- The name given by the ancient *Greeks to the divine lions of Egypt, with the heads of pharaohs. 'Sphinx' is probably derived from their original Egyptian name 'shesep ankh', meaning 'living image'. In Egypt, the sphinx was almost always the male representation of royal power, in contrast to the Greek sphinx which was female and had an evil function.The most famous Egyptian example is the Great Sphinx at Giza, reputed to possess the facial features of King *Chephren, which in antiquity guarded the ancient necropolis. At the Temple of Amun at Karnak, the entrance is guarded by two lines of ram-headed, lion-bodied sphinxes which incorporate the powers of the lion and of Amun's cult-animal, the ram.Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David* * *Greek name for the human-headed lion depicted in Egyptian art, especially large sculpture. The most famous example is the Great Sphinx at Giza, which was carved from a rocky knoll in the form of King Khafre. This sphinx was later identified with a form of the sun god Harmakhis. In particular, it was venerated and restored by Thutmose IV, who attributed his unexpected succession to its divine intercession. Monumental sphinxes were produced during Dynasty 12, although they were wrongly assigned to the Hyksos by early Egyptologists. The Great Sphinx was first cleared by Giovanni Battista Caviglia in 1817 and subsequently by Auguste Mariette in 1853, Gaston Maspero in 1889, and Eugene Baraize from 1923–1936. It has recently been restored.Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier
Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. EdwART. 2011.