PANTEI EON, (from the Greek ;ray, all, and 19e/or, gode,) in architecture. a temple or church, of a circular form, de dicated to all the gods, or to all the saints.
The Pantheon of ancient Rome is of all these edifices the most celebrated, and that from which all the rest take their name. It was built by Agrippa, son-in-law to Augustus, in his third consulate. twenty-five years before the Christian era ; though several antiquaries and artists have supposed that the Pantheon existed long, before, during the common wealth, and that Agrippa only embellished it and added the portico. To this purpose they allege the authority of Dion Cassius, who, speaking of Agrippa, says, he also finished or per Ceded the Pantheon.
It was dedicated by him to Jupiter nor. Jupiter the Avenger, according to Pliny's account ; according to Dion Cassius, to .IVIars, Venus, and Julius Caesar; but, according to the most probable opinion, to all the gods ; and had the name Puallicon, on account of the great number of statues of the gods, raised in seven niches all round it ; and because it was built of a circular form, to represent heaven, the resi dence of the or. because it was dedicated to all the gods, (quasi -7arrov Buoy.) It had but one door. It was 144, or, as Fabri•ius says, 110 feet diameter within, and just as much in height, and of the Corinthian order. The roof was curiously vaulted, void spaces being, left here and there for greater strength. The rafters. 40 feet long, were plated with brass. There were no windows in the whole edifice ; but sufficient light was let in through a round hole in the top of the roof. Iletbre each niche were two columns of antique yellow marble, fluted, each of One entire block.
The w hole wall of the temple, as high as the grand cornice in losive, was eased with dkers sorts of precious marble in e onpartnnolts ; and the frieze Wit: entirely of porphyry. The outside of the front was anciently covered with plates of gilt brass, and the top with plates of silver ; in lieu of which, lead was aftei wards substituted. The gates were of and of extraordinary size and workmanship.
eruption of Vesuvius, in the reign of Tiberius, and a great lire in the rein Titus, damaged the Pantheon siderably ; but it was successively repaired by Domitian, Adrian, and Septimins Seven's : and having subsisted in all its grandeur till the incursion of .Marcie, in the reign of 1 l000rios. it was then stripped of -everal of its statues and ornaments of gold and silver. About thirty-nine years after this, Genserie. king of the Vandals, took away part of its marbles and statues ; and, at length, Pope Bonifitee IV. obtaining this Pantheon of the Emperor Phocas, converted it into a church, without any alteration in the building, and dedicated it to the Virgin and all the martyrs ; but, in 1065, Constantius Ii. stlipped it of its inside and outside
brazen coverings, which he transported to Syracuse. It still subsists at Rome, under the title of Notre 1)ame de la Rotounda.
The square of the Pantheon, or Piazza della Ratonda, is with a fountain and an obelisk, and terminated bv the portico of Agrippa. This noble colonnade consists of double range of Corinthian pillars of red granite. Between the middle colunthis a passage opens to the brazen portals, hich, as they undid, expose to view a circular hall of inanense extent, crowned with a lofty dome, and lighted solely from above. It is paved and lined with marble. Its cornice of white marble is supported by sixteen columns, and as many pilasters of Giotto mitleo; in the circumference there are eight niches, and between these niches are eight each with two pillars or less size, but the same materials. The niches were anciently occupied by statues of the great deities ; the intermediate altars served as pedestals for the inferior powers. The proportions of this temple are admirable for the effect intended to be produced ; its height being equal to its diameter, and its dome not an oval, but an exact hemisphere. The Pantheon is the most noble and p, rfeot specimen of Roman art and magnificence which tune has sl ared, or the ancients could have wished to transmit to posterity. It has served, in filet, as a Intl to generations, and to it Constantinople is indebted for Santa Sophia, and to it Rune. or rather the universe, owes the unrivalled dome of the Vatican. Upon the whole, this is the most ancient edifice that now remains in a state of full and almost perl'eet preservation.
There was also another Pantheon at Rome, dedicated to Minerva. as the goddess of medicine. It was in form of a decagomand the distance front one angle to another measured feet. the angles there were nine chapels of a round figure, designed for so many deities : and over the gate there was a statue of AI inerva.
The Pantheon of Nismes, was a temple in that city, in which were twelve niches, for statues supposed to have been destined for the twelve great gods.
The Pantheon of Athens was, in many respects, little inferior to that at Rome. built by Agrippa. The Greek Christians converted it into it church, dedicated to the Virgin, under the name of Panegia, but the Turks changed it into a mosque.
In the Escurial is a magnificent chapel, called Pantheon, 35 fet• in diameter, and 3,`,1 high from the pavement, which is of marble and jasper inlaid. The, whole inside of the chapel is of marble, except the lantern, and some orna ments of jasper and red marble. In this chapel arc deposited the bodies of the kings and queens : there are only places made for twenty—ix, eight or which ate already filled.