Sphinx, Egypt

Sphinx, Egypt

A sphinx (Arabic: أبو الهول, Greek: Σφίγξ /sphinx/, Bœotian: Φίξ /Phix) is a mythical creature with, as a minimum, the body of a lion and a human head.

In Greek tradition, it has the haunches of a lion, sometimes with the wings of a great bird, and the face of a human. It is mythicised as treacherous and merciless. Those who cannot answer its riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories, as they are killed and eaten by this ravenous monster. This deadly version of a sphinx appears in the myth and drama of Oedipus. Unlike the Greek sphinx which was a woman, the Egyptian sphinx is typically shown as a man (an androsphinx). In addition, the Egyptian sphinx was viewed as benevolent, but having a ferocious strength similar to the malevolent Greek version and were both thought of as a guardian often flanking the entrances to temples.

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