Pantheon on Adrianou Street ΤΟ ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ ΣΤΗΝ ΟΔΟ ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟΥ
In 131/2 AD Emperor Hadrian gathered the Greek cities to participate in a permanent “Conference of Panhellenes” to be based in Athens. The aim of this Pan-Hellenic program was to revive classical Greece and reinforce the prestige of the Eleusinian Mysteries. The Emperor himself was worshiped as Panhellenios. A very important building constructed by Hadrian in Athens was the Pantheon (θεοῖς τοῖς πᾶσιν ἱερόν κοινόν) where records of all the sacred buildings, the dedications, and the Emperor’s donations to the Greek but also the barbaric cities, were engraved. The impressive visible remains of a three-aisle temple on 80 Adrianou Street in Plaka have been identified as the Pantheon.
The Pantheon building on Adrianou Street, Plaka.
The ruins of the Pantheon building on Adrianou Street, Plaka.
It was situated approximately 50 m east of the Library of Hadrian and the Roman Agora, constructed over the remains of late Hellenistic and early Roman buildings on the southern side of an ancient street. The building was a large three-aisle basilica, with a large cella, of an estimated length of 85 m and width of 40 m, with a porch at its east end. The dimensions of the structure were enormous, surpassing even the Parthenon in size. In this particular plot, part of the northern wall of the building of a total length of 11.50 m and width of 1.70 m is unearthed and preserved, in the height of four rows of blocks made of aktite, a local limestone from Piraeus. 7 m away to the south, a row of internal cruciform piers possibly supported arcades or vaults.
Soon after the building was found in 1968, it was identified by Ioannis Travlos as the Common Sanctuary of All Gods, the Pantheon, referred to by historian Pausanias among the buildings constructed by the Emperor Hadrian in Athens. The building is also believed to be the Panellenion, the meeting place of the deputies of the various city-states, also the work of Hadrian.
During the 3rd c. AD the northern side of the monument became part of the late Roman Fortification Wall. A fortifying tower and an elaborate marble gate were added to that wall during the era of the Byzantine Emperor Justinianus I (527-565 AD) and is visible in the neighboring plot. Part of this tower is preserved, 5 m high in the western wall of the private building on the east. At the southern end of the same property one could see the remains of the post-Byzantine church of Panagia Krystalliotissa (17th c.) that is also preserved in the basement of a 19th c. building.
The plan of the excavated part of the Pantheon building on Adrianou Street, Plaka.