« ZurückWeiter »
which Augustus transferred the statue after the curia was either burnt or taken down.* Part of the Pompeian shade,† the portico, existed in the beginning of the fifteenth century, and the atrium was still called Satrum. So says Blondus. At all events, so imposing is the stern majesty of the statue, and so memorable is the story, that the play of the imagination leaves no room for the exercise of the judgment, and the fiction, if a fiction it is, operates on the spectator with an effect not less powerful than truth.
Whether the Pantheon be the calidarium of a bath or a temple, or a single or a double building, it is evidently that structure of which the ancients themselves spoke with rapture as one of the wonders of Rome : whose vault was like the heavens, § and whose compass was that of a whole region. ||
* Sueton. in vit. August. cap. 31, and in vit. C. J. Cæsar, cap. 88. Appian says it was burnt down. See a note of Pitiscus to Suetonius, pag. 224. † “Tu modo Pompeia lenta spatiare sub umbra.”
Ovid., Ar. aman. | Roma instaurata, lib. ii. fo. 31. During the bombardment of Rome by the French in 1849 several shots struck the Spada Palace, and even the room in which the Pompey stands, but the statue was not injured (1854).
5 « ώς δε εγώ νομίζω ότι θολοειδές όν τώ ουρανώ προσέoικεν.” - Dion. Hist. Rom., lib. liii. tom. i. p. 722.
|| “ Pantheum velut regionem teretem speciosa celsitudine fornicatam."—Amm. Marcell., lib. xvi. cap. x. p. 145.
Notwithstanding the repairs of Domitian, Hadrian, and Severus and Caracalla, it is probable that the later artists copied the old model, and that the portico may still be said to belong to the age of Augustus. Knowing that we see what was one of the most superb edifices of the ancient city, in the best period of its architecture, we are surprised, when looking down on the Pantheon from one of the summits of Rome, with the mean appearance of its flat leaden dome, compared with the many towering structures of the modern town; but the sight of the Portico from the opposite extremity of the market.place in front of the Rotonda, vindicates the majesty of the ancient capital.
The Abate Lazeri * has done his utmost to prove this structure a bath, or, at least, not a temple; or if it were a temple, he would show that a temple does not always mean a religious edifice, but sometimes a tomb, and sometimes the mast of a ship; and that Pantheon was a band of soldiers. However, as our Pantheon is neither one nor the other of these three, we need not embarrass ourselves with the name, which was a difficulty even in ancient times. Dion ascribed it to the expanding vault, but tells that others referred it to the resemblance to several deities observed in certain statues of Venus and Mars. There is no evidence that it was dedicated to
* Discorso di Pietro Lazeri della consecrazione del Panteone fatta da Bonifazio IV. Roma, 1749.
+ Hist. Rom. in loc. citat.
all the gods, although such a persuasion prevailed with the early Christian writers :* nor is there any authority for the assertion of the pilgrim of the thirteenth century that Cybele and Neptune were the original possessors of this temple.
The words of Pliny should be reckoned decisive that the Pantheon was dedicated to Jove the Avenger,f and Lazeri has only one way of getting rid of this witness, which is by remarking that all places dedicated to gods were not necessarily temples. In his reply to objections he rather gives way, and retreats to the ground that the Christians did not think it a temple, or they would have destroyed it, as they did all other edifices devoted to the pagan religion !! This is the strength of his argument; and, up to a certain point, he makes out his case better against, or, as he thought, for, the Christians, than against the pretensions of Jupiter to his claims over the Pantheon. In both one and the other position the Abate has fallen into errors for which he has been sharply reproved by the editor of Winkelmann. I
* Paul the deacon—the martyrology. “Idem (Focas) Papa Bonifacio petente, jussit in veteri fano, quod Panteon vocabant, ablatis idolatriæ sordibus, Ecclesiam Beatæ semper Virginis Mariæ, et omnium Martyrum fieri, ut ubi omnium non Deorum, sed Dæmonum cultus erat, ibi deinceps fieret omnium memoria sanctorum.”
-De Gest. Lang. lib. iv. cap. xxxvii. p. 464, Script. Rer. Ital., tom. i.
+ “ Pantheon Jovi Ultori ab Agrippa factum, cum theatrum ante texerit Romæ.”—Nat. Hist., lib. xxxvi. cap. xv.
| Dissertazione sulle Rovine, &c. p. 284, note (c).
The positive merit of “saving and converting the majestic structure of the Pantheon” * would have been greater, if the consecration had taken place earlier than two hundred years after the triumph of Christianity. From the shutting of the temples in the reign of Honorius to the year 609, it must have been abandoned to the ravages of neglect. Vain attempts have been made to prove that it was dedicated before the above date ;t but all the writers are of accord in this point; there is only some doubt whether all the Saints should not be esteemed the first possessors of the Christian Church, instead of all the Martyrs. It seems, that as early as the fourth century the Saints were worshipped with the Martyrs ;£ and, indeed, as martyrdom grew more rare every day, and was not to be had, except now and then from an Arian tyrant, it is probable that simple saintship was regarded as a just title to an apotheosis. Gregory IV. changed the martyrs, however, into saints, at the re-consecration in 830, though the ancient name was still preserved - Beata Maria ad Martyres.
The positive merit of saving the Pantheon would have been more complete if the Pontiffs had not afterwards converted it to a fortress, which in the time of
* Decline and Fall, cap. lxxi. tom. xii. p. 408. † By father Martene. Discorso, &c. p. 4.
I Mabillon, Cardinal Bona, and Fontanini, are of this opinion. Discorso, p. 4.
§ Anastas. in vit. Greg. IV. p. 226, Script. Rer. Ital. tom, iii.
Gregory VII. was called S. Maria in turribus, and was defended by the anti-pope Clement III., when the Countess Matilda came to Rome in 1087.* It appears, from the form of an oath taken by the Senators of Rome in the time of Celestine III., about the year 1191, that it could receive a papal garrison, and was, together with the island of the Tiber and the Castle of Saint Angelo, fortified against the enemies of the Church.f
The Pontiffs would have deserved more praise if they had not added and taken away, ornaments at will; if Urban VIII.I had not imitated the wretched Constans, and if he had not added his hideous belfries; if Alexander VII. had cleared away all, instead of half, of the buildings which blocked up the Rotonda; if Gregory XIII. and Clement XI. had opened a wider space in front; and, lastly, if Benedict XIV. had not
* Baron. annal. ecclesias. ad an. 1087. The editor of ' Eustace’s. Classical Tour' denies this-on what authority I know not.
† Mabillon. Mus. Ital. tom. ü. Ordo Rornanus, num. 86, p. 215. Juramentum senatorum urbis—" nominatim autem sanctum Petrum, urbem Romanam, civitatem Leoninam, transtyberim, insulam, castellum Crescentii, sanctam Mariam Rotundam." All these the senator swore to assist the Pope to retain.
I Urban made a boast of his robbery, and affixed this inscription under the portico: “Urbanus VIII. Pont. Max. Vetustas ahenei lacunaris reliquias in Vaticanas columnas et bellica tormenta, conflavit ut decora inutilia et ipsi prope famæ ignota fierent in Vaticano templo apostolici sepulchri ornamenta in Hadriana arce instrumenta publicæ securitatis, anno Domini MDCXXXII. Pontific. IX.” Yet Urban is the hero of the poet Casimir. Augustus himself scarcely received from his eulogists more elegant flattery than Urban from his Polish admirer.