Sunday, June 21, 2009

Traveler Visits the Pantheon

Today we explored the Pantheon, the most well preserved of any of the ancient Roman temples. The Pantheon is a temple for all the Gods, the first temple built on this spot was constructed in 27 B.C. The Temple that we see today was constructed around 110 A.D.

There is a legend that the first King of Rome, Romulus, was last seen alive on this spot. It is said that a huge Eagle swept him up to the Heavens. (It is said that this is one of the reasons that the Romans used the Eagle as their symbol.) The original temple was built on what was then called, the Campus Martius, "the Fields of Mars". It was, at that time, outside of the city walls and was used for military training.

The reason this ancient building survived intact was because a cross was placed here in 606 A.D. when it was consecrated as a Church. This saved it from abandonment and the destruction of it's beautiful marble.

The Pantheon is dedicated to Marcus Agrippa who founded the first temple on this spot in 27 B.C. Agrippa was a minister to Augustas.

This is the original bronze door!

This is the Oculus, the hole in the roof which lets in light. It is sometimes said that the hole represents the gateway to Heaven where Romulus left the earth.

The original marble floor. I can't believe we are allowed to walk right across it...

This is the tomb of the artist Raphael, who died in 152o. The inscription on his tomb reads in Latin, "Ille hic est Raffael, timuit quo sospite vinci, rerum magna parens et moriente mori" which means "Here lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die."

I like the entwined doves above him.

The outside of the Pantheon, you can see how the Romans used the arch everywhere in their architecture, even in the solid walls.



We stopped for a coffee at Rome's famous coffee house, Sant Eustachio il Caffe. I had a super good iced coffe!


Later that evening, we took Tony to a restaurant in the Pantheon square. We sat and ate right in front of the Pantheon, it was incredible! The best view for dinner ever!

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