The Sphinx is a mythical beast which occured in both ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek mythology. In ancient Egypt, the Sphinx was represented in sculpture lying down, usually with the head of a man and the body and paws of a lion. It symbolised the king of Egypt, the pharaoh, as an incarnation of the sun god Ra. Thousands of Sphinxes were built, the most famous of which is the one at Giza in Egypt, sculpted out of rock.
In Greek myths, the Sphinx was a winged monster with a lion's body but the head and breasts of a woman. In the Oedipus legend, the Sphinx poses a riddle and kills those who cannot answer. "What walks on four feet in the morning, two at noon, and three in the evening?" Oedipus answered correctly: "Man crawls on all fours as a baby, walks upright in his prime, and uses a stick in his old age". Hearing this answer, the Sphinx killed herself.