Who was Arachne?
What did Arachne do wrong?
Arachne’s weaving contest
Athena was mad that Arachne would say that, and she challenged Arachne to a weaving contest. The two of them set up their looms in the same room and they wove from early in the morning until it got too dark to see (remember there were no electric lights then!). Then they compared what they had done.
What did the goddess Athena weave?
What did Arachne weave?
But Arachne thought she was so smart, she wove a cloth making fun of the gods and goddesses, showing them getting drunk and falling down and making a mess of things. Still it was clearly better weaving than Athena had done.
What happened to poor Arachne?
When Athena saw it she was even more angry than she had been before. Even though Arachne’s weaving was better, Athena didn’t care.
She pointed her finger at Arachne and suddenly Arachne’s nose and ears shrank up, her hair all fell out, her arms and legs got long and skinny, and her whole body shrank until she was just a little tiny spider.
(Arachne means spider in Greek.)
“You want to spin,” cried Athena, “go ahead and spin!”
What is the moral of the Arachne story?
No matter how skilled people are, they are never any match for the gods. People need to remember their place, and not try to be stronger or wiser or smarter than the gods, or bad things will happen to them. And good women, because that is their fate, should always be spinning.
Other Greek myths about hubris
Other Greek myths that explain things
The Arachne story also explains why there are spiders in the world. In the same way, the story of Echo and Narcissus explains why there are echoes. And the story of Pandora’s Box explains why there are diseases.
Did you find out what you needed to know about the Arachne story in Greek mythology? Let us know in the comments!
D’aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, by Edgar and Ingri D’Aulaire. (Look under Athena).