Pantheon Essay

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20 June 2013 The Pantheon The Pantheon in Rome is widely regarded as one of the most important buildings in history. Indeed, “the Pantheon represents the highest achievement of Roman architecture, both formally and structurally. It combines boldness, scale, and mastery of every architectural art” (Trachtenberg and Hymen 142). Its impressive architecture left a legacy: it was widely imitated in Roman tombs and temples. Its influence is also found in many other places. The greatest influence of the Pantheon, however, occurred during the later European revivals of antiquity: at the Romanesque Baptistery in Florence; in Michelangelo’s project for St. Peter’s in Rome; in countless creations by Palladio and his followers; and numerous Baroque and Neoclassical buildings, down to Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia campus, and beyond. (Robertson 142). Erected by Emperor Hadrian between 118 and 128 A.D., it was built on the site of an earlier Pantheon, which was erected by Agrippa (Smith 139). According to Leland Roth, “Since the Romans imagined the earth as a disk covered by a heavenly dome, the new building undertaken by Hadrian was to symbolize that universe of earth and the gods. Who designed it is not known, though Hadrian may have played a part in devising the conceptual scheme” (Robertson 224). The history of this temple is obscure in many respects, but the date of the main block is scarcely doubtful. Despite two inscriptions, one on the frieze of its columnar porch, which asserts that Augustus’ minister Agrippa built it in 27 B.C., and another added below, recording a restoration by Septimius Severus and Caracalla in A.D. 202, it is practically certain from the stamps on the bricks that at least everything except this columnar porch is substantially the work of Hadrian in the first quarter of the second century A.D. (246-247) The architecture of the Pantheon
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