Athena and Arachne

by Cameron
(Seattle)

Since you only have Athena listed as the God of Wisdom I'm going to tell you a myth I know about her.


There is a girl in a village who knows how to string things together and sew things together with a loom and she said she was the best in the land. People challenged the girl and she beat them everytime. The girl got so confident that she said. "Haw, I'm the best in the world, the Goddess Athena herself can't loom better then me." So one night Athena came disguised as a human and challenged the girl to a looming contest, and sure enough she did loom better than Athena even though the goddess tried her best to accomplish the task. At the end when the girl had indeed beat Athena with knowing it was her Athena threw off her disguise and told the girl to bow down and apologize for showing her superior talent to the goddess. The girl said no such thing and kept telling the goddess how she could loom better than her, better than all in the land. Athena in anger, and in wisdom cast a spell down on her. Changing the girl from a human into a spider making her the first spider and indeed making her the best loomer in all the land.

That is how spiders were created and populated the world.

The morale story of the myth is that even though you may be better then someone at a certain talent you should be curteous about it and not rub it in there faces because you don't know who they might be and what impact they might have.


Hi Cameron,
thank you for the story. And congratulations for your interest and knowledge of Greek mythology. I just want to add that the girl's name was Arakhne and from it comes the name of the taxonomical class Arachnida, i.e. the spiders. And you are right, Athena surely was a sore loser! But she was a powerful goddess, so she took vengeance. So much for divine justice, I say!
Anyway, for the ancient Greeks the major sin was the so-called "hubris", which, in the case of gods, meant that a mortal who challenged the gods or their laws or boasted about being better than the gods had to be punished. In many case, the mortals were better than the gods, but the gods were too proud to acknowledge the truth.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Invitation 1.