The Riddle of the Sphinx

The Sphinx

The Sphinx

The Riddle of the Sphinx is probably the most famous riddle from antiquity.   It has its origins in a familiar story from Greek literature, in particular the Theban trilogy by Sophocles.  In Oedipus Rex an oracle prophesized that the male child of the king and queen of Thebes would kill his father and marry his mother.  The king, fearing the prophecy, bound the child’s feet and set him out to die.  That child was Oedipus.  He was saved by a shepherd and later adopted by king and queen of Corinth.

As an adult Oedipus is told of the prophecy and leaves home in order to spare those he believes are his family from their preordained fate.  On the road he encounters a man in a chariot.  The two argue as to who has the right of way and Oedipus slays the man.

Outside the city of Thebes Oedipus comes upon the Sphinx who controls the city.  The Sphinx stops all travelers to ask them a riddle.  No one has answered correctly and all have been eaten by the Sphinx.

The Sphinx recites its riddle.  “What creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed, and two-footed and three-footed?”  Oedipus answers the riddle correctly, causing the Sphinx to throw herself off a cliff thus freeing the city.

Upon his arrival in Thebes he is accorded a hero’s welcome.  He is granted the dead kings throne and marries the queen.  As fate would have it the man Oedipus killed on the road was his father and the queen he marries is his mother.

There are several versions of this riddle.  Apollodorus of Athens has a version that reads:  “What is that which has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?”  But probably the most famous version comes from History For Kids.  “What goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon and three feet in the evening?”

Are you as smart as Oedipus?  What is the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx?

Thank you for your patience

thanksThank you for your patience while this website was under construction.

As mentioned, The Riddle of Riddles website was hacked by groups of Eastern Europeans for a period of months. In fact, just yesterday some Russian source attempted to gain access but was thwarted by the newly installed security programs.

But we are up and running again and will be posting new riddles shortly. I also intend to repeat the first few riddles that began this website for continuity sake.

The good news is that, as promised, I will be giving away free copies of the eBook The Riddle of Riddles for the first correct answer to the riddle posted. Stay tuned.

Under Construction

under constructionPlease forgive the dust and debris, but this website is under construction.

I had the unfortunate experience of being hacked by some Eastern Europeans – damn Bolsheviks! I made the mistake of opening up this website to multiple users when I first constructed it because I linked it to my website. Big mistake.

This meant that once hacked, my website information could be sold (I am assuming) to numerous nefarious individuals or groups. At one point a hundred or so websites were connected to mine. The resultant heavy traffic alerted Web Hosting Hub to the problem. I was informed that I would have to take down my website. This process has taken weeks to resolve.

I am sorry for the inconvenience. Please bear with me as I rebuild.


P.S. The paperback version of The Riddle of Riddles is soon to be released. Yea!