The Areopagus

Tom Gomez

Joined January 2008

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The Areopagus or Areios Pagos (Greek: Άρειος Πάγος) is the ‘Rock of Ares’, north-west of the Acropolis in the center of Athens, Greece.

In classical times the Areopagus functioned as the high Court of Appeal for criminal and civil cases in Athens. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon son Alirrothios. In The Eumenides of Aeschylus (458 BC), the Areopagus is the site of the trial of Orestes for killing his mother (Clytemnestra) and her lover (Aegisthus).

Phryne, the hetaera from 4th century BC Greece and famed for her beauty, appeared before the Areopagus accused of profaning the Eleusinian mysteries. Legend has it that she let her cloak drop, so impressing the judges with her almost divine form, that she was summarily acquitted.

The origin of its name is not clear. In Greek 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.

It was from this location, drawing from the potential significance of the Athenian temple to the Unknown God, that the “Apostle Paul” is said to have delivered the famous speech:
Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.

Information supplied by Wikipedia.

Single RAW image Tonemapped in Photomatix Pro.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi in the USA)
Sigma 18-200mm lens
Exif data from the JPG
F-stop f/5.6
ISO 200
Focal length 125 mm

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Related shots can be found at Athens, Greece or Eastern Meditteranean.

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