Interesting background about Paul's encounters in Athens from author, Ray Stedman...

As the apostle walked around the city he saw the gods of Athens, the idols that were being worshipped. One of the ancient writers tells us that at this time there were 30,000 gods in Athens! Many of these statues have survived and you will find copies of them everywhere as samples of ancient art. Paul recognized that these were not merely objects of art, but were actually gods being worshipped by the people of Athens. Peterronius, one of the ancient historians, said that is was easier to find a god in Athens than a man! With 30,000 of them, you can see why this would be true.

Luke tells us that Paul's spirit was moved when he saw this. He was provoked. The Greek word is the word from which we get out word paroxysm. Paul felt an intense paroxysm of the spirit, a storm within, as he saw the city given over to idolatry. Each idol revealed that these men and women of Athens had a great capacity for God. They knew there was something beyond man, and they were seeking for it. But each idol also revealed a twisting, a distorting, of that capacity, a sabotaging of it. So, as the apostle went around the city, his spirit was greatly troubled to see men and women blasted by this prostitution of their human powers through the worship of false gods.