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Why are the salamander and the phoenix the professional symbols of the firemen? Part 1

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brodyc | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 7, 2007 at 10:32 PM via web

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Why are the salamander and the phoenix the professional symbols of the firemen? Part 1

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 8, 2007 at 12:07 AM (Answer #1)

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Great question! Both of these creatures had fire-related meanings in classical mythology. The phoenix never died, but instead, built a nest when it was old and burned itself up. When the fire was gone, a new/young phoenix rose from the ashes. This would symbolize both that the firemen wouldn't be hurt by the flames, and that their burning is intended as a kind of regeneration. A new society is being born by their efforts.

The word "salamander" comes from the Greek, and means "fire animal." Salamanders were thought to be born from fire. Therefore, both animals were associated with fire, and with new beginnings from the flames, which would be very appropriate for this sort of fireman.

Greg

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