Pantheon Rome Built Date
When was the Pantheon built and why?
The Pantheon in Rome is an architectural marvel of the Ancient Roman Empire. The original Pantheon was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD) and was built around 27-25 BC. However, the structure that stands today is not that original building.
The Pantheon we know today was built on the same site as the original, but it was reconstructed by Emperor Hadrian around 126 AD, nearly a century and a half after Agrippa’s original construction. Hadrian was a great admirer of Greek culture and architecture, and his design for the Pantheon incorporated elements of both Roman and Greek architectural styles.
As for the purpose, the Pantheon was built as a temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome, hence the name “Pantheon”, from the Ancient Greek “Pantheion,” meaning “of all the gods.” While the specifics of the religious practices conducted in the original Pantheon are not entirely known, it was likely used for a mixture of traditional Roman cult practices and more personal, private worship.
After the fall of Rome and the rise of Christianity, the Pantheon took on new life as a Christian church. In 609 AD, it was consecrated as the Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs (Santa Maria Rotonda), a function it continues to serve to this day, while also acting as an important cultural and historical landmark.
How long did it take to build the Pantheon in Rome?
While the exact timeline of the construction process isn’t documented, the Pantheon, as we know it today, was built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, and it is generally believed to have been completed around 126 AD. Considering Hadrian’s reign started in 117 AD, the construction of the Pantheon likely took less than a decade.
However, it’s important to note that this was not the first structure on the site. The original Pantheon was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD) and was built around 27-25 BC. This first building was destroyed by a fire in 80 AD, and a second temple was built, only to be struck by lightning and burned down again in 110 AD. Hadrian’s Pantheon, then, is technically the third incarnation of the building.
Despite the lack of exact dates, given the complexity of the structure, particularly its massive dome (the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world), it’s safe to say that the construction process was a monumental undertaking that required meticulous planning and skillful execution.
Is the Pantheon the oldest building?
While the Pantheon in Rome is one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in the world, it is not the oldest. There are many other structures, particularly in regions such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley, that predate the Pantheon by millennia.
The Pantheon as we see it today was completed in 126 AD during the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian. This makes it over 1,800 years old, which is indeed ancient, but there are many structures which are significantly older. For example, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt were built around 2580–2560 BC, making them over 4,500 years old. Similarly, structures like Stonehenge in England were constructed in several stages, with the earliest known construction phase dating back to around 3000 BC.
It is worth noting, however, that the Pantheon’s dome remains the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome, which is an incredible architectural achievement. The building’s design, materials, and construction methods have allowed it to stand the test of time, and it remains in use today as a Roman Catholic church.