Zur Herkunft des griechischen Wortes ΣΦΊΓΞ

  • Mieszek Jagiełło Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań
Keywords: Sphinx, Lamaštu, sphingo, strangling, etymology


No convincing etymology for the Greek term “sphinx” has been found so far. Nevertheless there are three explanations that are worth consideration, these are: one possible derivation from the Egyptian language (šsp ‘nḫ), one from Sanskrit (sphíj) and one from Greek (sphingo). In the following paper all of them are being presented and evaluated. The author dismisses the first two possibilities, opting for the Greek hypothesis by arguing that the Theban sphinx developed out of a Semitic demon called ḥnqt/ ḫnqt (‘the Strangler’). The argumentation includes linguistic evidence to support this claim.


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