She was a female monster with the body of a lion, the head and breast of a woman, eagle’s wings. She was sent by the gods to plague the town of Thebes as punishment for some ancient crime, preying on its youths and devouring all who failed to solve her riddle. The regent of Thebes, King Creon, offered the throne to the one who would destroy her. Oedipus took up the challenge, and when he solved the Sphinx’s riddle, she cast herself off the mountainside in despair.

Parents: Orthrus and Chimera
Killed by: Oedipus

Sphinx. Attic red-figure pyxis, 5th c. BC. From Nola, Italy. (c) Marie-Lan Nguyen
Archaic period Greek sphinx in the Corinth Archaeological Museum. (c) Jean Housen

Back to Mythical Creatures