In his speech at the Areopagus in Athens, Paul spoke of “an altar on which had been inscribed ‘To an Unknown God.’” (Ac 17:23) There is both literary and archaeological evidence supporting the existence of such altars in the Roman Empire. For example, second-century C.E. geographer Pausanias wrote about altars to unknown gods that were located in Greece, and Philostratus of the second and third centuries C.E. specifically refers to such altars in Athens. Photograph 1 shows the remains of a second-century C.E. altar in Pergamum (in modern-day Turkey). The inscription is incomplete, but a plausible restoration of the first line reads: “To unknown gods.” Photograph 2 shows an altar found on Rome’s Palatine Hill. The altar dates to about 100 B.C.E. and is dedicated to an unnamed deity. These examples support the Bible record about the existence of such altars.
Su concessione del Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo; Soprintendenza Speciale per il Colosseo e l’Area archeologica centrale di Roma