Arachne, as we might guess from her name, was a weaver in Greek Mythology. She was said to have been proud, and challenged the Goddess Athena to a weaving contest. Athena transformed Arachne into a spider for the weaver’s arrogance after Arachne lost the contest. Some versions state that one or the other won the contest, however. The myth of Arachne lends her name to the animal class Arachnida, of which spiders are a member.
The famous poet Ovid wrote Arachne’s tale in his work Metamorphoses. Like a lot of Greek myths, Arachne’s story varied from piece to piece. Ovid’s version goes that Arachne was a weaver from a young age, and boasted that her skill was greater than Athena’s.
Athena wasn’t having this and appeared in the form of an old lady to challenge Arachne. After Arachne continued to boast that she was greater than Athena, the Goddess revealed her true shape and the two began weaving away. Arachne’s loss in this version resulted in her hanging herself.
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