Harpies , (Gr. from to snatch), in Greek mythology, fabulous monsters, said to have been the daughters of Neptune and Earth, or, according to Hesiod, of Thau-mas and Electra. In Homer they are merely personified storm winds, who were believed to have carried off any person that had suddenly disappeared. In Hesiod they are fair-haired and winged maidens who surpass the winds in swiftness, and are called Aello and Ocypete ; but in later writers they are represented as disgusting monsters, with heads like maidens, faces pale with hunger, and claws like those of birds. The harpies ministered to the gods as the executors of vengeance. They were two or three in number, and dwelt in the Stropha-daean isles, in the Ionian sea. The most celebrated myth in which the harpies figure is that of the blind Phineus, whose food they had been commissioned to snatch away as often as it was placed before him. The Argonauts arrived at his residence while he was thus tormented, and freed him from the persecution.
In the famous harpy monument discovered in Lycia by Sir C. Fellowes, and now in the British museum, the harpies are represented in the act of carrying off the daughter of Pandaraeus.