Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

The Pantheon, Rome Santa Maria ad Martyres (the church of Mary and all the Martyr Saints)

The Pantheon, Rome Santa Maria ad Martyres (the church of Mary and all the Martyr Saints) Links to photos

The original Pantheon building was a temple of the 7 deities of the 7 known planets in the state religion of Rome. In the 7th century it was transformed into a Christian church. It is the oldest important building with its original roof intact. It has been in continuous use since its construction.

It was originally built in 27-25 BC, when Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was in his third consulship. His name is inscribed on the portico of the building. The inscription, MˇAGRIPPAˇLˇFˇCOSˇTERTIUMˇFECIT, translates to English as "Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, during his third consulate, built this". The original building had adjoining baths and water gardens. The original architect is unknown, but Apollodorus of Damascus is believed to have play a large part in its design

The building built by Agrippa was among a number of buildings destroyed by fire in the year80, being replaced by the present building in about 125. Date stamps on the bricks show that it was built when Hadrian was emperor. The new building was was a reconstruction of the original; even to the text of the original portico. The was tghe usual practice when reconstructing buildings during Hadrian's reign.

A second, smaller inscription reveals that it was repaired in 2002 by Septimius Severus and Caracalla.

In 609 the building was given to Pope Boniface VI by Phocas, the Byzantine emperor. It was reconsecrated as a Christian church and named Santa Maria ad Martyres (the church of Mary and all the Martyr Saints). When the emperor Constans II visited Rome in 663, and stripped all the metal from the building and took it back to Constantinople.

The Pantheon has been used as a tomb since the renaissance, some of those buried here are the paointers Raphael and Annibale Caracci, the architect Baldassare Peruzzi. The paintings were placed in it during the 15 th century. The best known is "Annunciazione" by Melozzi de Forli. Some architects used the building as inspiration for the work.

Pope Urban VIII had the bronze ceiling of the portico removed to be used in the construction of bombards  in the fortification of Castel Santa'Angelo. The destruction by Urban VIII gave rise to the

proverb, Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini ("What the barbarians did not do, the Berberinis [Urban VIII's family name] did").

2 Italian kings and a queen are also buried there. Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I and his queen Margherita.

The composition of the Roman concrete seems to be the secret of the longevity of the building. Modern concrete has much lower tensile strength and if the building had been constructed using modern concrete without reinforcing would have collapsed long ago. The ingredients of Roman concrete is known from other sources, but the method of application is thought to be the secret of the high tensile strength of the Roman architecture.



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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading