Sphinx

Sphinx, a mythological creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion. It is a prominent figure in Egyptian, Greek and Asian mythology.

1.Sphinx of Egyptian Mythology

Ancient Egyptian culture has introduced the sphinx first. Egyptian built sphinx as a defender to guard crucial areas such as temples and tombs. Then Greek and Asian cultures adopted the concept of sphinx to enhance their mythology. The Sphinx represents the king’s intelligence and lion’s strength.

The Great Sphinx of Giza

The Great Sphinx of Giza located in Giza, near Cairo, Egypt. The most famous and the oldest statue in the world. Lion’s body and a human head of Great Sphinx represents Ra- Horakhty , powerful sun god and it built as a protector for the doors of the temples. It was called Horus of the Necropolis and Horus of the Horizon, god of sun that stands above the horizon. According to archaeologist , it was built in 2500 BC and 4500 years old . And it would have taken the time of 3 years for 100 workers. The Sphinx , made from a massive piece of limestone with 240 feet long and 66 feet high.

Some believe, Khafre , fourth king of the dynasty of Egypt built the great sphinx. Some believe , Redjedef (Khafre’s older brother)built the great sphinx to commemorate their father, Khufu (who built the second great Pyramid). According to some theorists, the sphinx face resembles closely with the Khufu’s face than Khafre.

Alec Derwent Hope, in his poem, Australia, mentioned about Sphinx. He symbolises Sphinx for intelligence and power.

Those endless, outstretched paws

Of sphinx demolished or stone lion worn away (4).

2. Sphinx of Greek Mythology

Sphinx in greek mythology has the haunches of a lion and head of a woman with wings of a bird . She is considered merciless, cruel creature. It is believed that the Greek sphinx killed many passers-by if they failed to answer for the riddle of the sphinx.

Death of the Sphinx

The Sphinx killed herself after Oedipus , the King of Thebes , correctly answered for her riddle. Travelling towards Thebes , he encountered that Thebes plagued by tha Sphinx . When Oedipus solved the riddle , the Sphinx killed herself.

Sphinx’s Riddle:

Question: What goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three feet in the evening ?

Answer : a person , a person as a baby in the morning of their life crawls on four feet (hands and knees). As an in the noon of their life, they walk on two feet. But when they are old, in the evening of their life, they walk with a cane , on three feet.

3. Sphinx of Asian mythology

Asian sphinx has its influenced on Egyptian sphinx but with some difference. The Sphinx of Asian mythology appeared with wings in the leonine body.

The Sphinx is known as Purushamriga or Purushamirukam (human beast) in South India. It is found in temples and palaces in sculptural art form. It is believed that Sphinx ward off evil and take away sins of the devotees.

The Sphinx is known as narasimha or man- lion in Sri Lanka and considered as the fourth reincarnation of Mahavishnu (deity).

Some archaeologist believe that there are chambers underneath the Sphinx. Zahi Hawass , Egyptian archaeologist affirmed the presence of tunnels in the Sphinx.

Therefore, the Sphinx has its many unsolved mysteries that evokes the curiosity of archaeologists to do research on Sphinx.