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Friday, 16 December 2016

The Pantheon, Rome

The Pantheon (meaning "Temple of all the gods") is a building in Rome, which was originally commissioned by Roman statesman and architect Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). It was built as a temple to the gods of Ancient Rome.

The Augustan Pantheon was destroyed along with other buildings in a huge fire in the year 80 AD. The emperor Domitian rebuilt the Pantheon temple, which burnt down again thirty years later.

The emperor Hadrian organised the rebuilding of the Pantheon, reconstructing the accustomed temple facade, with columns and pediment, but attaching it to a drum which was surmounted by the most spectacular dome of antiquity. The present building was completed and dedicated about 126 AD.

Hadrian used poured concrete to build the perfectly hemispherical dome of the Pantheon. It measures 43.3 metres (142 ft).both in height and diameter.

An abbreviated inscription on the front of the building reads Marcus Agrippa Lucii filius consul tertium fecit, which translates to "Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, Consul for the third time, built this."

Pantheon (Rome) - Front. By Roberta Dragan  Wikipedia
On May 13, 609 Pope Boniface IV converted the Roman Pantheon into a Catholic church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and all martyrs. To this day, the Catholic Church holds masses and weddings there.

Hadrian's Pantheon took the form in which it remains to this day, with the exception of the bronze beams of the portico's roof, which were removed (as structurally unsound by then) in 1633 and melted down by Pope Urban VIII Barberini for use in the Vatican.

The removal of the bronze beams caused the Romans to mutter that the monuments of ancient Rome had more to fear from the Barberinis than from the barbarians.

An 1836 view of the Pantheon by Jakob Alt, showing twin bell towers,

Among the people buried in the Pantheon are the great artist Raphael, composer Arcangelo Corelli and Italian kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I.

1,900 years after the Pantheon was built it is still the tallest unreinforced concrete dome in the world at 142ft high. A combination of limestone and volcanic ash inside the concrete mix helped form crystals that prevented the spread of microscopic cracks.

At 43.4 metres in diameter, The Pantheon also remains the largest unreinforced solid concrete dome in the world.

The interior of the Pantheon in the 18th century, painted by Giovanni Paolo Panini

With no metal skeleton, The Pantheon fails current health and safety legislation.


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