apollinarianism, he upheld the position of Bishop Paulinus, who had the support of Rome, over that of Meletius of Antioch, supported by the Eastern Churches.
In 382 he was present at the Council of Rome, again upholding the cause of Paulinus. During a visit to Palestine in 394 or 395, while preaching in Jerusalem, he attacked Origen's followers and urged the Bishop of Jerusalem, John II, to condemn his writings, he urged John to be careful of the "offence" of images in the churches. He noted that when travelling in Palestine he went into a church to pray and saw a curtain with an image of Christ or a saint which he tore down, he told Bishop John that such images were "opposed... to our religion". This event sowed the seeds of conflict which erupted in the dispute between Rufinus and John against Jerome and Epiphanius. Epiphanius fuelled this conflict by ordaining a priest for Jerome's monastery at Bethlehem, thus trespassing on John's jurisdiction; this dispute continued during the 390s, in particular in the literary works by Rufinus and Jerome attacking one another. In 399, the dispute took on another dimension, when the Bishop of Alexandria, who had supported John, changed his views and started persecuting Origenist monks in Egypt.
As a result of this persecution, four of these monks, the so-called Tall Brothers, fled to Palestine, travelled to Constantinople, seeking support and spreading the controversy. John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, gave the monks shelter. Bishop Theophilus of Alexandria saw his chance to use this event to bring down his enemy Chrysostom: in 402 he summoned a council in Constantinople, invited those supportive of his anti-Origenist views. Epiphanius, by this time nearly 80, was one of those summoned, began the journey to Constantinople. However, when he realised he was being used as a tool by Theophilus against Chrysostom, who had given refuge to the monks persecuted by Theophilus and who were appealing to the emperor, Epiphanius started back to Salamis, only to die on the way home in 403. Letter LI in Jerome's letters gives Jerome's Latin translation, made at Epiphanius' request, of his letter in Greek from c. 394, "From Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, in Cyprus, to John, Bishop of Jerusalem".
The final section covers the quoted incident of the curtain, which unlike other passages attributed to Epiphanius and quoted by the Iconoclasts, is accepted as authentic by modern scholars: 9. Moreover, I have heard that certain persons have this grievance against me: When I accompanied you to the holy place called Bethel, there to join you in celebrating the Collect, after the use of the Church, I came to a villa called Anablatha and, as I was passing, saw a lamp burning there. Asking what place it was, learning it to be a church, I went in to pray, found there a curtain hanging on the doors of the said church and embroidered, it bore an image either of one of the saints. Seeing this, being loth that an image of a man should be hung up in Christ’s church contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, I tore it asunder and advised the custodians of the place to use it as a winding sheet for some poor person. They, however and said that if I made up my mind to tear it, it was only fair that I should give them another curtain in its place.
As soon as I heard this, I promised that I would give one, said that I would send it at once. Since there has been some little delay, due to the fact that I have been seeking a curtain of the best quality to give to them instead of the former one, thought it right to se
Hugh of Saint Victor
Hugh of Saint Victor, C. R. S. A. was writer on mystical theology. As with many medieval figures, little is known about Hugh's early life, he was born in the 1090s. His homeland may have been the Duchy of Saxony; some sources say that his birth occurred in the Harz district, being the eldest son of Baron Conrad of Blankenburg. Over the protests of his family, he entered the Priory of St. Pancras, a community of canons regular, where he had studied, located at Hamerleve or Hamersleben, near Halberstadt. Due to civil unrest shortly after his entry to the priory, Hugh's uncle, Reinhard of Blankenburg, the local bishop, advised him to transfer to the Abbey of Saint Victor in Paris, where he himself had studied theology, he accepted his uncle's advice and made the move at a date, unclear 1115–18 or around 1120. He spent the rest of his life there. Hugh wrote many works from the 1120s until his death, including works of theology, mysticism and the arts, a number of letters and sermons. Hugh was influenced by many people, but chiefly by Saint Augustine in holding that the arts and philosophy can serve theology.
Hugh's most significant works include: De sacramentis christianae fidei It is Hugh's most celebrated masterpiece and presents the bulk of Hugh's thoughts on theological and mystical ideas, ranging from God and angels to natural laws. Didascalicon de studio legendi; the Didascalicon is written as an introductory guide to Christianity, reflecting Hugh's desire to be an elementary teacher of Christianity. The Didascalicon reveals a philosophical side of Hugh, in which he reflects on what basic elements of learning a Christian should focus on. One of the chapters is on music and deals with the three kinds of music in a manner indebted to Boethius. In Hierarchiam celestem commentaria, a commentary on the work by pseudo-Dionysius begun around 1125. After Eriugena's translation of Dionysius in the ninth century, there is no interest shown in Dionysius until Hugh's commentary, it is possible that Hugh may have decided to produce the commentary because of the continuing belief that the patron saint of the Abbey of Saint Denis, Saint Denis, was to be identified with pseudo-Dionysius.
Dionysian thought did not form an important influence on the rest of Hugh's work. Hugh's commentary, became a major part of the twelfth and thirteenth-century surge in interest in Dionysius. Other works by Hugh of St Victor include: In Salomonis Ecclesiasten. In 1125–30, Hugh wrote three treatises structured around Noah's ark: De arca Noe morali, De arca Noe mystica, De vanitate mundi. De arca Noe morali and De arca Noe mystica reflect Hugh's fascination with both mysticism and the book of Genesis. De tribus diebus. De sapientia animae Christi. De unione corporis et spiritus. Epitome Dindimi in philosophiam. Practica Geometriae. De Grammatica. Soliloquium de Arrha Animae. On Contemplation and its Forms; this is one of the earliest works devoted to contemplation. It appears not to be composed directly by Hugh, but to have been composed by students of Hugh of St Victor from classnotes based on his teaching. On Sacred Scripture and its Authors. Various other treatises exist. Six of these are reprinted, in Latin in Roger Baron, ed, Hugues de Saint-Victor: Six Opuscules Spirituels, Sources chrétiennes 155.
They are: De meditatione, De verbo Dei, De substantia dilectionis, Quid vere diligendus est, De quinque septenis, De septem donis Spiritus sancti De anima is a treatise of the soul: the text will be found in the edition of Hugh's works in the Patrologia Latina of J. P. Migne. Part of it was paraphrased in the West Mercian dialect of Middle English by the author of the Katherine Group. Various other works were wrongly attributed to Hugh in thought. One such influential work was the Exposition of the Rule of St Augustine, now accepted to be from the Victorine school but not by Hugh of St Victor. A new edition of Hugh's works has been started; the first publication is: Hugonis de Sancto Victore De sacramentis Christiane fidei, ed. Rainer Berndt, Münster: Aschendorff, 2008; the early Didascalicon was an elementary, encyclopedic approach to God and Christ, in which Hugh avoided controversial subjects and focused on what he took to be commonplaces of Catholic Christianity. In it he outlined three types of philosophy or "science" that can help mortals improve themselves and advance toward God: theoretical philosophy provides them with truth, practical philosophy aids them in becomi
Vincent of Beauvais
Vincent of Beauvais was a Dominican friar at the Cistercian monastery of Royaumont Abbey, France. He is known for his "Great Mirror", a major work of compilation, read in the Middle Ages. Retroactively described as an encyclopedia or as a florilegium, his text exists as a core example of brief compendiums produced in medieval Europe; the exact dates of his birth and death are unknown, not much detail has surfaced concerning his career. Conjectures place him first in the house of the Dominicans at Paris between 1215 and 1220, at the Dominican monastery founded by Louis IX of France at Beauvais in Picardy, it is more certain, that he held the post of "reader" at the monastery of Royaumont on the Oise, not far from Paris founded by Louis IX, between 1228 and 1235. Around the late 1230s, Vincent had begun working on the Great Mirror and in 1244 he had completed the first draft; the king read the books that Vincent compiled and supplied the funds for procuring copies of such authors as he required.
Queen Margaret of Provence and her son-in-law, Theobald V of Champagne and Navarre, are named among those who urged him to the composition of his "little works" De morali principis institutione. In the late 1240s, Vincent was working on his Opus. In this work he styles himself as "Vincentius Belvacensis, de ordine praedicatorum, qualiscumque lector in monasterio de Regali Monte". Though Vincent may have been summoned to Royaumont before 1240, there is no evidence that he lived there before the return of Louis IX and his wife from the Holy Land, it is possible that he left Royaumont in 1260, the approximate year that he wrote Tractatus Consolatorius, occasioned by the death of the king's son Louis that year. Between the years 1260 and 1264 Vincent sent the first completed book of the Opus to Louis IX and Thibaut V. In 1264 he died. What is known of Vincent and his historical importance depends on his compendium the Great Mirror, he worked on it for 29 years in the pursuit of presenting a compendium of all of the knowledge available at the time.
He collected the materials for the work from Île-de-France libraries, there is evidence to suggest further than that. He found support for the creation of the Great Mirror from the Dominican order to which he belonged as well as King Louis IX of France; the metaphor of the title has been argued to "reflect" the microcosmic relations of Medieval knowledge. In this case, the book mirrors "both the contents and organization of the cosmos". Vincent himself stated that he chose "Speculum" for its name because his work contains "whatever is worthy of contemplation, that is, admiration or imitation", it is by this name. The original structure of the work consisted of three parts: the Mirror of Nature, Mirror of Doctrine and Mirror of History. A fourth part, the Speculum Morale, was initiated by Vincent but there are no records of its contents. All the printed editions of the Great Mirror include this fourth part, compiled from Thomas Aquinas, Stephen de Bourbon, a few other contemporary writers by anonymous fourteenth century Dominicans.
As a whole, the work totals 80 books and 9885 chapters. Additionally it is ordered "according to the order of sacred Scripture," utilizing the sequence of Genesis to Revelation, from "creation, to fall, re-creation"; this ordering system provides evidence that this "thirteenth-century encyclopedia must be counted among the tools for biblical exegesis". In this vein, the Mirror of Nature has connections to the hexameron genre of texts that are commentaries on the six days of creation. Additional generic connections come from Hélinand of Froidmont chronicle and Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae. Isidore's influence is explicitly referenced by Vincent's prologue and can be seen in some minor forms of organization as well as the stylistic brevity used to describe the branches of knowledge; the vast tome of the Mirror of Nature, divided into thirty-two books and 3,718 chapters, is a summary of all of the science and natural history known to Western Europe towards the middle of the 13th century, a mosaic of quotations from Latin, Greek and Hebrew authors, with the sources given.
Vincent distinguishes, his own remarks. Vincent de Beauvais began work on the Mirror of Nature from around 1235 to around the time of his death in 1264. During this period, it was first completed in 1244 and expanded in a second version in 1259 or 1260. Book i. opens with an account of its relation to creation. Book ii. treats of the created world, of light, the four elements and his fallen angels and the work of the first day. Books iii. and iv. deal with the phenomena of the heavens and of time, measured by the motions of the heavenly bodies, with the sky and all its wonders, rain, dew, etc. Books v.-xiv. Treat of the sea and the dry land: the discourse of the seas, the ocean and the great rivers, agricultural operations, precious stones, herbs with their seeds and juices, trees wild and cult
Pope Peter I of Alexandria
Pope Peter I of Alexandria, 17th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, he is revered as a saint by the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church. Peter was raised in Alexandria; the Coptic Orthodox Church believes that Peter was given by his parents to His Holiness Theonas to be brought up as a priest to the story of Samuel in the Old Testament. He rose through the ranks of holy orders, first becoming a reader a deacon a priest. Educated, Peter became head of the school of Alexandria. In early 300, while on his death bed, Theonas advised the church leaders to choose Peter as his successor, which they did. Peter's time as bishop included the severe persecution of Christianity from Roman Emperor Diocletian, which began in 303, continued intermittently over the next ten years. Forced into exile from the city during the anti-Christian persecutions, Peter traveled through many lands, encouraging his flock by letter, before returning to his city to guide the Alexandrian Church during this period.
He secretly visited those imprisoned, assisted widows and orphans, conducted clandestine services. Accounts of Peter's position during the persecution vary, but one states that he was imprisoned for a time with bishop Meletius of Lycopolis and they fell into an argument over the treatment of Christians who had either offered pagan sacrifice or surrendered scriptures to the authorities to save their lives during the persecution. Peter urged leniency while Meletius held that the lapsed had abandoned their faith and needed to be rebaptised, their argument became heated, was ended when Peter hung a curtain between him and Meletius. One of Meletius' followers was a priest named Arius. According to Severus of Ashmumeen, Arius tried in vain to receive absolution from the Patriarch before Peter was executed, before dying Peter anathematized Arius as a heretic and excommunicated him; the tenth-century historian Severus of Ashmumeen gives us an account of how during the Diocletianic Persecution the Patriarch was seized and thrown in prison.
When the emperor was informed about this, he ordered Peter to be beheaded. This was hindered by a large number of Christians who gathered at the prison willing to die for their Patriarch; the soldiers delayed the execution because they neither wanted to massacre the crowd nor create a riot. The Patriarch, fearing for the life of his people, advised the soldiers with a plan to smuggle him out of jail by breaking a hole in a certain wall which he would point out, he could be smuggled out and receive his sentence. Severus of Ashmumeen describes the moment when the Patriarch was martyred: And he took off his omophorion, bared his neck, pure before the Lord, said to them: «Do as you have been commanded», but the soldiers feared. So they looked one at another, not one of them dared to cut off his head, because of the dread which had fallen upon them, they took counsel together and said: «To him that cuts off his head each one of us will give five denarii». Now they were six persons. So one of the men went forward, summoned up his courage, cut off the head of the holy martyr and patriarch Peter.
Hatur is a month in the Coptic calendar, corresponding to November. Saint Peter's martyrdom occurred in the year AD 311. Traditionally, in Christianity, the day of a saint's death is the day on which his feast day is celebrated. 29 Hatur corresponds to 25 November in the Julian calendar. Thus 29 Hatur corresponds at present to 9 December. Baucalis "Petros I". Official web site of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. Retrieved 2011-02-08. Hieromartyr Peter the Archbishop of Alexandria Eastern Orthodox icon and synaxarion
A bestiary, or bestiarum vocabulum, is a compendium of beasts. Originating in the ancient world, bestiaries were made popular in the Middle Ages in illustrated volumes that described various animals and rocks; the natural history and illustration of each beast was accompanied by a moral lesson. This reflected the belief that the world itself was the Word of God, that every living thing had its own special meaning. For example, the pelican, believed to tear open its breast to bring its young to life with its own blood, was a living representation of Jesus; the bestiary is a reference to the symbolic language of animals in Western Christian art and literature. The earliest bestiary in the form in which it was popularized was an anonymous 2nd century Greek volume called the Physiologus, which itself summarized ancient knowledge and wisdom about animals in the writings of classical authors such as Aristotle's Historia Animalium and various works by Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, Solinus and other naturalists.
Following the Physiologus, Saint Isidore of Seville and Saint Ambrose expanded the religious message with reference to passages from the Bible and the Septuagint. They and other authors expanded or modified pre-existing models refining the moral content without interest or access to much more detail regarding the factual content; the fanciful accounts of these beasts were read and believed to be true. A few observations found in bestiaries, such as the migration of birds, were discounted by the natural philosophers of centuries, only to be rediscovered in the modern scientific era. Medieval bestiaries are remarkably similar in sequence of the animals. Bestiaries were popular in England and France around the 12th century and were compilations of earlier texts; the Aberdeen Bestiary is one of the best known of over 50 manuscript bestiaries surviving today. Bestiaries influenced early heraldry in the Middle Ages, giving ideas for charges and for the artistic form. Bestiaries continue to give inspiration to coats of arms created in our time.
Two illuminated Psalters, the Queen Mary Psalter and the Isabella Psalter, contain full Bestiary cycles. The bestiary in the Queen Mary Psalter is found in the "marginal" decorations that occupy about the bottom quarter of the page, are unusually extensive and coherent in this work. In fact the bestiary has been expanded beyond the source in the Norman bestiary of Guillaume le Clerc to ninety animals; some are placed in the text to make correspondences with the psalm. The Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci made his own bestiary. A volucrary is a similar collection of the symbols of birds, sometimes found in conjunction with bestiaries; the most known volucrary in the Renaissance was Johannes de Cuba's Gart der Gesundheit which describes 122 birds and, printed in 1485. Medieval bestiaries contained detailed descriptions and illustrations of species native to Western Europe, exotic animals and what in modern times are considered to be imaginary animals. Descriptions of the animals included the physical characteristics associated with the creature, although these were physiologically incorrect, along with the Christian morals that the animal represented.
The description was normally followed with an artistic illustration of the animal as described in the bestiary. Bestiaries were organized in different ways based upon the text; the descriptions could be organized by animal groupings, such as terrestrial and marine creatures, or presented in an alphabetical manner. However, the texts gave no distinction between imaginary animals. Descriptions of creatures such as dragons, basilisk and caladrius were common in such works and found intermingled amongst accounts of bears, deer and elephants; this lack of separation has been associated with the assumption that people during this time believed in what the modern period classifies as nonexistent or "imaginary creatures". However, this assumption is under debate, with various explanations being offered; some scholars, such as Pamela Gravestock, have written on the theory that medieval people did not think such creatures existed but instead focused on the belief in the importance of the Christian morals these creatures represented, that the importance of the moral did not change regardless if the animal existed or not.
The contents of medieval bestiaries were obtained and created from combining older textual sources and accounts of animals, such as the Physiologus, with newer observations and writings. In this way, the content of such written works was added to and built upon. In modern times, artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Saul Steinberg have produced their own bestiaries. Jorge Luis Borges wrote a contemporary bestiary of sorts, the Book of Imaginary Beings, which collects imaginary beasts from bestiaries and fiction. Nicholas Christopher wrote a literary novel called "The Bestiary" that describes a lonely young man's efforts to track down the world's most complete bestiary. John Henry Fleming's Fearsome Creatures of Florida borrows from the medieval bestiary tradition to impart moral lessons about the environment. Caspar Henderson's The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, subtitled "A 21st Century Bestiary," explores how humans imagine animals in a time of rapid environmental change. In July 2014, Jonathan Scott wrote The Blessed Book of Beasts, Eastern Christian Publications, featuring 101 animals from the various translation
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again. Associated with the Sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. According to some sources, the phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, although there are other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and decomposes before being born again. There are different traditions concerning the lifespan of the phoenix, but by most accounts the phoenix lived for 500 years before rebirth. Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, Pope Clement I, Lactantius and Isidore of Seville are among those who have contributed to the retelling and transmission of the phoenix motif. In ancient Greece and Rome, the phoenix was associated with Phoenicia, a civilization famous for its production of purple dye from conch shells. In the historical record, the phoenix "could symbolize renewal in general as well as the sun, the Empire, consecration, life in the heavenly Paradise, Mary, the exceptional man, certain aspects of Christian life".
The modern English noun phoenix derives from Middle English phenix, itself from Old English fēnix. A once-common typological variant is phœnix. Old English fēnix was borrowed from Medieval Latin phenix, derived from Classical Latin phoenīx; the Classical Latin phoenīx represents Greek φοῖνιξ phoinīx.. In ancient Greece and Rome, the phoenix was sometimes associated with the similar-sounding Phoenicia, a civilization famous for its production of purple dye from conch shells. A late antique etymology offered by the 6th- and 7th-century CE archbishop Isidore of Seville accordingly derives the name of the phoenix from its purple-red hue; because the costly purple dye was associated with the upper classes in antiquity and with royalty, in the medieval period the phoenix was considered "the royal bird". In spite of these folk etymologies, with the deciphering of the Linear B script in the 20th century, the original Greek φοῖνιξ was decisively shown to be derived from Mycenaean Greek po-ni-ke, itself open to a variety of interpretations.
Classical discourse on the subject of the phoenix points to a potential origin of the phoenix in Ancient Egypt. In the 19th century scholastic suspicions appeared to be confirmed by the discovery that Egyptians in Heliopolis had venerated the Bennu, a solar bird observed in some respects to be similar to the Greek phoenix. However, the Egyptian sources regarding the bennu are problematic and open to a variety of interpretations; some of these sources may have been influenced by Greek notions of the phoenix, rather than the other way around. Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BC, gives a somewhat skeptical account of the phoenix: have another sacred bird called the phoenix which I myself have never seen, except in pictures. Indeed it is a great rarity in Egypt, only coming there once in five hundred years, when the old phoenix dies, its size and appearance, if it is like the pictures, are as follow:– The plumage is red golden, while the general make and size are exactly that of the eagle. They tell a story of what this bird does, which does not seem to me to be credible: that he comes all the way from Arabia, brings the parent bird, all plastered over with myrrh, to the temple of the Sun, there buries the body.
In order to bring him, they say, he first forms a ball of myrrh as big as he finds that he can carry. Such is the story; the phoenix is sometimes pictured in ancient and medieval literature and medieval art as endowed with a halo, which emphasizes the bird's connection with the Sun. In the oldest images of phoenixes on record these nimbuses have seven rays, like Helios. Pliny the Elder describes the bird as having a crest of feathers on its head, Ezekiel the Dramatist compared it to a rooster. Although the phoenix was believed to be colorful and vibrant, sources provide no clear consensus about its coloration. Tacitus says; some said that the bird had peacock-like coloring, Herodotus's claim of the Phoenix being red and yellow is popular in many versions of the story on record. Ezekiel the Dramatist declared that the phoenix had red legs and striking yellow eyes, but Lactantius said that its eyes were blue like sapphires and that its legs were covered in yellow-gold scales with rose-colored talons.
Herodotus, Pliny and Philostratus describe the phoenix as similar in size to an eagle, but Lactantius and Ezekiel the Dramatist both claim that the phoenix was larger, with Lactantius declaring that it was larger than an ostrich. The Old English Exeter Book contains an anonymous 677-line 9th-century alliterative poem consisting of a paraphrase and abbreviation of Lactantius, followed by an explication of the Phoenix as an allegory for the resurrection of Christ. Dante refers to the phoenix in Inferno Canto XXIV: In the play Henry VIII by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, the King says in Act V Scene v, in flattering reference to his young daughter Elizabeth: Scholars have observed analogues to the phoenix in a variety of cultures; these analogues include the Hindu garuda and gandaberunda, the Russian firebir