The Weaving Spider and the Hanging Nymph

Today I was riding to work on an abnormally long bus ride with no music, book, or other entertainment, and thinking about Greek mythology.  I don’t really know why, but the name Ariadne came to mind.  It sounds like a pretty name – it has a nice rhythm to it.  I couldn’t remember the associated myth though, so I started making up a story in my head.  In the story, Ariadne was always hit on, like a lady-friend of Zeus.  Her friend’s new boyfriend compared her name to that of Arachne, the spider lady, after saying her name was beautiful.  So he didn’t hit on her in front of his new girlfriend – major bonus points for not being an asshole.

I was surprised to find, therefore, that the two myths have more in common than the Ar-ne name similarities.   Both women were very skilled weavers and both there stories revolve around their weaving talents (Ariadne for giving Theseus the magic thread to get out of the Minotaur’s maze and defeat him, Arachne for her pride  in challenging Athena to a weaving contest).  In some versions, both hang themselves.  Arachne was turned into a spider after death and allowed to continue her weaving, whereas Ariadne only gets her crown put up in the sky as a constellation (Corona) in some myths and is brought from Hades to Olympus by her husband, Dionysus, in others.  Other possible linked figures are Erigone (related to spiders and hung herself) and ‘hanging Artemis‘.

Those crazy Greeks!  Always making stuff up.

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