Friday, March 30, 2007
Light enters from the Oculus (eye) of the Pantheon, Rome
The Pantheon (Latin, Pantheon, meaning "Temple of all the Gods") is a building in Rome which was originally built as a temple to the seven deities of the seven planets in the state religion of Ancient Rome, but which has been a Christian church since the 7th century.
It is the best-preserved of all Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history.
The current building dates from about 125, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, as date-stamps on the bricks reveal.
Hadrian was a cosmopolitan emperor who traveled widely in the east and was a great admirer of Greek culture. He seems to have intended the Pantheon, a temple to all the gods, to be a kind of ecumenical or syncretist gesture to the subjects of the Roman Empire who did not worship the old gods of Rome, or who (as was increasingly the case) worshipped them under other names.