In Persian mythology, Simurgh, (Persian: سيمرغ, Middle Persian: senmurv) was a winged, bird-like creature that was very large and extremely ancient. The Simurgh appears in many Iranian literary classics such as Farid ud-Din Attar’s Conference of the Birds as instructor and birds leader, and in Ferdowsi’s epic Shahnameh (The Book of Kings); Simurgh raised up and cherished Zaal or Zal, father of Rostam.
“Si-”, the first element in the name, has been connected in folk etymology to Modern Persian si “thirty”. Although this prefix is not historically related to the origin of the name simurgh, “thirty” has nonetheless been the basis for legends incorporating that number, for instance, that the simurgh was as large as thirty birds or had thirty colours (sirang).
Iranian legends consider the bird so old that it had seen the destruction of the World three times over. The simurgh learned so much by living so long that it is thought to possess the knowledge of all the Ages. In one legend, the simurgh was said to live 1,700 years before plunging itself into flames (much like the phoenix).