Arachne was considered the best weaver of textiles of all mortals. People across the lands would come watch her as she created the most beautiful textiles with such grace. One day, Arachne claimed to the public that she could out weave the goddess Minerva. Unfortunately, after Minerva heard this, she was not pleased and disguised herself as an old woman. The goddess went to visit Arachne and under her disguise she warned Arachne about the wrath of the gods and to not tempt the goddess Minerva. Arachne having heard the advice, refused to do so. Minerva took away her disguise and stood before Arachne and declared she would accept her challenge. Arachne surprised and bashfully agreed to do so.
Many gathered around the competitors as they took their stations and attached the webs to the beam. They watched in awe as they elegantly spread the slender shuttle in and out along the thread. Both of them worked with such skill and speed. Eventually the colourful images started to form on the textiles.
This outraged Minerva and she destroyed Arachne’s beautiful textile. The goddess then placed shame into Arachne’s heart for defying the gods.
The next day Arachne felt such guilt and shame that she tried to take her own life. Minerva, having heard this, felt pity on Arachne and went to visit her. While standing before Arachne she said “Live, guilty woman and that you preserve the memory of this lesson…” and promptly turned Arachne into a spider.
(Want to learn how to use a Roman Spindle Whorl?...keep reading there will be more on that later!)