Christianity in Ancient Greece
Delphi could never quite be bothered to climb up to the Areopagus. There were too many hills in Athens, she thought. All the men seemed to like it, but then, Athenian men liked to stay fit.
The Athenians made sure they exercised regularly by putting all the really important places on the tops of tall hills. You could just make a speech in the street, but no – dragging everybody up the nearest hill and make them stand around in the melting heat of the day with no water – that was how to get an audience. It also helped if it had a nice view. The Areopagus was popular in this regard, as it offered easy access from the Agora, a nice view of the Acropolis and a sweat-drenched hell of a climb to get to the top.
When St Paul came to teach the Greeks about Christianity, they told him exactly where to go.
Areopagus: Fact box
The Areopagus is a big rocky hill between the Acropolis and the Agora. It was named after the god of war, Ares, who was said to have been put on trial here for killing the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea.
In the early part of Greek history, rich aristocratic families had their own court here. However, this was later stopped when all the law courts were established in the nearby Agora.
It is most famous as the site where St. Paul first preached the idea of Christianity to the Greeks in 51 AD. The idea that there was only one god, rather than the many Greek gods, must have been quite a shock! The speech is very famous as the moment that Christian thought first came into contact with the Classical ideas of Ancient Greece – and both influenced each other enormously.
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