|Areopagus - |
AREOP'AGUS, n. Gr. Mars, and hills.
A sovereign tribunal at Athens, famous for the justice and impartiality of its decisions. It was originally held on a hill in the city; but afterward removed to the Royal Portico, an open square, where the judges sat in the open air, inclosed by a cord. Their sessions were in the night, that they might not be diverted by objects of sight, or influenced by the presence and action of the speakers. By a law of Solon, no person could be a member of this tribunal, until he had been archon or chief magistrate. This court took cognizance of high crimes, impiety and immorality, and watched over the laws and the public treasury.