Postcards: 1400th Anniversary of the Dedication of Saint Mary and the Martyrs (Pantheon)

Postcards: 1400th Anniversary of the Dedication of Saint Mary and the Martyrs (Pantheon)  

«M-AGRIPPA-L-F-COS-TERTIUM-FECIT» (Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, counsul for the third time, built this). This is the inscription on the tympanum of the Pantheon, built around the year 27 A.D. by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa for the purpose of dedicating a place of worship to the pagan gods. The building had been destroyed various times over the years, and it was rebuilt for the final time under the emperor Hadrian. In 609 A.D. the emperor Foca gave it to Pope Boniface IV who dedicated it to the Christian martyrs and to Mary, naming it Saint Mary and the Martyrs. The name also refers to the relics of Christian martyrs buried in the catacombs and brought to the new church. Over the years the Pantheon underwent several changes and was adorned with frescoes, the most well known of which is considered to be The Annunciation by Melozzo da Forlì. Inside the building are also the tombs of members of Italy’s former royal family and also that of the artist Raphael, who requested to be buried there since he especially admired the place. The postcards produced by the Philatelic and Numismatic Office celebrate the 1400th anniversary of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary and the Martyrs. The stamps depict ancient etchings of the Pantheon, including one by Giovanni Battista Piranesi who produced numerous drawings of Rome.