A phoenix rising from the ashes, in a bestiary

The British Library

The British Library
London, United Kingdom

In this medieval manuscript, the ‘fenix’ is described as a native of Arabia, and can live for up to 500 years. The phoenix’s most remarkable attribute is its ability to resurrect itself in old age. It creates its own funeral pyre from branches and plants, before fanning the flames with its own wings. After the ninth day, it rises again from the ashes. This legendary ability has often been compared to the self-sacrifice and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Shown here: ff. 45r


  • Title: A phoenix rising from the ashes, in a bestiary
  • Date Created: 13th century
  • Location: British Library, London, UK
  • Location Created: England
  • Type: Manuscript
  • Original Source: Harley MS 4751
  • Rights: Public Domain in most countries other than the UK. For more information visit: https://www.bl.uk/help/how-to-reuse-images-of-unpublished-manuscripts

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