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Pantheon

Pantheon

This is the most famous of all Roman temples and survives largely intact. In 27 B.C., Marcus Agrippa (63 B.C.-12 B.C.) built a temple near his public baths, as the inscription on the frieze of the façade relates. Agrippa's building burned in 80 A.D. and was restored by Domitian (A.D. 51-96). During Trajan's reign (A.D. 98-117), it was struck by lightning and burned again. After A.D. 126, Hadrian restored the temple leaving Agrippa's name on the dedicatory inscription but largely rebuilding it. Hadrian's Pantheon had a porch facing due north with eight gray granite columns in front and eight rose granite columns behind. The sanctuary is a rotunda (diameter: 43.2 meters). Buttressing the building on the south is the Basilica Neptuni. In A.D. 609, the building was converted into the church of S. Maria ad Martyres, which helped ensure the structure's survival through the ages.

Pantheon

From Samuel Ball Platner, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, rev. Thomas Ashby. Oxford: 1929, p. 382-386.

A temple which, with the thermae, Stagnum and Euripus, made up the remarkable group of buildings which Agrippa erected in the campus Martius. According to the inscription on the frieze of the pronaos (CIL VI.896: M. Agrippa L. f. cos. tertium. fecit) the temple was built in 27 B.C., but Cassius Dio states that it was finished in 25 (LIII.27: τό τε Πἁνθειον ὠνομασμένον ἐξετέλεσε‧ προσαγορεύεται δὲ οὒτω τἁχα μὲν ὂτι πολλῶν θεῶν εἰκόνας ἐν τοῖς Ἀγἁλμασι, τῷ τε τοῦ Ἀρεως καὶ τῷ τῇς Ἀφροδίτης, ἒλαβεν, ὡς δὲ ἐγῇ νομίδω, ὂτι θολοειδὲς ὂν τῷ οὐρανῷ προσέοικεν, ἠβουλήθη μὲν οὗν ὁ Ἀγρίππας καὶ τὸν αὒγουστον ἐνταῦθα ἱδρῦσαι, τήν τε τοῦ ἔργου ἐπίκλησιν αὐτῷ δοῦναι). This passage is not altogether clear (Gilb. III.116), but it seems probable that the temple was built for the glorification of the gens Iulia, and that it was dedicated in particular to Mars and Venus, the most prominent among the ancestral deities of that family. In the ears of the statue of Venus hung earrings made of the pieces of Cleopatra's pearls (Plin. NH IX.121; Macrob. III.17.17). Whether the name refers to the number of deities honoured in the temple (cf. πἁνθειον, Rosch. III.1555, and the various πἁνθεια in Greek lands, DS IV.315), or means 'very holy' (hochheilige, cf. HJ 582; Jord. Symbolae ad historiam religionum Italicarum, Königsberg, Index lectionum, 1883) is uncertain: but Mommsen's conjecture that the seven niches were occupied by the seven planetary deities is attractive, and Hülsen is now in favour of it. There is no probability in Cassius Dio's second explanation (v. supra).

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