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Our Sphinxes Are Different

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"Throughout the multiverse, sphinxes are enigmatic beings. Some are merely monsters with inscrutable motives, while others guide entire civilizations towards goals only they understand. No matter the world, a sphinx is a mystery given form."

The sphinx (also spelled sphynx, pluralized sphinxes or sphinges) is a creature hailing from Mediterranean myths, and remains a common feature in modern fantasy worlds. Sphinxes originated in Egyptian and Classical Mythology, and are as such strongly connected with Greek and Egyptian settings and Fantasy Counterpart Cultures.

Sphinxes are typically associated with knowledge in some form. They're often depicted as driven to ask riddles to others, often with dire consequences for those who won't or can't guess correctly. Associations with magical lore and oracular powers are also fairly common. They're usually powerful, rare and magical beings; regardless of their specific role in a story, sphinxes are rarely trivial creatures.

A sphinx has the body of a lion, sometimes has the wings of a bird, and is most commonly depicted with the head of a human being; these are typically referred to as androsphinxes when male, or as gynosphinxes when female. Gynosphinxes may or may not be depicted with human breasts. Either type may be depicted wearing a nemes, the striped headcloth worn by Egyptian pharaohs. The most common alternative types are ram-headed sphinxes, called criosphinxes, and hawk- or falcon-headed ones, called hieracosphinxes. Sphinxes with other animals' heads are rare, but not entirely unheard of, and don't generally have universal names. All variants may or may not be winged. In general, human-headed sphinxes are more likely to be mystical and refined, while animal-headed ones are more likely to be bestial and aggressive.

It's worth noting that the Greek and Egyptian sphinxes behaved differently. The Greek sphinx was a single one-of-a-kind monster and enemy of mankind sent as a plague by Hera to punish Thebes, and was the one that asked the infamous riddle and was bested by Oedipus. Egyptian sphinxes were a myriad of creatures and statues representing deities, protectors and pharaohs, and could be male, female and animal-headednote . The common image of a sphinx in modern-day media is a mix of the two, taking the Egyptian theme and appearance but the Greek behavior.

See also Beast with a Human Face; Our Manticores Are Spinier, for another type of leonine creature which may or may not have human heads and/or wings; Our Gryphons Are Different, to which hieracosphinxes may sometimes be linked to and often resemble; and Shedu and Lammasu, for creatures with similar appearances, connotations and preferred stomping grounds.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Adventure 02: Nefertimon, an Armor Digivolution of Gatomon, resembles a typical sphinx.
  • Fate/Prototype: In Fragments of Sky Silver, Ozymandias can summon sphinxes. One that fights Arthur can control fire, doing stuff like coating itself in flames, breathing out fire tornadoes and turning its claws into Hot Blades. The king of the sphinxes, Sphinx Wehem-Mesut, is a giant, faceless sphinx with a Celestial Body. It can spawn offspring called Sphinx Awlad which act like lion cubs when young.
  • One Piece: Sphinx is the King Mook of the Manticores of the Level 2: Beast Hell of Impel Down. It has a goofy-looking, almost apelike face, a giant lion body (as big as a house), and feathers along its forelimbs and shoulders.
  • Piro/Marusu from Osamu Tezuka's Unico is a young sphinx that Unico befriends in "The Tale of the Fangs of Athens" chapter. In the manga, Unico ends up becoming a new parental figure to Piro after his mother dies after Oedipus ends up attacking her once he solved her riddle. After her death, Unico teaches the young sphinx the importance of self-defense and bravery which he takes to heart near the end of the chapter. Piro/Marusu is very feisty and very short-tempered, but also very sweet. Unlike his mother, he/she is drawn more like a lion cub than a sphinx. Piro/Marusu ("Sphinx's daughter/son" in the English dub) makes an appearance in the 1983 film Unico in the Island of Magic where he/she helps Unico and Cheri confront Kuruku.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Sphinxes are the iconic large creatures for Blue, the color of knowledge and the mind, playing the same role for it that angels do for White or dragons for Red, and typically resemble giant winged lions with the heads of women or bearded human men. They often get mechanics related to knowing and guessing, usually rewarding players for guessing the nature of a card in their deck or in an opponent's hand. Culturally, they tend to be reclusive wizards and oracles and often highly skilled wielders of Blue schools of magic, such as prophecy and mentalism, and tend to sit at the top of hierarchies in Blue-aligned organizations. They're also said to be capable of telling lies from honesty and truth from falsity by the sound of one's speech alone.
    • On Alara, a world shattered into five shards aligned with each of the colors of mana, sphinxes are found exclusively on Esper, the Blue shard, where they're the leaders of the local technocratic civilization and are held in high esteem as embodiments of everything the Esperites seek to be — wise, magically skilled, enlightened and emotionless.
    • On Amonkhet, a plane inspired specifically by Egyptian Mythology, the sphinxes' impenetrable minds were the only things Nicol Bolas was unable to corrupt. He was however able to curse them to be unable to communicate with the plane's other natives, keeping them from warning them of his true intentions until it was too late. Amonkhet is also the only plane to be home to ram-headed criosphinxes, which tend to be more aggressive than the human-headed kind and to viciously attack servants of Bolas that they encounter on their silent wanderings.
    • On Ravnica, almost all sphinxes are part of the Azorius Senate, the local legislative body, and tend to be highly reclusive beings.
    • On Theros, inspired by Greek Mythology, sphinxes are ancient, primordial beings and possess ancient knowledge. Their thought patterns are highly abstract, rendering them enigmatic and difficult to understand regardless of whether they wish to be so or not.
    • Perhaps the most individually important sphinx of all is Azor the Lawgiver, a sphinx Planeswalker who traveled to many different planes and gave social structures and codes of law to many different civilizations. The cultural uniformity of the multiverse's sphinxes is believed to be due to Azorius' influence. Other notable sphinxes include Sharuum the Hegemon, leader of Esper's civilization, and Isperia the Inscrutable, the leader of the Azorius Senate.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Sphinxes are an archetype of monsters with leonine bodies and usually humanoid heads. They include Andro Sphinx (a humanoid lion), Sphinx Teleia (a winged, woman-headed sphinx with a chain and collar around her neck), Theinen the Great Sphinx (a centauroid sphinx with Andro Sphinx's upper body and Sphinx Teleia's lower), Dimension Sphinx (an Egyptian sphinx statue), Criosphinx (another centauroid, but with blue skin and the horns and muzzle of a ram) and Hieracosphinx (lion body, wings and falcon head).

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Referenced in "No Wonder Cure" when Ami is talking with Keeper Midori, and sees a statue that she compares to an Egyptian sphinx with the body of a dragon.
  • Nine Days Down: Phix the sphinx, one of the inmates of Tartarus, has a lion-like body and a human face and breasts, with long ears and blue-and-white hair. Sphinxes enjoy goading other beings into riddling contests, and, if their partner fails to answer correctly, they can force them to obey a single request. Usually, that request is "sit still while I eat you".
  • Quizzical: In Quizzical Greystone and the Basements of Doom, the characters encounter a sphinx named Alexander with a lion body, the head and torso of an unidentified creature (implied to be human, with which the characters aren't familiar) and floor-length beard and hair among the creatures captured by the diamond dogs. Sphinxes are compelled to ask riddles before they give out information, and if their riddle is answered incorrectly they're magically bound to throw the answerer off the nearest cliff. However, they can choose how hard or easy to make a given riddle. There are also rumors of a potion that boosts intelligence but requires a sphinx's brain. However, it doesn't work.
  • The Riddle of Origin is an origin story of the sphinx of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, called "Catshepsut" in this story. She was one of many beings created by the Mad God Discord, who claims to have made her "out of a cat, a blue jay, and a book of brain teasers" as a prototype for griffins. She didn't turn out quite as he had hoped, being generally too orderly and too bound to her word for his own chaotic tastes, and he eventually sends her off to Anugypt on the reasoning that she would likely fit in there.
  • Return to the Falls: The third chapter features an aquatic variation, with the body of a sea lion, called the Sfinx (yes, with an "f". As in "fin", like a fish). She lives in lake Gravity Falls, challenges passersby to answer riddles and cooks and eats them if they mess up. Answering the riddle correctly only guarantees your own freedom — freeing existing captives requires a more direct approach.
  • Shadowchasers Series: Athentia is a sphinx of godlike power who grants oracular knowledge and powerful magical boons, on the condition that seekers answer her riddles correctly.

    Films — Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: The Tiger Prowess: Two sphinxes, one with a goat's head and one with a wolf's head, guard the temple of the totem and ask Weslie and Wolffy how many stars are in the sky. Weslie replies by saying there are as many stars in the sky as there are grains of sand in the desert, prompting the sphinxes to start counting the grains of sand. By the time Weslie and Wolffy make it out of the temple with the totem, the sphinxes are still counting the grains.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mirrormask: Gryphons and sphinxes are similar catlike creatures with human heads, but have their properties mixed up. A gryphon guards the area known as Giants Orbiting, requiring Helena answer the classic Riddle (she succeeds by giving a literal answer) and stump him in return (she gives him something unsolvable and sneaks off while he's thinking about it). Meanwhile, the "sphinxes" are ravenous beasts which speak seldom and pounce on anyone who seems vulnerable.
  • The Never Ending Story has the Southern Oracle. Though to what degree they are alive, the Southern Oracle consists out of two Gynosphinxes, whose very gaze destroys all life in front of them.
  • Oedipus Rex: The 1967 Italian film version puts an unusual spin on this by having a sphinx that doesn't ask a riddle. Instead, Oedipus defeats the sphinx in hand-to-hand combat.

  • Harry Potter: Sphinxes are classed as beasts (bestial or unintelligent creatures) rather than beings (intelligent magical entities), as they are highly instinct-driven and cannot truly function in societies — they only speak in riddles and puzzles and react violently if given the wrong answer.
  • "The Hound (1924)": The creature depicted on the amulet is described by the narrator as a "crouching winged hound, or sphinx with a semi-canine face." As per the Necronomicon, it is the symbol of the corpse-eating cult of Leng in Central Asia. It is likely the form of the hound whose baying haunts the protagonists from the moment they set foot in the Dutch graveyard, but the creature is never directly observed to confirm.
  • The Mummy Monster Game: In book 1, in order to retrieve the second foot of Osiris, the player has to pick their way through a hall full of stone sphinxes on slabs, some of which are alive and will lash out at the player with their claws if they get too close.
  • Ology Series: Monsterology describes sphinxes as lions with either human, hawk or ram heads; any of these three varieties may have wings or be flightless. They greatly enjoy riddles, a trait they share with dragons.
  • Pyramids: When Pteppic is attempting to reenter Djelibeybi, he passes through a misty land not entirely in any dimension where he encounters the Sphinx, who asks her famous riddle (and a second less famous onenote ) with the equally famous penalty, and will not let him pass unless he answer it. The creature's contradictory nature is noted to give it one hell of an identity crisis, and Pteppic is able to outwit it by getting it to tell him the answer.
  • The Stress of Her Regard features a race of ancient inhuman beings who are the inspiration for many of humanity's mythical creatures; one of the oldest and most powerful of them is the original of the sphinx of Greek legend. The Riddle of the Sphinx is revealed to have a true answer that is different from the one Oedipus came up with.

    Live-Action TV 

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: The Greek sphinx was a singular entity typically portrayed with wings and a woman's head, sometimes also with human breasts or a serpent-headed tail. She was a malicious and dangerous being who guarded the road to Thebes, killed all who could not answer her famous riddle and took her own life when Oedipus got it right. She was usually considered one of the many monstrous children of Echidna, making her a sister to the Chimera, Cerberus and other monsters, and to have lived in Ethiopia until Hera sent her to plague Thebes. The Greeks are generally thought to have gotten the sphinx motif from Egypt, as Egyptian depictions of sphinxes are older and the Greek version begins to turn up at about the same time as stable trade routes were formed between the two cultures. The word "sphinx" is believed to originate either from the Greek term for strangulation, as lionesses typically kill large prey by suffocating it, or from a corruption of the Egyptian term for "living image", as Egyptian sphinx statues were often carved from living rock.
  • Egyptian Mythology: The famous sphinx statues — the Egyptians raised several, in addition to the Great Sphinx of Giza — tended to be stationed as symbolic guards at the entrances to palaces, temples, and other important places, and typically bore the heads of the then-reigning pharaoh on the body of a lion (at least one has the head of Hatshepsut, for instance). As a consequence, they're believed by historians to have been meant to symbolize the link between pharaohs and the lion goddess Sekhmet. Of note is that Egyptian sphinxes never had wings and were likely not actually called sphinxes; the name was used for them by Greek historians, writing long after the statues were built. Ram-headed sphinxes were built as well, and were symbols of the god Amun; Thebes, the center of Amun's cult, has the highest concentration of ram-headed lion statues. Hawk-headed lions also appear in carvings as symbols of Horus. Herodotus later coined the terms criosphinx and hieracosphinx when describing these last two types.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Sphinxes have been present in the game for most of its history. They're immortal, magical and extremely intelligent beings who resemble winged lions with the heads of various other creatures. The four most common variants are the androsphinx (male, with the head of a human man), the gynosphinx (female, with the head of a human woman), the criosphinx (male, with the head of a ram) and the hieracosphinx (male, with the head of a hawk). In practice, their art tends to depict human-headed sphinxes as still having very leonine faces.
    • While they, and gynosphinxes especially, have the usual association with riddles, they're most infamous for their mating habits — gynosphinxes want to mate with androsphinxes, androsphinxes have no interest in sex and need to be bribed or coerced into it, criosphinxes lust after gynosphinxes but the latter find them repulsive, and hieracosphinxes are evil, violent brutes who try to rape gynosphinxes.
    • A number of other sphinx types have been described over the game's history, including loquasphinxes (human-headed and come in both genders, known for their interest in arcane knowledge and truename magic), astrosphinxes (mad, evil, wingless sphinxes with goat skulls for heads, who pose answer-less riddles to everything they meet and kill them when they can't answer), threskisphinxes (ibis-headed sages and artisans), and a variety of evil sphinxes with the heads of various predatory animals.
    • Simplified in the Mystara setting, where heiracosphinxes and criosphinxes don't exist. Without them to confuse the issue, andro- and gynosphinxes are merely considered the male and female forms of a single sphinx race.
  • Godforsaken: Sphinxes are magical beings with leonine bodies, feathered wings, and the heads of humans, hawks or rams; regardless of type, they are always efficient carnivores that can devour creatures as easily and quickly as a lion. Wise and fierce, they have a connection to the divine and are often found guarding temples or persons of great interest to the gods, although whether they serve good or evil depends on the individual sphinx. They wield powerful magic, including the ability to force people to answer difficult riddles.
  • Monarchies of Mau: The Sphinx is the highest CR monster in the rulebook (10), said to have the body of a feline, wings of a bird, and a strange featureless head. If you solve one of its' riddles it'll answer any question you pose of it.
  • In Nomine: Sophronia the sphinx is an ethereal spirit in the form of a winged Greek sphinx; she claims to be the same one confronted by Oedipus. In the modern day she never leaves the Marches and acts as an information broker, selling interesting facts, secrets and insights in exchange for fresh information, riddles she hasn't yet heard, and essence. This puts her in a delicate position because numerous Ethereal spirits bear grudges against her for spilling their secrets, but her services are useful enough that the angels of Dreams and the demons of Nightmares have an informal agreement to protect her.
  • Palladium Fantasy: Sphinxes are the classic winged, human-headed lion version. They are obsessive scholars and greatly interested in the study of history, magic and cultures, and have a taste for expensive food and drink. They are sometimes enticed to take residence in temples with offers of rare texts and delicacies, and are often among the first creatures drawn to discoveries of ancient texts and ruins.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Sphinxes follow the Dungeons and Dragons mold with the four varieties and the infamous mating habits. They claim to be four distinct species, one Always Female and three Always Male, although other species' scholars generally consider them to be just have extreme sexual dimorphism (or tetramorphism, technically). They are held in high regard in the countries of northern Garund, which led the Osiriani people to mistakenly welcome manticores into their country due to a mistaken belief that their similarities meant some form of kinship. Like most other lion-like species, sphinxes can mate with manticores to birth children resembling their non-manticore parent with a tail tipped with poisonous spikes.
      • Gynosphinxes resembles lionesses with eagle wings and the head of a woman. They love riddles and logical puzzles, and offering one a tempting new riddle to ponder is a fairly efficient way to defuse a bad encounter with one.
      • Androsphinxes are intellectual and emotionally aloof; openly described as "prudish", they look down upon sex as messy, fleeting and incomparable to the true pleasures of mental stimulation and spiritual enlightenment. Unfortunately for them, the lustier gynosphinxes prefer androsphinxes as their mates and so seek androsphinxes out wherever they can. They're however the most likely males to father gynosphinxes in turn and, thusly, the survival of their species depends on their being brought to bed by gynosphinxes.
      • The criosphinx is another Always Male sphinx variety, being a comparatively dim-witted (though still above the average human) beast with the head of a ram. They lust ceaselessly after gynosphinxes and, whilst they don't value riddles themselves, they will trade knowledge of them in hopes of being able to use those rituals to help bribe or tempt a gynosphinx into submitting to their lusts. Despite their many flaws, they're the only male sphinx species that actually helps care for the cubs they father.
      • The hieracosphinx is the literally Always Chaotic Evil branch of the sphinx family. With eagle-like heads that make them resemble griffons, they are the most brutal, stupid (this time objectively rather than comparatively) and foul of their kind, hated and reviled by all others. This is especially because their sole method of propagation is to trap, subdue and rape gynosphinxes.
      • Cynosphinxes are a rarer variant of jackal-headed scavengers, and also always male. They're obsessive hoarders of secrets, and make use of their ability to innately cast speak with dead to tease out knowledge from every corpse they eat. They interact little with other sphinxes, as they detest all other kinds, and only seek out company to mate — a rare occurrence, as gynosphinxes detest them and cynosphinxes find sex repulsive.
      • Generally, the nature of a union determines the resulting offspring; couplings born of love or respect produce gynospinxes and androsphinxes, couplings born from selfish desires or simple carnal lust produce criosphinxes (which means that both a criosphinx trying to seduce a gynosphinx and a gynosphinx bedding an androsphinx both have to work to earn their paramour's respect if they want daughters), and hieracosphinxes are born from acts of hate and violence. However, a gynosphinx is always fiercely protective of her cubs, no matter who the father was or how they were conceived. Cynosphinxes are an exception — they always sire cynosphinx cubs, and gynosphinxes' disgust for their kind means that have no issues with the fathers taking their sons away.
    • 2nd edition drops the gyno/andro distinction and the mating conflicts, utilizing a basic sphinx species possessing both sexes in the manner of any other creature.
    • Sphinxes of any type and immense age become elder sphinxes, fantastically powerful beings who guard lore older than civilizations and spend centuries at a time as living statues, casting their minds across the planes or pondering great philosophical conundrums.
    • Pseudosphinxes are diminutive creatures thought to be related to true sphinxes through unclear means. They have the bodies of housecats, the wings of falcons and the heads of monkeys, and are sometimes taken as Familiars.
    • The Osiriani traditionally built statues modeled after living sphinxes, some of which were animated in the form of immense sphinx colossi that could pull themselves free of their bases to fight off would-be tomb robbers.
    • Areshkagal, the demon lord of portals, greed and riddles, takes the form of a giant, faceless sphinx with batlike wings, six legs and a snake for a tail. She is often worshipped by evil sphinxes, and her worship traditionally takes place inside giant sphinx statues.
  • Shadowrun: Hieraco- and criosphinxes are variants of griffins found only in the Serdarbulak Plateau in the Middle East, and are believed to have diverged from regular griffins in the surge of magical transformations that came with the passing of Halley's Comet. The hieracosphinx resembles a griffin with a falcon-like head and vestigial wings, while the criosphinx resembles a hieracosphinx with lion ears and ram horns.
  • Warhammer:
    • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar:
      • As a realm of knowledge and hidden import Hysh, the Realm of Light, and the Lumineth Realm-lords who live there are strongly associated with sphinxes and sphinx-like creatures. The Hyshian moon spirit Celennar, for example, takes the form of a tawny sphinx-like beast with a face covered by a white mask adorned with a pair of large horns.
      • Mindstealer Sphiranxes are Chaos creatures resembling long-armed felines with a third eye in the middle of their foreheads and a large pair of horns on their heads. They were once an order of mystics who served Teclis, one of the twin aelven gods of Hysh, but made a pact with the Tzeentch, dark god of magic, in order to have direct access to arcane power; Tzeentch gave them their third eyes and the ability to pluck knowledge from the minds of their victims, at the cost of losing all other connections to sorcery. The rush of new knowledge drove them quite mad, and modern-day Sphyranxes revel in seizing vital knowledge from the minds of their foes before killing them.
    • Warhammer Fantasy: Sphinxes don't exist as a race of actual creatures, but in mythology of the setting's equivalent of Ancient Egypt, the death-obsessed civilisation of Nehekhara, sphinxes were the guardians of the Underworld and a popular motif in their architecture. The undead remains of the fallen kingdom, the Tomb Kings, consequently use two types of war constructs modeled after sphinxes. Khemrian Warsphinxes resemble enormous skeletal lions carved out of stone, and are used as both war monsters and steeds by Nehekharan rulers. Necropshinxes are centauroid statues with the bodies of lions, the upper bodies and heads of men, a pair of giant blades for arms and (non-functional) wings, and are used chiefly as monster-killers.
  • World Tree (RPG): Kaimiri, the god of time, is said to resemble a great sphinx locked in a state of sleep-like mediation, endlessly contemplating mysteries known only to itself.

  • Oedipus Rex: Oedipus frees Thebes from a sphinx who had trapped people inside by answering her riddle, thus saving the kingdom, which makes him the king out of gratitude. While the sphinx is not described in the play, and much of this occurs off-screen, the sphinx fits the Riddling Sphinx archetype and was likely a Greek-style sphinx.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Mythology: Sphinxes, in the form of human-headed lions wearing pharaonic headdresses, are a myth unit available to worshippers of Bast. They can be upgraded with the Criosphinx and Hieracosphinx technologies, respectively boosting their health and speed.
  • Age of Wonders: Sphinxes resembling lions with human heads and pharaonic headdresses are a high-tier unit for the Tigrans, a faction of desert-dwelling Cat Folk.
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey: The Sphynx, a giant, woman-headed and winged lion, is one of the four legendary creatures of Greek myth that are fought as bosses alongside Brontes the cyclops, Medusa and the Minotaur. Like the others, she was a normal human who was corrupted by one of the Pieces of Eden, a remnant of an ancient project meant to create terror weapons to be used by the Isu to cow their human subjects. Unlike the others, she's an optional boss, not attacking on sight. She only attacks if the Eagle Bearer fails to solve her puzzle correctly.
  • Chrono Cross: The Criosphinx is an ancient, powerful being of unknown origin. It resents the damage humanity did to the world, and jumps you "to preserve the peace of the planet", trapping you in a game of riddles for trespassing in its lair. If you beat it with smarts, it lets you depart with your lives but gives you no other reward, while if you decide to just bash its face in, it gets pissed but drops a valuable item.
  • Fate/Grand Order has two main variety of sphinxes. The male Sphinx is a winged, muscular lion man with a golden mask covering their maned face. The female Malikah Sphinx have a more slender build, black fur instead of brown and completely human heads. Ozymandias has another as his Noble Phantasm, Abu El-Hol, which is a giant, featureless, starry sky-bodied sphinx.
  • Final Fantasy: Sphinxes appear from time to time as enemies and bosses, typically taking the shape of winged, human-headed lions.
  • God of War: Sphinxes resembling nothing so much as fire-breathing, winged saber-toothed cats appear as bestial enemies in Chains of Olympus. Statues scattered here and there depict the more traditional woman-headed version, as well as concept arts for the aforementioned enemies.
  • Kings Quest (2015) has a Sphinx appear in Chapter 4: Snow place like home. Its body is fully feline, built like a leopard but with the colouring of a lion or a cougar. It has a human face, but with big vast, steer like horns. It guards the Ice Palace, which is filled with block puzzles and instant freeze death traps, and is fond of riddles. It also isn't really a sphinx, it's Mannamon, a Goblin turned human (long story) who got turned into a cat, and the sphinx form is the end result of trying to turn from a cat into something more humanoid than just a housecat. The riddles and puzzles were all a facade.
  • Last Armageddon: A sphinx in a member of your party of monsters, called Androsphinx despite appearing female. In her default appearance she looks like a human woman wearing a nemesheaddress, though her evolutions as she levels up turns her more sphinx-like, and then into manticore and chimera-based forms.
  • Pipeworks ''Godzilla'' Trilogy: The Sphinx itself appears as the boss of the Egypt stage of Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash — wouldn't be a Kaiju game without some Monumental Damage, now would it?
  • Poseidon: Master of Atlantis: The Sphinx, as a winged female-headed lion, is a monster sent by Hera who can be defeated by summoning Atalanta. Her riddle is slightly easier to figure out than the classic one.
    What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, three legs at dusk, and screams in terror now?
  • Red Earth: Ravange (Secmeto in Japan), one of the boss monsters, is a cross between an Egyptian sphinx and the Greek Chimera. He was created by a follower of Scion, the priestess Clara Tantra (Arumana IV in Japan), and fuses the power of the lion, goat, eagle, dragon, and cobra together along with hers.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: A Sphinx Grimm appears in "Argus Limited". It has a leonine body and feathered wings, is capable of breathing fire, and has a snake for a tail, and leads a pack of Manticores that it directs in combat ahead of itself.

  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Praman Nand, a powerful gold devil, takes the form of a titanic feline beast with a human mask and is titled the Lord Androsphinx of the Gilded Cage.
  • Last Res0rt: Rei, the last purebred Celeste, looks like a large feline with a humanoid face and a pair of wings.
  • Oglaf: Stumper has an Egyptian gynosphinx wearing a nemes headdress and eyeshadow, who stops a passerby and asks him a riddle (in the form of charades, but gets fed up and blurts out the answer, disqualifying herself). The Alt Text points out Egyptian sphinxes don't ask riddles and explains she's actually Greek.
  • Paranatural: The sphinxes are spirits with varying powers, though they only resemble sphinxes in a very vague sense, looking closer to winged cats. The Sphinx of Games forces people to play games and answer riddles, with all rules he creates becoming laws of reality. The Sphinx of Truth, despite her semblance to a kitten, is more dangerous, able to turn her tail into blades and causing anyone in her presence, even herself, to be forced to tell the truth if they attempt to lie.
  • Skin Deep: Sphinxes are one of the most important species in the setting, as they're highly magically adept and were the ones to create the medallions that allow other creatures to take on human form and thus keep up The Masquerade. They're thought to be extinct after a ruinous war with the dragons that wiped both species out, but the main character turns out to be the last living sphinx left. Their magic, which includes oracular dreams and visions, is drawn from a shared pool of magical power shared among all living sphinxes — meaning that, as Michelle is the only one around, she has theoretical access to the totality of the sphinx species' magic.
    • They physically resemble lions with human faces (although in full form their faces are still very pronounced and muzzle-like), and come in two distinct types: Grecian sphinxes, who have wings, and Egyptian ones, who don't. They aren't however so distinct that a sphinx of one type can't be born to one of the other, and they generally think of themselves as two sides of a single species. Grecian sphinxes also tend to be female and Egyptian sphinxes male, although relatively small numbers of male Grecians and female Egyptians also existed.
    • There are also a number of similar creatures, some of which might be related to sphinxes and some of which just happen to look like them or be called the same, although the two main types consider them to be just stealing their name. These include purushamrigas, also called Indian sphinxes, which are thought to be related to true sphinxes; shedus, who have lion bodies, wings and human heads but are unrelated creatures; hawk-headed hieracosphinxes, which are essentially just a type of gryphon; and ram-headed criosphinxes, whose origin isn't known.
  • Slack Wyrm: The titular dragon's castle is home to a sphinx among its other fantasy creatures, who resembles a winged lion with human hair, ears and a beard and whose riddles are thinly veiled attempts to sort out his highly depressing life.
  • Subnormality: The Sphinx is about three thousand and four hundred years old, and around the size of a small elephant. She also eats people — she doesn't seem to eat anything else — and gets very prickly when people object.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic: The Sphynx of Temshutep, a whale-sized female sphinx provided with breasts and a nemes headdress, guards the tomb of Temshutep and attacks whoever can't answer her riddles correctly.

    Web Original 
  • Bosun's Journal: Sphinxes are a lineage of quadrupedal, feline-like, nonsapient posthuman predators native to the deserts and steppes of Habitat One. They originally evolved from tiny predators known as sandbiters, which themselves descend from genetically engineered pets.
    • One species, the changeling sphinxes, becomes adapted to preying on another sheep-like posthuman species through having its small, furry males infiltrate herds while pretending to be calves; this complex hunting strategy ultimately promotes the development of sapience. They eventually evolve into the civilized riddlesphinxes, a sexually dimorphic species where the tiny males ride on the backs of their much larger wives, and who select mates by using contests of riddles to test each other's cunning.
    • Another species, the great dragon sphinxes, remain nonsapient but become traincar-sized predators of megafauna, eventually establishing themselves as the apex predators of the Nebuan deserts, and develop the habit of hoarding shiny metal and glass with which to impress mates.
  • Codex Inversus:
    • The city-state of Mizani is ruled by Hekima, the Everlasting Wisdom and the Last Sphinx. She is the last surviving being, a millennium after the Collapse, to retain a spark of divinity and the immortality and magical power that go with it.
    • The explorer Tamil came back from one of her travels with a second sphinx, named M'zaha, which has a woman's head on a leopard body. Nobody knows where she came from, as neither Tamil or M'zaha will tell. Unlike Hekima, M'zaha is a wholly mortal being, and is infamous for her rotten attitude.

    Western Animation 
  • Beetlejuice: In "Brinkadoom", to escape from the eponymous disappearing village, Beetlejuice and Lydia must correctly answer the riddle posed by the Stinx, a giant sphinx-like skunk with the personality of a game show host.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: In "Throw Mummy From the Train", the Rangers encounter an Egyptian sphinx statue that can be brought to life by placing a magical ring into its forehead.
  • Class of the Titans: "Breathtaking Beauty" features a sphinx as the main antagonist. She spends most of the episode, disguised as a human girl, under the alias Josephine X. In her true form, she has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman. In the episode, she has trapped an entire town, for being unable to solve her new riddle, and attempts to do the same to Odie. He is however able to solve the riddle, and together with his team, manage to defeat the Sphinx.
  • Danny Phantom: In "King Tuck", the mummy ghost Hotep Ra has Tucker's (who the former believes is King Duulaman reincarnated and has him hypnotized to believe such with the Scarab Scepter) servants build a large sphinx, which is later brought to life to attack Danny.
  • Extreme Ghostbusters: In "The Sphinx", the protagonists face a sphinx wearing a pharaonic headdress which asks them the famous Riddle of the Sphinx. Its human face is actually a mask hiding a mishmash mass of teeth, eyes and tentacles, which it only removes to drain the intelligence of those it deems to possess the brightest minds that fail to answer its riddle.
  • The Legend of Vox Machina: The two sphinxes seen in the series, Osysa and Kamaljiori, are huge, ancient, immortal servants of The Knowing Mistress. They are mates who were stationed far apart from each other in order to protect dangerous knowledge. Both of them put Vox Machina through a trial to test their worthiness for the information they keep, but neither of them ask riddles.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Daring Done?", an extended flashback sequence features a sphinx in the shape of an enormous, purple, winged catlike creature with a vaguely pony-like head (as all partly-human creatures in the setting have their humanoid body parts replaced with something else) and a stylized nemes headdress. It terrorized Somnambula's home in the distant past, kidnapping its prince when he tried to stand up to her and taking the crops of the people. When Somnambula came to rescue the kidnapped prince, the sphinx demanded that she solve a riddle before being permitted to do so, and after Somnambula did so further demanded that she rescue the prince from a prison in the middle of a pool of corrosive slime after having her ability to fly removed by the sphinx's magic.


Video Example(s):


The Sphynx

The famous riddling monster of legend, found in an ancient ruin south of Lake Kopais in the Boeotia region.

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Main / OurSphinxesAreDifferent

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