Editing: Chris Baveas / Areopagite
Areios Pagos is the supreme civil and penal court of Greece.
Areios Pagos was named after the first court of "androfonies" (crimes of murder) founded between 1500 and 1300 B.C., at the years of King Kecropus and King Thesseus situated at the rocky hill of God Mars (Aris), which is located at the northwestern side of Acropolis in Athens.
According to legend, the first "murder case", at which the twelve Gods of Olympus tried Aris, took place at the top of this hill.
This highest court of antiquity was named "the Areios Pagos Parliament" and consisted of members for life, the Areopagites who held all powers.
In 462 B.C. a great part of the administrative and judicial powers was conveyed to the "Heliaea" (constituted by 6.000 elected judges), the "Parliament" and the "Ekklisia" (public assembly).
Up to the first Christian years the prestige of the Supreme Court remained undiminished. At the rocky hill of God Mars, Apostole Paul preached the teaching of Christ to the Areopagites, by delivering his famous speech "about the unknown God". Among the first ones to convert to Christianity were Dionysius and lerotheos, who later became bishops of the city of Athens and were declared saints after their death.
"... Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you... Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite..."
(THE ACTS, chapter 17, 22-34).
On October 16th 1834, Areios Pagos was founded as the Supreme Court of modern independent Greece by royal decree. Instead of giving the name "Court of Cassation", it was finally decided for the Supreme Court to be named after its ancient equivalent.
The first Supreme Court Justices were nominated by the 1/13 January 1835 royal decree.The first President of the Supreme Court was Christodoulos Klonaris (1788-1849), attorney at law in the city of Nafplium and Minister of Justice in the government of Ioannis Kapodistrias and the first Attorney General became Andronikos Paekos, who up until then was the presiding judge of the temporary court of Messologi.
Among the Aeropagites there was also Anastasios Polyzoidis, up until then presiding judge of the temporary court of Nafplium (the judge who remained in history as the only one denying to sign the criminal conviction of the hero of the Greek National Revolution Theodoros Kolokotronis).
The first case of the Supreme Court (1/1835) was tried on April 30th 1835 and the decision was published on May 1st 1835.