The Great Sphinx of Giza.

Depicting Man or Beast? Can You Solve the Riddle of the Great Sphinx of Giza?


The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the most fantastic monuments of ancient Egypt. A monolith carved into the limestone bedrock of the Giza plateau, the statue depicts a mythical creature with the head of a man and the body of a lion. According to legend, the Sphinx protects the tombs of the great pharaohs of Egypt and has done so ever since 2500 BC. However, in recent times, much debate has swirled around the origins and nature of this statue. Some say that erosion patterns actually indicate the Sphinx was built hundreds, if not thousands, of years earlier. Others suggest that the oddly disproportionate head suggest that originally, the statue was not of a sphinx at all, but rather of a lion or perhaps even the dog god, Anubis. As nobody may ever know the truth for certain, the Riddle of the Sphinx lives on.

The Great Sphinx of Giza.

The Great Sphinx of Giza. Source: Public Domain

The Mythical Sphinx

A sphinx is a mythical figure in Greek and Egyptian mythology. It is typically portrayed as having the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the wings of an eagle. A sphinx can be male or female, but is always cunning and merciless. Usually, in myths, a sphinx asks riddles and if a person answers incorrect, he is eaten. Sometimes the sphinx terrorizes a village. For example, the sphinx of Boeotian Thebes “the most famous in legend, was said to have terrorized the people by demanding the answer to a riddle taught her by the Muses—What is it that has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed? —and devouring a man each time the riddle was answered incorrectly. Eventually,  Oedipus gave the proper answer: man, who crawls on all fours in infancy, walks on two feet when grown, and leans on a staff in old age. The sphinx thereupon killed herself.” (The Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016)

Oedipus and the Sphinx of Thebes, Red Figure Kylix, c. 470 BC, from Vulci, attributed to the Oedipus Painter, Vatican Museums.

Oedipus and the Sphinx of Thebes, Red Figure Kylix, c. 470 BC, from Vulci, attributed to the Oedipus Painter, Vatican Museums. (Marcus Cyron/ CC BY SA 2.0 )

At other times, as in the Great Sphinx of Giza, the creature is said to be guarding something and will not let anyone pass unless they correctly answer a riddle.

Who Built the Sphinx of Giza?

Conventional wisdom holds that the Sphinx of Giza was built during the 4th Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt under the reign of Pharaoh Khafre (2558 – 2532 BC), around the same time that the Great Pyramids were being built. The statue’s face was supposed to be made in the Pharaoh’s image. Yet, one cannot help but be confused by the appearance of such a little head on top of such a gigantic body. “If we know anything about the ancient Egyptians and their statues, we know that they always got the proportions right. In fact, we could say that they were evidently obsessed with correct proportions in everything. So why would they carve what is still even today the world's largest stone statue and get the proportions wrong?” (Temple, 2009)

Giza Plateau - Great Sphinx - front view, note the proportions of the head to larger body.

Giza Plateau - Great Sphinx - front view, note the proportions of the head to larger body. (Daniel Mayer/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

In addition, the face of the Sphinx does not look like other depictions of Khafre. “Known depictions of Khafre on statues and the Sphinx reveal many differences, though one might defend – though no one seems to have done so – that the sculptors got the precise features of Khafre slightly wrong, because of the uniqueness, the scale and challenge of working with the native rock at Gizeh, rather than with the much smaller scale and tested methodology of his known statues, some of which were recovered from the Valley Temple right next to the Sphinx.” (Coppens, 2016).

Some say that the Sphinx is more in the style of Pharaoh Khufu, Khafre’s father, and was therefore built sometime during his reign (2589 – 2566 B.C.). Others argue that it was built by Khufu’s other son, the little-known Pharaoh Djedefre (2528 – 2520 B.C.) in honor of Khufu, which explains why was in Khufu’s style and why it does not look like Khafre – it could have been made in Khufu’s likeness.

Head of a statue of Pharaoh Khafre (Einsamer Schütze/CC BY SA 3.0), and head in ivory of Pharaoh Khufu exposed in Altes Museum (Marcus Cyron/CC BY SA 3.0). Do you see a resemblance between either pharaoh with the Sphinx?

Left-right: Head of a statue of Pharaoh Khafre (Einsamer Schütze/ CC BY SA 3.0 ), and head in ivory of Pharaoh Khufu exposed in Altes Museum (Marcus Cyron/ CC BY SA 3.0 ). Do you see a resemblance between either pharaoh with the Sphinx?

The Sphinx as a Giant Lion

However, none of these theories explain the jarring disproportionate nature of the sphinx’s head. Historical architect Dr. Jonathan Foyle has said “the head and body were massively out of proportion…[and] the reason for this could be that the Sphinx originally had an entirely different head - that of a lion… To early Egyptians, the lion was a much more potent symbol of power than the human face” (Daily Mail Reporter, 2008). At this point in history, lions still inhabited Giza and the surrounding areas. Whether it was due to the erosion of the soft limestone or for political reasons, supporters of the lion-head theory argue that the Great Sphinx was remodeled to have the face of man, possibly of a pharaoh, an act that reduced the overall size of its head significantly.

An Egyptian lion statue.

An Egyptian lion statue. (Yortw/ CC BY 2.0 )

The Egyptian God of the Dead

Yet another theory, somewhat less widely supported but far more interesting, holds that the Great Sphinx’s head was indeed originally that of an animal, but not of a lion. It was originally a dog and represented the Egyptian god of the dead, Anubis. As Robert Temple observes, “the body of the Sphinx is not feline, as lions are known for a back that is curved and possessing a mane that is absent on the Sphinx” rather, the body is in the shape of a crouching dog (Coppens, 2016). There is much circumstantial evidence to support this theory: First, Anubis is the god of the dead and is believed to protect the deceased and to prevent the unworthy from crossing the river Nile to the underworld, like the role played by the guard dog Cerberus in Greek mythology. In addition,

“following the Book of the Dead, a statue of Anubis was used in rituals to do with the deceased, and specifically the washing of the parts of the deceased body that had been placed in the four Canopic jars…[and] this might also explain why the Sphinx enclosure might have been a moat – filled with water – for ritual washing of the pharaoh’s body. Equally, seeing that Anubis was the god of embalming, one could argue whether the embalming of a or several pharaohs therefore occurred in the so-called Sphinx Temple.” (Coppens, 2016).

Was the sphinx initially designed as a statue of Anubis?

Was the sphinx initially designed as a statue of Anubis? (public domain)

Finally, “the best-known image of Anubis is the Anubis statue found inside the tomb of King Tutankhamen, which shows him as a crouching dog” (Temple, 2009). If the head of the statue was originally that of a pointy-eared jackal, as Anubis is often portrayed, then it supports the notion that erosion eventually ruined its ears and maybe its snout. The Pharaoh’s then sought to restore the statue and remodeled it to have a head of a man, transforming it into the popular mythical figure, the sphinx.

Representation of Anubis from the tomb of Tutankhamen.

Representation of Anubis from the tomb of Tutankhamen. ( CC BY SA 2.5 )

Top Image: The Great Sphinx of Giza. Source: BigStockPhoto

By Kerry Sullivan


Coppens, Philip. "The Sphinx Mystery."  The Sphinx Mystery . Philip Coppens, 2016.

Daily Mail Reporter. "The Great Sphinx of Giza Reborn as a Lion in the Desert."  Daily Mail Online . Associated Newspapers, 08 Dec. 2008.

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Sphinx."  Encyclopædia Britannica . Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 01 June 2016.

Temple, Robert. "What Is Wrong with the Sphinx?"  Graham Hancock Official Website . Graham Hancock, 27 May 2009.


I’ve wondered about the disproportionate head on the sphinx for some time. I’ve never believed that the head was the original one.  I don’t think it’s important whether the  recarved image is of  Khafre or Khufu. I think the important point is that it was recarved, though the reason could be either erosion or egotism of the pharaoh. It is well known that the pharaohs routinely “borrowed” from earlier pharaohs, as evidenced by the images on tomb walls. Personally, I think the sphinx is much older than believed. I don’t found the theory that the erosion patterns on the sphinx are wind and sand damage as other structures supposedly built around the same time don’t show similar patterns. IMHO the theory that the damage is water runoff is much more likely. That indicates great age

sabre0522's picture

I have been trying to point out this observation for quite some time. The Lion as you say has long been associated with Egypt, but thats not entirely true. It is actually Lionesses that figure prominently, with two lionesses pictured back to back and they represented the safe guarding of the Sun as it aproached the horizon and Ra must hand over the reigns to his son Osiris, Lord of the underworld and the dead.This is when the sun is most vulnerable to attack from the Serpent of chaos. The Mother Goddesses of Old Europe, of which the Venus figurines depict a similarly sized figure of an abundant woman, there are some figurines where she is seated on a high backed chair or throne and sitting beside each knee are two Lionesses, like they are her protectors. Later Ra created Sekhmet a half female half lioness, except since she was a Goddess, her head is animal form and her body is human. Sekhmet was sent to rule over mankind in Ra’s name and she was meant as a punishment on man. Originally he wanted Sekhmet to totally destroy man, but when Sekhmet went on a blood lust filled rampage and totally decimated mankind anywhere sahe found them, the more she slew the more she lusted for more.. Ra stopped her by dying the beer they made a red colour, then pouring it all over like the poolsa of blood were before. Sekhmet rose from sleep and in her lust for blood she saw all the red fluid and thinking it blood from yesterday sahe began to lick it all up until she became very drunk and wandered off to sleep. Mankind had been saved, but only just. But my answer to the riddle is this; It has a animal body and human head, now. First this means that unless it was all animal, then it isnt one of the gods. If it isnt a god or goddess then it must be someone worthy of this adoration but not one of the gods. The evidence is pointing that it may, and in my eyes it is, the only candidate, except Anubis, that has any merit to be placed in such a position of honour. 

It is my proposal that it depicts Isis, wife of Osiris and mother to Horus, who was the first Pharaoh to be half man and half god, or like Adam, who was made in the image of god, meaning he was half god and half man and is the first man. The Egyptians worshipped Isis as the Mother Goddess of all mankind.

They never stopped worshipping her and she was considered a very big threat to christianity as they couldnt make inroads into Egypt because of her popularity since the beginning. The christians admitting defeat decided to incorporate her cult into christianity instead and they adopted her iconography of Isis holding baby Horus in her arms to be the same icon for Mary , mother of Jesus. The immaculate conception was promoted and similar to Isis with the resurrected body (but not the phallus, she had to fashion one out of gold) so Isis herself gave birth without a true conception. This elevated female worship and status to that of being more than that of Jesus, as Mary was a mortal woman, one of our own kind.

Further to all tyhat, we have the three pyramids she guards layed out in replication of the belt of the constellation Orion. Orion was the Greek name for Osiris, the Egyptians knew the constellation as Osiris’ and he was now the guardian of the underworld, going there when his father Ra took off in his fiery chariot of the Sun at dawn..

So we have the Pyramids as representing her late husband and brother, the late father of Horus, the first man who was pharaoh after killing his Uncle Set but not before Set had torn his eye out and cast it away.

It is Isis, the always beloved Mother Goddess of all mankind, Mother to the highly respected Horus, the Hawk God and first true Pharaoh of Egypt. She sits as a female lioness, protecting her beloved husband and brother Osiris, their son Horus as Pharaoh would upon his death be made ready to take his place amongst the gods, in the heavens as one of the many bright stars or as his father Osiris, who awaits him and all future Pharaohs who are also part god will be shown their place in the heavens by their god of the underworld Osiris.

The struggle that developed in Mesopotamia with the status and position of women being denigrated and having women placed into a subservient role and kept within the confines of her home, because the Patriarchal peoples of Mesopotamia, the worshippers of our first creator, Enlil, who feels that his adversary the Serpent Enki has cheated him and taken from Enlil his creation of a worker, stronger, but like a mule sterile. That was the tale behind Lilith and the demonizing and naming her as lonely and without child so she will try and snatch a womans new born child and make it her own. Later it is said she mated with demons out in the weiolderness beyond Eden and from her we are plagued with all manner of monstrous demons who as her children they too seek vengence. There are parallels in the tale of Sekhmet of Egypt and similar with the Greek Pandora, sent by Zeus to create strife among mankind. These are the followers of the bull gods as depicted by the Assyrians flanking the gates to the city. 

The Bull gods followers blame Eve’s vulnerability to persuasion as the cause of this strife and women have to confined and not allowed to chose their own partner to mate but instead a contract of marriage passes the ownership of a woman from her father to her new husband, a dowry or bride price is paid to finalise the binding of the contract. Women have been taken away from positions of freedom because it is feared they will mate with bull gods or Serpent gods and create new peoples who may be enemies and better able to defeat the Bull gods. Woman like the Mother Goddess Queens of Old Europe, with their Giant consorts, the first Kings of Europe, create new lineages of bigger, stronger smarter people and these all become Kings to these peoples.

In Egypt Isis was favored by the people, christianity had to set aside their paranoia about woman being exalted, giving women the power to have freedom of choice of partner and they say it is wrong to allow this freedom to women as the Serpent or others can persuade her to mate with them and new corruptions and abominations will occur because of her transgressions. It is the Original sin of Eve that caused the fall of MAN only because Enlil (El in the Bible) had his creation taken from him. He wants us back as we were and he will destroy all that we are, becausae we are an abomination  of his original creation. It is women who also caused the rift

William Bradshaw's picture

I find your statements quite interesting and with great merit. The reason that I say this is that the Kurds are actually Jews so this lends credence to your post, but this genetic fact is being kept a secret probably due to the violence and Middle East terrorism that is directly attributable to the Kurds. The Kurds continue to make war in Syria to this day. 

I also believe your statement about the tunnels between the Sphinx and the pyramids. I also suspect that there may be  tunnels from the pyramids down into the Hollow Earth, like other locations around the globe including Tibet and Guyana, but many will laugh at this aspect. I can guarantee you that the Hollow Earth is where the ancient gods now reside and our governments hide this fact. The ancient gods are not gods but tetraploid humans and they are the ones that built the pyramids, the Spinx, Gobekli Tepe, Puma Punku, Stonehenge, Anghor Wat and many other megalithic structures that actually encircle the globe.

Thank you for your insightful comment. 

William H. Bradhaw, Dipl. T, CPIM

My sister dated the son of King Farouk, Mohamed El-Tawansy. He was a direct descendant of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. She met him in an international club for foreign students. The Farouk dynasty has been exiled in the United States.

Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat was the third President of Egypt took over from Farouk. Mohamed told my sister that he must be prepared to return and become the king of Egypt if politics changed there. And she would become part of his harem and would not like it. This is why he broke up with her.

He told my father and sister that as a child he played in the Great Pyramid, And that his father showed him an entrance into the Sphinx which led to an underground temple. He said there was a passageway from the Sphinx to the Great Pyramid. And he used to play in there when his father was the king of Egypt.

A few years later I was reading a book that said King Farouk took a visitor to the Sphinx and showed him the secret entrance to underground chambers confirming what Mohamed told us.

Mohamed brought a friend with him sometimes who was a Kurd, Figcre. The Kurds are native people who live around Mt Ararat and protect the secret of the whereabouts of Noah's Ark. My sister worked at radio station KHOF and they broadcast programs on the search for Noah's Ark. About the same time my sister worked as a ghost writer on the 1972 a book titled Noah's Ark: Fact or Fable by Earl and Violet Cummings. Cummings also discovered the humanoid tracks with dinosaurs at Tuba City Arizona which much later I was the senior researcher for the Creation Research Society Quarterly and published several technical papers on. Cummings lived to be over 100 years old.

Figcre told us that they saw Noah's Ark on Ararat. The next time he talked to my sister and father he claimed he knew nothing about it. He must have been warned that he should not tell anyone that the Kurds know where the Ark is. Atheists have tried to destroy it.

It is believed by some that the Sphinx is a woman, as mentioned in the article above. With the body of a lion. And this, according to The Gospel in the Stars by Joseph A. Seiss, symbolizes Virgo to Leo. The birth of Jesus to his second coming as a Lion. The Great Pyramid is mentioned in the Bible as a pillar of witness in the last days in the center of Egypt, and at the border (the border of upper and lower Egypt). I give details on this in my book Part 1 Chapter 5 The Great Pyramid.


Next article