Worldbuilding Wednesday: Weaving Fate (Part 2)

In part 1 of “Weaving Fate”, I looked at some of the different myths associated with weaving, the fates, and life and death. In this part I will look at the myth of Athena and Arachne.

Athena and Arachne

“Like her half-brothers Hermes and Apollo, Athena… is a complex deity whose many attributes and functions encompass contradictory elements. Although born without a mother, she takes a keen interest in women’s activities, particularly the domestic arts of spinning and weaving.” (Harris and Platzner, 2001:190) The Penguin Dictionary of Classic Mythology (Grimal, 1991:66) gives a wonderful summary of Athena’s many activities and also notes that “Athena… presided over the arts and literature, though she was more closely linked with philosophy than with poetry and music …. She was the patroness of spinning, weaving, embroidery and similar household activities practised by women…”

Harris and Platzner (2001:193-194) goes on to state that Athena is “implacable toward those who offend her, [and] cruelly punishes Arachne, a young woman who foolishly challenges her to a contest of weaving skills, changing the impertinent mortal into a spider.”

“When someone was good at weaving, people said their gift came from Athena. But Arachne, a mortal girl and a fine weaver, insisted that her gift was her own.” (Wilkinson, 2009:37) Athena then challenges Arachne to a weaving contest. In her work, Athena showed the gods triumphant over the mortals, while that of Arachne “depicted the various infidelities of her father, Zeus” (Wilkinson, 2009:37) and Athena tore up Arachne’s work in a fit of rage. “A humiliated Arachne resolved to hang herself. But Athena decided that this was too harsh a punishment and transformed Arachne into a spider instead, so that she could continue weaving” (Wilkinson, 2009:37) (See also Grimal, 1991:51).


Grimal, P. (1991). The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology. London, Penguin Books.
Harris, S.L. & G. Platzner. (2001). Classical Mythology: Images & Insights. Fourth Edition. New York, McGraw-Hill.
Wilkinson, P. (2009). Myths & Legends: An Illustrated Guide to Their Origins and Meanings. London, DK Publishing.

Categories: Article, Folklore and Mythology Fairy Tales, Writing

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Let Me Tell You the Story of...

A writing blog by H.R.R. Gorman

The Art of Blogging

For bloggers who aspire to inspire

Richard's Blog

A quiet corner to talk about my varied thoughts.

Tammy's Reading/Writing Life

A mother, wife, writer, teacher, coach, book fairy, and runner that has random thoughts about lots of topics!

The Official Blog of Horror and Fantasy Writer Lionel Ray Green

"Life is horror and fantasy, not necessarily in that order."

Thoughts of a Bored Writer

My writing. Mostly.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog



Afrikaanse fiksie deur Carin Marais


art. popular since 10,000 BC

Travels With Nano

Sharing the world's delightful sights and bites to inspire your next travel adventure.


Best-selling Author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series

Quiet Water Craft

Official crafty blog for my Quiet Water Craft Etsy shop

Julia's Creative Year

my year of trying to be more creative in different ways

Confessions of a Readaholic

Book Reviews | IAuhor nterviews | EST 2013

Art of Shaima

Fantasy Art and Illustration


Knit one, Crochet too, then go make something to eat!


(and crochets, and stitches, and is otherwise generally crafty)


A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.


Oh! Take a shit, read a story. - My Mother on flash fiction

%d bloggers like this: