General - An image of a hybrid animal. With the body of a lion, representing, in some cases, a sun-god. The most widely-known is the huge statue (the Great Sphinx) of a recumbent lion with a human head, sited at Giza in Egypt. Other forms exist; the androsphinx has a male human head, the criosphinx has a ram's head and the hieracosphinx has the head of a hawk, in each case on the body of a lion. A black sphinx symbolises evil, a white one symbolises goodness. Aker, the Egyptian god of the underworld, is sometimes depicted as a double-headed sphinx. In some accounts, identified as sphinx, Great Sphinx, Great Sphinx or Sphinx.


Greek - A winged monster, part woman, part lion, with the tail of a serpent. This beast, daughter either of Orthrus and Chimaera or of Typhon and Chimaera or the serpent Echidna, was sent by Artemis to ravage Thebes after Laius had abducted Chrysippus. Some accounts say it was sent by Hera, others by Apollo or Dionysus. In all versions, she killed and ate any traveller who failed to answer the riddle given to her by the Muses and was herself killed when Oedipus successfully replied. Some accounts say that she threw herself over a cliff, others that Oedipus drove her over the cliff at sword-point. Occasionally called Sphinx, Great Sphinx or Great Sphinx.

Nearby Myths