Arachne was a young lady of humble origin. But she was skilled in textile art, so people from all over, even the Nymphs, left their places of residence and went to Aracne to admire her handicrafts.
She was so capable that people began to compare her with the goddess Athena, patroness of the weaving art, and slowly, over time the young lady began claiming herself that she was even better than the goddess. Arachne’s arrogance finally led her to challenge Athena in a weaving competition. The goddess Athena, forced by the great extent the issue had taken, accepted the challenge. The time and place of the competition were settled and the Muses, patronesses of the arts, would be the final judges, while a large audience would be present. The two weavers used yarn based on the purple (dark red) color and its very subtle shades. The goddess Athena portrayed the gods in all their grandeur and graciousness, at the time when the goddess Athena and the god Poseidon disputed over the name of the city of Kekropa (Athens). In an attempt to re-instill sense and reason within the young girl, even at the very last minute, she portrayed common people, cruelly punished by the gods for their arrogance, on the four corners of the weft. The goddess Athena completed her weft by spreading olive branches over the edges, the usual decorative motif for this time.

Arachne, on her side, illustrated the adventures of the gods on her weft -mainly erotic-, depicting god Zeus with Europe, Leda, Alkmini and others, and his transformations into a bull, eagle, swan, etc. She also portrayed god Poseidon, who also changed forms, in order to unite with pure maidens. A total of twenty-two cases of divine disguise and impersonation were depicted on Arachne’s weft, all of which aiming to the seduction of mortal women. Arachne, unlike the goddess Athena, decorated the edges of her weft with flowers and ivy leaves…

The impeccable technique of Arachne’s weft offered her the victory, but the insulting to the gods choice of themes and artistic innovations of the girl in violation of the classical decoration principles incited the rage of goddess Athena who, driven by envy for the artwork of her mortal rival, destroyed the weft and cursed her. When the young girl realized the insult she had committed and blinded by her suffering, attempted to hang herself. The goddess then showed her mercy and spared her life, by turning the rope into a web and Arachne herself into our well-known insect, the spider, so that she may continue to weave beautiful and intricate creations in all eternity. However, along with her generosity, she condemned these creations to be particularly vulnerable and short-lived, forcing the spider to start weaving over and over again from the very beginning…