Athens in the New Testament
Athens was the capital of Attica, the center of Grecian refinement and philosophy. Paul visited it in journeying from Macedonia, and stayed sometime (Acts 17:14, etc.; FOUR-DRACHM OF ATHENS. 1 Thes. 3:1). Four hills are within it, the Acropolis, N.E., a square rock 150 feet high; W. of it is the AREOPAGUS (see). S.W. is the Pnyx, or Assembly Hill. S. of this is the Museum Hill.
The Agora where Paul disputed was in the valley between the four. The newsmongering taste of the people (Acts 17:21) is noticed by their great orator Demosthenes, "Ye go about the marketplace asking, Is there any news?"
Their pure atmosphere, open air life, and liberal institutions, stimulated liveliness of thought. Pausanias (1:24, sec. 3) confirms Paul's remark on their religiousness even to superstition: "the zeal devoted by the Athenians to the rites of the gods exceeds that of all others." See ALTAR, AREOPAGUS.
Dionysius the Areopagite convert of Paul was, according to tradition, the first bishop of an Athenian church. Theseus' temple is the most perfect of the remaining monuments. The Parthenon or temple of Minerva, built of Penrelic marble, 228 feet long, 102 broad, 66 high, with 8 Doric columns on each front and 17 on each side, was the masterpiece of Athenian architecture.
The colossal statue of Minerva Promachus, Phidias' workmanship, was 70 feet high, so as to be seen towering above the Parthenon by the mariner in doubling Cape Suniurn. Lord Elgin deposited in the British Museum several of the finest sculptures.
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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which is in the public domain (with minor edits).