Folia Magazine is back! After the sudden and unforeseen break we were forced to take (we apologize, we were a little short on time), let us resume from where we left: our weekly Women's Wednesday. Our protagonist this week is Arachne, one of the most famous mortal women in Greek mythology.
According to legend, Arachne was a beautiful woman living in Colophon, Lydia. As the daughter of a well-known fabric dyer, Arachne grew up to be an outstanding weaver: she was also credited to have invented linen cloth. Her talent was so evident that many believed she had received a gift from Athena, goddess of war and handicraft; Arachne, however, responded by boasting that she had even greater talent than Athena herself. Outraged by such bragging, the goddess appeared to her and took on the challenge: to her surprise, Arachne turned out to be a better weaver indeed. Livid at the perfection of the woman's tapestry, Athena tore it to pieces and hit Arachne on the head with her shuttle; suddenly realizing her affront to the goddess and fearing her rage, Arachne hung herself. Athena, however, was not going to let her rest that easily: as her final punishment she transformed Arachne into a spider, thus condemning her to wave for eternity.
"Arachne", illumination from the manuscript “Cas des nobles hommes et femmes”, ms. Français 12420, f. 28r, 15h century, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Paris.