The Pantheon, Eye of Rome, and Its Glimpse of the Sky

8 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018

Date Written: May 27, 2018


The only natural light source of the Pantheon in Rome is its Oculus, a large opening at the top of the vault. Some literature proposed that the rays of the sun, passing through the Oculus, were acting as they could do in a huge sundial. The sun has been also imagined as being involved during some rituals made by the Roman emperors in the temple, to emphasize the celebrations of the foundation of Rome. Besides to the sun, the temple could also have been linked to the heavens and the stars passing close to the Zenith. Inside this temple, which we could imagine as a huge eye, the gods were guarding the motion of the universe, Mundus, of which the city, Caput Mundi, was the head. In fact, a possibility exists that the architect who planned the temple had been inspired by the form of the human eye to create a building representative of the link between Rome and the heavens, exactly in the place where Romulus ascended to them. In this article, besides proposing this idea, we give also some simulations made by means of the software planetarium Stellarium, of the night sky and the stars visible through the Oculus at the time of the Emperor Hadrian, who built the temple that we see today.

Keywords: Archaeoastronomy, Architecture, Rome, Stellarium

Suggested Citation

Sparavigna, Amelia Carolina and Dastrù, Lidia, The Pantheon, Eye of Rome, and Its Glimpse of the Sky (May 27, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Amelia Carolina Sparavigna (Contact Author)

Polytechnic University of Turin ( email )

Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24
Torino, Torino 10129

Lidia Dastrù

Independent ( email )

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