EXCERPT FROM RODOLPHO LANCIANI'S
THE RUINS AND EXCAVATIONS OF ANCIENT ROME
XLVII. PANTHEON. -The Pantheon
of Agrippa well deserves the name of the Sphinx of the Campus Martius,
because, in spite of its preservation, it remains inexplicable from many
points of view. This uncertainty relates to the general outline as well
as to, the details of the building. The rotunda is obviously disjointed
from the portico, and their architectural lines are not in harmony with
each other. On the other hand, it is evident that the Pantheon seen by
Pliny the elder, in Vespasian's time, was not the one which has come down
to us, because there is no place
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in the present building for the Caryatides of Diogenes the Athenian,
and for the capitals of Syracusan bronze which he saw and described as
crowning the columns of the temple. Therefore, when I was asked in 1881
to write an official account of the excavations undertaken by Guido Baccelli,
the Minister of Public Instruction, who freed the Pantheon from its ignoble
surroundings,1 I began the report by stating that the
veil of mystery in which the monument was shrouded had by no means been
lifted by these last researches, and that perhaps it never would be. We
were far from supposing that before a few years had elapsed we should discover
another, nay, two more Pantheons under the existing one, and should be
able to declare that Agrippa's name engraved on the epistyle of the pronaos
is historically and artistically misleading.
Fig. 185. PLAN OF THE FIRST
(Red) AND OF THE THIRD (Black) PANTHEON
To make the case clear, I must give a brief account of
the fortunes of the building, from Agrippa's time to the last restoration
by Septimius Severus and Caracalla.
There are two witnesses to the origin of its construction:
the legend on the face of the building, M - AGRIPPA - L -
F - COS - TER - TIVM - FECIT; and the record of Dion Cassius, Iiii.
27, "[Agrippa] finished the construction of the so-called Pantheon."
The date of the inscription is 27 B. C., while Dion
relates the events of the year 25. This discrepancy of dates may be reconciled
if we suppose the inscription to commemorate the material completion of
the structure, and the historian to be recording the solemn dedication
of the Pantheon and of the Lakonikon, which stood close by.
The same historian relates that the Pantheon was dedicated
to the ancestral gods of the Julian family, namely, Mars and Venus, and
that "Agrippa wished to raise a statue to Augustus also, so that the temple
might be placed under his protection. Augustus, however, declined the proposal.
In consequence of his refusal, only the statue of Julius Cæsar was
placed inside; those of Augustus and Agrippa outside in the pronaos."
From this passage we gather the evidence that Agrippa's
temple was furnished with a portico or pronaos. Now, as I remarked at the
beginning, between the present rotunda and the portico inscribed with the
name of the founder there is no artistic or structural connection. The
cornices of the round body are cut
1 Il Pantheon e le, Terme di Agrippa. Prima relazione
a sua Eceellenza il Ministro della Istruzione pubblica. Rome, Salviucei,
October, 1881. Ibid., Seconda relazione, August, 1882.
up by the portico, while those of the portico are intercepted by the
round body: There is a break between the two, five and a half centimetres
wide, through which the light shines. This state of things has been discussed
by Milizia, Fontana, Piranesi, Lazzeri, Hirt, Fea, Piale, Nibby, and Canina.
The majority believe, and I believed with them in 1881, that the portico
was a later addition; in other words, that before the refusal of Augustus
to permit his statue to stand within the temple, Agrippa's architect had
not thought of the portico, and that it was added by him when the Emperor
selected for his own statue a site outside the rotunda.
No less debatable is the relation between the Pantheon
and the Thermæ of Agrippa. Regarding this architects and archæologists
are divided into two groups. Some believe that the rotunda belongs to the
original plan of the baths, and that it was designed for a "caldarium;
" others deny any connection between the two. It is interesting, in view
of the light now thrown on this subject, to recall what Emil Braun wrote
forty-two years ago: "The incomparable circular edifice originally
intended by Agrippa to form the termination of the Thermæ, with which
it is intimately connected, is one of the noblest and most perfect productions
of that style of architecture specifically denominated Roman. When the
first wonderful creation of this species came into existence, the designer
of this glorious dome appears to have himself shrunk back from it, and
to have felt that it was not adapted to be the every-day residence of men,
but to be a habitation for the gods It is as difficult to reconcile the
statements of different authors respecting the original idea of Agrippa
as it is hazardous to attempt to prove the successive metamorphoses which
the plan sketched by the artist has undergone. This much is, however, certain:
that with respect to the modal transformation of the whole the consequences
have been most melancholy and injurious. The combination of the circular
edifice with the rectilinear masses of the vestibule . . . has been unsuccessful,
and the original design of the Roman architect has lost- much of its significance.
. . .No one previously unacquainted with the edifice could form an idea,
from the aspect of the portico, of that wonderful structure behind, which
must ever be considered as one of the noblest triumphs of the human mind
over matter in connection with the law of gravity."
Eheu, quantum mutatus ab illo ! How differently
we are obliged to speak and write after these last discoveries. At the
same time, the reader will notice that Emil Braun himself, in 1854, considered
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it difficult, if not impossible, to wrest from the Sphinx of the Campus
Martius the secret of its existence and metamorphoses. We know a great
deal more now, but the difficulties remain the same.
The Thermæ were built six years after the dedication
of the Pantheon and of the Lakonikon ; namely, in 19 B. C..
It appears also that in this second period of the great undertaking Agrippa
must have changed his mind more than once. At all events, after the year
19 we hear no more of the Lakonikon, but only of the Thermæ. Was
the Pantheon connected directly or indirectly with the baths, or did it
stand by itself, alone, independent, at the northern end of the quadrangle?
In other words, is it possible that the Pantheon, originally dedicated
to the gods, should have been used, six years later, as a caldarium, and
thus have been absorbed as an integral part of the great whole? The question
must remain unanswered; so many alterations have taken place at the point
of contact between the rotunda and the baths that nothing is left of the
first design. No other Roman structure, except the temple of Jupiter Optimus
Maximus, has been so unfortunate, and has undergone so many trials.
In the year 80, during the fire of Titus, the baths and
the Pantheon were burnt down. Domitian restored both. In 110, under the
rule of Trajan, a thunderbolt set the building on fire, and destroyed it
to the level of the ground. How such a thing could have happened is a mystery,
to be added to the many others connected with this structure. In the years
120-124 Hadrian reconstructed the rotunda and the baths, as shown by his
biographer, ch. 19. Some other dreadful accident must have happened soon
after, for Hadrian's successor, Antoninus Pius, is said to have restored
templum Agrippoe. In the year 202 Septimius Severus and Caracalla
PANTHEVM VETVSTATIE CORRVPTVM RESTITVERVNT. These
words, engraved on the same entablature which is inscribed with the name
of the founder, are more than enigmatic. How is it possible that a structure
of immense solidity, only eighty years old if we reckon from the restoration
of Hadrian, fifty or sixty if we reckon from the restoration of Antoninus,
should have become in so short a time " vetustate corrupta " ? It may help
us to explain the fact if we assume that, while the upper part of the Pantheon
was often struck by lightning and attacked by fire, the lower part was
submerged by the Tiber three or four times a year. Fire and water must
have increased tenfold the destructive power of time.
Summing up the information supplied to us by writers and
inscriptions, we had come to the following inferences, which were hypotheses
rather than conclusions: first, that the present Pantheon, inscribed with
name of Agrippa, was substantially his work; second, that the portico was
a later addition to, or alteration of, the original plan; third, that some
details of the structure, especially the inner decoration, were the work
of Hadrian and of Severus and Caracalla; fourth, that the Pantheon had
never been used as a caldarium. Such were the current theories at the beginning
At that time the Department of Antiquities was raising
a movable scaffolding to repair the dome in two or three places, where
rainwater had filtered in and damaged the coating A distinquished pupil
of the French Academy (Villa Medici), Louis Chedanne, then engaged in the
architectural study of the Pantheon, was allowed by the department to take
advantage of the scaffolding and to examine the structure of the great
dome. He was surprised to find it built of bricks stamped with a date (Agrippa's
bricks are not dated); and the date was of the time of Hadrian. It was
felt to be desirable to ascertain at once whether these bricks belonged
to a local and unimportant restoration of the beginning of the second century,
or whether they bore testimony to the chronology of the whole edifice.
The masonry of the rotunda, like that of Hadrian's mausoleum,
is faced with small triangular bricks, and with rows of tegulæ bipedales
at intervals of five feet, one above the other. (See p. 47.) Since these
tegulæ bipedales are dated, as a rule, holes were bored
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into them in about fifty places, and as many brick-stamps were found;
some on the outside facing, others in the thickness of the wall, in the
foundations, in the dome, in the staircases, in the arches and vaults;
in short, wherever the search was made.
The dates vary from A. D. 115 to
121. I mean, they are the dates of tilers who produced bricks between those
dates. A stricter chronological investigation, too minute and technical
to be recorded in these pages, has enabled us to ascertain that the reconstruction
of the Pantheon began in the year 120, and was finished in 124. It was
absolute, complete, from the lowest depths of the foundations to the skylight
of the dome; it included the rotunda as well as the portico, whose foundations
have also been explored to a depth never reached before. In short, the
present Pantheon, the world known masterpiece, - counted by Ammianus Marcellinus
among the wonders of Rome, considered by Michelangelo "disegno angelico
e non umano," proclaimed by Urban VIII. "ædificium toto terrarum
orbe celeberrimum," 1 - is not the work of Agrippa, whose
name it bears, but the work of Hadrian. The fact, however startling, is
confirmed by other evidence, to which little or no attention has been paid.
In a pamphlet entitled " Conclusione per la integrità del Pantheon," Rome,
1807, Carlo Fea, then Commissioner of Antiquities, describes how, on September
13,1804, he found three brick-stamps of the time of Hadrian, - one in the
thickness of the round wall, one under the flagstones of the portico, one
in the so-called Lakonikon. Piranesi, who witnessed the barbaric restorations
of Benedict XIV. in 1747, read likewise on the brick of the attic other
names and dates of the same period.
We must now meet the question which at once confronts
us in this new state of things. In rebuilding the Pantheon in its entirety,
from top to bottom, from the steps of the portico to the small apse at
the opposite end of the structure, did Hadrian respect the architectural
form of Agrippa's (and Domitian's) building, or did he erect a now structure
of his own design, altogether different in general outline and details?
The following considerations may help the student to unravel the tangle.
If we read on the face of the Pantheon the names of Agrippa, the founder,
and of Septimius Severus, the restorer in 202 B. C.,
and not that of Hadrian, the explanation is ready at hand. 11 Hadrian never
inscribed his name on the monuments which he designed and raised, with
the exception only of the temple which
1 See inscription on the vestibule.
he dedicated to Trajan," at the northern end of the Forum. So says his
biographer in ch. 19. The omission of the name is thus easily explained.
Some one, however, has succeeded in finding it inside the rotunda. In a
paper read before the Archæological Academy by Stefano Piale, June
26, 1828,1 1 find the following passage: -
"I have been kindly informed by our secretary, Filippo
Aurelio Visconti, that when the tribune (the main altar and apse)
of the rotunda was restored, a short time ago, the name of Julia Sabina,
the Empress of Hadrian, was found engraved on the columns of pavonazzetto.
This confirms the theory which I have long held, that the apse does not
belong to the original structure, but is the work of Hadrian. He made use
of it as a bench, when he, together with other magistrates, sat in the
Pantheon to administer justice and dictate the law, as we are told by Dion
The inference to be drawn from these remarkable statements
is that the inscription on the face of the building, which we had always
supposed to be the "signature," as it were, of the first builder of the
1 Pantheon, must be considered simply as homage paid
to his memory by some one who did the work over a century and a half later.
This unknown person was a great artist, in the true sense of the word,
a worthy rival of the great Apollodoros, the builder of the Forum of Trajan.
The Temples of Venus and Rome, of Matidia, of Trajan, of Neptune, designed
and built by Hadrian, his own mausoleum, the bridge which leads to it,
count among the architectural masterpieces of ancient Rome. To a man possessed
of such genius the rebuilding of the Pantheon must have proved an almost
irresistible temptation to show his power; it is more than probable, therefore,
that the original design would have been changed, enlarged, improved. This
supposition, namely, that the pre-Hadrianite structure was different in
shape, size, material, etc., seems to be supported by the record of the
two fires -in the times of Titus and Trajan. The present building is absolutely
fire-proof ; 2 therefore the Pantheon of Agrippa and
of Domitian, wrecked by fire in the years 80 and 110, must have been different
from that of Hadrian and Septimius Severus, which does not contain one
inch of inflammable matter.
To pass from theory to fact, from speculation to substantial
evidence, there was but one way left open: to make a search under
1 Un monumento ... della basilica di S. Paolo. Rome,
2 The wooden framework of the roof of the portico is
an innovation of the
seventeenth century; the original trusses were cast in
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the rotunda and its portico. The work has been carefully carried out
by all concerned with it, but the results are rather disappointing: they
have led only to greater confusion and uncertainty.
First as to the interior of the rotunda. The excavations
made in a line from the centre to the chapel of the Madonna del Sasso,
and also from the centre to the entrance gate, have shown the existence
of an earlier marble pavement at the average depth of six feet under the
present one (Hadrian's). The pavement is composed of a bed of concrete,
over which are laid slabs of giallo antico and pavonazzetto, marbles which
were used in this form and for such purpose only under the Empire. The
pavement is not horizontal, but slopes from the center towards the circumference,
like the lower floor of the arena of the Coliseum. The pavement, therefore,
belongs to a circular space open to rain; and a circular wall, built of
reticulated masonry, has actually been discovered - around the present
structure, to which it is concentric. It is marked in red in Fig.
185. The same pavement has been found running under the portico, at
a depth of five feet. The bed of concrete is one foot thick; the marble
slabs from two to three inches.
As regards the portico itself -under and near which the
excavations have been carried on with much more freedom than those
inside -it has been found to rest on a magnificent substructure of travertine,
much larger and of different design (marked also in red in Fig.
185). The level of the platform is nearly eight feet lower than the
floor of Hadrian's portico, and between the two there are traces of an
It is very difficult for me to make this account clear
without the help of plans and diagrams. However, summing up the facts which
I have tried to describe, and the results of the search made by the Department
of Antiquities, we reach the following conclusions.
(1) The present Pantheon, portico included, is not the
work of Agrippa, but of Hadrian, and dates from A. D.
(2) The columns, capitals, and entablature of the portico
inscribed with Agrippa's name may be original, and may date from 27-25
B. C.; but they were first removed and then put together
again by Hadrian. The original portico was decastyle, as shown by the foundations
of travertine, which project right and left of the present octostyle portico
enough to admit one more intercolumination at each end (see plan).
(3) The original structure of Agrippa was rectangular
instead of round, and faced the south instead of the north. It resembled
in shape the Temple of Concord, that is to say, the facade was on one
of the longer sides of the parallelogram, and not on one of the smaller.
This shape is special to the Augustea, and the Pantheon belonged to this
class of buildings.
(4) In front of the rectangular temple opened a round
space, inclosed by a wall of reticulated work and paved with slabs of giallo
and pavonazzetto. The wall can still be seen at the level of the foundations
of Hadrian's rotunda, with which it is concentric.
(5) The platform, built of huge blocks of travertine,
some eight feet below Hadrian's level, dates from the time of Agrippa.
(6) The intermediate marble floor (from two to three feet
higher than Agrippa's, from five to six feet lower than Hadrian's) dates
most likely from the time of Domitian.
(7) Septimius Severus and Caracalla did not alter the
shape of the structure. Their restorations were only superficial,
and relate mostly to the attic inside, which they incrusted with slabs
of porphyry and serpentine. Their beautiful decorations were destroyed
by Pope Benedict XIV. in 1747.
(8) If the outside architecture of Hadrian's rotunda is
rather coarse, and not worthy the exquisite beauty of the interior, we
must remember that the round body - the front excepted - was entirely concealed
and made invisible by the thermæ.
The history of the building, from its last restoration
in A. D. 202 to our own time, is too well known to
be narrated again in these pages. I shall mention two episodes only: one
relating to the destruction of the roof of the portico by Pope Barberini,
the other to the discovery of Raphael's body in 1833.
Giacinto Gigli, a diarist contemporary with Urban VIII.,
thus describes his shameful action: " In 1625, while the war-cry was raised
from one end of the peninsula to the other, Urban VIII. made a great provision
of arms and ammunition, and more especially of artillery. To provide himself
with a copious stock of `materia prima,' he caused the portico of the Pantheon
to be stripped of its bronze roof, a marvelous work, resting on the capitals
of the columns. But no sooner was the destruction accomplished than he
found the alloy of the metal not hard enough for casting guns.1
Meanwhile, the population, who flocked in great numbers to see what was
being done at the Pantheon, were deeply grieved, and urged that such a
beautiful work of antiquity, the only one which had escaped plunder from
the barbarians, should not now be dismantled. But the intention of the
pope was not to destroy the
1 Gigli affirms that the metal " was copiously mixed
with silver and gold."
URBS SACRA REGIONUM XIV
Pantheon: he gave orders for the construction of a new roof, and showed
his willingness to make other improvements. The weight of the metal stored
in the apostolic foundry was 450,251 pounds, of which 440,877 represented
the weight of the beams, 9374 that of the nails alone. Besides the four
columns of the baldacchino in S. Peter's, eighty guns were cast from it,
and mounted on the bastions of Castel S. Angelo."
The story about the casting of the four columns of the baldacchino
is not correct: the bronze, save a few thousand pounds, was all absorbed
by the guns of Castello. Giano Nicio Eritreo, another eye-witness, thus
speaks of the event: "Our good pontiff, Urban VIII., could not bear the
idea that such a mass of metal, intended for loftier purposes, should humble
itself to the office of keeping off forever the rain from the portico of
the Pantheon. He raised it to worthier destinies, because it is becoming
that such noble material should keep off the enemies of the Church rather
than the rain. At all events, Agrippa's temple has gained more than it
has lost, because Pope Urban VIII. has provided it with a much better roof
" (tectum multo quam antea elegantius).
Fig. 187 - The Pantheon at the time of Urban
Carlo Fea has discovered among the accounts of the pope's
treasury that concerning the fate of the bronze. The casting of
the eighty guns (bombards) used up 410,778 pounds, worth 67,260 scudi.
The small fraction that was left was handed over to the Apostolic Chamber
and used for other Purposes- The metal for the baldacchino was supplied
Fig. 188. -The Bronze Trusses of the Pronaos of the Pantheon,
from a Sketch by Dosio-
I have found in the Uffizi in Florence, and in other private
collections,a set of drawings by Sallustio Peruzzi, Sebastiano Serlio,
Giovanni Antonio Dosio, Jacopo Sansovino, and Cherubino Alberti,
which show the construction of the bronze trusses in their minutest details.
The main beams were composed of three sheets, two vertical, one horizontal,
riveted together in this shape. The beams as well as the heads of the nails
were ornamented with gilt rosettes. One of the nails was presented as a
souvenir to the Duke of Alcalá and was placed in the private museum
of that distinguished statesman. I have also discovered documents which
prove that the bronze doors, so often brought forward as a specimen of
antique workmanship, were practically cast over at the time of Pius IV.
The second and latest episode in the history of the Pantheon
is the discovery remains of Raphael, which took place on
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September 14, 1833. The search began in the early morning of September
9, in the presence of a committee of eminent artists, prelates, and public
notaries. It took five days to remove the massive masonry of the altar
and to reach the arcosolium under the statue of the Madonna del
Sasso, the place distinctly mentioned by Visari in Raphael's biography
as well as in Lorenzetto Lotti's. " Raphael provided in his will for the
restoration of one of the antique tabernacles in the church of S. Maria
Rotonda, and expressed the wish to be buried in it, under the new altar,
and under a marble statue of Our Lady." In the " Life of Lorenzetto " he
adds - " In execution of Raphael's will, he modeled a, marble statue four
cubits high, to be placed over his tomb in S. Maria Rotonda, in the tabernacle
restored at his expense."
The arcosoliurn appears to have been built in a hurry, together
with the wall which sealed its opening - a particular which agrees well
with the account of the burial. Raphael died in the night between Good
Friday and Easter Eve (1520). His remains were laid to rest on the following
night, and the wall which seats. the opening of the crypt must have been
finished before dawn; that is to say, before the. Easter office began.
Every kind of material was used in it, bricks, tufa, travertine, and chips
of porphyry and serpentine.
At noon of September 14, 1833, the last stone was removed, and
the excited assembly beheld for the first time the remains of the " divine
painter." They were lying in a coffin made of deal boards nailed with small
iron nails. It seems that the waters of the Tiber, by which the Pantheon
is periodically inundated, had filtered into the tomb, in spite of its
being surrounded by a wall two feet thick, and had caused the wooden coffin
to decay, and the bones to be covered by a layer of mud. The first bones
to appear were the right scapula and the crest of the right ilium. At 2.25
P. M. Gaspare Servi announced the discovery of the
skull, the leading feature of which was a double set of strong, healthy,
shining teeth. At 2.30 Baron Carmucini, the painter, made a pencil sketch
of the skeleton, which shows that the body had been laid to rest well composed,
with hands crossed on the breast, and the face looking up towards the Madonna
del Sasso, as if imploring from her the peace of the just. The size of
the skeleton, from the vertex of the skull to the protuberance of the heel,
was measured by means of a wooden compass of the kind used by marble-cutters:
it was given at 1664 millimetres, exactly eight times the measure of the
head. The sceletognosis, or expert examination of the bones,
was made by the " last of the Frangipani," the learned surgeon Baron
Antonio Trasmondo. Among the peculiarities described in his report, there
is a " great roughness of the thumb," which is characteristic of painters.
Fig. 189. -The Remains of Raphael, discovered September 14, 1833.
(From a contemporary drawing.)
The mud which filled the arcosolium was sifted most carefully,
with no result worthy of notice. The missing tooth of the lower jaw
(the last molar on the left) was not found. There were, however, some tags
and small rings for lacings, which proves that Raphael was buried in his
official robe of "cubicularius pontificis," a design of which is given
by some contemporary painters.
After being exposed in a glass case for some days, Raphael's
remains were again buried under the Madonna del Sasso, near those of Maria
da Bibiena, his betrothed, the niece of the well- known Cardinal Bernardo
Divizio, as the inscription over the girl's grave says : LETOS
HYMENEOS MORTE PRÆVERTIT, ET ANTE NUPTIALES FACES VIRGO EST ELATA.
The proposal to demolish the houses which sorrounded
the Pantheon on three sides, concealed its proportions, and destroyed its
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architectural effect, dates from the age of Pomponius Letus, who complains
of the state of things in his "Dialogues." Eugenius IV. lowered the rubbish
accumulated against the portico, and paved the piazza and the adjoining
streets. Urban VIII., having stripped the roof of the portico of its bronze
beams, restored the east corner of the colonnade, and destroyed the shops
built between the granite pillars. Alexander VII. put two columns from
the baths of Nero (found in the Piazza di S. Luigi de' Francesi) in place
of those missing, and pulled down some houses from which the canons of
the Rotonda derived an income of 1500 scudi a year. Pius VII. demolished
the booths of fishmongers which surrounded the fountain. Pius IX. in 1854
carried the demolition of the houses as far as the Palazzo Vittori-Bianchi
on the corner facing the Minerva. The city of Rome in 1876 cut away one
half of the Crescenzi and Aldobrandini palaces. The minister of public
instruction, Guido Baccelli, brought the matter to a close in 1882, at
a cost of over L30,000. The works were inaugurated on July 1, 1881, and
completed in the following January. Houses and palaces of 150 metres frontage
were demolished, two thousand square metres of Agrippa's baths excavated,
two thirds of the Pantheon restored to view, and many thousand metres of
debris carted away.
The literature on the Pantheon up to 1881 is given by,
the Notizie Scavi, 1881, p. 256; after that
date by Huelsen, Nomenclator, p. 49. The latest work is Giovanni Eroli's
Raccolia generale delle iscrizioni nel Pantheon di Roma. Narni,
XLVIII. The name of LAKONIKON
has been given to the beautiful hall laid bare by Baccelli at the back
of the Pantheon towards the Via della Palombella, but it is not certain
whether we are right in applying it. The hall, which extends under the
street and under the Palazzo della Accademia Eccelesiastica for a length
of 45 metres and a depth of 19, seems to me more a frigidarium of the baths
of the time of Hadrian than an original work of Agrippa. The hall has sixteen
niches for statues, and a tribune for a group of great size, back to back
with the apse of the Pantheon. The ceiling was supported by four fluted
columns of pavonazzetto and four of red granite. The frieze, of which many
fragments were found and replaced in situ, is a marvel of art, probably
of the time of Agrippa.
This hall was excavated for the first time (?) during
the stay in Rome of Giovanni Alberti, whose drawings are the best that
THE TEMPLE OF NEPTUNE
we have. It seems that when the ceiling of this hall gave way, and thundered
down with a sudden crash, some one who happened to be underneath was crushed
to death. The bones of this poor fellow, who had probably selected the
ruins of Agrippa's baths for his dwelling, were found in December, 1881,
under a piece of the cornice weighing many tons. Not far from this strange
grave an earthern vase was discovered containing about 2,000 coins of the
thirteenth century. This is perhaps the date of the final collapse of Agrippa's
baths. There are other indifferent remains visible in the Via dell' Arco
delta Ciambella and under the adjoining houses.