Harpy | Mythic Creature

Harpy Greek Mythology

Harpies (Greek, αρπυια) are creatures of Greek mythology, often depicted as birds of prey with a woman's face and breasts. In the story of Jason, the harpies were sent to punish the blind Thracian king Phineus by stealing his food at every meal.

The Argonauts Zetes and Calais, sons of Boas and Orithia, freed Phineus from the harpies, who, in gratitude, showed Jason and the Argonauts the way to pass through the Symplegades.

Aeneas and his companions, after the fall of Troy, on their journey towards Italy, stopped at the island of the harpies; they killed animals from their flocks, attacked them when they stole their meats, and heard from one of the harpies terrible prophecies concerning the rest of their journey.

According to Hesiod, the harpies were sisters of Iris, daughters of Taumante and the oceanid Electra, and their names were Aelo (the blustery one), Celeno (the obscure one), and Oxypet (the swift one in flight).

Hyginus lists the sons of Taumante and Electra as Iris and the harpies, Celeno, Oxypet, and Aelo, but soon after gives the harpies as daughters of Taumante and Oxomene.

The harpies are referred to in Virgil's Aeneid as residing in the Strophades, a small archipelago in the Ionian Sea, at the entrance to Orcus, or in a cave in Crete by Apollonius.


Aelo (Ἀελλλώ) is a harpy whose name in Greek means "the dregs".


Ocypete (Οκύπητη) is a harpy whose name in Greek means "the swift in flight".


Celeno (Κελαινώ) is a harpy whose name in Greek means "the obscure one". It is also called Podarge (Ροδάργη). In other versions instead of harpy, Celeno one of the seven Pleiades, daughter of Atlas and Pleione.

Japanese Mythology

In Japanese mythology, harpies are beings who force souls into the boat of the River Styx.