Riddle of the Sphinx

What’s the myth behind the “Riddle of the Sphinx”? IIRC, I thought there were three questions. I can only recall one about “what walks on fours at sunrise, two by midday, and three by sunset” or something to that effect. Was this Greek mythology, and if so, is it in Egyptian culture?

  • Jinx

It’s from Oedipus by Sophocles and, as you can probably guess, it’s greek.

You got the riddle right.

The riddle you mention is from the Oedipus myth, which is Greek. I have no idea what the Egyptians thought of the Sphinx as far as myths and stories go.

The Egyptian Sphinx

The Greek Sphinx

It’s probably best to ignore the “Martian Sphinx” link at the bottom of each of those pages…

It come from the greek story of Oedipus. Oedipus fled home when he heard he was going to marry his mom and kill his dad (he was adopted and thought he was going to kill his adopted father), and ended up unwittingly killing his real dad on the road. When he entered Thebes, he was confronted by a sphinx that killed everyone who couldn’t answer her riddle. He answered it and won the hand of the widowed queen-his mom.

And of course, the answer to the riddle is: a donkey.

It walks on four legs at sunrise. At noon, you cut two of its legs off. At sunset, you glue one of them back on.

Simple, really.

Actually, Darwin’s Finch, the “Martian Sphinx” link is pretty good. It’s not some sort of crackpot fantasy thing, assuming that’s what you were expecting to see.

And let’s also not forget about the Moon Sphinx. :slight_smile: