Last Updated on April 2, 2022 by Left Lane
The exact date the Pantheon was built in Rome, has long been lost to history. This is largely due to the fact that it was built upon the site of an even older temple built in 25 B.C. From the time of Caesar Augustus (Lifespan 63 B.C – 14 A.D), the First Roman Emperor.
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Fun Fact: Caesar Augustus the first Emperor of Rome, and Great Nephew of Julius Caesar. Named the current month of August after himself.
The Ancient Roman calendar used over 2000 years ago, originally had only 10 months. The current month of August was known as Sextilis, due to it being the 6th month of the year on the Ancient Roman calendar.
It originally only had, 29 days. Until Julis Caesar (who by the way, we get the month of July from) added 2 days to the month of Sextilis around 46 B.C. Giving it the current 31 days we now have.
Caesar Augustus renamed the month of Sextilis after himself. In honor of his conquest of Egypt, which happened in the original month of Sextilis now known as August. Which ironically also ended up being the month he died in at the age of 75 on August 19th, 14 A.D.
Now back to the Pantheon, which was built on the site of the older temple of Agrippa which burned down. Was most likely finished sometime around 125 A.D.
What Is A Pantheon?
Not To Be mixed up with the “Parthenon”…According to the New Oxford American Dictionary. A “Pantheon is all the gods of a people, or religion collectively. Especially from Ancient Greece and Rome – A Temple dedicated to all the gods.”
What exactly the Roman Pantheon was created for is still the subject of much speculation. It was built sometime around 125 A.D. For the Roman Emperor Hadrian (Lifespan 76 A.D – 138 A.D).
It is known that Emperor Hadrian, would hold court at the Pantheon during his reign. After the original temple built during the time of Augustus burned down. This new temple was originally commissioned as a replacement for the destroyed Pagan Temple of the gods.
Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres
In the year 609 A.D during the Byzantine era. Emperor Phocas gave the Pantheon to the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Boniface IV then had the Pantheon converted into a Christian Catholic Church.
The Pantheon became the first Roman Pagan Temple to be rededicated as a Catholic Church in Rome. It became known as the “Basilica of St. Mary and the Martyrs”.
The Pantheon Fountain
The center piece of the ornately sculpted, marble fountain is the Red Granite Obelisk which adorns the fountains pedestal. The Obelisk wasn’t added to the fountain until 1711 after Pope Clement XI requested the fountain be refurbished.
Like the 39’ Foot Granite Columns of the Pantheon, the Obelisk is also from Egypt. Being built during the time of Ramses II (Lifespan 1303 B.C – 1213 B.C).
The Egyptian Obelisk is 20’ feet long, with the fountain pedestal it stands at 46’ feet tall. It originally stood in the Temple of Ra, in the Ancient Egyptian City of Heliopolis. Which is located in modern day Cairo.
After standing over a 1000 years in Egypt, the Obelisk was most likely brought to Rome in the Late 1st Century B.C. to Late 1st Century A.D. time range.
Once in Rome, the Obelisk was used to adorn the Iseum Campense, or Temple of Isis in Rome. The Temple of Isis was destroyed by a fire sometime in the 5th Century A.D. after Rome converted to Christianity in the 4th Century A.D.
After the Temples destruction, not much is known about the history of the Obelisk until around 1374. When the obelisk is found underground at the Piazza di San Macuto.
This is how the Obelisk gets it’s present day name, the “Macuteo Obelisk”. For more information on this beautiful, and interesting Pantheon Fountain Click Here.
An Adventurous Drive
On the day we visited the Parthenon, we had been out exploring all over Rome. After leaving the Roman Colosseum, we headed for the Pantheon. Following my GPS down busy, bustling Roman streets.
As I drove around Piazza Venezia, I was greeted with many beautiful architectural structures:
The Closer we got to the Roman Pantheon, the narrower roads became. Winding through narrow alleyways in between buildings. Alongside a constant flow of moped, and pedestrian foot traffic.
I’m Not Lost!
Want to Discover more of what we done in Italy? CLICK HERE to see more of our Italian Adventures!
The Roving Gypsy®
Thanks for reading my Travel Blog, I hope you enjoyed our tour of the Roman Pantheon in Italy as much as we did. Like what you read, and want more, or have a suggestion for me? Follow, Share, and Comment to let me know.