The Sphinx

Topics: Sphinx, Cairo, Nile Pages: 1 (378 words) Published: March 21, 2011
The Sphinx
The sphinx is a mythological creature portrayed as a feline with the head of a human. Its figure can vary. Some depict the beast with eagle’s wings and sometimes a serpent headed tail. Its image was adapted in both ancient Egypt and Greece. In Europe it was enjoyed as a major revival during the renaissance, a decorative piece of art. Its image, very similar to the original was later exported to many other cultures. The largest and most famous is the Great Sphinx of Giza sited on the bank of the Nile River in Egypt. Its figure head quickly became traditional and many pharaohs had their heads carved atop guardian statures for their tombs; showing their closeness with the powerful soar deity whose name is in scripted on the stele of the sphinx. In Greek traditions, the word sphinx comes from the word sphingo, meaning ‘to strangle’. This may have been due to the fact that the hunters, who pride in the lionesses, kill their prey by strangling them. In Greek mythology, the sphinx was a unique demon of annihilation and bad luck. According to Hesiod, she was the daughter of Orthrus and either Echidna or Chimera. Others say she was the daughter of Echidna and Typhon. All of whom are chthonic figures who existed before the arrival of the Olympians. According to the riddle of the sphinx, she was sent to the town of Thebes, by the Gods, as a punishment for an ancient crime that was never avenged. There at the entrance of the city she devoured and preyed on anyone who could not solve her riddle. Kreon, the leader of Thebes at the time, offered the kingship to any man who could destroy the sphinx. Oedipus, unknowingly part of Thebes’s royal blood, accepted the challenge. When he reached the gates of the city she asked him: “What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?” Oedipus solved the riddle and answered, “Man crawls on all fours in infancy, walks upright on two legs in adulthood and uses a can as a third leg in...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Lasmuss and Sphinx Essay
  • Essay on The Great Sphinx
  • The Great Sphinx of Egypt Essay
  • Great Sphinx of Giza Essay
  • The Riddle of the Sphinx Essay
  • The Great Sphinx, a Real World Wonder Essay
  • The Sphinx Essay
  • Essay about Compare and Contrast The Great Sphinx and King Tut's Tomb

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free