on Acts 17 :15
Brought him unto Athens - This was one of the most celebrated cities in the world, whether we consider its antiquity, its learning, its political consequence, or the valor of its inhabitants. This city, which was the capital of Attica, and the seat of the Grecian empire was founded by Cecrops, about a.m. 2447, before Christ 1557, and was called by him Cecropia. About thirteen or fourteen hundred years before Christ, in the reign either of Erechtheus, or Erichthonius, it was called Athens, from Αθηνη, a name of Minerva, to whom it was dedicated, and who was always considered the protectress of the city. The whole city at first was built upon a hill or rock, in the midst of a spacious plain; but, in process of time, the whole plain was covered with buildings which were called the lower city; while the ancient was called Acropolis, or the upper city. In its most flourishing state this city was not less than one hundred and seventy-eight stadia, or twenty-two Roman miles in circumference. The buildings of Athens were the most superb, and best executed, in the world; but every thing is now in a state of ruin. Mr. Stuart, in his three folio vols. of the Antiquities of Athens, has given correct representations of those that remain, with many geographical notices of much importance. The greatest men that ever lived, scholars, lawyers, statesmen, and warriors, were Athenians. Its institutions, laws, and literature, were its own unrivalled boast, and the envy of the world. The city still exists; the Acropolis in a state of comparative repair. It is now in the hands of the Greeks; but the Turks, who held it till lately, have turned the celebrated Parthenon, or temple of Minerva, into a mosque. The inhabitants are reckoned at about one thousand. Christianity, planted here by St. Paul, still subsists; and about two-thirds of the inhabitants of Athens are Christians, who have several churches or oratories here, and it is the residence of a Greek bishop, who is a metropolitan. He who considers the ancient glory of this city, whether in its heathen or Christian antiquity, cannot but sigh over its present state.
on Acts 17 :15
Unto Athens - This was the first visit of Paul to this celebrated city; and perhaps the first visit of a Christian minister. His success in this city, for some cause, was not great, but his preaching was attended with the conversion of some individuals. See Acts 17:34. Athens was the most celebrated city of Greece, and was distinguished for the military talents, the learning, the eloquence, and the politeness of its inhabitants. It was founded by Cecrops and an Egyptian colony about 1556 years before the Christian era. It was called "Athens" in honor of Minerva, who was chiefly worshipped there, and to whom the city was dedicated. The city, at first, was built on a rock in the midst of a spacious plain; but in process of time the whole plain was covered with buildings, which were called the lower city. No city of Greece, or of the ancient world, was so much distinguished for philosophy, learning, and the arts.
The most celebrated warriors, poets, statesmen, and philosophers were either born or flourished there. The most celebrated models of architecture and statuary were there; and for ages it held its preeminence in civilization, arts, and arms. The city still exists, though it has been often subject to the calamities of war, to a change of masters, and to the mouldering hand of time. It was twice burnt by the Persians; destroyed by Philip II of Macedon; again by Sylla; was plundered by Tiberius; desolated by the Goths in the reign of Claudius; and the whole territory ravaged and ruined by Alarie. From the reign of Justinian to the thirteenth century the city remained in obscurity, though it continued to be a town at the head of a small state. It was seized by Omar, general of Muhammed the Great, in 1455; was sacked by the Venetians in 1464; and was taken by the Turks again in 1688. In 1812 the population was 12,000; but it has since been desolated by the sanguinary contests between the Turks and the Greeks, and left almost a mass of ruins. It is now free; and efforts are making by Christians to restore it to its former elevation in learning and importance, and to impart to it the blessings of the Christian religion. In the revolutions of ages it has been ordered that people should bear the torch of learning to Athens from a land unknown to its ancient philosophers, and convey the blessings of civilization to them by that gospel which in the time of Paul they rejected and despised.
And receiving a commandment - They who accompanied Paul received his commands to Silas and Timothy.
With all speed - As soon as possible. Perhaps Paul expected much labor and success in Athens, and was therefore desirous of securing their aid with him in his work.
on Acts 17 :15