In De architectura (c.40 BC), Vitruvius discusses in ten encyclopedic chapters aspects of Roman architecture, engineering and city planning. Vitruvius also included a section on human proportions. Because it is the only antique treatise on architecture to have survived, De architectura has been an invaluable source of information for scholars. The rediscovery of Vitruvius during the Renaissance greatly fuelled the revival of classicism during that and subsequent periods. Numerous architectural treatises were based in part or inspired by Vitruvius, beginning with Leon Battista Alberti's De re aedificatoria (1485).
A historical study of Vitruvius's De architectura, showing that his purpose in writing "the whole body of architecture" was shaped by the imperial Roman project of world domination. Vitruvius's De architectura is the only major work on architecture to survive from classical antiquity, and until the eighteenth century it was the text to which all other architectural treatises referred. While European classicists have focused on the factual truth of the text itself, English-speaking architects and architectural theorists have viewed it as a timeless source of valuable metaphors. Departing from both perspectives, Indra Kagis McEwen examines the work's meaning and significance in its own time. Vitruvius dedicated De architectura to his patron Augustus Caesar, the first Roman emperor, whose rise to power inspired its composition near the end of the first century B.C. McEwen argues that the imperial project of world dominion shaped Vitruvius's purpose in writing what he calls "the whole body of architecture." Specifically, Vitruvius's aim was to present his discipline as the means for making the emperor's body congruent with the imagined body of the world he would rule. Each of the book's four chapters treats a different Vitruvian "body." Chapter 1, "The Angelic Body," deals with the book as a book, in terms of contemporary events and thought, particularly Stoicism and Stoic theories of language. Chapter 2, "The Herculean Body," addresses the book's and its author's relation to Augustus, whose double Vitruvius means the architect to be. Chapter 3, "The Body Beautiful," discusses the relation of proportion and geometry to architectural beauty and the role of beauty in forging the new world order. Finally, Chapter 4, "The Body of the King," explores the nature and unprecedented extent of Augustan building programs. Included is an examination of the famous statue of Augustus from Prima Porta, sculpted soon after the appearance of De architectura.
In about 25 B.C. the Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio presented to the emperor Augustus ten scrolls that contained everything he knew about architecture. Synthesizing his studies of earlier Greek writings as well as lessons drawn from his own design career, the Ten Books on Architecture discussed architectural practice and education; building materials; the correct proportions and elements of the Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian; the design of temples, public buildings, and private houses; and engineering and military planning. More than two thousand years later his masterwork stands as both the most comprehensive architectural text of antiquity and one of the most important design treatises ever written. Just as Vitruvius set out to catalog the rules and ideals of ancient Greek architecture, Thomas Gordon Smith in Vitruvius on Architecture presents the rules and ideals of Vitruvius himself. This volume contains the five books most relevant to contemporary architecture along with a wealth of visual material: photographs of ancient structures from Greece, Italy, and Turkey; related sculptures, frescoes, and reliefs; hypothetical re-creations of Vitruvius's now-lost illustrations; and a series of exquisitely rendered watercolor plates based on his descriptions. Vitruvius on Architecture is an exceptional accomplishment: a study as relevant to the present as Vitruvius's was to his own day and to architecture since.
The oldest and most influential book ever written on architecture, this volume describes the classic principles of symmetry, harmony, and proportion as well as the ancients' methods, materials, and aesthetics. Authoritative translation.
VITRUVIUS ON ARCHITECTURE EDITED FROM THE HARLEIAN MANUSCRIPT 2767 AI TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH BY FRANK GRANGER, D. Lrr., AJLLB. A. PROFESSOR IN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, NOTTINGHAM IN TWO VOLUMES I CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS LONDON WILLIAM HEINEMANN LTD MCMLV CONTENTS PAQK PREFACE vii INTRODUCTION VITRUVIUS AND THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE WEST ...... ix HISTORY OF THE MSS. OF VITRUVIUS . X i THE EARLIEST EDITIONS OF VITRUVIUS . XXi THE SCHOLIA OF THE MSS. . . . XXV - THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE MSS. . . XXVli THE LANGUAGE OF VITRUVIUS . . . XXViii BIBLIOGRAPHY THE MSS. . . . . . . XXXli EDITIONS ...... xxxiii TRANSLATIONS XXXiii THE CHIEF CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE STUDY OF VITRUVIUS ..... xxxiv BOOKS OF GENERAL REFERENCE . . XXXVi TEXT AND ENGLISH TRANSLATION BOOK I. ARCHITECTURAL PRINCIPLES . 1 BOOK II. EVOLUTION OF BUILDING USE OF MATERIALS . . . . 71 BOOK III. IONIC TEMPLES . . . 151 BOOK IV. DORIC AND CORINTHIAN TEMPLES 199 BOOK V. PUBLIC BUILDINGS I THEATRES AND MUSIC, BATHS, HARBOURS . 249 INDEX OF ARCHITECTURAL TERMS 319 CONTENTS ILLUSTRATIONS THE CAPITOL DOUGGA . Frontispiece PLATE A. WINDS AND DIRECTION OF STREETS at end PLATE B. PLANS OF TEMPLES . . . PLATE C. IONIC ORDER . . . . PLATE 0. CORINTHIAN ORDER see Frontispiece PLATE E. DORIC ORDER . . . at end PLATE F. MUSICAL SCALES ., ., PLATE O. THEATRE . . . . . PLATE H. PLAN OF STABIAN BATHS, POMPEII . vi PREFACE THIS edition has been based upon the oldest MS. of Vitruvius, the Harleian 2767 of the British Museum, probably of the eighth century, and from the Saxon scriptorium of Northumbria in which the Codex Amiatinus was written. The Latin closely resembles that of the workshop and the street. In my translation I havesought to retain the vividness and accuracy of the original, and have not sought a smoothness of rendering which would become a more polished style. The reader, it is possible, may discern the genial figure of Vitruvius through his utterances. In a technical treatise the risks of the translator are many. The help of Dr. House has rendered them less formidable, but he is not responsible for the errors which have survived revision. The introduction has been limited to such con siderations as may enable the layman to enter into the mysteries of the craft, and the general reader to follow the stages by which the successive accretions to the text have been removed. The section upon language indicates some of the relations of Vitruvius to Old Latin generally. My examination of fourteen MSS. has been rendered possible by the courtesy of the Directors of the MSS. Libraries at the British Museum, the Vatican, the Escorial, the Bibliotheque Nationale vii PREFACE at Paris, the Bodleian, St. Johns College, Oxford, and Eton College. A word of special thanks is due to his Excellency the Spanish Ambassador to London, his Eminence the Cardinal Merry del Val and the Secretary of the British Embassy at Paris, for their assistance. Mr. Paul Gray, M. A., of this College, has given me valuable help in preparing the MS. for the press. FRANK GRANGER. UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, NOTTINGHAM, September, 1929. viii INTRODUCTION VlTRUVIUS AND THE ARCHITECTURE OP THE WEST THE history of architectural literature is taken by Vitruvius to begin with the theatre of Dionysus at Athens. 1 In earlier times the spectators were accommodated upon wooden benches. According to one account, 2 in the year 500 B. C. or thereabouts, thescaffolding collapsed, and in consequence a beginning was made towards a permanent stone structure. The elaborate stage settings of Aeschylus reached their culmination at the performance of the Agamemnon and its associated plays in 458. According to Suidas, 3 the collapse of the scaffolding, which occurred at a performance of one of Aeschylus dramas, led to the exile of the poet in Sicily, where he died in 456. In that case the permanent con struction of the theatre would begin in the Periclean age some time between 458 and 456...
An edition and translation of Faventinus' Compendium of Vitruvius' De architectura. There is an introductory account of the relationship between Vitruvius and the world of Faventinus and Palladius, both of whom made great use of Vitruvian material, Palladius apparently deriving it exclusively from Faventinus. But they did not borrow it slavishly. Both adapted it and added to it in the light of the practical concerns of their own day and technical developments not available to Vitruvius. Dr Plommer holds the view, orthodox since Nohl, that Faventinus wrote in the early fourth century AD and Palladius probably a century later. The text has a translation on facing pages and is followed by a commentary on the main points of interest in it. This is the first translation of the text to appear and the book will be of interest to historians of technology and of architecture in the ancient world, as well as to classicists.