A Comparison of the Athenian Parthenon and Roman Pantheon

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Comparing the Parthenon and the Pantheon

Over the years, we have marveled at a variety of historical buildings. Including the Roman Pantheon, the Athenian Parthenon, the Colosseum, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and the Gothic building of Notre Dame. These buildings open our eyes to the great ancient societies and the mythology of the prehistoric man. In this comparative essay, I'll draw attention to the parallels and draw comparisons between the various ideas that the Parthenon of Athens and the Pantheon of Rome stand for. It would be wise to commence by learning a few things about the two structures. The Athenian Parthenon, built between 447 and 438 BC is located in Greece (Rhodes 109), whereas the Roman Pantheon, built in 27BC, is in Italy (Kleiner 200).

Religious Symbolism and Architectural Features

Whereas the Parthenon was built in honor of goddess Athena, the Pantheon was built as a symbol of honor to the seven planetary Roman gods. The Athenian Parthenon represents power, distinguishing Athens as being the most powerful of the Greek states. From these structures, we are let into the mythology of the ancient Greeks as well as Romans, who believed in supernatural beings. We can also tell of architectural cohesiveness and professionalism, as numerous features synonymous with Greek architecture are seen in the structure that is the pantheon. Both structures were built at the highest geographical locations, as it was believed that there, they were closest to the gods. One thing that also comes out is the fact that the Parthenon was built solely based on Doric and Ionic orders whereas the Pantheon had a huge proportion of its architecture being based on Greek Corinthian orders. This shows that the citizens of Greece and Athens by extension, were more advanced as far as architecture and its workmanship is concerned. This could also translate into the fact that Athenians were more educated as compared to the Romans at that point in time.

Symbols of Prosperity and Values

These two structures are imposing, coming out clear as symbols of political, social, and economic prosperity and values. This is does not regard the fact that one was made for a city-state while the other, for a Mediterranean-wide empire. Socially, we are let into the beliefs of the ancient Greeks and Romans, who believed in gods. The Parthenon was built to honor the goddess Athena, who was taken to be the protector of the people of Athens (Rhodes 108). This shows that the citizens had immense belief that a supernatural being was watching over them. The Pantheon on the other hand, was built to honor the seven planetary gods (Kleiner 250). It is also the resting site for great Italian kings as well as revered personalities such as painters, composers, and architects.

Political Significance and Architectural Influence

The Parthenon is a symbol of political bravado. This is in line with the fact that it is a symbol of the power of Perikles, who was a powerful politician from Athens, who greatly influenced its construction. The Pantheon, on the other hand, symbolizes the high regard to power, in that the powerful kings and influential personalities were buried here. This is bearing in mind the fact that this structure has more of a religious inclination.

Influence on Modern Architecture

The design and material structure of these two structures have inspired a lot, spilling down to modern architecture. The Pantheon is the first-ever temple to combine Greek orders with construction by concrete (Kleiner 120). The Parthenon is Doric, with a rectangular floor, octostyle colonnade with triglyphs and metopes. It has a floor made exclusively from marble, alongside a base made of limestone. These, combined with the dome structure of the Pantheon, testify that the ancient Greeks and Romans were excellent architects with impeccable mathematical understanding in geometry.


In conclusion, it is safe to say that these two structures are an embodiment of ideal construction and architecture.

Works Cited

Kleiner, Fred S. A History of Roman Art. Cengage Learning, 2016.

Rhodes, Robin F. "The Parthenon Enigma: A New Understanding of the West9s Most Iconic Building and the People Who Made It, by Joan Breton Connelly." (2017): 108-110.

July 07, 2023

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