What’s the Difference Between the Pantheon and the Parthenon?

If a friend who was about to go off on a European adventure told you they were going to visit the Pantheon, would you immediately picture ruins of ancient white marble columns? What if that same friend told you they would also be stopping by the Parthenon. Would you also picture a similar scene in your head?

The point is, the Parthenon and the Pantheon are often confused as being the same thing. And that’s no surprise because the names are super similar. But the two are very different; they’re not even located in the same country. The Parthenon, for instance, is in Athens, Greece, and the Pantheon is in Rome, Italy. And aside from both being made of marble and sharing a similar etymology — both names are derived from the Greek word parthenos, which is an epithet of the Greek goddess Athena, meaning “virgin” — these two famous buildings of the ancient world actually have very little in common.

We spoke with Christopher Ratté, a classical archaeologist and professor at the University of Michigan and Dr. C. Brian Rose, the curator-in-charge of the Mediterranean Section at the Penn Museum and archaeologist who’s been digging in the field for more than 40 years, to find out exactly what makes these two ancient ruins so different.

1. They Were Built in Different Centuries

The Parthenon and the Pantheon are two of the most famous temples ever built in ancient Athens and ancient Rome. The Pantheon was constructed in the second century A.D., while the Parthenon we know today was built much earlier around 447 B.C.E. However, neither, as they say, was built in a day.

The Pantheon is one of today’s best-preserved ruins from ancient Rome. It was built sometime between 126 and 128 A.D. during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, who was emperor from 117 to 138 A.D. “It was a reign largely marked by peace … there was plenty of money throughout the empire,” Rose says. “Economically it was a very prosperous time and you see that reflected in the building program. is primarily made of concrete, but the inside is lined with marble imported from Egypt, Greece, Asia Minor and North Africa; these international materials bolster the Pantheon as a symbol of the extent of the Roman Empire.”

The Parthenon, on the other hand, took 15 years to build, Rose says. It was built between 447 and 432 B.C.E. during the aftermath of the Persian Wars to highlight the victory of the Greeks over the Persians. At the time, the Greeks were led by (or controlled by, depending on who you talk to) Athens, which was being controlled by a commander named Pericles. Athens had access to a treasury that could pay for additional arms conflict if the Persians came back. This treasury helped to fund the construction of the Parthenon. The goddess Athena was credited with steering the Greeks toward victory, which is why, had you visited the site at the time, you would’ve found a statue of her in the temple’s main room (more on that next).

2. They Honor Different Gods

While both were built to honor gods, the Parthenon was built to honor Athena and the Pantheon was built to honor all of the Greek gods.

“Both have many other cultural meanings,” Ratté says, “the Parthenon as a victory monument and a symbol of Athenian power and the Pantheon as a kind of architectural mirror of Roman imperial dominion.” The Parthenon also originally contained a massive statue of Athena inside the temple designed by Greek sculptor and architect Phidias. It was said to be more than 37 feet (11.5 meters) tall and constructed of gold and ivory. The statue was dedicated in 438 B.C.E. and remained for 1,000 years until it disappeared.

3. The Designs Are Similar but Not the Same

You could look at both structures and think that the architecture of the Parthenon influenced the building of the Pantheon. But that’s far from the case.

First, the Parthenon is built high on a hill in Athens and is based on the architectural column styles of Doric and Ionic order, two of the three canonic orders of classical architecture. The structure is dominated by outer columns in Doric style that lean slightly inward to give the illusion of straight lines.

The Pantheon’s dominating design is its massive domed ceiling and rotunda. When it was built in the second century, it was the largest in the world. Today the Pantheon sits in the heart of Rome on the same site of the original Pantheon, which was built around 25 B.C.E. by Marcus Agrippa, son-in-law of the first Roman emperor, Augustus.

Unlike the Parthenon, which is original, the Pantheon, has been rebuilt numerous times, mostly because of frequent fires in Rome.

“The basic form of the Pantheon has changed over the years … the Pantheon is a much more daring engineering marvel [than the Parthenon] because of the extraordinary span of the dome — the largest domical space that had ever been attempted in antiquity and not superseded until the Renaissance,” says Rose.

4. Today One Is a Church, One Is a Museum

While both the Parthenon and the Pantheon are open to tourism, the structures are used in different ways. “The Pantheon is intact and looks very much as it did when it was built, although some of its interior decoration has been altered,” Ratte says. The Pantheon is still used as a Roman Catholic church, and visitors can view much of the original construction while learning more about it on a guided tour.

And although the Parthenon was blown up by the Venetians in 1687, according to Ratte, “it is still one of the best-preserved of all Greek temples and many of its fallen columns have been re-erected.” Today the Parthenon serves more as a museum to ancient Greek history.

Despite having many differences, the two structures also have many similarities, as well. Both were originally built as temples, and were later turned into churches in the early Middle Ages. This is notable as Bernini put bell towers on the Pantheon, which have since been removed.

Both use columns extensively in their designs, and both have faced destruction, looting and rebuilding efforts through the centuries.

Originally Published: Jun 15, 2020

Note: This article have been indexed to our site. We do not claim legitimacy, ownership or copyright of any of the content above. To see the article at original source Click Here

Related Posts
Tasmanian Devils are Unique among Scavenging Mammals, Study Shows thumbnail

Tasmanian Devils are Unique among Scavenging Mammals, Study Shows

Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) — one of the few mammalian species to have developed physiological and behavioral specializations for scavenging — are picky eaters, according to a study by scientists from the University of New South Wales, the Carnivore Conservancy and the University of Sydney. The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is one of few mammalian…
Read More
New Zealand elects centre-right National Party as Chris Hipkins concedes defeat thumbnail

New Zealand elects centre-right National Party as Chris Hipkins concedes defeat

Key PointsNew Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has conceded defeat in the country's general election.National leader Christopher Luxon will be New Zealand's next prime minister.National's victory will unseat the Labour Party after six years in office.National leader Christopher Luxon has claimed victory in a New Zealand election that shifts the country to the right, ending
Read More
Kernel flow: A wearable device for noninvasive optical brain imaging thumbnail

Kernel flow: A wearable device for noninvasive optical brain imaging

Recent advances in brain imaging techniques facilitate accurate, high-resolution observations of the brain and its functions. For example, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a widely used noninvasive imaging technique that employs near-infrared light (wavelength >700 nm) to determine the relative concentration of hemoglobin in the brain, via differences in the light absorption patterns of hemoglobin.…
Read More
Can pets get serious about covid?  Here are the findings so far thumbnail

Can pets get serious about covid? Here are the findings so far

Nielen u netopierov, ale aj u iných zvierat sa potvrdilo, že majú SARS-CoV-2, vírus, ktorý spôsobuje covid. V zozname sú aj mačky, psy, tigre, levy, gorily, vydry, pumy, fretky, norky či hyeny. Sú niektoré zvieratá náchylnejšie? Tieto prípady postihli najmä mäsožravce z radu cicavcov, do ktorého patria divé a domáce mačky, psy a vlci, medvede…
Read More
Index Of News
Consider making some contribution to keep us going. We are donation based team who works to bring the best content to the readers. Every donation matters.
Donate Now

Subscription Form

Liking our Index Of News so far? Would you like to subscribe to receive news updates daily?