Areopagus , a high court of ancient Athens. It was named after its meeting place—Ares' Hill—west of the Acropolis. The Areopagus grew out of the king's council. In about the eighth century B.C., after the decline of the monarchy, the council became the legislative and judicial body of the city-state. Under the statesman Solon, in the sixth century B.C., the Areopagus lost its legislative functions but continued as the high court. Its membership consisted of former archons. ( ) In the fifth century B.C., jurisdiction of the Areopagus was reduced mainly to murder cases.