According to Greek legend, harpies were supposedly spirits of wind and served the Erinyes by bringing them evildoers to be punished for their crimes. The name "harpy" means "snatcher", an appropriate monniker as these creatures are said to steal food from their victims while eating.
Ancient Greek arts depict harpies as being creatures of remarkable beauty, whereas Byzantine and Roman writers have described harpies as being hideous beasts.
Like many monsters of legend, harpies have been romanticized somewhat in modern times and their likeness has been used in various media formats. They have appeared in a number of fantasy works, such as the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons.
- In the animated film The Last Unicorn, a harpy with 3 breasts is featured.
- 1963's Jason and the Argonauts features stop-motion Harpies animated by Ray Harryhausen.
- A harpy was featured in Scooby-Doo! and Looney Tunes Cartoon Universe: Adventure.
- Harpies are in all Scribblenauts games.
- Harpies are enemies in the God of War series.
- Harpies are enemies in the game Terraria