What’s the most fascinating thing about the Pantheon? The very well preserved Roman architecture, tomb to Raphael – one of the most famous Renaissance painters, the oculus letting in light from the heavens, the ancient alien theory or the fact that it’s a Temple to all Gods – a sign of religious tolerance in Ancient Rome?
All the above would be the right answer but what I found the most interesting about this building is the ‘opening credit’.
History is full of great leaders who loved to leave a legacy – earned or stolen. The Pantheon has a different but interesting story.
The original Pantheon was built by the great Roman general Marcus Agrippa in 27 BC. The same Agrippa who was pretty much responsible for most of Emperor Augustus’s victories including the war against Mark Anthony and his lover Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in Egypt. That battle led to the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.
The Pantheon burnt down and was rebuilt a few times but the last time it was rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian – a great lover of art and architecture. Maybe because he had enough monuments of his own or that he appreciated Agrippa’s contribution to the foundation of the Empire or just that he was one of the rare people in positions of power who gave credit where credit was due.
He chose to either keep or inscribe the words “M.AGRIPPA.L.F.COS.TERTIUM.FECIT” as the ‘opening credit’ to the awe-inspiring monument which translates to “Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, having been consul three times, built this.”
Among the other facts, I find this almost selfless act the most fascinating part of the Pantheon.
Hope you guys like the shot. Let me know your thoughts.