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Ἄρειος πάγος). The hill of Ares (q.v.). A rocky eminence lying to the west of the Athenian 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 (q.v.).

To no legend, however, did the place owe its fame, but rather to the ancient criminal court or council ( ἐν Ἀρείῳ πάγῳ βουλή) which held its sittings there, and sometimes received the name of ἄνω βουλή, to distinguish it from the Solonian Senate of Four Hundred, or the later Clisthenian Senate of Five Hundred. Solon's legislation raised the Areopagus into one of the most powerful bodies by transferring to it the greater part of the jurisdiction of the Ephetae (q.v.), as well as the supervision of the entire public administration, the conduct of magistrates, the transactions of the popular assembly, religion, laws, morals, and discipline, and giving it power to call even private persons to account for offensive behaviour. See Solonian Constitution.

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