The people of Thebes had a problem. A BIG problem. A Sphinx was laying in wait, outside their city, stopping all travelers to Thebes and asking the same riddle:
What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?
Those who failed to answer the riddle were gobbled up raw, obliterated by a creature with the haunches of a lion, the wings of a bird and a face and breasts of a woman. Oedipus solved the riddle with his answer, 'Man.' The Sphinx in a frenzied rage destroyed herself. The Thebans rejoiced and made Oedipus their new king, also giving him the hand of their widowed queen, Jocasta. No one could have predicted their hero would soon bring them to ruin.
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Oedipus and the Sphinx 1808
Francois-Xavier Fabre, Oedipus and the Sphinx 1808
Drinking cup, c. 470 B.C
Gustave Moreau, Oedipus and the Sphinx 1864
Best attire for riddle answering? Nude with cape and sandals.