On one occasion Zeus suffered a bad headache.All the gods,including Apollo,the god of medicine  ,had tried uselessly to offer an effective treatment  .Then the father of gods and men asked Hephaestus to open his head.This the god of the fire did.To the wonder of all the Olympians,a goddess,well-grown and full-armed,came out of Zeus' head.The goddess was giving off light and splendor. She was Athena,goddess of wisdom and knowledge and patroness of Athens  .

The story of Athena becoming patron goddess of Athens concerns the struggle between the goddess and Poseidon.When the city of Athens was first built by a Phoenician  ,both Poseidon and Athena competed for the honour of naming it.It was then agreed that whoever offered the most useful object for men would become the patron of the city.Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and produced a horse,whereas Athena had an olive tree  to present,a symbol of peace and plenty.As the horse was regarded as struggle and sorrow, Athens was named after the goddess,who soon took the city under her protection.

Athena was the goddess of arts and crafts  and woman' s handiwork.She was so skilled with her hands that she tolerated no challenge to her skill in this respect . A Lydian maid,Arachne by name,did not seem to think much of Athena's skill,for she frequently talked big  that she could beat the goddess if she had the chance to do so.The goddess was quite angry.

Dressed up as an old woman,she went to advise Arachne to be modest.But the ignorant crafts woman  bravely asked the goddess herself to come down and compete with her.At this the goddess took off her disguise and accepted the competition. The two women immediately set about making different designs.

While the goddess worked on the story of her rivalry with Poseidon,Arachne began to make a delicate web.When both pieces were finished,Arachne saw,to her surprise,that she had been beaten,for the goddess' design was infinitely better.She felt so shamed that she tied a piece of silk to hang herself.But Just before she breathed her last breath the goddess changed her into a spider and let her weave forever.




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