Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Pantheon and A Surprising Sight!

In the Middle Ages, the Pantheon, the Roman Temple of all the gods, became a church. It was built by the Emperor Hadrian between AD118-128. The height and diameter of the rotunda are equal: 140 feet. The opening at the top, the oculus, provides the only light. When it rains, water comes through the oculus. It now houses the tomb of Raphael (since 1520) and several kings of modern Italy.
Addition: a friend just emailed me that a guard there told him when it rains, the water drains to the edges because the floor is slightly slanted and there are drains to take it away. Isn't it amazing that someone thought to do it that way almost 2000 years ago?

The coffered ceiling was used to reduce the weight of the dome, and greatly adds to the appearance. The spot of light off to the side of the oculus is a reflection.

I got only one view of the interior, as it was so dark inside. I had to lighten this one quite a bit to see the details.

A most surprising sight is this pyramid, built as a tomb by Caius Cestius (a Roman magistrate) in 30 BC. It is 118 feet high and took 330 days to build. In that time, Egyptian architecture was all the rage in Rome.

In the third century, the Emperor Aurelian incorporated it into a wall built around the seven hills of Rome to serve as a defense against marauding Germanic tribes. It is 11 miles around and has 18 gates and 381 towers. Posted by Picasa


Shephard said...

The Pantheon is one of those buildings I really want to see... it strikes me as quintesentially Roman. Love your photos. Pyramid... interesting!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Just Beautiful Judy...All of it!
That is amazing about the Occulus

That Pyramid looks fantastic, too!
You got some really great pictures Judy...! Like, WOW!

Beverly said...

Thanks again for the tour. Your photos are great.

Bernadette said...

I'm all over this post, Judy. Thanks for sharing the photos and your keen historical insights!

Anonymous said...

when i was there in feb of 2005 they were working on cleaning the ceiling of the pantheon. they were only about 1/2 of the way done so it's neat to see that it's finished. i have a cool pic of rain coming in through the occulus.

colleen said...

And people just walk past it like it was any old building!

I once visited Newgrange in Ireland one of the oldest structures in the world. The builders had it designed so that the solstice moon shown in. It may have been a calendar of sorts. We had to duck way low to get in.

Buffy said...

I never stop loving photos of Rome. It's just a hop skip and jump from myself and I try and always make the trip in November. Excellent weather...not so many tourists...more breathing room for me :).

Don't you just love the view when you first drive up to the city...the way The Palatine Hill is just big and awe you before you even go through the walls.


I do love it. And I love your photos.

More please. :)

ET said...

Amazing! And you are good at presenting the facts Judy. You are a good virtual tour guide.
I know it probably doesn't compare, but they have a replica of The Pantheon in Nashville, Tennessee.

srp said...

I loved the Pantheon. It was one of the places we did get to in our short Rome stay.

Carmi said...

In so many respects, the engineering of that era would put much of what passes for engineering today to shame.

These pictures, and your words, reinforce that contention.

PI said...

You saw more thatn I did in a week!