St.Paul in Athens
It was on the Areopagos, the hill of god Ares-place of his trial for the murder of the son of Poseidon who had violated his daughter-that St. Paul preached the gospels to the Athenians. From this venerable hill in 52 A.C., St. Paul introduced the "new faith" to the philosophic and religious system of the Greek world, a system which included numerous deities: according to Petronius, one can find more gods than citizens in Athens and, according to Pausanias, the gods interested the Athenians more than anything else.
It was during the Roman occupation of Athens that St. Paul introduced the humanism of the monotheistic religion, which influenced the Athenians on a moral and intellectual level and was perceived by them as a philosophy and mystery. In Christianity they found an affinity with the ancient Greek philosophical ideas, such as Logos, the fixed principle which governed the world of flux, according to Heraclitus. In Christianity they found tenderness and humanity. Yet, their reaction to St. Paul's preaching (specifically in regard to resurrection) was to mock and reject him. The visit to Athens was part of his "Second Missionary Journey" which started in 49 A.C. and included -among other cities- Philippi, Thessaloniki, Veria, Corinth.
In Athens he went by himself and not with his travelling companion, Silas. He was shocked when he discovered that the city of Athens was full of idols although he was impressed by its great beauty. He preached the gospel and had long walks and discussions with the Epicurean and the Stoic philosophers, who urged him to explain to them his teaching and the novel ideas he was introducing (the Athenians proclaimed they enjoyed nothing more than to hear novel ideas and concepts).
They led him to the Areopagos where -in trying to find an affinity with the existing religions- he started by saying: "Men, Athenians: I observe that in all things you are devoted in your spirit worship. For as I passed through and observed the things you worship, I also found an altar, which was inscribed "To an unknown god". Therefore, since you don't know whom you are worshipping, I announce this to you: The god who made the creation and everything in it, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, does not inhabit temples; he gave all creatures life; he is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and exist; for we are also his offspring.(Book of Acts 17.34"). When he spoke of the day of judgement and repentance (a day in which He is about to judge the world in uprightness, by a man He has selected, having offered proof to all by raising him from the dead) they mocked him, but some, like Dionysios Areopagitis and a woman named Damaris, associated with him, followed his words and became believers.
More Hellinistic & Roman Period
Alexander the Great
Philippos II: Alexander's father
The Romans and Athens
Roman Legions Conquer Greece Greek Culture Conquers Rome
The Roman's occupation of Athens by the general Sulla in 86 B.C. resulted in the city's steady decline, which started with the transportation of art treasures to decorate Rome.
Oblivion for 18 Centuries
The first contact of Rome with the Greeks took place in the area of southern Italy. The Greek cities underestimated the Roman power and their first attempt to stop them from expanding to the south ended in the glorious fiasco of Pyrrus.
All Hellinistic & Roman Period...
The first stroke against Athens was dealt by the Herulians, barbarian invaders of Germanic speech who sacked the city in AD 267 and left it in ruins.