The Pantheon Dome

The name "Pantheon" is from the Ancient Greek "Pantheion" (Πάνθειον) meaning "of, relating to, or common to all the gods": (pan- / "παν-" meaning "all" + theion / "θεῖον"= meaning "of or sacred to a god"). Cassius Dio, a Roman senator who wrote in Greek, speculated that the name comes either from the statues of many gods placed around this building, or from the resemblance of the dome to the heavens. His uncertainty strongly suggests that "Pantheon" (or Pantheum) was merely a nickname, not the formal name of the building. In fact, the concept of a pantheon dedicated to all the gods is questionable. The only definite pantheon recorded earlier than Agrippa's was at Antioch in Syria, though it is only mentioned by a sixth-century source. Ziegler tried to collect evidence of panthea, but his list consists of simple dedications "to all the gods" or "to the Twelve Gods," which are not necessarily true panthea in the sense of a temple housing a cult that literally worships all the gods.

The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment . A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda , which is under a coffered concrete dome , with a central opening ( oculus ) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. [3] The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43 metres (142 ft). [4]


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