The Naxian Sphinx
This marble sphinx, an offering from the people of Naxos, dominated Apollo's sanctuary from its position atop a 12.10 meter high Ionic column. This mythical creature, a symbol of earthly divinity and heavenly power, has the body and legs of a lion, the chest and wings of a bird, and the head of a woman. Her long hair is held back by a band and forms neat curls, while the characteristic Archa?c smile enlivens her sublime countenance. She is made of white marble, with engraved and painted details on her chest and wings. This sphinx is a representative example of Naxian sculpture at its zenith in the 6th century BC. The inscription on the base records a decree of 328-327 BC bestowing the Naxians with the right to promanteia, which gave them priority to the Delphic oracle.