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  4. Areopagus (Mars Hill)

Areopagus (Mars Hill), Athens

Photo © AJ Alfieri-Crispin. View all images in our Areopagus (Mars Hill) Photo Gallery.
Photo © cormac70.
Photo © Howard Chalkley.
Photo © Nathan Gibbs.
Photo © Aaron Tyo-Dickerson.

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

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

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)

Site Information
Names:Areios Pagos; Areopagus (Mars Hill); Hill of Ares
City:Athens
State:Attica
Country:Greece
Categories:Biblical Sites; Historical Sites
Faiths:Christianity
Feat:Footsteps of Paul
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Athens, Greece
Coordinates:37.972460° N, 23.722132° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Areopagus (Mars Hill)

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.

References

  1. Athens: Ancient Monuments - Frommer's Greece
  2. Areopagus - Wikipedia
  3. Areopagus (Mars Hill) - Holy Land Photos
  4. The Council of the Areopagus - Demos: Classical Athenian Democracy
  5. Mars Hill - David Padfield
  6. Paul's Mars Hill Appeal - Let Us Reason

More Information

Article Info

Title:Areopagus (Mars Hill), Athens
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:06/25/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/greece/athens-areopagus-mars-hill/greece/athens
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