ARACHNE, in Greek mythology, the daughter of Idmon of
Colophon in Lydia, a dyer in purple. She had acquired such
skill in the art of weaving that she ventured to challengeAthena.
While the goddess took as subjects her quarrel with Poseidon
as to the naming and possession of Attica, and the warning
examples of those who ventured to pit themselves against the
immortals, Arachne depicted the metamorphoses of the gods
and their amorous adventures. Her work was so perfect that
Athena, enraged at being unable to find any blemish in it, tore
it to pieces. Arachne hanged herself in despair; but the goddess
out of pity loosened the rope, which became a cobweb, while
Arachne herself was changed into a spider (Ovid, Metam. vi.
5-145). The story probably indicates the superiority of Asia
over Greece in the textile arts.
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