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Definition: Phoenix from Philip's Encyclopedia

Capital of Arizona, USA, on the Salt River. Founded in 1870, the city expanded after agriculture was made possible by irrigation from the Salt River. It became the capital in 1889. Industries: computer parts, aircraft, fabricated metals, machinery, textiles, clothing, food products. Phoenix is a popular winter sports resort. Pop. (Phoenix-Mesa 2000) 2,907,000.


Summary Article: phoenix from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

In Egyptian and Oriental mythology, a sacred bird born from the sun. The Egyptians believed it was also connected with the soul and the obelisk. In China the phoenix signified good and its appearance prosperity; its departure boded calamity. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the creature visited the temple of the sun at Heliopolis every 500 years to bury its dead father, embalmed in a ball of myrrh. In another version, the phoenix placed itself on the city's burning altar or built a nest as a funeral pyre, and rose rejuvenated from the ashes. Only one phoenix existed at a time.

Mysterious and beautiful, the phoenix was depicted in early artistic representations with a plumage of five colours, and a very long tail. Its song was said to be a harmony of five notes. In classical mythology the bird was believed to resemble an eagle in size and shape, with red and gold plumage.

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