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Areopagus, Athens

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The Areopagus is a prominent rock outcropping located northwest of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Its English name is the composite form of the Greek name Areios Pagos, translated "Ares Rock". In classical times, it functioned as the court for trying deliberate homicide. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Halirrhothius (a typical example of an aetiological myth).HistoryThe origin of its name is not clear. In Ancient Greek, πάγος pagos means "big piece of rock". Areios could have come from Ares or from the Erinyes, as on its foot was erected a temple dedicated to the Erinyes where murderers used to find shelter so as not to face the consequences of their actions. Later, the Romans referred to the rocky hill as "Mars Hill", after Mars, the Roman God of War. Near the Areopagus was also constructed the basilica of Dionysius Areopagites.In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, similar to the Roman Senate. Like the Senate, its membership was restricted to those who had held high public office, in this case that of Archon. In 594 BC, the Areopagus agreed to hand over its functions to Solon for reform. He instituted democratic reforms, reconstituted its membership and returned control to the organization.
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TripAdvisor
  • Ok, it's a hill but a hill with a lot of history. It will make more sense if you read about this history before climbing up - from residential villas to courts for crimes such as murder, arson and tre...  more »
  • We probably missed the right route to get here and seemed to walk in a huge circle with no directional signage so we were very tired when we eventually made it to the top but it certainly was worth it...  more »
  • This place offers nice view of the Acropolis and also the city. The surface is really slippery, so I reccomend to choose appropiate shoes ;)  more »

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Where to stay in Athens

If you come to Athens for its ancient history, stay in Plaka, a lively neighborhood located within walking distance of the city's major archaeological sites. Although relatively expensive, hotels in this part of town offer spacious rooms, private swimming pools, and rooftop cocktail bars. For less expensive but equally comfortable lodgings, consider boutique hotels and family-run inns in the quiet residential neighborhoods just a short drive south of Plaka. Good rooms fill up early in the season, so plan ahead and book in advance.
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