1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Arachne
ARACHNE, in Greek mythology, the daughter of Idmon of Colophon in Lydia, a dyer in purple. She had acquired such skill in the art of weaving that she ventured to challenge Athena. While the goddess took as subjects her quarrel with Poseidon as to the naming and possession of Attica, and the warning examples of those who ventured to pit themselves against the immortals, Arachne depicted the metamorphoses of the gods and their amorous adventures. Her work was so perfect that Athena, enraged at being unable to find any blemish in it, tore it to pieces. Arachne hanged herself in despair; but the goddess out of pity loosened the rope, which became a cobweb, while Arachne herself was changed into a spider (Ovid, Metam. vi. 5-145). The story probably indicates the superiority of Asia over Greece in the textile arts.