Sphinx Picture

Archeological museum of Ancient Corinth - Greece.
Marble sphinx from a funerary monument (6th century B.C.)

In Greek mythology, the Sphinx had the face of a woman, the breast, feet and tail of a lion, and the wings of a bird. She was sent by the Gods to plague the town of Thebes as punishment for some ancient crime. There she preyed on the youths of the land, devouring all those who failed to solve her riddle. As she declared that she would not depart unless anyone interpreted her riddle, Creon offered the kingship of Thebes to any man who could destroy her.

This was the riddle of the Sphinx: "What is that which has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?"

When many had already perished, Oedipus, having heard the proclamation, came to Thebes, and meeting the Sphinx, gave the right answer, declaring that the riddle referred to man; for as a little child he is four-footed, as an adult two-footed, and as an old man he uses a cane as a third limb.

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