The Pantheon is the best-preserved architectural monument of ancient Rome. This simulation by BSU’s IDIA Lab represents the Pantheon and its surrounds as it may have appeared in 320 AD. Visitors to this Blue Mars/CryEngine simulation can tour the vicinity, learning about the history, function and solar alignments through an interactive heads up display created for this project. The project opened in beta in late 2013 and will premiere publicly in February 2014 and includes new solar simulation software calibrated to the buildings location and year, an interactive HUD, a greeter bot system and a new AI Non Player Character system developed in partnership between IDIA Lab and Avatar Reality.

Originally built by Agrippa around 27 BC under the rule of Augustus, it was destroyed by fire, then rebuilt and finally completed in its present form during Emperor Hadrian’s reign, around 128 AD. The Pantheon would have contained numerous marble statues representing the major Roman deities. The statues displayed in this simulation represent a possible configuration and are scanned via photogrammetry. The buildings surrounding the Pantheon are built and interpreted by IDIA based on the large scale model of ancient Rome built by Italo Gismondi between 1935 and 1971. The model resides in the Museo della Civiltà Romana, just outside of Rome, Italy.

“On April 21st, the midday sun shines directly on to visitors to the Pantheon when they are standing in the open doorway, dramatically highlighting them. This day is of particular significance, not just because this was when the sun entered Taurus, but more because it is the traditional Birthday of Rome, a festival preserved from antiquity right through to the present day. And it may be that when the building was officially commissioned in AD 128, the person expected to be standing in the open doorway was the emperor Hadrian himself.”
– Edited from Robert Hannah, “The Pantheon as Timekeeper”, 2009.

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