Areopagus

Areopagus
/ar'ee op"euh geuhs/, n.
1. a hill in Athens, Greece, W of the Acropolis.
2. Gk. Hist. the council that met on this hill, originally having wide public functions but later becoming a purely judicial body.
3. any high tribunal.
[ < L < Gk Áreios págos hill of Ares]

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Supreme tribunal of ancient Athens.

It was named for the Areopagus ("Ares' Hill"), where it met. It began as the king's council; by Draco's code of law (с 621 BC) it consisted of former archons, but Solon (594) opened candidacy to any citizen. It had broad judicial powers. Its prestige fluctuated from the mid 6th to the mid 4th century BC, after which its power revived and continued under Roman domination, when it reacquired extensive administrative duties.

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▪ Greek council
      earliest aristocratic council of ancient Athens. The name was taken from the Areopagus (“Ares' Hill”), a low hill northwest of the Acropolis, which was its meeting place.

      The Areopagite Council probably began as the king's advisers. Early in the Archaic period it exercised a general and ill-defined authority until the publication of Draco's Code of Law (c. 621). Membership continued for life and was secured by having served as archon, an office limited to the eupatrids (eupatrid) (Greek: eupatridai, “nobles by birth”). Under Solon (archon 594 BC), the composition and authority of the council were materially altered when the archonship was opened to all with certain property qualifications, and a Boule, a rival council of 400, was set up. The Areopagus nevertheless retained “guardianship of the laws” (perhaps a legislative veto); it tried prosecutions under the law of eisangelia (“impeachment”) for unconstitutional acts. As a court under the presidency of the archōn basileus, it also decided cases of murder.

      For about 200 years, from the middle of the 6th century BC, the prestige of the Areopagus fluctuated. The fall of the Peisistratids, who during their tyranny (546–510) had filled the archonships with their adherents, left the Areopagus full of their nominees and thus in low esteem; its reputation was restored by its patriotic posture during the Persian invasion. In 462 the reformer Ephialtes deprived the Areopagus of virtually all its powers save jurisdiction on homicide (c. 462). From the middle of the 4th century BC, its prestige revived once again, and by the period of Roman domination in Greece it was again discharging significant administrative, religious, and educational functions.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Areopagus — Areopagus1 [ar΄ēäp′ə gəs] n. 1. the high court of justice in ancient Athens that met on Areopagus 2. any supreme court Areopagus2 [ar΄ēäp′ə gəs] [L < Gr Areiopagos < Areios, of Ares + pagos, hill] rocky hill northwest of the Acropolis,… …   English World dictionary

  • Areopagus — Ar e*op a*gus, n. [L., fr. Gr. ?, and ? ?, hill of Ares (Mars Hill).] The highest judicial court at Athens. Its sessions were held on Mars Hill. Hence, any high court or tribunal [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Areopagus — Areopagus, der oberste Gerichtshof bei den alten Atheniensern, berühmt wegen seiner Gerechtigkeit, gefürchtet wegen seiner Strenge. Solon soll ihn gestiftet haben. Sein Ansehen war so groß, daß selbst andere Staaten Griechenlands sich seinen… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • AREOPAGUS — vicus erat Athenis, a templo Martis ita dictus, ubi primum iudicium capitis, Halirrhotiô, Neptuni filiô occisô actum fuisse scribit Plin. Areum Iudicium dixit Tacit. Annal. l. 2. c. 55. Iuvenali Sat. 9. v. 101. Martis curia dicitur: Ergo occulta… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Areopagus — 1640s, Greek, Areios pagos the hill of Ares, west of the Acropolis in Athens, where the highest judicial court sat; second element from pagos rocky hill. Sense extended to any important tribunal …   Etymology dictionary

  • Areopagus — This article concerns the place where a classical judicial body met. It is also the term for the judicial body which met there. For the 16th century literary movement, see Areopagus (poetry). For the regional government during the Greek War of… …   Wikipedia

  • Areopagus — noun Etymology: Latin, from Greek Areios pagos, from Areios pagos (literally, hill of Ares), a hill in Athens where the tribunal met Date: 1586 the supreme tribunal of Athens …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Areopagus — noun The supreme judicial and legislative council of ancient Athens …   Wiktionary

  • Areopagus —    The Latin form of the Greek word rendered Mars hill. But it denotes also the council or court of justice which met in the open air on the hill. It was a rocky height to the west of the Acropolis at Athens, on the south east summit of which the …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Areopagus — A hill in Athens where the city council met; Paul gave an address there (Acts 17) to the assembled Gentiles, using a text about an altar he had seen dedicated ‘to an unknown god’ (17:23) …   Dictionary of the Bible

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