Arachne Picture

Arachne was the daughter of Idmon of Colophon, who was a famous wool dyer in Tyrian purple. She was a fine weaver in Hypaepa of Lydia. She was as skillful as the finest artist of the day and much praise was given to her in Hypaepa, where she had her workshop.

This all went to her head and eventually Arachne became so conceited of her skill as a weaver that she began claiming that her skill was greater than that of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and war as well as the weaving arts. Minerva was angered, but gave Arachne a chance to redeem herself. Assuming the form of an old woman, she warned Arachne not to offend the gods. Arachne scoffed and wished for a weaving contest, so she could prove her skill. Minerva dropped her disguise and the contest began.

Minerva wove the scene of her victory over Neptune that had inspired the people of Athens to name their city for her. According to Ovid's Latin narrative, Arachne's tapestry featured twenty-one episodes of the infidelity of the gods, disguised as animals: Jupiter being unfaithful with Leda, with Europa, with Danaë.

Even Minerva admitted that Arachne's work was flawless, but was outraged at Arachne's disrespectful choice of subjects that displayed the failings and transgressions of the gods. Finally losing her temper, she destroyed Arachne's tapestry and loom, striking it with her shuttle, and struck Arachne on the head as well. Arachne realized her folly and was crushed with shame. She ran off and hanged herself.

In Ovid's telling, Minerva took pity on Arachne. Sprinkling her with the juices of aconite, Minerva loosened the rope, which became a spider web, while Arachne herself was changed into a spider.


Girl - [link]

Web Texture - [link]

Spider legs - [link]

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Perch - [link]

Spiderweb - [link]
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