The Pantheon

The Pantheon is a temple to all the gods, originally built by Agrippa in the days of Augustus, and rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian after a fire. The current structure faces north, and is entered from a large portico that has three rows of columns: eight in the front row and four in each of those behind.

The main temple is round and domed. It has an internal diameter of 142 feet, and the apex of the dome is 142 feet from the floor, so that a sphere would fit exactly within the main room. During the day, the only light comes from a circular hole, the oculus, 30 feet in diameter, in the top of the dome. The wall is adorned with seven large niches (the entrance stands in place of an eighth), each of which contains the statue of a god. Three are male, four female and none can be unambiguously identified. This was, it is thought, deliberate; the three opposite the entrance are reminiscent of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva (the Capitoline triad), but the male statue also has elements reminiscent of Augustus and Hercules.

The Pantheon is a popular temple with the Kindred, and it is kept open at night to serve the devotions of the pagans among them. One reason for this is that it seems that the Striges cannot enter the Pantheon; more than one Kindred fleeing the monsters has found a degree of refuge here, while the monsters howled at the door or around the oculus. As there is no escape from the temple, and nowhere to hide from the sun, this feature is more significant for the sacred air it gives the place than as a practical measure when facing the Nemeses.

The Pantheon is also used for official executions of traitors to the Kindred. Only noble vampires condemned by the Senex in a formal trial face this punishment. During the day, a circle of light from the oculus crosses the walls and floor of the cella, and the condemned are staked, or sometimes merely chained, and left in its path. On such days, the temple is closed to mortals, and guarded by the urban cohorts. There are also supernatural guards. Kindred must leave in time to get to their havens before dawn, but ghouls can stand guard throughout the day.

The Pantheon

Blood of Rome Darkfool