Mars' Hill In Athens, Greece

by David Padfield

Areopagus Athens, Greece

The photograph above is of Mars' Hill in Athens, Greece. This limestone hill is situated between the Acropolis and the Agora. In Roman mythology Mars was the god of war; his counterpart in Greek mythology was Ares. Many translations of the Bible will use the word "Areopagus" instead of the phrase "Mars' Hill" when describing this location. The word "Areopagus" means "the hill of Ares."

According to Luke, the apostle Paul only paid one visit to this city. However, by the time Paul got to Athens most of its glory had already passed -- most of Greece had been plundered by the Romans, and even Athens had been sacked by Sulla in 86 B.C. While Paul waited for Silas and Timothy to join him at Athens, he travelled through the ancient city and was appalled by the high degree of paganism in the city. An ancient Proverb claimed that there were more gods in Athens than men, and wherever Paul looked he could see "that the city was given over to idols" (Acts 17:16). Paul then "reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there" (Acts 17:17).

Finally, he had the opportunity to address the philosophers on Mars' Hill and there proclaimed to them "God, who made the world and everything in it" (Acts 17:24).