Joyce's Photos of Areopagus Rock
In the Book of Acts, Paul made his famous "Men of Athens" speech on Areopagus Rock (called Mars Hill in the KJV). Paul is believed to have spoke on Areopagus Rock during his second missionary journey (which was with Silas) around 49-52 A.D. Socrates frequently spoke from here.
Areopagus is on the side of the Acropolis of Athens. Essentially, imagine going up a big hill, then there is an area half way up that is flat, and then there is a mound on part of the flat area. That mound is Areopagus Rock, though all the flat area is considered to be Areopagus. The Rock overlooks the old marketplace below and has the Parthenon behind it. Now that we have been there, I can simply state that in pretty much all directions from Areopagus Rock, one can see pagan temples and other symbols of worship. Thus it seems that all in Athens would have seen these and other pagan symbols several times every day of their lives.
The following links are to photographs taken and/or directed by Joyce Thiel. All materials are copyrighted and all photographs are copyrighted by Joyce Thiel (c) 2005, All Rights Reserved:
Areopagus Rock - "And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus" (Acts 17:19). This photo is a side view of the entire rock.
The Top Of Areopagus Rock - This photo is near the center top of Areopagus Rock. It includes a picture of Joyce.
One Side Of Areopagus Rock - This photo is near the side of the top of Areopagus Rock. It includes a picture of COGwriter.
Parthenon from Areopagus - The Parthenon was built to honor and worship the goddess Athena. who Athens is named after. "Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious" (Acts 19:22). This is the view looking back from Areopagus, while on it.
Temple of Hephaestus - This is believed to be the best preserved Classical temple in Greece. It was devoted jointly to Hephaestus and Athena. "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols" (Acts 17:16). This is the view looking down and to the left from Areopagus, while on it.
Temple of Zeus - Zeus was the head of the pagan Greek gods. This can be seen by looking down and far to the left from Areopagus.
Filopappos Hill and The Hill of the Nymphs - In Paul's time, the Greeks believed that Filopappos was inhabited by the muses if art, music, and poetry. Socrates was imprisoned here. The smaller hill next to it was believed to have been the dwelling place of nymphs--female spirits of trees, fields, and springs. This is the view looking almost straight left from Areopagus, while on it.
Athens Marketplace (or the Agora) - "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there." Like today in Athens, there were probably a lot of sellers of icons and other idols. This is the view looking almost straight down and slightly to the right from Areopagus, while on it. This photo also includes a view of an 11th century Byzantine church, which was built on the site of the ancient nymphaion in the Athens marketplace (the church is now called "the Church of the Holy Apostles").
Areopagus Rock Worn Out - This is near the top of Areopagus Rock. So many people have apparently walked up and down this rock, that most of the rock is now quite slick and shines in the bright Athenian sunlight.
Here is the story regarding Paul and Areopagus from the 17th chapter of the Book of Acts:
15. So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.
16. Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.
17. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.
18. Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods," because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.
19. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak?
20. For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean."
21. For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.
22. Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;
23. For as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:
24. God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.
25. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.
26. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
27 So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
28. For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'
29. Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising.
30. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
31. Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
32. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, "We will hear you again on this matter."
33. So Paul departed from among them.
34. However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
Having been there, I can simply say that, both then and now, it appears that "the city was given over to idols." It is little wonder that only some believed Paul there then, and apparently, even less now.
More photos can be seen on the Photos of Athens page.
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