Pantheon Vs Parthenon

740 Words 3 Pages
The Parthenon of Athens is over five hundred years older than the Pantheon of Rome. The Romans admired the ancient Greeks, who were as far removed from them across time as we are from Renaissance Italy. Although Greece and Rome were, and are different cultures, our concept of ‘progress’ is also relevant. The Romans were more modern, more globalized and more technologically advanced. This shows in their art, but not as much as in the architectural techniques and materials available to them. Perhaps the greatest difference is how much more important individuals were in democratic Athens than in Imperial Rome.
The Pantheon has a portico with a pediment supported on pillars. These are based on the rules which Rome learned from Greek buildings
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But they seem to have been very different in how they were used. In Athens, the Parthenon was the main temple: the temple of Athena Parthenos, the patron goddess of the city. It stood on the Acropolis, the defensible hill at the heart of the city. It could be seen from everywhere. In contrast, we aren’t particularly sure which gods, other than Mars and Venus, were honoured in the Pantheon. And, according to Livy, (Godfrey and Hemsoll, 1986) you wouldn’t have a temple dedicated to more than one god - for how could you interpret omens occurring at a multiply designated temple? So maybe there were no religious ceremonies at all. Certainly, it had a lot of statues of gods associated with it. But Rome had a cosmopolitan selection of gods and the Pantheon wasn’t the top temple. It was prominently positioned off the forum. And the treasury was up the Capitoline hill, in the Temple of Saturn. In Athens, major religious festivals were centred on the Parthenon. When the doors were opened, there was Phidias’ huge, legendarily beautiful statue of gold and ivory in the main chamber, the naos - the representation of Athena. Prominent citizens would make offerings to the temple. And those offerings were displayed in the treasury at the back of the building (the opisthodomos). It was the city treasury. You could walk up and look through the gate and see how wealthy Athens was. The state’s patron goddess and the state …show more content…
It was a strong, proud statement, linking the heart of the city to its patron goddess. But the Pantheon was a more muted statement of wider ranging power and greater technical prowess. And perhaps of a more secular power - with a less intimate, more pick and choose relationship to its gods. In Athens, Pericles and Phidias made very sure that their names were associated with their great triumph. But the Emperor Hadrian and his architect preferred not to claim credit for the largest dome in the world - their inscription just puts it down as a restoration of an earlier structure, no big deal. Personally, I find this tendency to massive understatement to be one of the more appealing, sympathetic features of Roman

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