The phoenix is a sacred mythological bird. The Roman poet Ovid described it as a creature that reproduces alone and, unlike other birds, eats frankincense and other odoriferous gums. It lives for 500 years, and when it is time to die, it builds a nest in the branches of an oak tree and fills it with cinnamon and myrrh so that its last breaths are filled with wonderful scents. The nest ignites, consuming the phoenix in flames.
The young phoenix is then born from the ashes of the dead bird. Tradition has it that the new bird carries the rest of the ashes of the old phoenix to the Greek city of Heliopolis, also known as the City of the Sun.
The phoenix’s feathers are gold and crimson in colour and its body resembles that of an eagle.
Dumbledore’s phoenix is named after Guy Fawkes, the man who tried to burn down the Houses of Parliament in 1605.