Harpies (Myths and Legends of the World)
Greek mythology contains two accounts of the Harpies. In the older version, the Harpies were spirits of the wind who snatched people and caused things to disappear. On one occasion, they seized the daughters of Pandareos, king of the city of Miletus, and took them off to be the servants of female spirits known as the Furies. Sometimes considered cousins of the the four Harpies were named Aello (hurricane), Celaeno (dark one), Ocypete (swift), and Podarge (racer).
The later story describes the Harpies as hideous birds with the faces of women. In the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, they terrorized Phineus, the king of Thrace, by blinding him and stealing his food. Phineus promised to tell the Argonauts their future if they would drive away the Harpies.
In Virgil's epiclong poem about legendary or historical heroes, written in a grand style the Aeneid, the Harpies torment the hero and his companions, making it impossible for them to eat. Celaeno tells Aeneas that he and his followers will not return home until they become hungry enough to eat their tables.
See also AENEAS; AENEID, THE; ARGONAUTS; FURIES; GORGONS;...
(The entire section is 191 words.)
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