The Sphinx (written by Erica)

  • What is the name of your creature?

    My creature is called "the Sphinx". Whenever somebody says "Sphinx", everyone thinks of the Sphinx in Egypt. But there is also a Sphinx in Greek mythology. There, she is the daughter of the monster Typhon and Echidna and the sister of some other monsters: the Hydra, the Chimaira, from Cerberos and Orthos. The Sphinx is a demon of destroying and disaster.

    How does it look like?

    The ancient Greek people showed her as a lion with wings and the head of a woman or as a woman with the feet and the chest of a lion, a viper's tail and wings like a bird.

    To which hero is it connected?

    When we speak about the Greek Sphinx, then there is only one hero to wich she can be connected. His name is Oedipus. Many people know the story, because it's a very sad story. Here I'll tell you thestory about Oedipus and the Sphinx:

    King Laos of Theben and his wife Iokaste had no children for a long time. Because of that Laios goes to the oracle of Delphi. It says to him: "If you ever get a son, then this son will kill his father and marry his mother."

    Nine months later Iokaste actually ger a son. Laios thinks that if he doesn't kill the baby it will kill him. So he pierces the legs of his son and says to a slave, he should bring the baby to the mountains named Kithairon. But the slave doesn't want to kill the cute little baby and gives it to a shepherd. The shepherd gives the baby to his king Polybos, king of Korinth. The king's wife Merope heals his wounds and they adopt him as their own son, as they always wanted to have a child, but never got one. They name the boy Oedipus (the meaning of this Greek name is "swollen foot").

    Oedipus grows up in Korinth, but at one evening he hears how somebody says that he isn't the real son of Polybos and Merope. Because of that he goes to the oracle of Delphi and hears the curse which was on him: He would kill his father and marry his mother.

    Oedipus doesn't want that that happens and escapes from his home in Korinth. On his way to Daulis, another waggon drives behind him. The driver of the other waggon, Polyphontes, wants to pass him, because Oedipus is too slow. Just as Oedipus doesn't get out of the way, Polyphontes kills one of Oedipus' horses. Oedipus gets so angry that he kills Polyphontes and his passenger. What he doesn't know is that the passenger is his real father Laios. And so the first part of the curse comes true.

    At the same time a monster called Sphinx lirks in the near of Theben. She sits on a rock and asks the travellers a riddle. The riddle is: "What walks on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon and in the veening on three legs?" If someone can't give the right answer, she kills and eat him. Kreon, the present king of Theben (nobody knows what happened to Laios, the old king, because he never came back from a journey), says that the one who solves the riddle, will get the throne of Theben and the queen - Kreon's sister Iokaste - as his wife. Oedipus solves the riddle and becomes king of Theben and gets Iokaste as his wife. And so the second part of the curse also has becone true!

    With Iokaste he gets twins, Eteokles and Polyneikes, and two daughters named Antigone and Ismene. But neither Oedipus nor Iokaste know about their relationship as mother and son.

    Many, many years later he finds out that his wife also is his mother. Because of that, Iokaste hangs herself and Oedipus cuts out his won eyes with two needles - because he feels that he is no longer worthy to see the sun - and leaves Theben;he leads a life in exile; only his daughter Antigone stays with him.

                                    (written by Erica, class 8e)