From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

PHÅ’NIX was a good harbour on the S. coast of Crete. It has been identified almost certainly with Loutro , which is said to be the only harbour W. of Fair Havens where a ship of such size as that by which St. Paul travelled (it was a cargo ship, but had crew and passengers on board numbering altogether 276) could find shelter. Strabo speaks of PhÅ“nix as being on an isthmus ( i.e. a narrow part of the island), and apparently as being in the territory of Lappa, which was not far from Loutro. Other authorities speak of it as if it were near Aradena, which is only a mile from Loutro. The identification would therefore be certain but for St. Luke’s description of the harbour of PhÅ“nix as looking ‘towards the S.W. and the N.W.’ (  Acts 27:12 ), whereas the harbour of Loutro looks towards the East. Hence some identified PhÅ“nix with a harbour a little farther W., of which we have no evidence that it could accommodate so large a ship. It is perhaps more probable that St. Luke makes a mistake in his description of a harbour which he never reached. The RV [Note: Revised Version.] understands the Greek to mean ‘in the direction in which the S.W. and N.W. winds blow,’ and therefore translates ‘looking N.E. and S.E.’ This may have been a sailor’s way of expressing it, but we have no authority for it.

A. E. Hillard.

Webster's Dictionary [2]

(1): ( n.) Same as Phenix.

(2): ( n.) A genus of palms including the date tree.

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

 Acts 27:12

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [4]

the name of a mythical Egyptian bird, supposed by some to be a kind of plover, like the kibitz, often depicted with human arms, and called in hieroglyphs rekh. Others consider it to be the bennu, or nycticorax, a bird sacred to Osiris, and represented watching in the tamarisk over his coffin. The first of these representations has sometimes a star upon the head, supposed to indicate the astronomical period of its appearance. It visited Egypt after the death of its father, and entered the shrine particularly dedicated to it at Heliopolis, and there buried its parent, putting the body into an egg or case made of myrrh, and then closing up the egg. Another account is that the Phoenix, when about to die, made a nest for itself in Arabia, from which a new Phoenix sprang of itself. This bird proceeded to Heliopolis, and there burned and buried its father. But the more popularly known version is that the Phoeniix burned itself, and a new and young Phoenix sprang from the ashes. A less received version is that a worm crawled out of the body of the dead Phoenix, and became the future one. The Phoenix was, according to the most authentic accounts, supposed to visit Egypt every five hundred years; the precise period, however, was not known at Heliopolis, and was a subject of contention till its appearance. The connection of the Phoenix period with that of the Sothiac cycle, appears to be generally received by chronologists, as well as the statement of Horapollo, that it designated the soul and the inundation of the Nile. A great difference of opinion has prevailed about the Phoenix period: according to AElian, it was a cycle of 500 years; Tacitus seems to make it one of 250 years; Lepsius, a cycle of 1500 years. The Phoenix was fabled to have four times appeared in Egypt: 1, under Sesostris; 2, under Amasis, 569-525 B.C.; 3, under Ptolemy PhiIadelphus, 284246 B.C.; and lastly, 34 or 36 A.D., just prior to the death of Tiberius. The Phoenix also appears upon the coins of Constantine, 334 A.D, viz. 300 years after the death of Christ, who was considered the Phoenix by the monastic writers. It is supposed by the rabbins to be mentioned in the Bible ( Job 29:18;  Psalms 103:5). See Herodotts, 2:73; Achilles Tatius, 3:25; Tacitus, An. 6:28; Tselzes, Chil. 5:397; Lepsius, Einleit. page 183; Archaeologia, 30:256. The East is full of fables resembling the phoenix. Thus the Simorg of the ancient Persians is said to have witnessed twelve catastrophes, and may yet see many- more. It has built its nest on Mount Kaf, and perched upon the branches of the Yogard, or tree of life; it predicts good or evil to mortals. Similar legends are to be found connected with the Rokh of the Arabians and Semeneda of the Hindds. The Jews also have their sacred bird Tsiks. See Gardner, Faiths of the World, 2:655, 656.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [5]

fē´niks ( Φοίνιξ , Phoı́nix  ; the King James Version Phenice): A harbor in Crete (  Acts 27:12 ). The Alexandrian corn ship carrying Paul and the author of Acts, after it left Myra in Lycia, was prevented by adverse winds from holding a straight course to Italy, and sailed under the lee of Crete, off the promontory of Salmone (κατὰ Σαλμώνην , katá Salmṓnēn ). The ship was then able to make her way along the South shore of Crete to a harbor called Fair Havens (Καλοί Λιμένες , Kaloı́ Liménes ), near a city Lasea (Λασαία , Lasaı́a ). Thence, in spite of Paul's advice to winter in Fair Havens, it was decided to sail to Phoenix (εἰς Φοίνικα , λιμένα τῆς Κρήτης ) βλέποντα κατὰ λίβα καὶ κατὰ χῶρον ( eis Phoı́nika , liména tḗs Krḗtēs ) bléponta katá lı́ba kaı́ katá chṓron , a description which has been translated in two ways: (1) "looking toward the Southwest wind and toward the Northwest wind, i.e. looking Southwest and Northwest"; (2) "looking down the Southwest wind and down the Northwest wind, i.e. looking Northeast and Southeast" On the way thither, they were struck by a wind from the Northeast, called Euraquilo, and ran before it under the lee of an island, called Cauda or Clauda ( Καῦδα , Kaúda (Codex Sinaiticus (corrected) and Codex Vaticanus and the Old Latin) or Κλαῦδα , Klaúda (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus, etc.)) in  Acts 27:7-17 . It will be convenient to discuss those places together. The following account is based on Smith's elaborate study in his Voyage and Shipwreck of Paul , which has been followed by all later writers.

The ship, when it left Myra was obviously making for Italy (Puteoli or Ostia) by the shortest route, round Cape Malea, but off Cnidus it encountered a Northwest wind and had to sail for shelter under the lee of Crete. Salmone , now called Cape Sidero, was the promontory which forms the Northeast corner of the island. Thence along the South shore of Crete, as far as Cape Matala, a sailing ship is sheltered by the mountains from the violence of the Northwest wind; West of Cape Matala, where the coast turns toward the Northwest, there is no such shelter. Fair Havens must therefore be looked for to the East of Cape Matala, and there is a harbor, lying 6 miles East of Cape Matala, which is called Fair Havens by the modern Greek inhabitants of the island. There is no doubt that this is the harbor in which the Alexandrian ship took shelter. It is sheltered only from the North and Northwest winds.

The ruins of a city which has been identified with Lasea have been found 5 miles East from Fair Havens, and 12 miles South of the important city of Gortyna. It has been suggested that Paul's desire to winter at Fair Havens (  Acts 27:10 ) may have been due to its proximity to Gortyna, and the opportunity which the latter city afforded for missionary work. There were many Jews in Gortyna. See Crete .

From Fair Havens, against the advice of Paul, it was decided to sail to Phoenix, there to pass the winter. While the ship was on its way thither, it was struck by a violent Northeast wind from the mountains, called Euraquilo, and carried under the lee of an islet called Cauda or Clauda . When this happened, the ship was evidently crossing the Bay of Messariah, and from this point a Northeast wind must have carried her under the lee of an island now called Gaudho in Greek and Gozzo in Italian, situated about 23 miles Southwest of the center of the Gulf of Messariah. The modern name of the island shows that Cauda (Caudas in the Notitiae Episcopatuum ), and not Clauda is the true ancient form.

The writer of Acts never saw Phoenix , which must have been a good harbor, as the nautical experts decided to winter there (  Acts 27:11 ). Now the only safe harbor on the South coast of Crete in which a ship large enough to carry a cargo of corn and 268 souls could moor is the harbor beside Loutro, a village on the South coast of Crete, directly North of Cauda. All the ancient authorities agree in placing Phoenix in this neighborhood. The harbor at Loutro affords shelter from all winds, and its identification with Phoenix seems certain. But a serious difficulty arises on this view. The words describing the harbor of Phoenix ordinarily mean "looking toward the Southwest and the Northwest," but the harbor beside Loutro looks eastward. This led Bishop Wordsworth to identify Phoenix with an open roadstead on the western side of the isthmus on which Loutro stands. But this roadstead is not a suitable place for wintering in, and it is better either to take the words to mean, in sailor's language, "looking down the Southwest and Northwest winds" - a description which exactly fits the harbor at Loutro - or to assume that the reporter of the discussion referred to in   Acts 27:10-12 or the writer of Acts made a mistake in describing a place which he had never seen. An inscription belonging to the reign of Trajan found at Loutro shows that Egyptian corn ships were wont to lie up there for the winter.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [6]

A bird which was fabled at the end of certain cycles of time to immolate itself in flames, and rise renewed in youth from the ashes. It has become the appropriate symbol of the death-birth that ever introduces a new era in the history of the world, and is employed by Carlyle in "Sartor" as symbol of the crisis through which the present generation is now passing, the conflagration going on appearing nowise as a mere conflagration, but the necessary preliminary of a new time, with the germinating principles of which it is pregnant.