Sphinx Nicole Childs
Physical Characteristics • Head of a human • Body of a lion • Wings of an eagle • Serpent-headed tail • Always a women in Greek Mythology. • Is male in Egypt • Often viewed as a vicious guardian.
Background • Greece was in contact with Egypt. • Sphinx (Σφίγξ) comes from the Greek verb σφίγγω (sphíngō). • “to squeeze” • Riddle of the Sphinx not standardized until later. • Sphinx’s found in many cultures. • Oldest Sphinx from Turkey (9,500 B.C.E)
Legend • Daughter of Orthus/the Chimera/Echidna/Typhon. • Demon of misfortune and bad luck. • Sent by Hera or Ares to Thebes. • Kreon offered the throne to those that could solve her riddle. • Told a riddle to travellers. • Those unable to answer were killed. • Some accounts say it asked two riddles. • When the riddle was answered correctly by Oedipus, it threw itself off a cliff. • Or it devoured itself.
Which creature in the morning goes on four legs, at mid-day on two, and in the evening upon three, and the more legs it has, the weaker it be? Can You Solve the Sphinx's Riddle? Man There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Day and Night
Oedipus • Bested the Sphinx by answering the riddle. • Oedipus made King after solving the riddle. • Riddle of the Sphinx foreshadowing to Oedipus’ fate. • Cane • Sphinx sent by the gods. • Sphinx symbol of bad luck.
Other • Her homeland is Ethiopia. • Sphinxes were often used by Greek artists and architects. • The Egyptian Sphinx is almost always lying down. • Kreon’s son was killed by the Sphinx • The Sphinx’s death followed that predicted by an oracle. • The Sphinx learned the riddle from the Muses.