There were usually said to be three Furies (note: At Athens there were statues of only two), called Alecto, Tisiphone and Megaera. They are often depicted as a large flock of flying creatures, with the three named members leading the avenging pack. The Harpies, who were filthy, monstrous, vulture-like female beasts loathed by humans, often served the Erinnyes in capturing or tormenting those unfortunate people who had displeased them.
Portrayed with and without wings, the Erinnyes in time became better known as those responsible for avenging offenses by children against their mothers, and eventually came to be the divine punishers – along with Zeus – of anyone who committed perjury or patricide (killing of one’s father).
As their influence spread, the Erinnyes became the personification of the concepts of vindictiveness and retribution (also see Nemesis), and represented the psychological torments associated with a guilty conscience. Eventually their influence extended to the hearing of complaints of insolence by the young toward the old; punishing disrespect of parents by their children; as well as lack of hospitality to guests by their hosts, a terrific breach of ancient etiquette.