The Pantheon

Pantheon is a term derived from ancient Greek world. It means: “honor all gods”. The pantheon was first built by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa as a temple to all gods, during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD).

Exterior view of the Pantheon from Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, Italy

Image source: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/2017/10/12/pantheon-rome-entrance-fee/

Even today, almost 2000 years after its construction, the breathtaking pantheon is a remarkable building to see. The spectacular design, proportions, elegance and harmony are a striking reminder of the architecture of the great Roman Empire. When Michelangelo saw this wonder for the first time he said that it looks more like the work of angels, not humans.


The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome, Italy, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD).

Info source: http://romeonsegway.com/10-facts-about-the-pantheon/

Pantheon architecture

The Pantheon was built on the exact site of two earlier Pantheon buildings, one commissioned by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (27-25 BCE) and the second by Domitian. The first was destroyed by fire in 80 CE and the second was struck by lightning in 110 CE and again burned down. The third Pantheon was probably begun in the reign of Trajan (98-117 CE) but not finally finished until around 125 CE when Hadrian was emperor, who often convened the Roman Senate there. It is this version which still stands today in central Rome.

side section of the pantheon

Image source: https://smarthistory.org/the-pantheon/

 

The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 142 feet (43 m).

view of the inner dome with the oculus

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ceiling_of_the_Pantheon,_Rome.jpg

It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs but informally known as “Santa Maria Rotonda”. The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda; only in 2013 it was visited by over 6 million people.

The Pantheon’s large circular domed cella, with a conventional temple portico front, was unique in Roman architecture. Nevertheless, it became a standard exemplar when classical styles were revived, and has been copied many times by later architects.

Aerial view of the Pantheon in Rome, Italy

Image source: http://www.panoramadelart.com/pantheon-rome

 

Info source: https://www.ancient.eu/Pantheon/

Info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheon,_Rome

 

Pantheon’s mistery

The original use of the Pantheon is somewhat unknown, except that is was classified as a temple. However, no cult is known to all of the gods and so the Pantheon may have been designed as a place where the emperor could make public appearances in a setting which reminded onlookers of his divine status, equal with the other gods of the Roman pantheon and his deified emperor predecessors. It is unknown as to how the people worshipped in the building, because the structure of the temple is so different from other traditional Roman temples such as in the Roman Forum.
The Pantheon exists today in such amazing form because the Byzantine emperor Phocas gave it to Pope Boniface the IV in A.D 608 and it was used as a church ever since. The Pantheon has been in use since the time it was built.

Painting of Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765), entitled Interior of the Pantheon, Rome

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Giovanni_Paolo_Panini_-_Interior_of_the_Pantheon,_Rome_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Info source: https://www.rome.info/pantheon/

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