Anqa, the “true” phoenix Arab

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The origin of the phoenix is deeply linked to the migratory nature of the birds, able to appear eternally young in the eyes of the less experienced. The Anqa, in particular, is the “phoenix of the Arabs”.

Anqa, eternal bird

According to Arab mythology, the Anqa would be a huge female bird with almost eternal life, able to appear only at specific moments in human history. The latter would appear shortly before catastrophes and calamities, according to the tradition for which it was created by Allah perfect, then becoming herself and for this killed by her own creator. According to the Arab geographer Zakariya Al Qazwini, however, this species of bird has always been present on Mount Qaf, however, living for 1700 years.

Anqa
A common crane

By virtue of some peculiar physical characteristics, it is likely that the Anqa is actually a gray crane or a heron, which would further explain the legend behind the mythical phoenix.

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A typical feature of the phoenix is to catch fire, once it becomes old, in order to be reborn younger and stronger, remaining forever immortal. The first narrative of this type comes from Ancient Egypt, the place where this narration is associated with Bennu, a sort of gigantic heron that every year came to Heliopolis, announcing the arrival of the cool. De facto the entire narrative of the phoenix is closely linked to the typical climate of those areas, the place where these animals come to winter, fleeing when the air begins to ignite.

Anqa
A phoenix

The myth of “undeath” is therefore linked to the simple fact that locals always observe animals of a similar age, having no tools to understand that it was simply a new generation. It is no coincidence that the myth of a “great immortal bird” is present in many cultures and this is due to this singular characteristic of birds.

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