Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece

Athena, Arachne and the Weaving Contest


In a small town of Ledia, in Northern Greece, there once lived a beautiful maid with the name Arachne. Arachne was famous in town for being a very skillful weaver and spinner and every day many girls and nymphs were stopping by to see her weave.

However, Arachne was a very vain girl and couldnít stop boasting about her talent. She claimed that she had learned the skill all by herself and that there was no one else in the world who could weave as delicately as her... she even felt that she could compete against Athena, the goddess of skill, and win her with ease.

When Athena heard these words, she got disappointed and decided to disguise as an old lady and appear in front of Arachne.
"My dear", she told Arachne, "I am old and have much experience from life, so let me give you one advice: donít ever mess up with a goddess! No mortal can compete against Athena. Take back your words and kindly ask for forgiveness..."

Arachne got furious and threw the thread against the old woman, telling her:
"I donít need your advice, I know best what I can do! If Athena really dares, then she should come here and compete against me!"

At that moment, the old woman transformed herself into the radiant goddess Athena. On her sight, everybody in the room kneeled down in awe... not so Arachne, who couldn't wait to compete against her.


Soon the competition started and both contestants were doing really well. Athena was weaving the Parthenon and her contest with god Poseidon. Arachne, on the other hand, was making fun of the gods by weaving scenes of gods full of weaknesses and fears.

Arachneís work seemed to be perfect technically, yet it was not beautiful because it was showing disregard of the gods. When she saw this, Athena became very offended and told Arachne:
"You may be foolish and stubborn, but you seem to love your work. So why donít you go ahead and spin forever!"


Immediately, Athena sprinkled her with the juice of magical herbs and the body of Arachne transformed into a small and ugly animal, which nowadays is known as the spider.

Since then, the spider is cursed to be trapped inside her own web, weaving constantly and endlessly... but having finally all her works destroyed by man!

Myths about Athena