The Magnificence & Ingenuity of the Pantheon, Historical Rome’s Finest-Preserved Monument: An Introduction

Requested to call our favourite concrete constructing, many people would battle to carry again a sneer. Although the copious use of that materials by mid-twentieth-century type often known as Brutalism has currently gained new generations of fanatics, we nonetheless extra generally hear it lamented as a supply of architectural “monstrosities.” However as a constructing materials, concrete goes again a lot additional in historical past than the many years following World Warfare II. To discover a universally beloved instance, we’d like merely look again to second-century Rome. There we discover the Pantheon, trying a lot the identical because it does in twenty-first century Rome at present.

One of the best-preserved monument of historical Rome, the Pantheon (to not be confused with the Greek Parthenon) has remained in steady use, first as “a temple to the gods, then sanctified and made right into a church. Now, after all, it’s a serious vacationer attraction.” So says scholar Steven Zucker within the Khan Academy video above, a short photographic tour he leads alongside his colleague Beth Harris.

“As quickly as you stroll in, you discover that there’s a type of obsession with circles, with rectangles, with squares, with these sorts of good geometrical shapes,” says Harris. “Due to the Roman use of concrete, the thought [obtained] that structure may very well be one thing that formed area and that might have a special type of relationship to the viewer.”

You possibly can go deeper into the Pantheon (constructed circa 125 AD) via the tour video by Youtuber Garrett Ryan, creator of the ancient-history channel Advised in Stone. Calling the Pantheon “arguably probably the most influential constructing of all time,” he goes on to assist that daring declare by inspecting a number of structural and aesthetic parts (not least its sublimely spherical rotunda) that will encourage architects within the Renaissance, a time devoted to creating use of historical Greek and Roman data, and in some sense ever after. This may occasionally come as a shock to viewers with solely an off-the-cuff curiosity in structure — greater than it will to the Emperor Hadrian, commissioner of the Pantheon, who appears to not have been given to nice doubts concerning the sturdiness of his legacy.

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Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His initiatives embrace the Substack publication Books on Cities, the guide The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll via Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video collection The Metropolis in Cinema. Comply with him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Fb, or on Instagram.

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