The Phoenix symbolizes rebirth, especially of the sun, and has variants in European, Central American, Egyptian and Asian cultures. In the 19th century, Hans Christian Anderson wrote a story about it. Edith Nesbit features it in one of her children's stories, The Phoenix and the Carpet, as does J.K. Rowling in the 'Harry Potter' series. In one volume of Harry Potter, the phoenix does its resurrecting routine.
According to the most popular variant of the phoenix, the bird lives in Arabia for 500 years at the end of which, it burns itself and its nest. In the version described by Clement, an ante-Nicene (basically, before Constantine legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire) Christian theologian, the phoenix' nest is made of frankincense, myrrh and spices. A new bird always rises from the ashes.
Ancient sources on the mythological phoenix bird, include Clement, Ovid, Pliny, Tacitus, and Herodotus.