|“||You have no idea how much hatred boils beneath us. The spiteful thoughts of so many monsters trying to reach the Athena Parthenos and destroy it. My webbing is the only thing holding the room together, girl! One false step, and you’ll fall all the way to Tartarus—and believe me, unlike the Doors of Death, this would be a one-way trip, a very hard fall! I will not have you dying before you tell me your plan for my artwork.||”|
Arachne was the best mortal weaver who became prideful from all the praise she received for her work. She once challenged Athena to a contest to see who really was the best weaver. She was turned into a spider by the goddess Athena because her tapestry was a great insult to the gods. Arachne's name simply means "spider" in Greek. There is also an alternate version of the weaving story where Arachne was declared the winner and in jealousy, Athena tore Arachne's masterpiece apart. Arachne was so torn up she tried to hang herself, but Athena would not even let her have death, so she turned Arachne to the first spider and made her immortal.
Arachne was the daughter of Idmon of Colophon, who was a famous wool dyer in Tyrian purple. She was a fine weaver in Hypaepa of Lydia. She was as skillful as the finest artist of the day and much praise was given to her in Hypaepa, where she had her workshop.
This all went to her head and eventually, Arachne became so conceited of her skill as a weaver that she began claiming that her skill was greater than that of Athena's, the goddess and inventor of weaving. Athena was offended, but gave Arachne a chance to redeem herself. Assuming the form of an old crone, she warned Arachne not to offend the gods. She told Arachne to kneel down and beg for the gods' mercy. Arachne scoffed and claimed her skill rivaled that of Athena, and she wished for a weaving contest so she could prove her skill. Athena dropped her disguise and the contest began.
Athena wove the scene of her victory over Poseidon that had inspired the people of Athens to name their city for her. According to Ovid's Latin narrative, Arachne's tapestry featured twenty-one episodes of the infidelity of the gods, disguised as animals. For example, Zeus being unfaithful with Leda, with Europa, and with Danaë, among others.
According to some versions of the myth, Athena won the contest. However, she admitted that Arachne's work was beautiful, though she was outraged that Arachne had disrespected the gods with the images in her tapestry. For the grave insult, she turned Arachne into a spider. Some versions of the stories say that in fact Athena attacked Arachne, forcing her to hang herself in protest. After she hung herself, Athena took pity on her and turned her into a spider, allowing her to weave forever.
In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Athena called the contest a tie, but lost her temper and attacked Arachne.
In the Series
Some time after the Romans brought the Athena Parthenos back to Rome, they brought it underground in a secret area. Arachne eventually made her lair here and wrapped the statue in her spider silk in order to contain and hide its magical properties. For centuries, children of Athena would venture to this place using the Mark of Athena to "avenge Athena," but all were killed by Arachne's traps. Otis and Ephialtes would also help Arachne, collecting trophies from those they killed while helping Arachne.
While Arachne is never seen, it is shown several times that children of Athena have a fear of Arachne's children, the spiders (known as arachnophobia). Annabeth Chase is so scared of spiders that she even has problems with anything that looks like them. When Ares sends Percy Jackson, Annabeth, and Grover Underwood to Waterland, they were attacked by tiny mechanical spiders that were made by Hephaestus. Later, when Annabeth is so entranced by a Sim City type game in The Lotus Hotel and Casino, Percy has to say the word "spider" to get her out of her trance.
Arachne appears as the final obstacle in Annabeth's way as she follows the Mark of Athena to the Athena Parthenos. The statue is kept in Arachne's chamber, which is covered with spiderwebs and Arachne's own woven tapestries. Arachne's tapestries, according to Annabeth, are the most beautiful she's ever seen (one of them depicts Percy and Annabeth's first underwater kiss, as if she'd been there watching them). Arachne is seen to be in collaboration with Ephialtes and Otis, who seem to fear her despite being immortal giants.
When Annabeth arrives in Arachne's chamber, the spider woman initially plans on killing her. Arachne tells Annabeth that she was a far better weaver then Athena and shows Annabeth her tapestries. Annabeth knows that she can not defeat Arachne in combat so she uses Arachne's fatal flaw, hubris, against her, luring her mother's nemesis into the idea that Annabeth, as Chief Architect of Olympus, could arrange for Arachne's work to be displayed on Mount Olympus, even in the Hall of the Gods itself. Annabeth tells Arachne that she is no longer her mother's side since her mother's Roman form practically disowned her. Temptingly accepting the offer, Arachne agrees. However, she adds that Arachne will have to prove herself with a weaving challenge, and tricks Arachne into weaving monster-sized Chinese spidercuffs. Claiming she spots a flaw inside, Annabeth tricks Arachne into entering the Chinese spidercuffs, whereupon Arachne is trapped. Afterwards, she is tricked into admitting that she'd have killed Annabeth anyway.
However, after Annabeth taunts Arachne with the knowledge that the Athena Parthenos will be restored to Mount Olympus, and that Arachne has inadvertently helped Athena, Arachne becomes outraged and threatens Annabeth. Arachne begins to bring down the entire chamber, opening a pit directly to Tartarus, saying that if she were to die, Annabeth would go with her. Though Arachne falls down into the eternal darkness, she manages to ensnare Annabeth and drag her along to the edge of the pit. Percy grabs hold of Annabeth, but knows their friends will never be able to save them, and he himself cannot sever Arachne's silk, which is still bound around Annabeth's ankle. Percy tells Nico di Angelo to come and meet them at the Doors of Death. Percy lets go of the ledge, and he and Annabeth fall with Arachne into Tartarus.
As Annabeth and Percy fall into Tartarus, Annabeth wonders in disbelief if Arachne has reached Tartarus or is even still alive. Shortly after the two arrive in the worst part of the Underworld, Annabeth sees an Italian Fiat which she saw fall into Tartarus after the Argo II destroyed the ceiling of Arachne's lair, which has been scratched and partially destroyed by Arachne. Annabeth reacts angrily to Arachne's survival, and suspects that she has fled to heal her wounds.
A short time later, Arachne attempts to kill Annabeth as she and Percy drink from the river Phlegethon to heal their wounds. Since Annabeth is turned away from her and facing Percy, Annabeth only realizes Arachne's presence when Percy's eyes widen in fear. Annabeth turns around to see Arachne jumping at her, but is paralyzed by Arachne's sickly sweet scent and is unable to react. Luckily, Percy reacts quick enough to slice Arachne with Riptide and kill her. Neither Percy or Annabeth had any idea how long Arachne would stay dead and they didn't have intentions of finding out, so they quickly begin moving to find the Doors of Death.
- Arachne and Annabeth share the same fatal flaw, hubris.
- The word arachnid, meaning "spider," comes from Arachne's name.
|Species:||Centaur | Cyclopes | Dragon | Drakon | Empousa | Giants | Harpy | Hyperborean Giant | Ichthyocentaur | Karpoi | Laistrygonian Giant | Pegasus | Skolopendra | Stymphalian Birds | Telekhine | Satyr | Merpeople | Gorgon | Fire-Breathing Horse | Katobleps | Nymphs|
|Friendly Monsters:||Argus | Blackjack | Briares | Chiron | Don | Ella | Festus | Gleeson Hedge | Grover Underwood | Hippocampus | Mellie | Mrs. O'Leary | Ophiotaurus | Peleus | Scipio | Tyson | Tempest | Gray ||
|Enemy Monsters:||Agrius and Oreius | Arachne | Basilisk | Charybdis and Scylla | Chimera | Chrysaor | Clazmonian Sow | Colchis Bull | Echidna | Euryale | Geryon | Joe Bob | Kampê | Manticore | Medusa | Minotaur | Nemean Lion | Polyphemus | Sphinx | Stheno | Typhon | Scythian Dracanae|
|Neutral Monsters:||Cerberus | Erymanthian Boar | Gray Sisters | Gorgons | Furies | Flesh-Eating Horse | Gryphon | Siren | Carnivorous Sheep|