ATHENS

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
Acts 17:22-23

WHAT IS THE AREOPAGUS?

The Areopagus, also called Mars Hill, is the exposed rock in the bottom left corner of the picture above. It was located west of the Acropolis, and in ancient Athens, a council would have met on this hill. By the time of Paul’s visit, the council of the Areopagus was in charge of maintaining religious customs and order. Therefore, it would be appropriate for Paul to make his defense before this council.

ALTAR to an UNKNOWN GOD

Although this altar either no longer exists or hasn't been discovered yet, archeologists have discovered that there were altars to unknown gods (plural) in the ancient world and that they were especially known to have existed in Athens.

ATHENS

Approx. 25,000 People in Paul's Day
Athens was named for the Greek goddess Athena, whose world-renowned temple, the Parthenon, stood on top of the Acropolis in the heart of town. At the time of Paul’s visit, Athens was a free city within the Roman Empire but was still a close ally of Rome. Athens had passed its prime but remained a leading center of learning and politics.

Click the map to explore when Paul visited the city of Athens and the other key locations in the book of Acts.