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Pantheon in Rome

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Pantheon in Rome

Though there is some uncertainty about its original purpose, it is clear that the Pantheon served political and religious goals of the Emperor Hadrian who was responsible for its construction. It was built more than 1800 years ago, the magnificent Pantheon building still stands as a reminder of the great Roman Empire.

The Pantheon is the most splendid and best preserved monument of Roman antique. Built in its present form by Hadrian between AD119 and AD128, It largely replaced and earlier temple erected in 27BC by Marcus Aggripa, son in law of Augustus. With typical modesty, however, Hadrian retained the original dedication, still boldly picked out in bronze across the pediment: "M AGRIPPA LLL F COS TERTIUM FECIT". Marcus Agrippa. Son of Lucius, Consul for the third time, built this. This puzzled historians until 1892, when archaeologists discovered that many of the Pantheon's bricks were date-stamped with Hadrian's seal. Remnants of Agrippa's earlier square temple are now incorporated into the pillared front portico.

The inscription M AGRIPPA LLL F COS TERTIUM FECIT is translated, "Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, in his third consulate, made it." This basically says that "Agrippa built the Pantheon." However, as with many parts of the Pantheon, this is somewhat contradictory, because, in fact Agrippa did not make it.

The structure of the Pantheon was phenomenal, it consist of a series of intersecting arches. The arches rest on eight piers which support eight round-headed arches which run through the drum from its inner to its outer face. The arches correspond to the eight bays on the floor level that house statues. The interior is 43.30 meters or 142 feet in diameter. The ceiling of the Pantheon dome has symmetrical rows of coffers which are sunken panels and a round oculus opening it the center. Sunlight streaming through the oculus lights up the Pantheon rotunda. The oculus is 7.8 meters in diameter. Because of this opening, rain and snow occasionally fall through it; but the floor is slanted and drains cleverly remove the water if it manages to hit the floor.

The huge columns' supporting the portico weighs just about 60 tons. Each was 39 feet, 11.8 meters tall, 5 feet, 1.5 meters in diameter and made from stone. The Pantheon's stonework columns were quarried in Egypt, transported up the Nile, across the Mediterranean and up the Tiber where they were then carried to the building site.

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