Mysteries of the Roman Pantheon

anotherlayer

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#1
This is just a quick one because it has been bugging me for years.

The Pantheon
The Pantheon (Latin: Pantheum, from Greek Πάνθειον Pantheion, "[temple] of all the gods") is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome, Italy, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). It was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. Its date of construction is uncertain, because Hadrian chose not to inscribe the new temple but rather to retain the inscription of Agrippa's older temple, which had burned down.

Pantheon_right_side_view.jpg

roman_pantheon_2.jpg

I don't think I have seen any one bring up the purpose of such a beast. Any photographic angle of this building will bring new questions. Any angle will show you a new layer. So, I would like to point out some particulars and some facts...

Fact #1: It is the best preserved Ancient Roman monument. It is a bit of a mystery how the Pantheon managed to survive barbarian raids when all the rest of Roman monuments had been shattered. Its turning into a church in 609 AD has a lot to do with it in later time, but also the structure itself is way ahead of its time. In fact, the exact composition of the material is still unknown and appears to be structurally similar to modern day concrete! Whatever the reasons are, the Pantheon is the only structure of its age and size that has successfully survived the damage of time and gravity, still intact with all its splendor and beauty.
  • Ok, I have a few issues here. This was built as a temple? I wonder how it's so simple know that. And, they brag about the idea that it's modern concrete?
Fact #2: The exact age of the pantheon remains unknown. The Roman legend tells that the original Pantheon was built on the very site and was dedicated to Romulus, their mythological founder, after he ascended to heaven from that site. Most historians claim that Emperor Augustus right hand, Agrippa, built the first Pantheon in 27 BC. It burned in the great fire of 80 AD, was rebuilt by Emperor Domitian, but was struck by lightning and burned again in 110 AD.
  • My gosh, Romans were dumb. So, we don't know much of anything. They have created a fire story and for good measure they created a lightning-then-fire story. I'm pretty sure their gods were trying to tell them something.
Fact #3: The Pantheon as we know it today was built in 120 AD by Emperor Hadrian who was passionate with architecture and designed it together with Apollodorus of Damascus, a famous Greek architect of the time who unfortunately was executed by order of the Emperor, because of an argument about the design of the temple.
  • Hah! "Your design is terrible, I must kill you now!". The Romans were just the best. And sidenote, this guy was passionate with architecture? Prove it. This beast is an ugly mess on the outside.
Fact #4: The most fascinating part of the Pantheon is its giant dome, with its famous hole in the top (The eye of the Pantheon, or oculus). The dome was the largest in the world for 1300 years and until today it remains the largest unsupported dome in the world! The diameter of the dome is 43.30 meters or 142ft and is in perfect proportion with the Pantheon by the fact that the distance from the floor to the top of the dome is exactly equal to its diameter.
  • So, what is this eye? Surely this is prime for some electromagnetic testing, who doesn't love a portal.
roman_pantheon_3.jpg

Fact #5: The hole (oculus), 7.8 meters in diameter, is the only source of light and is the connection between the temple and the gods above. Rain occasionally falls through it, but the floor is slanted and drains the water if it manages to hit the floor. In practice, rain seldom falls inside the dome.
  • I dunno, if I were the Emperor and the dude wanted to put a hole in the ceiling, I might be a little skeptical about his "passion" myself.
Fact #6: There are no windows inside but the large oculus! The Pantheon now contains the tombs of the famous artist Raphael and of several Italian Kings and poets. The marble floor, which features a design consisting of a series of geometric patterns, is still the ancient Roman original. The history of Pantheon was forever changed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, who melted down every scrap of bronze located upon the ceiling, outraging a great deal of Roman citizens... In 1631 Pope Urban VIII Barberini took the bronze from the inside of the portico to make cannons.
  • Ok, it's a temple with no windows and a hole in the ceiling. The ceiling itself was lined with bronze which was removed and melted down for cannons. Got it. It's what god would have wanted.
  • Now, what I find interesting is when you head over to it's Wiki page, it has this additional statement about bronze being removed in 663, one thousand years earlier. Just seems odd:
The building's consecration as a church saved it from the abandonment, destruction, and the worst of the spoliation that befell the majority of ancient Rome's buildings during the early medieval period. However, Paul the Deacon records the spoliation of the building by the Emperor Constans II, who visited Rome in July 663:

Remaining at Rome twelve days he pulled down everything that in ancient times had been made of metal for the ornament of the city, to such an extent that he even stripped off the roof of the church [of the blessed Mary], which at one time was called the Pantheon, and had been founded in honour of all the gods and was now by the consent of the former rulers the place of all the martyrs; and he took away from there the bronze tiles and sent them with all the other ornaments to Constantinople.
Fact #7: The 16 massive Corinthian columns supporting the portico weigh 60 tons each. They are 39 feet (11.8 m) tall, five feet (1.5 m) in diameter and brought all the way from Egypt. These columns were dragged more than 100 km from the quarry to the Nile river on wooden sledges. They were floated by barge down the Nile River when the water level was high during the spring floods, and then transferred to vessels to cross the Mediterranean Sea to the Roman port of Ostia. There, they were transferred back onto barges and pulled up the Tiber River to Rome.
  • Just like St. Petersburg, these goofs had no issues. But, why did they go to Egypt to get columns? That's like me going to a Home Depot on the other side of the country for a stack of 2x4s. I don't know, sounds dumb, sounds made up.
Fact #8: The Columns support a triangle pediment with an inscription attributing the Pantheon to Marcus Agrippa (“M•AGRIPPA•L•F•COS•TERTIUM•FECIT” meaning “It was built by Marcos Agrippa in his third consulate”). It is the only remain from the original temple built by Agrippa and it is believed that Hadrian left it as a gesture to his predecessor when he rebuilt the pantheon.

070306_rome991.jpg

This etching below, why couldn't they get this engraving as it appears today?

roman_pantheon_4.jpg

Here is how it was shortly after the mud flood:

roman_pantheon_5.jpg

City of no people. Again, the discrepancies between how they depicted this in paintings and how it looks in real life. Where is that sweet egyptian obelisk. It sure doesn't look the same.

roman_pantheon_6.jpg

Now, here is what started my thoughts on the Pantheon way back. I remember Sylvie (NewEarth) made a comment a couple of years ago about this place. She was able to actually produce a painting that shows the Pantheon without this M. Agrippa engraving proving that the Agrippa attribution came much later. However, I can not find such a painting for the life of me and it bothers me. Am I going crazy, has anyone else heard of this?

Fact #9: A lighting effect can be viewed on April 21 when the midday sun strikes a metal grille above the doorway, saturating the courtyard outside with light. The Romans celebrated April 21 as the founding date of the city, and the impressive sight of their Emperor standing at the entrance of the Pantheon surrounded by light coming from inside the pantheon might have been seen as something that, in effect, raised their emperor to the level of the gods and invited him in to join them.
  • Always a good zodiac in play. Here we have the Sun in Taurus. The bull.
Fact #10: In the year 609 The Pantheon was the first pagan temple to be transformed into a church and therefore it was saved from being destroyed during the middle Ages.
  • Oh praise the catholic church for saving this wonderful pagan temple from gravity and time.
Fact #11: In front of the Pantheon is the beautiful “Fountain of the Pantheon”. It was designed by famous architect Giacomo Della Porta in 1575 and sculpted out of marble by Leonardo Sormani.
  • Right, 1500 years later the fountain arrives. "Sculpted out of marble". Sure.

Here are some random quotes from the authorities:
Authors Robert Hannah, a classics scholar from the University of Otago in New Zealand, and Giulio Magli, a historian of ancient architecture from Milan Polytechnic, are not the first to plumb the significance of the Pantheon’s oculus. “Previous studies of the oculus in the Pantheon have emphasized its obvious structural role—it lightens the weight of the huge dome, thus reducing the risk of collapse—and the fact that it is the only source of direct sunlight inside this large building,” Hannah explained. It has also been suggested that the roof opening helped cool the building during Rome’s blazing summers.
So, the hole lightens the weight of the dome. And it also helped cool the building during Rome's blazing summers? What? No.
However, as Hannah pointed out, it is difficult to determine the nature of the ceremonies held at the Pantheon since its function remains shrouded in mystery. “Whether the Pantheon was a temple or not is a debatable point, since it is very unusual in its form and orientation,” he said. “But its name suggests a religious function of some sort, and we are told by the historian Cassius Dio that it held many statues of gods, including ones of Mars and Venus. So it was a religious building in some sense—though daily life and religion were so intertwined in antiquity that this isn’t saying much.”
Hey, Hannah got honest!

Fact #12: The original Pantheon was actually facing south and not North in its current position
  • Oh really.
Fact #13: At 43.2 metres the Pantheon was the worlds largest brick dome for over 1000 years between the year 128–1436 AD.
  • Welp, when you create the years, you can make it as old as you want and break as many records as you can.
Fact #14: The great artist Michelangelo who was not easily impressed described the Pantheon as “angelic and not human design.
  • That's quite a thought coming from such a savant.
Fact #15: Pope Urban VIII added the two bell towers designed by Bernini in the 1500s but they were removed in 1883 after being labelled "donkey's ears".

roman_pantheon_1.jpg

Right, so the Pope decides to put bell towers on this after 1500 years but then they meticulously remove them in 1883. There goes my electromagnetic bell going off in my head again.

Fact #16: The design of the Pantheon is so that a perfect sphere could sit inside symbolising the vault of heaven.

roman_pantheon_7.jpg

What does the vault of Heaven even mean? That's dumb.

Fact #17: The Mud Flood - The Pantheon was originally built with a flight of steps but a later construction raised the level of the ground leading to the portico which eliminated the steps.
  • And again from it's Wiki:
Portico: the building was originally approached by a flight of steps. Later construction raised the level of the ground leading to the portico, eliminating these steps.
Fact #18: The double doors of the Pantheon are 21 feet high.
  • Of course, they are.
Fact #19: There are many famous monuments all over the world modelled on the Pantheon in Rome such as; such as the US Capitol Building, the Pantheon in Paris, Santa Maria del fiore in Florence and the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C.
  • Pagan in every way, great job!
And of course, there are many other "Pantheons" out there. Let's have a look to see what survived and what didn't. How about this one:

The Rotunda, New York City, the images below are from 1827 and 1828. Apparently this was built beginning in 1818. 1818! Demolished in 1870. Because you know, what a piece of junk. I mean, Rome has been rocking their Pantheon for 2000 years, but we're just not interested in those types of things.

roman_p_11.jpg

The Pantheon, Paris - Built in 1758

roman_p_3.jpg

Romanian Athenaeum - Newbie. Built in 1888

roman_p_4.jpg

Auditorium of Southeast University, Nanjing China - 1903

roman_p_5.jpg

So, that will sum it up for the Pantheon. When I first saw it I thought to myself, this is a place that Jesus only heard of. Of course, 20 years later now I have vastly different opinions on all of it. I guess I'll take a stab that it's much more modern than we like to say and that it was most definitely a power station of some sort. It would just seem that a building like this from the Romans, you would find a handful of them in antiquity. Where are the other Pantheons if this hole-in-the-ceiling technique was so cutting edge?

My guess is the 'tempo' of this power "temple" is unique to where it sits.
 
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Ice Nine

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#3
Oy! I've been out looking for stuff. When I ran across this. It's an in depth article about the Pantheon, mainstream stuff, and this gem of all gems.

I was just sayin how can you base a theory, or make a comparison to something that isn't even real, we all know Stonehenge was rebuilt, most likely just built, in the 1950s and who knows what it looked like originally, if indeed there was anything there to begin with. Just sayin.

Similarities To Stonehenge ~ E-gads

Was Stonehenge rebuilt, or constructed in 1954?
 

Ice Nine

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#5
I found a drawing from 1606 and the dirt is quite high around The Pantheon. the steps are covered and the bottom of the columns are covered too.

The drawing and the engraving, mud flood evidence in 1606.

1606.jpg 1600s.jpg

and an oil painting with no inscription attributing the Pantheon to Marcus Agrippa

Giovanni Migliara
ALESSANDRIA 1785 - 1837 MILAN
ROME, A VIEW OF THE PANTHEON

No inscription_1.jpg

No inscription.jpg
 
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anotherlayer

anotherlayer

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#6
I found a drawing from 1606 and the dirt is quite high around The Pantheon. the steps are covered and the bottom of the columns are covered too.

The drawing and the engraving, mud flood evidence in 1606.

and an oil painting with no inscription attributing the Pantheon to Marcus Agrippa
Woah, you found them! Note how these do not have the engraving???
 

Razor2299

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#7
In 1631 Pope Urban VIII Barberini took the bronze from the inside of the portico to make cannons

Very interesting coincidence: I was tought in school that Peter The Great of Russia also allegedly confiscated churches bells in Russia around the same time (late 1600s) to make the cannons. Could it be that these are the same events or is this an effort to collect the metal for another reason?.

Great Northen War
 

KorbenDallas

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#8
Here is Smithsonian on the Pantheon of Rome:
  • Made entirely out of concrete, without the reinforcing support of structural steel, no modern engineer would dare attempt such a feat, says David Moore, author of The Roman Pantheon: The Triumph of Concrete. “Modern codes of engineering practice would not permit such mischief.”
  • And yet for nearly 2,000 years the Pantheon has stood, weathering earthquakes, Barbarian invasions and the persistent onslaught of Mother Nature.
  • For years, researchers have figured there must be something special about the concrete used to build the Pantheon and other Roman monuments that lend them such longevity. Many scientists have pointed to the practice of including volcanic ash in the concrete mix.
  • In a new study, researchers drilled down into the chemistry of Roman concrete to find out what makes it so resilient. As suspected, the key ingredient is the specific blend of limestone and volcanic ash used in the mortar.
  • Mixing mortar according to the recipe of 1st century Roman architect Vitruvius, the scientists' analyses unveiled that the mortar included “dense clusters of a durable mineral called strätlingite.”
  • The crystals formed because of a reaction that took place over time between the lime and volcanic matter in the mortar,” says Sullivan, and “helped prevent the spread of microscopic cracks by reinforcing interfacial zones, which researchers called 'the weakest link of modern cement-based concrete.
    • Strätlingite crystals are similar to microfibers added to modern cement to reinforce the interfacial zone where it is prone to crack. However, the strätlingite crystals provide superior reinforcement and are resistant to corrosion.
Personally, I find the above to be rather comical. They would come up with any sort of ridiculous explanation to prevent the truth from being known.

Fact #2: It burned in the great fire of 80 AD, was rebuilt by Emperor Domitian, but was struck by lightning and burned again in 110 AD.
  • Sure it did. Not to sound like what they call a "barbarian" but... I would love to see somebody setting a similar chunk of concrete on fire. It's just amazing how gullible we all were for such a long time.
Fact #13: At 43.2 metres the Pantheon was the worlds largest brick dome for over 1000 years between the year 128–1436 AD.
  • Here we run into the 15th century again. Based on the tendency related to the emergence of the historical docs, the Pantheon was probably built around this 1436 date.
Fact #7: The 16 massive Corinthian columns supporting the portico weigh 60 tons each. They are 39 feet (11.8 m) tall, five feet (1.5 m) in diameter and brought all the way from Egypt. These columns were dragged more than 100 km from the quarry to the Nile river on wooden sledges. They were floated by barge down the Nile River when the water level was high during the spring floods, and then transferred to vessels to cross the Mediterranean Sea to the Roman port of Ostia. There, they were transferred back onto barges and pulled up the Tiber River to Rome.

m1_Abrams_tank_weight.jpg
  • The ones like these always get me going. Historians are so full of crap on this, its not even funny any more. I think every historian who supports and advances this BS should be given a wooden sledge, an M1 Abrums and a green light to move it from Egypt to Italy.
  • And about those columns from some Egyptian quarry... they found some nice type of peeling material out there in Egypt. For these are obviously artificially made columns.
Rome_Pantheon_front.jpg

Rome_Pantheon_front_pealing.jpg

Great thread @anotherlayer, thank you.
 
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anotherlayer

anotherlayer

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#9
  • The ones like these always get me going. Historians are so full of crap on this, its not even funny any more. I think every historian who supports and advances this BS should be given a wooden sledge, an M1 Abrums and a green light to move it from Egypt to Italy.
Great thread @anotherlayer, thank you.
Thank you! I really need to take more time when I make a new thread. I had a bit of hurry-up-n-wait moment today, so I wanted to get this out. Thanks for cleaning up my formatting.

And about this wooden sledge, someone needs to answer to this. How on earth are you going to look me in the eye and claim this is possible. And on top of that, why would they even bother in the first place. And the answer is... "the Romans were a powerful empire full of slaves and their passion for salt". Ugh.

Here are some pictures I took from way back when we were issued free potato cameras with our US passports.

This guy looks more Viking than Roman. And the brick work is shite.

070306_rome99128.jpg

Decent patchwork, because you know that marble, it just peels right off after 1000 years.

070306_rome99129.jpg

The veneer is repaired at eye level, but I don't think any thinks much about it. I know I didn't. In fact, it made me feel as if it truly was 2000 years.

070306_rome99130.jpg

It was pretty late when I made it to the Pantheon, and I may have had a little drinkie drink, but in this picture, you can see a missing chunk of veneer at the bottom this column.

070306_rome99131.jpg

And again
070306_rome99133.jpg

Some other interesting pictures. I had no real idea of what I was looking at-at the time.

070306_rome61.jpg 070306_rome39.jpg
070306_rome92.jpg 070306_rome32.jpg

Check out the big brain on Brad

070406_rome078.jpg

This guy leaning up against absolutely delightful bathtub.

070406_rome087.jpg

The layers are strong with this one.

070406_rome195.jpg
 

CyborgNinja

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#10
roman_pantheon_5.jpg

This is from a series of paintings done in the 16-17th century. They are an amalgamation of different scene found in Italy. Pieces such as the statue of Hercules reoccur in multiple versions.

Although the over composition is fantasy, the individual elements that make up the scene are highly likely to be accurate.
 
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#11
Round buildings are a lot more earthquake proof than square ones apparently. Hence the Pantheon's survival I'd say.

Its original purpose and doorway size raises eyebrows for sure. Looks like it got buried in Rome's late 16th century "mud flood".
 

Ice Nine

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#12
@anotherlayer nice pictures you took. Sure are a lot of bricks, reminds me of a crumbling cake and they slap a layer of frosting over it to make it look fresh and new. but eventually the frosting gets all hard and starts to peel/fall off.
Was everything made out of bricks, because then that begs the question, who was making all of these bricks. Also I can't tell, but are the bricks what we would consider normal size bricks, from the pictures they look look thinner and longer. Just wondering.

pillars.jpg


bricks.jpg
 

Silvanus777

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#13
Awesome breakdown @anotherlayer! And hillarious to read. (y)

Maybe the bronze was removed from the ceiling to render this thing inoperable. I mean if it really was some kind of technological device or facility for harvesting atmospherical energy or whatever, the bronze platings would most likely have been an integral part of that. Church steeples could've been removed for similar reasons and/or to further cover up any original purpose of the dome structure.

Also: Observe the very noticable difference in looks between the outer surface of the portico part and that of the dome part of the Pantheon (clearly seen in the very first photo shown by the OP). It almost looks like the veneer we are being sold as marble has been cleanly knocked off from the round dome part and we're seeing the rather ugly looking bricks.
 

Ice Nine

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#15
I'd like to see the wooden sledge that could withstand crushing of 60 tons of concrete being dropped on it and still be strong enough to hold up to being dragged from Egypt to Italy. Not to mention the fiber ropes that could pull it.
The best I could do. I imagine they would have moved these the same way:
The 16 massive Corinthian columns supporting the portico weigh 60 tons each. They are 39 feet (11.8 m) tall, five feet (1.5 m) in diameter and brought all the way from Egypt. These columns were dragged more than 100 km from the quarry to the Nile river on wooden sledges. They were floated by barge down the Nile River when the water level was high during the spring floods, and then transferred to vessels to cross the Mediterranean Sea to the Roman port of Ostia. There, they were transferred back onto barges and pulled up the Tiber River to Rome.

Obelisks on the Move A look at the manpower and engineering needed to move obelisks in ancient Egypt, Rome, and today

a few of the engravings
ob1.jpg ob.jpg
ob3.jpg ob2.jpg
 

whitewave

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#16
That looks like an awful lot of unnecessary work. Wouldn't it have been easier just to quarry rock in Italy rather than building massive scaffolding, massive boats, etc. and still having to quarry the rock in Egypt and schlep it to another country? Plus, you drop a 60 ton weight on a barge and you're going to crush the wood. Wood is not stronger than stone. Just my opinion but it seems highly unlikely that, if the rock was brought from Egypt, that it was done in this manner.
 

Ice Nine

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#17
That looks like an awful lot of unnecessary work. Wouldn't it have been easier just to quarry rock in Italy rather than building massive scaffolding, massive boats, etc. and still having to quarry the rock in Egypt and schlep it to another country? Plus, you drop a 60 ton weight on a barge and you're going to crush the wood. Wood is not stronger than stone. Just my opinion but it seems highly unlikely that, if the rock was brought from Egypt, that it was done in this manner.
I know! the whole scenario is ludicrous! I was always under the impression that they had, well great marble in Italy to use.

"(The Romans harvested the stone with such manic intensity that it became the architectural signature of the empire’s power; Augustus liked to boast that he inherited a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.) "

the-majestic-marble-quarries-of-northern-italy
 

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