The Myth of Minerva and Arachne

The Myth of Minerva and Arachne

Today we will learn about the Minerva and Arachne myth. It goes like this: One day, Minerva heard a rather disturbing rumor. According to it, a young girl named Arachne started boasting that she weaves better than Minerva. She even issued out a challenge, claiming that she will beat Minerva in a weaving contest. That if Minerva even had the courage to accept.

Outraged, Minerva disguises herself as an old woman and visits Arachne. She tries to persuade her to drop the challenge, but to no avail. Just in case you did not know, goddesses did not like it when someone else claimed they were better at something.  Minerva sheds her disguises and agrees to the contest.

The two set up looms and get to work. Now, there are two versions to this story. In the first one, Arachne is the one that loses the match, and she has to promise not to weave again. Saddened by this, she begins to cry. Minerva cannot undo what was promised. However, she takes pity on her and transforms her into a spider, so she can take up weaving again.

The Myth of Minerva and ArachneThe Myth of Minerva and Arachne

In the other version, Arachne wins because she weaves a scenery depicting all of the crimes that the gods committed. As you can expect, Minerva was not so happy to see this insolence. In her frustration she beats Arachne until the girl can’t stand it and hangs herself. Alarmed, Minerva brings her back to life as a spider, so she can continue weaving.

All in all, when it comes to Minerva and Arachne, things are not so clear and cut. What Arachne did was not nice, but then again not as worse as what Minerva did. Arachne won fair and square, and getting petty over it was not very god-like of her. This is, however, what I like about Greek mythology. The gods are just as human as we are when it comes to feelings and behavior. It really makes for some interesting stories.

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