Arachne The Greek Goddess Who Became The First Spider  

Posted by Stella Clark

Arachne The Greek Goddess Who Became The First Spider Image
Arachne was a young mortal woman who was was gifted in the art of weaving and her beautiful tapestries. Her work was so remarkable that many commented that she must have been trained by the patron goddess of weaving herself, Athena, a proud and talented goddess,, but Arachne scoffed at this and was angry that she had been placed in an inferior position to the goddess; she declared that she was actually a much better weaver than Athena and issued to a challenge to Athena to see who actually was the best.

Athena, was actually pretty annoyed with Arachne's claim, but decided give the mortal a chance to redeem herself, so she dressed herself up as an old woman and went to Arachne, warning her not to offend the gods...or she will bring their wrath down upon herself. But Arachne, feeling cocky, told the old woman that she should save her breath, that she welcomed the contest with Athena...and if she lost, she would suffer whatever punishment the goddess deemed fit...not thinking she would ever lose.

At that, the goddess revealed herself; the nymphs who had come to watch Arachne's weaving shrank back in fear. Arachne was not one to back down, though, for she had made her claim and was sticking to it. So, the contest began. Athena began to weave a design which depicted the glory of the gods and goddesses...namely, the scene of her contest with Poseidon for the city of Athens. The bystanders marveled at the goddess's work. For her part, Arachne created a tapestry showing the god's less honorable moments such as the showcasing of scenes of Zeus's various infidelities.

Athena was furious and tore the tapestry to pieces and destroyed the loom. Then, the goddess touched Arachne's forehead to make sure that she felt guilt for her actions, but although the mortal was ashamed, the guilt was far too deep within. So depressed was she that she hung herself. It was then that Athena took pity and brought her back to life, but not as a human...but as a spider to spin forever...a great weaver, but forever hanging from the threads. So, it is said that all spiders have been punished for Arachne's boasting, since they are required to live within their own webs...and since then, spiders have been called arachnids.

Only those with excessive pride and ambition challenge the gods and goddesses, and this pride usually leads to their downfall. This story teaches us that we, as women, have to be mindful of the risks we choose take in our lives, even the most talented of women, when we decide speak out against the established order, especially patriarchy. It reminds us the we should speak the truth, not of of pride, but should do so in the spirit of concern and love.

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This entry was posted on 5 January 2008 at Saturday, January 05, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

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