The Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of the finest and best preserved examples of ancient Roman
architecture. It stands in the center of Rome.
The Pantheon was constructed by Marcus Agrippa in 27 B.C. This building did
not include the rotunda in back. In A.D. 123 Hadrian built the rotunda, which was later
changed in design by Septimius Severus and Carcalla. When the Pantheon was being built
by Hadrian, credit was given to Agrippa. A large inscription was made on the front of the
The Romans built the Pantheon as a temple in honor of all the Roman gods. The
name Pantheon literally means, "of all the gods." The Romans gave this name to any of
the temple which served the purpose of worship of all the gods.
The rotunda forms the main part of the building. It forms a half perfect sphere.
The dome itself is 142 feet in diameter. It rises 142 feet above the floor.. The design of
the dome was constructed to reflect the few sources of light admitted to the building.
The dome was built of Roman brick and mortar, which was covered by marble inside of it.
The rotunda is a thick concrete wall that is 6 meters thick. This is what supports the
approximate weight , 5,000 lbs, of the dome.
The only light which enters the building comes from the top of the dome. The
oculus, the only window in the Pantheon, is 27 feet in diameter. The sunlight that shines
through the oculus shifts hour-to-hour highlighting the walls that are painted throughout
the building.
In front of the rotunda is a beautiful porch, or portico, which belongs to the
original temple built by Agrippa. Across the front of the portico stands 16 great
Corinthian columns. Each hewn from a single stone. They were 14.2 meters high and 1.5
meters in diameter.
The Pantheon was renamed the Santa Maria Rotunda when it became a Christian
church in A.D. 609. The famous painter Raphael and other Italian kings are buried there.
It now is a museum and serves as a tourist spot in Rome.