A.P.* Multiple Choice: Minerva and Arachne
* = Abney Practice

It takes several years of persistent effort to prepare successfully for the AP Latin Exam. This passage may serve as one step along the way. You will learn about the maiden Arachne and her interaction with the goddess Minerva. You may wish to reread "Myth II: Major Gods and Goddesses" on pages 68-69 before you begin.

Read the story and then choose the correct answer for the questions that follow. Don't worry if you don't understand every word; that's not the goal on the AP Latin Exam. For vocabulary help, move the cursor over the underlined words, and a definition will appear.


Minerva et Arachnē

Ōlim puella, nōmine Arachnē, in Lydiā habitat. Parentēs nūllam pecūniam habent. Puella dīligenter labōrat et multās tēlās texit. Tēlae sunt pulchrae. Multī spectātōrēs igitur veniunt et puellam labōrantem cōnspiciunt. Omnēs Arachnēn laudant et, "Arachnē," clāmant, "nōn puella, nōn mortālis, sed dea est quod tēlās pulchrās texit." Arrogantia Minervam vextat quod Minerva dea bellī et dea artis est. superiōrēs sunt, sed Arachnē, "Ego," inquit, "quoque dea sum, quod tēlās optimās texō." Minerva igitur ad terram venit.

Minerva Arachnēn vīsitat et, "Deī," inquit, "sunt superiōrēs. Necesse est mortālibus humilibus esse." Arachnē tament clāmat, "Minimē!" Deinde Minerva clāmat, "Ego sum dea Minerva. Nōs tēlās teximus. Mea tēla superior est." Nunc Arachnē et Minerva duās tēlās texunt. In tēlā Minervae est pictūra deōrum quī hominēs saepe adiuvant. In Arachnēs tēlā quoque est pictūra deōrum. In pictūrā tamen deī hominēs vexant. Minerva īrāta est ubi tēlam Arachnēs videt. Arachnē sollicita Minervam timet et mox mortua est. Minerva puellam mortuam salūtat, "Nunc es arānea et semper in terrā, agrīs, vīllīs, et arboribus tēlās texis."

Diego Velázquez, The Spinners (The Fable of Arachne)
courtesy of VRoma

(NOTE: You may find all the forms of the irregular Latin noun deus available online.
Find forms of deus and other irregular Latin nouns online.)

1.  What is the source of Arachne's reputation?

her beauty
her audience
the goddess Minerva
her parents' wealth

2.  Why is Minerva upset?
Arachne is equated with the gods.
Arachne weaves beautiful tapestries.
Arachne's parents have dishonored Minerva.
The people bring Arachne tapestries as gifts.

3.  How does Minerva initially plan to resolve the situation?
by striking Arachne dead
by advising Arachne to be humble
by taking away Arachne's skills
by cursing the onlookers

4.  How might we categorize the picture on Minerva's
"The Sins of Mortals"
"The Benevolent Gods"
"The Creation"
"Beware: The Gods Are Listening!"

5.  Why does Minerva become angry after the contest?
Arachne's tapestry insults the gods.
Arachne watches and copies off Minerva.
Arachne attacks Minerva.
Arachne makes noise to distract Minerva.

6.  What lesson does this myth teach?
hard work
free will

7.  What Latin word best categorizes Arachne?

8.  We might classify this story as an etiological myth.
     On the basis of its outcome, what can you infer that
     the term etiological means?
having to do with ritual
socially cohesive
explaining the origin or cause
descriptive of daily life