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Summary.

→ Introduction.

The 4th c..

Composition in the 4th c..

Meeting Places in the 4th c..

Procedure in the 4th c..

The 4th c.: Intentional Homicide.

The 4th c.: Impiety and Olives.

The 4th c.: Other Powers.

History: Myth.

History: Before the 5th c..

History: Reforms of the early 5th c..

History: Cimon and Themistocles.

History: Areopagus and the Demos.

History: Ephialtes’ Reforms.

History: The Later 5th c..

History: After the Thirty Tyrants.

A Rock in Times of Trouble.

A Check on the Assembly in the 4th c..

Investigations.

Secondary Works Cited.

Index of Citations

General Index

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The Council of the Areopagus 

Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of January 26, 2003

page 2 of 21

· Introduction ·

Read about the evidence
Herodotus (Hdt.).
Aeschines (Aeschin. 1).
Isocrates (Isoc. 15).
 
Plot on a Map
Athens.

The Areopagus ( Ἀρεῖος πάγος ) was a hill in Athens, south of the Agora, to the north-west of the Acropolis (Hdt. 8.52). The term “Areopagus,” however, often refers to the “Council of the Areopagus” ( βουλὴ ἐξ Ἀρείου πάγου ), a governmental institution that met on that hill (Aeschin. 1.92). This institution was very ancient, existing long before democratic government. Its history, which recedes back into mythological pre-history, follows closely the political history of Athens, and shows the ongoing tension between democratic and anti-democratic forces (see, for example, Isoc. 15.316, in which he complains that as the city grew more democratic, the power of the older institutions, such as the Areopagus, declined). In this article, we will first present the evidence for the composition, procedures, and jurisdiction of the Council of the Areopagus in the 4th century BCE, when it was one of the institutions of the fully developed Athenian democracy. Then we will give the evidence that describes its history. Finally, we will give some evidence for special functions that the Areopagus seemed to perform in the later 4th century.

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