I remember this moment vividly. We came to the end of an alley of shops and restaurants and suddenly, there it was: the Pantheon. I kept staring at it. It didn't seem real. I looked like a giant mural behind all the tourists and outdoor cafes. I was so imposing it took my breath away for a moment. I kept waiting for something to show it was real, not just a figment of my overactive imagination.
But it was real. Lifted from Google, " The Roman Pantheon is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. It is a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome. As the brick stamps on the side of the building reveal it was built and dedicated between A.D 118 and 125." That's old. And its still here.
Somethings are built to last. It outlasted the Roman Empire and Mussolini. It stands today in defiance of tourist onslaughts and political upheavals. Inside, it is gorgeous. But, to lift from Google again, "The Pantheon is still discussed today as a building clouded in mystery. The original purpose of the building is unknown. Although the temple is dedicated to all Greek gods the scale and size of the temple emphasized power and Roman duty."
It strikes me how it was with such hubris the Romans built these temples to their gods. It is not unlike us today, only our gods have changed. I am not speaking of the God of religion. I am referring to the gods of hubris, greed, self-aggrandizement and the like. Temples are big box stores and stadiums, cineplexes and shopping malls. Some of those are beginning to crumble, just like so many of the grand buildings of the Greeks and Romans. The Colosseum is not nearly as well preserved.
So when I looked at this picture again today that is what came to mind. The ghosts of the Romans are within these walls and everywhere in Rome. And as evidenced by the hoards of visitors in this picture alone, the times have changed. And yet somethings remain unchanged, looking so very surreal in this modern, crazy world.