Teaching Students About the Plural of Sphinx


The Sphinx, a mythical creature renowned for its riddles and enigmatic presence, has long captivated the imagination of scholars, students, and historians alike. With its distinctive lion body and human head, this mysterious hybrid beast has emerged as a symbol of ancient lore and wisdom. As educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that students gain a deeper understanding of topics like the Sphinx in their exploration of mythology. This article puts forth an approach to teach students about the plural form of Sphinx – Sphinges.

Understanding the Sphinx

Before diving into the plural form of Sphinx, it is essential to ensure that students understand its origin and significance in ancient mythology. The study of Sphinges can be approached through their two most famous counterparts – the Egyptian and Greek mythological traditions.

1. Egyptian Sphinx: Also known as the Great Sphinx of Giza, this iconic statue attests to the architectural prowess exhibited by the Ancient Egyptians. The Egyptian Sphinx is often portrayed as a symbol of protection and power, with its human face representing the pharaoh while its lion’s body embodies strength.

2. Greek Sphinx: The Greek version of this mythical creature is perhaps most famously illustrated in the story of Oedipus. The Cunning creature posed a riddle to those who attempted to enter Thebes, only to be foiled by Oedipus’ wit. In contrast to its Egyptian counterpart, the Greek Sphinx embodies elements of destruction and chaos.

Introducing Sphinges: The Plural Form

Once students have grasped the primary themes surrounding individual Sphinges, it is crucial to introduce them to various instances where Sphinges appear as different entities. These instances unearth exciting stories and emphasize how these mythical creatures converge within shared narrative spaces.

Activities and Discussions:

1. Comparing & Contrasting: Encourage students to compare and contrast the attributes of Egyptian and Greek Sphinges. This activity fosters critical thinking and a nuanced appreciation for the distinct cultural contexts presented by these mythical beasts.

2. Creative Writing: Instruct students to develop their fictional Sphinges, drawing upon various cultures and mythologies. This creative exercise not only expands their knowledge of plural Sphinges but also cultivates their imaginative skills to create unique characters and stories.

3. Mythical Art: Invite students to create artistic representations of different Sphinges, emphasizing both the physical attributes and symbolic meanings inherent in various traditions. This project allows for unique self-expression while solidifying the subject matter in students’ minds.

4. Understanding Language: Explain to students how certain words have irregular plurals forms in the English language (e.g., ‘Sphinges’). This linguistic insight opens up discussions related to language evolution, translation challenges, and cross-cultural communication.


The plural form of Sphinx – Sphinges – ushers forth an exciting gateway into the realm of ancient mythology. By exploring these fascinating creatures through comparison, understanding their cultural significance, and tapping into their creative potential, students can cultivate a richer understanding of Sphinges and their underlying lore. As educators, adapting a holistic approach in teaching such enigmatic subjects can help unlock the mysteries surrounding ancient mythology for future generations.

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