Myths of Greece and Rome Narrated with Special Reference to Literature and Art

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To commemorate this victory over her rival, Minerva gave her own name of Athene to the city, whose inhabitants, from that time forth, were taught to honor her as their tutelary goddess.

[58] Ever at Jupiter’s side, Minerva often aided him by her wise counsels, and in times of war borrowed his terrible shield, the Ægis, which she flung over her shoulder when she sallied forth to give her support to those whose cause was just.

“Her shoulder bore
The dreadful Ægis with its shaggy brim
Bordered with Terror. There was Strife, and there
Was Fortitude, and there was fierce Pursuit,
And there the Gorgon’s head, a ghastly sight,
Deformed and dreadful, and a sign of woe.”
Homer (Bryant’s tr.).

The din of battle had no terrors for this doughty goddess, and on every occasion she was wont to plunge into the thickest of the fray with the utmost valor.

Story of Arachne.

These virile tastes were, however, fully counterbalanced by some exclusively feminine, for Minerva was as deft with her needle as with her sword. In Greece there lived in those olden times a maiden by the name of Arachne. Pretty, young, and winsome, she would have been loved by all had it not been for her inordinate pride, not in her personal advantages, but in her skill as a needlewoman.