pantheon (PAN-thee-on) noun
1. A collection of people highly respected in a particular field.
2. A temple dedicated to all the gods.
3. All the gods of a people or religion collectively.
4. A public building containing tombs of illustrious people.
[After Pantheon, a domed circular temple in Rome, built c. 120 AD. From Greek pantheion (temple of all the gods), from pan- (all) + theos (gods).]
See pictures of the Pantheon.
"In historic terms, [Lech Walesa] is held in the same pantheon as Nelson Mandela and Mikael Gorbachev for leading an oppressed nation bloodlessly to freedom."
-- Finian Coghla; Former Polish President Visits Limerick Council; Limerick Post (Ireland); Apr 2, 2004.
Pick up any rock in Rome and you'll find history dripping from it. At the Pantheon I ran my fingers across the gritty mortar connecting the thin bricks on the wall of this ancient temple and found myself connected to thousands of years of mankind. I'd touched the same bricks and mortar that were once held by the sweaty hands of the laborers who built the temple nearly two thousand years ago.--- http://www.wordsmith.org/