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Supreme tribunal of ancient Athens. It was named for the Areopagus (Ares' Hill), where it met. It began as the king's council; by Draco's code of law (c. 621 BC) it consisted of former archons, but Solon (594) opened candidacy to any citizen. It had broad judicial powers. Its prestige fluctuated from the mid 6th to the mid 4th century BC, after which its power revived and continued under Roman domination, when it reacquired extensive administrative duties.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Areopagus, visit Britannica.com.