Monday, July 11, 2011

Harpy

“I moved awhile this morning and then we drew in two loads of hay before dinner and bunched what I mowed this morning.  Pleasant day!”


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In Greek mythology, a harpy ("snatcher", from Latin: harpeia, originating in Greek: ἅρπυια, harpūia) was one of the winged spirits best known for constantly stealing all food from Phineas. The literal meaning of the word seems to be "that which snatches" as it comes from the ancient Greek word harpazein (ἁρπάζειν), which means "to snatch".

A harpy was the mother by the West Wind Zephyros of the horses of Achilles. In this context Jane Ellen Harrison adduced the notion in Virgil's Georgics (iii.274) that mares became gravid by the wind alone, marvelous to say.

Hesiod calls them two "lovely-haired" creatures, and pottery art depicting the harpies featured beautiful women with wings. Harpies as ugly winged bird-women, e.g. in Aeschylus' The Eumenides (line 50) are a late development, due to a confusion with the Sirens. Roman and Byzantine writers detailed their ugliness.

Leesah

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