Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hadrian's Eye

A remarkable tribute to the Pantheon in Sunday's New York Times transported me to Rome and reminded me, as I watched the stabbing of Julius Caesar on HBO's finale of Rome, how much I admire the true creator of the Pantheon, the Emperor Hadrian. Once again, as I did with Darryl last summer, I stood in the center of that sacred space, gazing at the shaft of sunlight entering the eye of the dome and piercing the interior to light the stone walls of the temple. An interior touched by the sun's shaft, interior and exterior, man-made space atune to nature, sacred to all the gods, a temple to Pantheism, this holy proportion is the sole remaining complete temple of ancient Rome. Yet it was fashioned by a man who was as Greek in mind as he was Roman, a man of the Hellenistic spirit, bearded Hadrian, lover of Antinous.

Dome of the Pantheon
photo by Jameson

Athens, National Archeological Museum

Imagine, Hadrian in the Pantheon, his arms around Antinous, blessed by the gods of antiquity. Above the lovers, the oculus of the Pantheon rains sunlight down upon their laurel-crowned heads. Will such a gathering again occur in that sacred space? How preferable theirs to the gatherings in the nearby Vatican, gatherings of loveless judges ready to condemn what they can neither feel nor comprehend, just as they condemned the spinning worlds of Galileo in their dizzy hubris.
If religion is to have any meaning at all, it must find it once again in the reason of Apollo and the passion of Dionysius. Faith is the love of another, and religious ecstasy is mutual orgasm.



No comments:

Post a Comment