In Greek mythology, the Sphinx is a lion with a human head.
Believed to be a unique demon of destruction and bad luck, Hera or Ares sent the Sphinx from her Ethiopian homeland (the Greeks remembered the Sphinx’s foreign origin) to Thebes where, in Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus, she asks all passersby history’s most famous riddle: “Which creature in the morning goes on four feet, at noon on two, and in the evening upon three?” She strangled anyone unable to answer. The word “sphinx” comes from the Greek — Sphigx, apparently from the verb — sphiggo, meaning “to strangle” (note that the ng and nx sounds were written in ancient Greek as a double gammas). Oedipus solved the riddle: man — he crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and walks with a cane in old age. Bested at last, the Sphinx then threw herself from a high rock and died. An alternative version tells that she devoured herself