on January 19, 2009
Il Pantheon--------------The word pantheon is made up of two Greek words pan which means everything and teon which means divine. Reading up about the history of this wonderful building there seems to be several different opinions of when it was actually built. It seems that the first building was a small temple built between 27 and 25 BC. It was built by the son in law of the Emperor Augustus, Marcus Agrippa, and was dedicated to all Roman Gods. This building was burnt in a fire in AD 80 and rebuilt. Again it was struck by lightning and destroyed in AD 110 Third time lucky, in AD 118 a new building was constructed under Emperor Hadrian's instructions and this time the design was changed which has proved to be lasting as the construction is one of the best preserved buildings in Rome.The Pantheon is situated in the Piazza della Rotunda, a busy square with a central fountain, not far from the Piazza Navone. It is said that the place on which it was built was a legendary place in the history of Rome. It is where Romulus, the founder of Rome died and was seized by an eagle and taken off into the heavens with the Gods.Michelangelo was impressed with the beauty of the building and according to history books was known to have said that it was the work of angels not men. I think I would probably agree with the great artist. It is certainly impressive from the outside. The columns that are used for the portico are enormous and apparantley weighed 60 tons.They were brought from Egypt to Rome on barges . Absolutely amazing.I was impressed to find that Raphael's tomb is inside the building as he has been an artist that I have admired for a long time. Also, Victor Hugo, several Kings and Queens of Italy are buried there with other famous Italians.The dome is absolutely spectacular and my brain ached thinking about the weight of the dome and what they had used to support it. Coffers(sunken panels) were used in the ceiling and the fact that it is open at the top helps to ease the weight of the dome. In one of the guide books it states that the concrete walls at the base were 6 metres thick. That's a lot of concrete!This is a truly remarkable building and I must say this about all of Rome's beauties but the Pantheon is really worth seeing. You will be enchanted with it.
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