For most of its existence, the Athenian law court that met on top of this outcropping, known as the Areopagus, was dedicated to trying cases of justifiable homicide. But around 400BCE, a famous prostitute named Phryne spent several hours here defending herself against the capital crime of impiety—the same crime that would later cost Socrates his life. When all arguments failed, the gorgeous woman stripped off her clothes and shocked the judges into acquitting her.
The marker on the site commemorates a speech delivered here by St. Paul and recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (17:24). “Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” An interesting comment, in that the road in the photo rises behind us to the Acropolis–where Paul’s followers were busy destroying every pagan statue they could dislodge.