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Roman Temples, and other Antique
F the many Heathen Temples at
Rome that have been converted into Christian Churches, although several are strikingly beautiful, yet none are comparable to the Pantheon, in respect either of sublimity, or preservation.*
This Majestic Rotunda has withstood the injuries of time and nature, ever оо
** Amid the domes of Modern hands,
See how the dread Pantheon stands,
since the Age of the Consuls. By them the gigantic Concave was dedicated to Cybele—the fancied Mother of the Gods, and her numerous Progeny-celestialterrestrial—and infernal;
as in after times by the Popes, to the Virgin Mary —and all the Saints of the Kalendar.
It was originally a simple Dome—a form of all others the least liable to decay-as if intended by its Founders to endure for ever.
The interior is a hundred and fifty feet diameter, and a hundred and fifty high, within solid walls of Roman brick, little less than twenty feet in thickness. They are perforated by a single Door, twenty feet wide, and a single Window, in the centre of the Vault-large enough to admit at once a sufficiency of light and air.
Agrippa, the Son-in-Law of Augustus, added the marble Portico, forty feet by eighty or ninety, supported by sixteen Corinthian Columns, five feet diameter and forty high, although each of them is but a single piece of Egyptian granite, with bases and capitals of white marble. The Augustan Inscription is still legible upon the frieze :
M. AGRIPPA L. F. COS. TERTIUM FECIT..
Within a lofty Niche, on each side of the Entrance, the Royal Minion proudly, or impiously, placed colossal Statues of himself, and his adoptive Father; and
Erected by M. Agrippa, the Son of L. in his third Consulate.
the self-created deities are supposed to have appeared again above, in triumphal Cars, upon
square Towers which rise to the Entablature of the Edifice, and now terminate in modern Belfrys.But every thing of that kind on the outside of the Building has long been overthrown and buried in the accumulated rubbish of surrounding Ruins-occasioned by the ravages of the Goths and Vandals-the effects of successive Conflagrations—and the silent devastation of corroding Time.
The bold Concavity within remained uninjured amidst the falling walls of neighbouring Edifices, by which two of the massy Columns of the Portico had been crushed to pieces; and a sallow hue is to this day the only indication of
remote Antiquity in the minutest mould. ings of the Pediments, supported over the perpetual Altars by coeval pillars of porphyry and granite.
This magnificent Temple was stripped of its Images its sacrificial Vessels of gold and silver—and its ornaments of precious Stones, by Constantine II. who removed them to Constantinople, then the Seat of Empire; and the bronze Doors, curiously embossed, were taken away by Genseric King of the Vandals, and afterward lost in the Sicilian Sea.It remained for Pope Urban VIII. in our own times to strip the beams of the Portico of their bronze plates for the brazen Canopy of St. Peter's.