According to Greek mythology, Arachne was a talented mortal weaver who challenged Athena, goddess of wisdom and crafts, to a weaving contest. When Athena saw Arachne’s undeniably better and flagrantly subversive work, she flew into a rage and turned on the human weaver. Arachne’s glee dimmed as she felt her body shrinking and contorting. Her fingers waved wildly as her arms stuck to her sides, and black hair sprouted all over her body. The goddess left Arachne with a single spool of thread unfurling from her belly, a slim reminder of her human talent.
For challenging the assumption that the gods were untouchable, Athena had shrunk her adversary into the first spider. To this day, Arachne and her children spin out her penance—or is it undaunted persistence?—in the shadows of giants.
To watch the entire story, check out the TED-Ed Lesson The myth of Arachne and Athena – Iseult Gillespie
Animation by Mette Ilene Holmriis