Pantheon Versus Parthenon Essay Sample

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The Pantheon is early architecture from Rome, Italy commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all of the gods of Ancient Rome. The building is made from concrete and granite, though it was rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in 126 AD. This structure is often compared to the Parthenon created by Iktinos and Kallikrates in Pericles’s Acropolis in Athens between 447-438 BC. The comparison is made because the Pantheon is heavily influenced by the Parthenon from the Greek Classical Era. Both the Parthenon and the Pantheon came from two different cultures and two different time periods, but yet share many similarities in their overall symbolism and meaning. Greek influences in the Pantheon appear in its façade with its columnar porch, pediment, and frieze. However, one can tell that the Pantheon is strictly Roman by the design of the dome, the attention to interior detail, the use of concrete versus white marble, and the idea of using the temple for many gods.

After the Greeks were conquered by the Romans, they were forced to assimilate into the multicultural Roman Empire. In doing so, the Romans gained all Greek art and used it to inspire are of their own. In result, structures like the Pantheon were heavily influenced by Greece stylistically. For instance, its façade of eight Corinthian columns was clearly a bow to the Greeks. The Greeks were not only the inventors of the Corinthian columns, but they featured an almost identical façade in their Parthenon. Both structures fronts demonstrate a façade containing a pediment and a columnar porch with 8 columns. All elements of the façade originate with Grecian art.

However, though the Pantheon may be similar to the Parthenon, there are also several factors that make it stand out as strictly Roman. For example, behind the columnar porch there is an immense concrete cylinder covered by a huge hemispherical dome. This was revolutionary even for the Romans. Anytime one sees a structure like this dome, where there is an existing pumice atop a cylindrical dome, it is definitely Roman. Additionally, in the Pantheon there is a greater attention paid to the interior of the building. Roman architects with this building were the first to conceive an enclosed space without interrupting columns, which is very different from the Parthenon. The Pantheon is also identifiable with Rome as the Romans utilized concrete and granite in their building, because it was their local bedrock, while the Greeks only use white marble as it is their local bedrock. Lastly, the temple is more obviously Roman as it celebrates multiple gods, while the Parthenon was built solely for Athena.

In summation, the Pantheon is clearly influenced by the Grecian style as demonstrated in the façade of the temple which features a pediment over a columnar porch. However, some features of the structure make it obviously Roman, like the large dome behind the porch, the use of concrete, and the idea of using the temple for many gods. Both the Parthenon and Pantheon are both significant and innovative structures that had great importance during their respective times.

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