Areopagus


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Areopagus

(ărēŏp`əgəs) [Gr.,=hill of Ares], rocky hill, 370 ft (113 m) high, NW of the Acropolis of Athens, famous as the sacred meeting place of the prime council of Athens. This council, also called the Areopagus, represented the ancient council of elders, which usually combined judicial and legislative functions from the beginning. The Areopagus represented in the 5th and 6th cent. B.C. the stronghold of aristocracy. Jurisdiction in murder cases had probably been given to it by Draco; Solon gave it various censorial powers over the officers of the state. The change in the method of choosing the archons in 487 B.C. caused the beginning of the decline of the Areopagus. In 480 B.C. the Areopagus enabled the manning of the fleet for the battle of Salamis, and it recovered much of its influence in the war years. But c.462 B.C. a series of attacks began and eventually the august council was reduced to the status of a court of homicide only, although it maintained its religious character. Pericles was a leader in this democratizing movement; Aeschylus was an opponent, and he brought his trilogy of dramas to a close (in The Eumenides) with an appeal for the preservation of the ancient traditions of the Areopagus.

Areopagus

 

organ of power in ancient Athens, named after the place where it held its sessions, on the Hill of Ares, near the Acropolis. The Areopagus came into being during the epoch of the tribal-clan system as a council of elders. Its members held office for life, and from the eighth century B.C. it was constituted entirely of former archons, who were nominated and elected by the Areopagus. It possessed broad political, juridical, supervisory, and religious powers. The Areopagus was a bulwark of the aristocracy and later of the oligarchy. Limitation of the Areopagus’ power began with the growth of the Athenian slaveholding democracy. The first attempts at limitation were made by Solon (sixth century B.C.); the reform of Ephialtes (462 B.C.) eliminated the political power and influence of the Areopagus, preserving only its functions as a court for trying certain criminal offenses and religious transgressions.

Areopagus

hill near the Acropolis used for Athenian council deliberations. [Gk. Hist.: Benét, 46]
See: Counsel

Areopagus

1. 
a. the hill to the northwest of the Acropolis in Athens
b. (in ancient Athens) the judicial council whose members (Areopagites) met on this hill
2. Literary any high court
References in periodicals archive ?
This hinges on what is meant by the action of the Stoics and Epicureans in taking Paul from the agora (14) to the Areopagus to explain himself, as he was apparently promoting the cult of strange gods (Acts 17.18).
Solon proposed the division of society into four political classes based on wealth: At the pinnacle were the Pentacosiomedimnoi who could become Archons and then join the Areopagus. The second and third classes qualified for lower public service, whilst the masses were still locked out.
The court of the Areopagus replaces a form of justice that consisted of individual reprisals, a blood feud constantly renewed but never resolved.
Paul is invited to speak at the Areopagus by Stoic and Epicurean philosophers who, according to Bede, followed the "stupidity" of their teachers, for the former sought happiness "solely in virtue of the mind" while the latter sought "pleasure of the body alone" (141).
Willebrands wrote: "I ask myself whether the Church has ever, since the speech of the Apostle Paul on the Areopagus, approached the non-Christian religions in such a positive way.
He also notes another tradition which claims the story began with a girl falling to her death from the Areopagus. Socrates then goes on to say that while he finds such explanations attractive, he also finds them overly-clever and reductive and that they present more problems than solutions for the sophos who takes this approach:
After preaching against idolatry in the marketplace (agora) and the synagogue, and debating Jews and Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, Paul was invited to speak at the Areopagus, a region of Athens on the Acropolis that at one time was comprised of temples, associated cultural activities and facilities, and the supreme Athenian council (their supreme court).
Whereas the first two plays present moral complexities and insoluble problems that humans still face today, "in Eumenides a solution is apparently found--one, moreover, that is closely tied to a peculiarly fifth-century Athenian institution, the Areopagus." He goes on to conclude that, "The trilogy ends 'happily', but it may be that Aeschylus himself was well aware that the real problems remain unresolved." And because of this knowledge, "the moral complexities of the first two plays are given no solution" (67) he says.
"The Legal Horizon of the Oresteia: The Crime of Homicide and the Founding of the Areopagus" es el titulo del articulo de Delfim Leao (Professor of Classics, University of Coimbra).
The play takes place in the mythical heroic past before the establishment of the court of the Areopagus in which homicides could be tried.?
Specifically, Potter points to the passage from Acts in which Paul, preaching in Athens, is brought before the Areopagus "to give an Account of his new Doctrine." (36) This is, of course, where Paul identifies the "unknown God" as the one "God who made the world and all things theirein," and who "dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Acts 17:23-24).
Some at the Areopagus were offended by the idea of resurrection.