Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Pantheon in Rome, Italy

I had seen some replicas of the Pantheon building like in Paris, France, in Bavaria, Germany and if I am not mistaken also in Vienna, Austria. This time I had finally seen the Pantheon in Rome, Italy. Pantheon in Greek word means temple. The Pantheon in Rome was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome, and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in about 126 AD.

During our visit to Rome last August 2010, Pantheon was under repair. You can see the image I took during our visit that time.

The building is circular with a portico of three ranks of huge granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment opening into the rotunda, 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, 43.3 metres (142 ft). A rectangular structure links the portico with the rotunda. It is one of the best preserved of all Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a Roman Catholic church dedicated to "St. Mary and the Martyrs" but informally known as "Santa Maria Rotonda."

HISTORY:

In the aftermath of the Battle of Actium (31 BC), Marcus Agrippa built and dedicated the original Pantheon during his third consulship (27 BC). Located in the Campus Martius, at the time of its construction, the area of the Pantheon was on the outskirts of Rome, and the area had a rural appearance. Under the Roman Republic the Campus Martius had served as a gathering place for elections and the army. However, under Augustus and the new Principate both were deemed to be unnecessary. The construction of the Pantheon was part of a program of construction that was undertaken by Augustus Caesar and his supporters. They built more than twenty structures on the Campus Martius, including the Baths of Agrippa and the Saepta Julia. It had long been thought that current building was built by Agrippa, with later alterations undertaken, and this was in part due to the inscription on the front of the temple. However, archaeological excavations have shown that the Pantheon of Agrippa had been completely destroyed, and Emperor Hadrian was probably responsible for rebuilding the Pantheon on the site of Agrippa's original temple. more infos here

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