The Pantheon, Rome

The Pantheon, Rome

What to Watch

The Pantheon in Rome was built nearly 2000 years ago in around c.125 AD under the rule of Emperor Hadrian, and for most of this time it held the record for the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built spanning 43 metres! It was eventually beaten in 1958 by the CNIT building in Paris. The secret behind the construction is the ingenious design: 28 coffers in five circular rows gradually decrease in size as they reach the centre. But wait a minute... there isn't a centre at all! Instead there's a circular hole, called an oculus. Counterintuitively this hole actually is the key to keeping the dome stable, as it helps to distribute pressure. Learn more about this astonishing building, by watching our new film presented by Art History teacher Helen Oakden. 

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Did you know...

that the Renaissance master Raphael is buried at the Pantheon? Originally the Pantheon was built as a temple to the gods of Ancient Roman mythology. In fact 'Pan-theon' translates from Latin to 'All-Gods'. In 609 AD, Emperor Flavius Phocas Augustus gave the Pantheon to the Holy Roman Church, and it has been a Catholic church ever since. In 1520, Raphael died aged just 37. His last wish was to be buried in the Pantheon, and he was the first artist to be given such an honour. According to contemporary sources, his funeral was a grand affair with four cardinals in attendance, testament to how greatly he was admired in his own time.