The Areopagus or Mars Hill is a bare marble hill next to the Acropolis in Athens. It is especially popular with travelers for its connections with a speech made by Paul the Apostle.
In the Bible
The Areopagus, like most city-state institutions, continued to function in Roman times, and it was then that the Apostle Paul delivered his famous speech about the identity of "the Unknown God." According to the biblical account (Acts 17):
History of Areopagus (Mars Hill)
In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, like the Roman Senate. Like the Senate, its membership derived from those who had held high public office, in this case that of Archon. In 462 BC, Ephialtes put through reforms which deprived the Areopagus of almost all its functions except that of a murder tribunal.
In classical times, the Areopagus functioned as the chief homicide courtof Athens. At the foot of the Areopagus was a templededicated to the Erinyes, where murderers could find sanctuary.
Myth and Mystery
According to Greek mythology, Ares (the god of war, known to the Romans as Mars) was tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios. It is this legend that gives the hill its various names. Another legend says that the hill was the site of the trial of Orestes for killing his stepmother and her lover, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.
What to See at Areopagus (Mars Hill)
The Areopagus is a bare marble hill across from the entrance to the Acropolis. Its ancient marble steps can be slippery, especially in the rain. Wear appropriate shoes! Near the base of the stairs is a bronze plaque with the Greek text of Paul's sermon. At the top there are nice views of the Acropolis.
Quick Facts on Areopagus (Mars Hill)
|Names:||Areios Pagos · Areopagus (Mars Hill) · Hill of Ares|
|Categories:||biblical sites; New Testament|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||37.972460° N, 23.722132° E|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Areopagus (Mars Hill)|
- Athens: Ancient Monuments - Frommer's Greece
- Areopagus - Wikipedia
- Areopagus (Mars Hill) - Holy Land Photos
- The Council of the Areopagus - Demos: Classical Athenian Democracy
- Mars Hill - David Padfield
- Paul's Mars Hill Appeal - Let Us Reason
Map of Areopagus (Mars Hill), Athens
Below is a location map and aerial view of Areopagus (Mars Hill). Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.