Boatwright to give Biggs Lecture for Assembly Series

Lecture to focus on Pantheon's inscription

Mary Boatwright, PhD, professor of ancient history in the Department of Classical Studies at Duke University, will give the annual John and Penelope Biggs Lecture in the Classics for the Assembly Series at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in Steinberg Hall Auditorium. Her talk is titled “Agrippa’s Inscription on Hadrian’s Pantheon.”

The original Pantheon, built in 27-25 BCE by the Roman magistrate Marcus Agrippa, burned down in 80 AD. It was completely rebuilt in 125 AD by Hadrian and is arguably ancient Rome’s most widely-known yet most enigmatic building.

Remarkable for its size, construction and design, the Pantheon’s extraordinary dome is a perfect hemisphere of cast concrete.

The lecture will focus on the meaning of the Pantheon’s huge dedicatory inscription, M.AGRIPPA.L.F.CONS.TERTIUM.FECIT — translated as Marcus Agrippa, Son of Lucius, Consul for the Third Time, Built This — which names Agrippa as the temple’s patron rather than Hadrian, who is commonly identified as its builder.


Boatwright’s illustrated lecture will consider the types of evidence used to understand monuments in the imperial city of Rome.

Having spent most of her career at Duke, Boatwright researches the topography of Imperial Rome’s buildings and public works. She also studies Roman government and social institutions as well as the roles and images of elite Roman woman, particularly the empresses.

Among her many books and scholarly articles, two of her works focus on Hadrian: Hadrian and the City of Rome and Hadrian and the Cities of the Roman Empire.

Boatwright earned her master’s and doctorate in classical studies at the University of Michigan and her undergraduate degree at Stanford University.

Assembly Series talks are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call (314) 935-4620.