In the Shadow of Centuries

Pantheon 2013

My favorite piazza in Rome is the Pantheon, gazing at the Roman temple to all the gods. The elegant dome, intact for 2000 years, shelters a dramatic colorful marble interior, a hint of the glories the Forum once held for the populous.

Today, young lovers lounge at the splashing fountain while tourists link hands to surround the enormous granite pillars, floated to Rome from Egypt by some ambitious Caesar.  The pharaohs provided the obelisk that graces the fountain, too.

Sipping chilled prosecco, I contemplate the range of history–four thousand years or so–on display before me.  Hadrian’s building spree in 80 CE, Egyptian hieroglyphs and medieval ironwork.  A bride and groom arrive with their entourage to pose for photos with the ancient monuments, declaring ‘our love will last as long as the Pantheon stands.’  Ask a Roman engineer how long that will be, and he will answer with ringing authority: Forever.