Abstract. Lambert Rosenbusch introduces a set of three papers from two conferences on the Pantheon, Rome.

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Conference Report:
The Pantheon:
"Symbol of the universe" and "The Interpretation in Northern Europe"
Sacred central building, library, rotunda, heavenly globe
Pantheon, Rome, in the rooms of the Accademia di San Luca
23 September 2001 and 21 March 2002


Lambert Rosenbusch

On the autumn equinox in 2001, when day and night are equal in length, members of several European countries gathered in Rome for a first scientific colloquy about the interior of the Pantheon. The purpose of this event was to gather friends and specialists to exchange experiences and investigate unsolved questions. An important event on the program was a visit to the main central building, to the vestibule, the rotunda and a variety of side rooms.

Fig. 1. Pantheon meeting participants, left to right: Venanzio Pengo, Francesco Giuseppe Panozzo, Lambert Rosenbusch, Roberto Giannerini, Giovanni Belardi, Peter Wilkens, Priscilla Paolini, Fredrich Rakob, Gert Sperling, Riccardo Migliari

Half a year later, in the spring of 2002, again at the equinox, we met once more in the vestibule (Fig. 1). The group discretely avoided the public in the western side-niche. As in 2001, all members came well equipped. Some questions had been prepared, together with some answers to topics already raised, especially with regards to the rotunda of Leibniz in Wolfenbüttel. Virtually christened a sacred monument (in a travel report of 1907, Alfred Lichtwarck describes the atmosphere of the library as "basilica-like" [1]) by the admiring intellectual world until its demolition in 1887, its aura of ancient magnificence earned it the honorary title of "Pantheon of Books" and "eighth Wonder of the World."[2] In order to trace the reasons for the apparently successful solution of this Pantheon-like recreation in Wolfenbüttel, it was therefore necessary to analyze its relationship to the original Pantheon in Rome, in terms of architectural and conceptual relationships, as well as effect and function. The existing, if minimal, evidence indicates that also in the Roman Pantheon there existed a research library of Alexandrian design. Research into the relationships between the rotundas of Rome and Wolfenbüttel was the basis for the theme of 2002: "The Interpretation in Northern Europe."

What follows are three reports from the meeting in Rome:

Early Orchestration: The Pantheon as a Resonance Element by Gert Sperling;

The Pantheon as a Globe-Shaped Concept by Peter Wilkins;

The Pantheon as an Image of the Universe by Lambert Rosenbusch.

These should give an impression of the three partial experimental study issues relating to the theme of the colloquies.

EDITOR'S NOTE: These articles were first published in German with an English translation in the Werkbund Nord, 2002-2, and are republished in the Nexus Network Journal by permission. Revised English translation by Kim Williams.

The organisers gratefully thank the following for advice, help, support and personal recommendation during the preparation:
Monsignore Wilm Sanders, St. Ansgar, Katholische Akademie beim Erzbistum Hamburg; his Excellency, Erzbischof Ludwig Averkamp, Hamburg; Monsignore Francesco Marchisano, Rom; Kjeld De Fine Licht, Kopenhagen / Frederiksberg; Gottfried Gruben, Starnberg; Thomas Bürger, SLUB Dresden; Mechthild und Paul Raabe, Wolfenbüttel. For the special permission to visit of the stanza and loggia of Raffael, and Bramante's Scala regia: Francesco Buranelli, Direktor der Vatikanischen Museen. For the access to the Vatican Secret Archive and permission to view the west Roman State Archive of the Traian: Pater Sergio Pagano und Dott. Giovanni Castaldo. For arranging the visit to the Palazzo Farnese: the German and French embassies in Rome. For the personal guide of the Cancelleria, Seat of the Accademia di San Luca: Monsignore Francesco Marchisano, Presidente della Commissione per i Beni Culturali della Chiesa, Citta dell Vaticano. For invaluable discussion and language assistance: the German Institute of Archaeology Rome, Prof. Dr. Dieter Mertens, director, with special thanks to Prof. Dr. Friedrich Rakob; the architects of "arcarete:" Piove di Sacco and Roberto Giannerini (Padova), Giuseppe-Franco Panozzo (Vicenza), Ricardo Romanelli (Venezia). For the provision of teaching and research contracts within the scope of the meeting to Gert Sperling and Peter Wilkens: the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg. For help in producing these reports, particularly for advice on specialist terms and for the English translation: David Brayshaw, Hamburg.

1] Alfred Lichtwarck, Reisebericht 1907, Wellenhausen/Celle, Hellmut Saucke-Verlag, 2000. return to text

[2] Friedrich Matthisson, Erinnerungen Bd. 1, Zürich, 1810 p 347, cited in Paul Raabe, Das achte Weltwunder in Wolfenbütteler Beiträge 1/1972 , 3. return to text


 The correct citation for this article is:
Lambert Rosenbusch, "Introduction to 'The Pantheon:
"Symbol of the universe" and "The Interpretation in Northern Europe"', Nexus Network Journal, vol. 6 no. 1 (Spring 2004), http://www.nexusjournal.com/conf_reps_v6n1-Intro.html

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