Athena is the goddess of arts and crafts along with her wide array of other attributes. The young mortal, Arachne did not come from a wealthy family, the goddess Athena took pity upon this and taught her the great art of weaving and spinning. Athena's apprentice learned the art very quickly, and her handiwork became noticed by others. Arachne excelled in her skills very quickly. People began to watch her work, hoping to learn from her mastery. Arachne was so sure-handed and deft that no craftswoman could match her in spinning or in weaving. Soon came comments about how Arachne must
have learned the trade from the goddess Athena, for she is the only one that could have taught her such a trade.

Everyone knew that Athena was the greatest of all, and that for Arachne to have such prowess, she must have learned from the master herself. Arachne became defensive of the accusations, denying the rumors of her being taught by Athena. Arachne wanted all the credit for herself, becoming jealous of Athena.... But Arachne was arrogant. Not even the gods could emulate her skill, she claimed - not even
Athena, protector of all spinners and weavers. It was true that Athena was patroness of these arts of peace, but she was also the goddess of war, and she lost no time in responding to Arachne's boast. She challenged the maiden to a contest of skill.

In her offering for the contest, Arachne added impudence to arrogance. She wove a scene that showed a hideous creature - part man and part bull - pursuing a mortal woman. This, she said, represented the loves of the gods. Athena wove a scene of a mortal man strapped into a harness that supported wings made of feathers; the man had clearly flown too near the sun, for the feathers were already aflame. This, she said, was an image of human arrogance. Then the goddess destroyed the mortal woman's work and, with a sharp command, the womans' life itself.

..Athena regained her self composure, immediately feeling remorse for the girl. In spite of the impudence exhibited by Arachne, Athena decided to revive her, choosing to not let her die completely. At Athena's words, Arachnes' body shrank and blackened, and eight wispy legs sprouted from her body. She spent the remainder of her brief life - as her descendants always would - spinning thread from her own belly, and shuttling back and forth across its sticky strands to weave herself a web. The thread created inside of her body, resembled the fine thread silk. We get the name Arachnid from this story, the first arachnid created from Arachne.

An organism of the class Arachnida in the kingdom Animalia. For example, a spider, scorpion, mite, or tick.

From the BioTech Dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/. For further information see the BioTech homenode.

A*rach"nid (#), n.

An arachnidan.

Huxley.

 

© Webster 1913.

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