30 Historical, Interesting and Surprising Facts About the Pantheon

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The Pantheon is the best-preserved example of an Ancient Roman monumental building. The term Pantheon is derived from Greek adjective which means “to every god”. This building can be found in Rome, the capital of Italy and the mighty Roman Empire

The Pantheon is the best-preserved example of an Ancient Roman monumental building. The term Pantheon is derived from Greek adjective which means “to every god”.  This building can be found in Rome, the capital of Italy and the mighty Roman Empire.

This historic edifice was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome. The building was rebuilt in 126 CE by Emperor Hadrian, the builder of the Hadrian Wall in England. Today, the generic term “pantheon” is being referred to other buildings or structures where dead are honored or buried

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Here are some of the most historic and interesting facts about the Pantheon.

1.) Like the Great Pyramid of Giza of the ancient Egyptians, the Pantheon is one of the best preserved of all Roman buildings.

2.) The Pantheon is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns built almost two thousand years ago.

3.) The square situated in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda.

4.) This impressive building’s dome is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world.

5.) The height to the oculus is 43.3 meters which is the same with the diameter of the interior circle.

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6.)  Unlike any other ancient structures that fell out of use, the Pantheon has been in continuous use throughout its history.

7. Since the 7th century, this spectacular structure has been used as a Catholic church dedicated to "St. Mary and the Martyrs" but informally known as "Santa Maria della Rotonda."

8.) The original Pantheon built by Agrippa in 31 CE was completely destroyed and a replacement was constructed by Emperor Hadrian.

9.) The original Pantheon was oriented so that it faced south while the replacement faces northwards.

10.) In France, there is also a building called the “Pantheon”. It is located in the Latin Quarter in the country’s capital – Paris. This edifice was originally built as a church for St. Genevieve. It now functions as a mausoleum for distinguish people of France.

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11.) It took more than 3 years and 732 construction workers for the Pantheon to be completed due to its numerous features.

12.) Builders use shafts 40 Roman feet tall and capitals eight Roman feet tall and the grey granite columns used in the pronaos were quarried in Egypt.

13.) Each of the granite columns was 12 meter in height, i.5 m in diameter and 60 tons in weight.

14.) The bronze doors to the cella were once gold plated.

15.) The Roman concrete dome which is concentrated on a ring of voussoirs 9.1 meters in diameter is 4,535 metric tons in weight.

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16.)  The domes thickness varies from 6.4 meters at the base of the dome to 1.2 meters around the oculus. It was intended to symbolize the arch vault of the heavens.

17.) The interior could house a sphere 43.3 meters in diameter.

18.) The dome of the Pantheon spans 150 Roman feet; the oculus is 30 Roman feet in diameter and the doorway is 40 Roman feet high.

19.) The sources of light in the interior of the Pantheon are the oculus at the dome's apex and the entry door.

20.) The light from the oculus moves around this space in a sort of reverse sundial effect and serves as a cooling and ventilation method.

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21.) A drainage system below the floor handles the rain that falls through the oculus during rainy season. The floor’s pattern is checkerboard.

22.) A copy of a Byzantine icon of the Madonna is enshrined at the apse. The Annunciation is another famous painting situated at the Chapel of Annunciation. There are numerous other masterpieces of arts inside the Pantheon.

23.) The Augustan Pantheon was destroyed by a huge fire in 80 CE and Domitian rebuilt a new one but burned again after 30 years in 110 CE.

24.) Famous people who are buried in the Pantheon include painters Raphael and Annibale Carracci, composer Arcangelo Corelli and architect Baldassare Peruzzi. Its usage as a tomb started during the Renaissance.

25.) Vittorio Emmanuele II and Umberto I, both kings of Italy, and Queen Margherita, wife of Umberto I, were also buried in the Pantheon.

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26.) Although masses are not held on daily basis, the Pantheon is still used as a church to celebrate masses on important Catholic days of obligation and weddings.

27.) The building was originally approached by a flight of steps, although later construction has raised the level of the ground leading to the portico, eliminating the steps.

28.) The 42 meter dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence by Brunelleshi is an influenced of the Pantheon.

29.) It is regarded by many that the form of the Pantheon is the most influential in Western Europe.

30.) The Pantheon is also held as a "symbol of the highest architectural excellence".

31.) The rotunda of the University of Virginia was patterned by Thomas Jefferson to the Pantheon.

See also

17 Interesting Facts About the  Colosseum

Well-Preserved Heritage/Old Houses in the Philippines


Ron Siojo
Posted on Feb 21, 2012
Jerry Walch
Posted on Feb 20, 2012