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AREIO´PAGUS The Areiopagus (Ἄρειος πάγος, in native authors and inscriptions always without the article), or hill of Ares, at Athens, was a rocky eminence, lying to the west of and not far from the Acropolis. To account for the name, various stories were told. Thus, some said that it was so called from the Amazons, the daughters of Ares, having encamped there when they attacked Athens; others again, as Aeschylus, from the sacrifices there offered by them to that god; while the more received opinion connected the name with the legend of Ares having been brought to trial there by Poseidon, for the murder of his son Halirrhothius. (Dem. c. Aristocr. p. 641.66; Aeschyl. Eum. 688.) To none, however, of these legends did the place owe its fame, but rather to the council ( ἐν Ἀρείῳ πάγῳ βουλή) which held its sittings there, and was sometimes called ἄνω βουλή, to distinguish it from the Solonian senate of Four Hundred, or the later Cleisthenean senate of Five Hundred (Plut. Sol. 19). That it was a body of very remote antiquity, acting as a criminal tribunal, was evidently believed by the Athenians themselves. In proof of this, we may refer to the express assertions of the orators, and the legend of Orestes having been tried before the council for the murder of his mother--a trial which took place before Athena, and which Aeschylus represents as the origin of the court itself. Again, we find that even before the first Messenian war (B.C. 743) began, the Messenians offered to refer the points in dispute to the Argive Amphictyony, or the Athenian Areiopagus (Paus. 4.5.1; Thirlwall, H. G., 1.345), because this body was believed to have had jurisdiction in cases of manslaughter (δίκας φονικάς), “from of old.”

There is sufficient proof, then, that the Areiopagus existed before the time of Solon; though Plutarch tells us that most of his authorities believed Solon to have been the founder, arguing from the silence of Draco, in whose laws the name Areiopagus did not occur. To this he replies that, in the ἄξοϝες on which the Solonian laws were recorded, the Areiopagus is expressly coupled with the phrase πρὶν Σόλωνα ἄρξαι (Plut. Sol. l.c.); and Grote further points out that as before Solon's time there was no other βουλή, Draco had no occasion to mention it. He concludes, therefore, “that the senate of Areiopagus is a primordial institution, of immemorial antiquity, though its constitution as well as its functions underwent many changes ;” and for the earliest period accepts the suggestion, first thrown out by Meier and Schömann, that it seems to represent the Homeric council of old men (Grote, ch. 10.2.281; Att. Process, Introd. p. 10). We hear of the Areiopagus chiefly as a judicial tribunal, because it acted in this character constantly throughout Athenian history, and it is in this capacity that the orators have most frequent occasion to allude to it. But in its original form it existed permanently as the highest deliberative authority, usually combined, in primitive institutions, with the functions of a supreme court of justice. Thus, to borrow an illustration from English history, a single curia regis was the germ from which the House of Lords, the Privy Council, and the High Courts of Justice were all developed. In pre-Solonian Athens, the functions of this ancient council had been so far specialised that it had become only a criminal court, trying cases “of wilful murder and wounding, of arson and poisoning” (Lex ap. Dem. c. Aristocr. p. 627.22; Pollux, 8.117). These powers were abridged by Draco, who transferred to the Ephetae the cognisance of all cases of homicide. (The details of this change, and the question whether the name Ephetae existed before Draco, are discussed under EPHETAE) This arrangement did not last long. The legislation of Solon restored to the Areiopagus all the more important powers connected with the δίκαι φονικαὶ, leaving to the Ephetae little more than a ceremonial purification of blood-guiltiness; [p. 1.176]and, thus limited, the latter body soon withered and became a mere survival. The Areiopagus, on the contrary, acquired fresh powers in addition to those now restored, and entered upon its most brilliant period. It was invested by Solon with the general supervision of the state; in particular, it watched over the conduct of the magistrates in office; it controlled the proceedings of the popular assembly, with the right of stopping unconstitutional legislation ; and it possessed a censorial power of maintaining public discipline, and of bringing private persons to account for their behaviour (Schömann, Antiq. pp. 326, 332, E. T.). Under his new scheme, the nine archons, if they had discharged their duties without blame, “went up” to the Areiopagus, and became members of it for life, unless expelled for misconduct (Argum. Dem. c. Androt. p. 589; Lex ap. Dem. c. Timocr. p. 707.22; Deinarch. c. Demosth. § 56; Plut. Sol.c. 18).

The council, then, after Solon's time, while it became timocratic in constitution, remained aristocratic in spirit. In fact, he is said to have formed the two councils, the senate and the Areiopagus, to be a check on the democracy; that, as he himself expressed it, “the state, riding upon them as anchors, might be less tossed by storms.” Nay, even after the archons were no longer elected by suffrage but by lot, and the office was thrown open by Aristides to all the Athenian citizens, the “upper council” still retained its former tone of feeling.

Various details are given of the censorial and political powers entrusted by Solon to the body thus re-organised. Thus we learn that he made the council an “overseer of everything, and the guardian of the laws,” empowering it to inquire how anyone got his living, and to punish the idle (Plut. Sol. 100.22; Isocr. Arciop. § § 42, 43). We learn from other authorities that the Areiopagites were “superintendents of good order and decency,” --terms rather unlimited and undefined, as it is not improbable Solon wished to leave their authority. There are, however, recorded some particular instances of its exercise, even in the later days of Athenian history. Thus we find that they called persons to account for extravagant and dissolute living, and, on the other hand, occasionally rewarded remarkable cases of industry. In company with certain officers called γυναικονόμοι, they made domiciliary visits at private entertainments, to see that the number of guests was not too large, and for other purposes (Athen. iv. pp. 167 c--168 b, vi. p. 245 c; Pollux, 8.112). It is stated on the authority of Aristotle (Plut. Themist. 100.10; cf. Boeckh, P. E. p. 154) that at the time of the advance of Xerxes on Athens, when there was no money in the public treasury, the Areiopagus succeeded in raising the sum of eight drachmas for every man on board the fleet. This does not prove that they had a treasury of their own, or any control of the public finances, as some have inferred; there is no evidence of either in ancient writers, and it is enough to suppose with Grote (3.455) that the council, then composed in large proportion of men from the wealthier classes, put forth all its public authority as well as its private contributions as an example to others. Again, we are told (Lycurg. c. Leocr. § 52), that at the time of the battle of Chaeroneia they seized and put to death those who deserted their country, and that they were thought by some to have been the chief preservers of the city.

It is probable that public opinion supported them in acts of this kind, without the aid of which they must have been powerless for any such objects. In connexion with this point, we may add that when heinous crimes had notoriously been committed, but the guilty parties were not known, or no accuser appeared, the Areiopagus inquired into the subject, and reported (ἀποφαίνειν) to the Demos. The report or information was called ἀπόφασις. This was a duty which they sometimes undertook on their own responsibility and in the exercise of an old-established right, and sometimes on the order of the Demos. (Deinarch. c. Dem. § § 54-56; Schömann, Assemblies, p. 224.) Nay, to such an extent did they carry this power, that on one occasion they arrested a man (Antiphon) who had been acquitted by the general assembly, and again brought him to a trial, which ended in his condemnation and death. (Dem. de Cor. p. 271.133; Deinarch. c. Dem. § 63.) Again, we find them revoking an appointment of the people whereby Aeschines was made the advocate of Athens before the Amphictyonic council, and substituting Hyperides in his room. In these two cases also, they were most probably supported by public opinion, or by a strong party in the state. (Dem. l.c. § 134.)

They also had duties connected with religion, one of which was to superintend the sacred olives growing about Athens, and try those who were charged with destroying them. (Lysias, Περὶ τοῦ Σηκοῦ, § 22.) We read, too, that in the discharge of their duty as religious censors, they on one occasion examined whether the wife of the king archon was, as required by law, an Athenian; and, finding she was not, imposed a fine upon her husband. (Dem. c. Neaer. p. 1372.80 ff.) We learn from the same passage, that it was their office generally to punish the impious and irreligious. Again we are told, though rather in a rhetorical way, that they relieved the needy from the resources of the rich, controlled the studies and education of the young, and interfered with and punished public characters as such. (Isocr. Areiop. § 55.) In another passage ( § 38) Isocrates tells us that the worst men, on becoming Areiopagites, restrained their vicious propensities under the influence of the dignified and decorous atmosphere of the court. His pamphlet, written to urge the restoration of the censorial powers of the Areiopagus after they had long been lost (probably about B.C. 355-353), must of course be received with caution ; but it is at least evidence that this tribunal, though shorn of its glories by the reforms of Ephialtes, had not forfeited the public respect.

Independently, then, of its jurisdiction as a criminal court in cases of wilful murder, which Solon continued to the Areiopagus, its influence must have been sufficiently great to have been a considerable obstacle to the aggrandisement of the democracy at the expense of the other parties in the state. In fact, Plutarch (Plut. Sol. 100.18) expressly states that Solon had this object in view in its reconstruction; and accordingly we find that Pericles, who never was an archon or [p. 1.177]Areiopagite, and who was opposed to the aristocracy for many reasons, resolved to diminish its power and circumscribe its sphere of action. His coadjutor in this work was Ephialtes, a statesman of inflexible integrity, and also a military commander. (Plut. Cim. 10; Pericl. 7, 9.) They experienced much opposition in their attempts, not only in the assembly, but also on the stage, where Aeschylus produced his tragedy of the Eumenides, the object of which was to impress upon the Athenians the dignity, the sacredness, and constitutional worth of the institution which Pericles and Ephialtes wished to reform. He reminds the Athenians that it was a tribunal instituted by their patron goddess Athena, and puts into her mouth a popular harangue full of warnings against innovations, and admonishing them to leave the Areiopagus in possession of its old and well-grounded rights, that under its watchful guardianship they might sleep in security. (Müller, Eum. § 35.) Still the opposition failed: a decree was carried, about B.C. 458, by which, as Aristotle says, the Areiopagus was “mutilated,” and many of its hereditary rights abolished. (Arist. Pol. 2.12.4; Cic. de Rep. 1.27, § 43.) Plutarch (Plut. Cim. 15) tells us that the people deprived the Areiopagus of nearly all its judicial authority (τὰς κρίσεις τλὴν ὀλίγων ἁπάσας), establishing an unmixed democracy, and making themselves supreme in the courts of justice, as if there had formerly been a superior tribunal. But we infer from another passage, that the council lost considerable authority in matters of state; for we learn that Athens then entered upon a career of conquest and aggrandisement to which she had previously been a stranger; that, “like a rampant horse, she would not obey the reins, but snapped at Euboea, and leaped upon the neighbouring islands.” (Comicus, ap. Plut. Cim. 10.) These accounts in themselves, and as compared with others, are sufficiently vague and inconsistent to perplex and embarrass; accordingly, there has been much discussion as to the precise nature of the alterations which Pericles effected. In particular K. O. Müller (Eum. § 37) argued that he deprived the Areiopagus of their old jurisdiction in cases of wilful murder; and one of his chief arguments is that it was evidently the design of Aeschylus to support them in this prerogative, which therefore must have been assailed. This was also the view of Boeckh in a dissertation de Areopago, and of Meier and Schömann in Att. Process. But on the appearance of Forch-hammer's Disputatio de Areopago non privato per Ephialtem homicidii judiciis, Kiel, 1828, Schömann at once modified his view and subsequently abandoned it altogether (Att. Process, p. 143, with Lipsius's notes in the new edition; Antiq. p. 342, E. T.); and since then it has been generally agreed by scholars and historians that the Areiopagus did not lose the δίκαι φονικαί (God frey Hermann, Opusc. 4.299 ff. ; K. F. Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 109, 6; Thirlwall, 3.24; Grote, ch. xlvi., 4.104-112; Curtius, 2.382, E. T.; Westermann, in Pauly; Caillemer, in Daremberg and Saglio). The main argument on the other side rests on an expression of Lysias (de Caede Eratosth. § 30): τῷ δικαστηρίῳ τῷ ἐξ Ἀρείου πάγου καὶ πάτριόν ἐστι καὶ ἐφ̓ ῾ημῶν ἀποδέδοται τοῦ φόνου τὰς δίκας δικάζειν. This was held to mean that the δίκαι φονικαί, lost in the time of Ephialtes, were only restored in the archonship of Eucleides, B.C. 403. But the language of Demosthenes is equally explicit, that neither tyrant nor democracy had dared to take away this jurisdiction from the Areiopagus (c. Aristocr. p. 641.66). As G. Hermann pointed out (Opusc. l.c.), ἀποδέδοται in Lysias may easily mean competit, “is within its competence,” not “has been restored:” and even if the latter sense be retained, it is enough to say that under the Thirty all laws had been trampled upon, and with the restoration of democracy things resumed their natural course (Grote, l.c. p. 112 n.). It may be further remarked that the consequences ascribed to the innovation do not indicate that the Areiopagus lost its authority as a criminal tribunal, but rather that it was shorn of its power as superintending the morals and conduct of the citizens, both in civil and religious matters, and as exercising some control over their decisions. This supervision had extended to the proceedings of the Ecclesia, taking care that the latter did not infringe the established laws or the existing balance of the constitution. These powers were vast and undefined, not derived from any formal grant of the people, but having their source in immemorial antiquity, and sustained by general awe and reverence. Such powers, as Grote remarks, were pretty certain to be abused; and if we grant that personal corruption was rare in an assembly spoken of with so much respect even by its political opponents, we must admit that such powers would be habitually exercised in a conservative sense, and one suitable only to a passive and stationary people. The expansion of Athens, during the twenty years which followed the battle of Plataea, would be cramped and hindered by them; and in this we must see (with Grote) the justification of the measures of Pericles and Ephialtes. The separation of judicial from executive functions was not, as Aristotle called it, a dissolution of all governmental authority (ὥστε καταλύονται πᾶσαι αἱ ἀρχαί, Pol. 4.5.6), but conformable to the best modern notions; and Pericles cannot be censured for having effected this separation, whatever we may think of the dicasteries and the irresponsible assembly between whom the powers taken from the Areiopagus were now divided. It was at this time, probably, that the Areiopagus, like the Senate of Five Hundred, became accountable to the Demos, as, indeed, we know they afterwards were. (Aeschin. c. Ctes. § 20; Boeckh, P. E. p. 189.)

The general power of supervision, now taken from the Areiopagus, became vested in seven new magistrates called νομοφύλακες [NOMOPHYLAKES], who were in their turn abolished when, in the archonship of Eucleides, the Areiopagus received back a part of its former controlling authority. The decree of Tisamenus on this occasion is preserved by Andocides: the laws were first to be revised by special νομοθέται, called also ἀναγραφεῖς, and then the Areiopagus was to watch over their enforcement (ἐπειδὰν δὲ τεθῶσιν οἱ ϝόμοι, ἐπιμελεἰσθω βουλὴ ἐξ Ἁρείου τάγου τῶν νόμων, ὅπως ἂν αἱ ἀρχαὶ τοῖς κειμένοις νόμοις χρῶνται, ap. Andoc. de Myst. § 84). It must be admitted, with Grote and Schömann, that neither the Nomophylakes, while they lasted, nor the Areiopagus in its renewed [p. 1.178]vitality, were able to exercise any real check upon the irresponsible Demos. In the last century of Athenian liberty, the γραφὴ παρανόμων gradually superseded every other form of control over constitutional changes. (Grote, ch. xlvi., 4.115; Schömann, Antiq. p. 346, E. T.)

But, though thus brought under the democratic rule of accountability in all the officers of the state, no subserviency in judicial matters is imputed to the Areiopagus. Their tribunal, on the contrary, is always spoken of as most just and holy; Demosthenes goes so far as to say that not even the condemned criminal or baffled prosecutor whispered an insinuation against the righteousness of their verdicts (c. Aristocr. p. 642.66 f.). Indeed, the proceedings before them in cases of murder were by their solemnity and fairness well calculated to insure just decisions. The process was as follows :--The king archon (Pollux, 8.90) brought the case into court, and sat as one of the judges, who were assembled in the open air, probably to guard against any contamination from the criminal. (Antiphon, de Caede Herod. § 11; Pollux, 8.33.) The accuser, who was said εἰς Ἄρειον τάγον ἐπισκήπτειν, first came forward to make a solemn oath (διωμοσία) that his accusation was true, standing over the slaughtered victims, and imprecating extirpation upon himself and his whole family, were it not so. The accused then denied the charge with the same solemnity and form of oath. Each party then stated his case with all possible plainness, keeping strictly to the subject, and not being allowed to appeal in any way to the feelings or passions of the judges (προοιμιάζεσθαι οὐκ ἐξῆν οὐδὲ οἰκτίζεσθαι, Aristot. Rh. 1.1; Pollux, 8.117). The speakers were mounted upon two unhewn stones (ἀργοὶ λίθοι), still visible on the spot; that of the accused was called λίθος ὕβρεως, that of the prosecutor λίθος ἀναιδείας (Paus. 1.28.5). The latter is wrongly rendered impudentiae by Cicero (de Leg. 2.11.28); it is really unforgivingness or implacability. After the first speech (μετὰ τὸν πρότερον λόγον), a criminal accused of murder might remove from Athens, and thus avoid the capital punishment fixed by Draco's θεσμοί, which on this point were still in force. Except in cases of parricide, neither the accuser nor the court had power to prevent this; but the party who thus evaded the extreme punishment was not allowed to return home (φεμ́γει ἀειφυγίαν); and when any decree was passed at Athens to legalise the return of exiles, an exception was always made against those who had thus left their country (οἱ ἐξ Ἀρείου πάγου φεύγοντες). See Plat. Leges, 9.871 D.

The reputation of the Areiopagus as a criminal court was of long continuance, as we may learn from an anecdote of Aulus Gellius, who tells us (12.7) that C. Dolabella, proconsul of the Roman province of Asia, referred a case which perplexed himself and his council to the Areiopagus (ut ad judices graviores exercitatio-resque); they ingeniously settled the matter by ordering the parties to appear that day 100 years (centesimo anno adesse). They existed in name, indeed, till a very late period. Thus we find Cicero mentions the council in his letters (ad Fam. 13.1; ad Att. 1.14, 5.11); and under the emperors Gratian and Theodosius (A.D. 380), Π̔ούφιος Φῆστος is called proconsul of Greece, and an Areiopagite. (Meursius, Areiop.

Of the respectability and moral worth of the council, and the respect that was paid to it, we have abundant proof in the writings of the Athenian orators, where, indeed, it would be difficult to find it mentioned except in terms of praise. Thus Lysias speaks of it as most righteous and venerable (c. Andoc. § 14); and so great was the respect paid to its members, that it was considered rude in the people laughing in their presence, while one of them was making an address to the assembly on a subject they had been deputed to investigate (Aeschin. c. Timarch. § 84). This respect might, of course, facilitate the resumption of some of their lost power, more especially as they were sometimes intrusted with inquiries on behalf of the state, as on the occasion to which we have just alluded, when they were made a sort of commissioners, to inquire into the state of the buildings about the Pnyx, and decide upon the adoption or rejection of some proposed alterations. Isocrates, indeed, even in his time, when the previous inquiry or δοκιμασία had fallen into disuse, speaks well of their moral influence; but shortly after the age of Demetrius Phalereus, a change had taken place ; they had lost much of their respectability, and were but ill fitted to enforce a conduct in others which they did not observe themselves. (Ath. 4.167, e, f.)

The case of St. Paul (Acts 17.22) is generally quoted as an instance of their authority in religious matters; but the words of the sacred historian do not necessarily imply that he was brought before the council. It may, however, be remarked, that they certainly took cognisance of the introduction of new and unauthorized forms of religious worship, called ἐπίθετα ἱερά, in contradistinction to the πάτρια or older rites of the state. (Harpocrat. s. vv. Ἐπίθετοι Ἑορταί; Schömann, de Comitiis, p. 286, transl.)

With respect to the number of the Areiopagus in its original form, a point of no great moment, we are altogether in the dark; but it is plain that there could have been no fixed number when the archons became members of this body at the expiration of their year of office. Lysias, indeed, speaks of them Περὶ τοῦ Σηκοῦ, § 22; but see Argum. Dem. c. Androt. p. 589) as forming a part of the Areiopagus even during that time; a statement which can only be reconciled with the general opinion on the subject, by supposing that they formed a part of the council during their year of office, but were not permanent members till the end of that time, and after passing a satisfactory examination. [R.W] [W.W]

(Appendix). Our account, in all its main features, is thoroughly confirmed by the Ἀθ. πολ. The Areiopagus unquestionably existed isted before the time of Draco, and till then, it would seem, was the only council; in those times it appointed the archons, who already, after their year of office, were called up into it. It was thus a close corporation of Eupatrids, then the only depositaries of real political power. Draco, whose legislative changes went much further than has hitherto been supposed, was the first to constitute a second βουλή (see below, App. under BOULÉ); he also gave additional importance to the ecclesia, which had previously existed only in a rudimentary and uninfluential form, and assigned to it the election of archons.

The conduct of the Areiopagites at the time of the battle of Salamis (Vol. I. p. 176 a) was rewarded by a greatly increased respect for their authority; and for the first sixteen years of Athenian naval supremacy (B.C. 478-462) they once more became the ruling power in the state (Ἀθ. πολ. cc. 23, 41). The personality of Ephialtes, who put an end to this state of things, and the precise date of his reforms, now come out more clearly. It was in the archonship of Conon, B.C. 462, that he overthrew the Areiopagus; he was at this time the leader of the democratical party, not Pericles, whose advent to power must be dated some years later. As has been already said (Vol. I. p. 177 b), the curtailment of the powers of the Areiopagus was necessary to the expansion of Athens, and must be pronounced justifiable; it was not, however, carried out by constitutional methods: Ephialtes put many Areiopagites to death, and was himself assassinated (Ἀθ. πολ. 100.26).

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