A Greco-Roman mythological creature with the lower body, wings and claws of a bird and the chest and head of a woman, often portrayed as very ugly and loathsome.
Harpies were fierce, extremely ill tempered, and lived in an atmosphere of filth and stench, contaminating everything they came near. They are associated with the wind, ghosts, and the underworld. Their chief employer was Hades who sent them to bear away by force and bring to Tartarus those who were unwilling to die. But they also did vengeful errands-for the other gods.
In a notorious Argonaut story they tormented a king named Phineus who had incurred the wrath of a god. They swooped down at his table and snatched his food before he could eat it; they defecated in his plate. Phineus would have starved to death or killed himself but he was rescued by the Argonauts Zetes and Calais, who drove away the Harpies and, some say, killed them.
There were three Harpy sisters. Various names are given to them (Aello, Celaeno, Ocypete), but the most noted one is Podarge, who, despite her appearance, attracted the notice of Zephyr (in some accounts his brother Boreas, the North Wind), the West Wind. She bore him a pair of beautiful colts, Xanthus and Balius, who became the fabulous stallions of Achilles.
Besides being mentioned in the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, the Harpies also appear in the works of the poets Virgil in the 'Aeneid' and Homer in the 'Odyssey.'
See Achilles, Artemis, Hermes, Delphi, Xanthus, Zephyr, Mystic Gifts and Charms - New Age Gift Shop & Wicca and Pagan Supplies, Love Spells -- Use these powerful love spells to help you find and keep your true love, The Tarot Store, Divination & Scrying Tools and Supplies, Unique Amulets, Talismans, Good Luck Charms, and Love Tokens, Powerful Witch Doctor Spell Kits, Powerful Spells - Cast by Andreika the Witch, Webmasters Make $$$, AzureGreen - Celebrating All Paths to the Divine, ISIS - Tools for Your Soul's Journey, and The Pyramid Collection - Myth, Magick, Fantasy and Romance.
Sources: (1) Cooper, J.C. (Editor), Brewer's Book of Myth and Legend, Cassell Academic Publishing; (2) Evans, Bergen, Dictionary of Mythology, Dell Publishing Co., Inc.; (3) Dixon-Kennedy, Mike, Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology, ABC-Clio Inc. Publishers; (4) Ayto, John, Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Collins Reference Publishing.
| || |