Sphinx

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A sphinx (Ancient Greek: Σφίγξ /sphinx, sometimes Φίξ /Phix) is a mythological creature that is depicted as a recumbent feline with a human head. It has its origins in sculpted figures of lionesses with female human heads (unless the pharaoh was depicted as the son of the deity[clarification needed]) of Old Kingdom Egypt in association with their solar deities, Bast or Sekhmet. The sphinx is also used to represent some gods with the use of heads other than human (Karnak with a ram's head and Horus with a falcon's head).The ancient Greeks adapted this image and applied their own name for a male monster, the "strangler", an archaic figure of Greek mythology. Similar creatures of either gender appear throughout South and South-East Asia. In European decorative art, the sphinx enjoyed a major revival during the Renaissance. Later, the sphinx image, something very similar to the original Ancient Egyptian concept, was exported into many other cultures, albeit often interpreted quite differently due to translations of descriptions of the originals and the evolution of the concept in relation to other cultural traditions.

Generally the role of sphinxes is associated with architectural structures such as royal tombs or religious temples. The oldest known sphinx was found in Gobekli Tepe, Turkey and was dated to 9,500 B.C.[1] Perhaps the first sphinx in Egypt was one depicting Queen Hetepheres II, of the fourth dynasty that lasted from 2723 to 2563 BC. She was one of the longest-lived members of the royal family of that dynasty.

The largest and most famous is the Great Sphinx of Giza, Arabic: أبو الهول, sited at the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile River and facing due east (29°58′31″N 31°08′15″E / 29.97528°N 31.1375°E / 29.97528; 31.1375). It is also from the same dynasty. Although the date of its construction is uncertain, the head of the Great Sphinx now is believed to be that of the pharaoh Khafra.

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