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Harpies
(242 words)

[German version]

(Ἅρπυιαι; Hárpyiai, Latin Harpyiae). Female monsters of Greek mythology who, as daughters of Thaumas and Electra (Apollod. 1,2,6), belong to an older generation of gods. These ‘snatchers’ (< ἁρπάζω, harpázō = ‘snatch’, ‘rob’), who are never described in detail, are personifications of the demonic forces of storms and are always represented as winged women. Homer uses them in order to explain the disappearance without a trace of Odysseus (Hom. Od. 1,241; 14,371) or the sudden death of  Pandareus' daughters (Od. 20,66-78). Their names ─ Podarge (Hom. Il. 16,…

Cite this page
Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen), “Harpies”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 01 December 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e503790>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510



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