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Ancient Greek and Roman Myths Notes

Oedipus and Sphinx


Oedipus and Sphinx. Sphinx was a monster with a woman’s head and breast, the body of lion, a serpent tail and eagle’s wings. It lived in mountains near Thebes and ravaged the countryside. It devoured every mortal who passed by, but before it would ask passers-by riddles, which they could not solve.
The myths preserved 2 of the riddles:

What is the creature which walks first on 4 legs, then on 2 legs, and at last on 3 legs, and its weakest when it uses the most legs?

There are 2 sisters: one gives birth to the other and she in turn gives birth to the first. What are they?

Only Oedipus was able to provide an answer. In despair the monster threw itself from the top of the rock and died. Other variants claim that Oedipus killed the distressed monster with his spear.
See: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Oedipus and Sphinx.
 
 

Ancient Greek and Roman Myths Index

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