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«Arachne filled her canvas with similar subjects, wonderfully well done, but strongly marking her presumption and impiety.
Minerva could not forbear to admire, yet felt indignant at the insult.
She struck the web with her shuttle and rent it in pieces; she then touched the forehead of Arachne and made her feel her guilt and shame.
She could not endure it and went and hanged herself. Minerva pitied her as she saw her suspended by a rope.
"Live," she said, "guilty woman! and that you may preserve the memory of this lesson, continue to hang, both you and your descendants, to all future times."
She sprinkled her with the juices of aconite, and immediately her hair came off, and her nose and ears likewise.
Her form shrank up, and her head grew smaller yet; her fingers cleaved to her side and served for legs.
All the rest of her is body, out of which she spins her thread, often hanging suspended by it, in the same attitude as when Minerva touched her and transformed her into a spider.»
Bulfinch's Mythology, The Age of Fable, Chapter XIV, Minerva Niobe
(Source: Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book VI, Pallas et Arachne, lines 214-244)
Engraving from 1677
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