Sphinx Mythology



Mythology is quite an interesting, abstract, and an odd concept in itself, the creatures and their abilities, and the purposes some of these mythological creatures possess is anything but realistic. A perfect example of these theoretical and unreal characteristics is that of the ancient Greek creature known as the sphinx. The Sphinx was depicted within Greek Mythology as a ruthless and ill hearted creature who would ask riddles, and if answered incorrectly would face the wrath of the Sphinx in full form. The sphinx had a body of a lion, the wings of a powerful bird, and the face and breasts of a woman. However, contrary to the belief and depiction of the Greek mythological sphinx, the Egyptian sphinx was actually a male, who instead of being malicious and evil was sought as a guardian who was destined to keep the city and its people safe from intruders. The lore differs quite drastically between the two depictions of the sphinx however, aesthetically the animals look very similar.

The Greeks definition of the origin of sphinx comes from the very sphingo, which means to squeeze or tighten. Often times this is thought to depict the strength of the sphinx's agile lion-like body, which only further perpetuates the connotation that the Greek Sphinx was an evil and unique demon known for its bad fortune and chaos. The Sphinx was born from Echidna and Typhon, who were Greek gods that did not necessarily intend for their off spring to become such a benevolent and evil creature. The Egyptians viewed the mythological creature of the sphinx quite differently, as it was not a single creature born from the gods, but rather guardians whose origins are cloudy, as there are many theories of how these creatures came to exist. There are many famous Egyptian sphinxes, because of the innate belief that sphinxes did not actually interact with the Egyptians in the real world, but were rather serving as protectors of the underworld or of the town. The first depiction of the sphinx within the Egyptian culture was thought to be Queen Hetepheres II, as she had a sphinx head and image that was carved to look similar to her. Most of the sphinxes are famous, as they are usually put on the head of a pharaoh as a form of their beliefs, one of the most famous being the head of a pharaoh such named Hatshepsut. However, the largest and most famous sphinx is the Great Sphinx of Giza, which lies on the west bank of the Nile River.