Skip to main content

Full text of "Vitruvius : the ten books on architecture"

See other formats


















DURING the last years of his life, Professor Morgan had devoted 
much time and energy to the preparation of a translation of 
Vitruvius, which he proposed to supplement with a revised text, 
illustrations, and notes. He had completed the translation, with 
the exception of the last four chapters of the tenth book, and had 
discussed, with Professor Warren, the illustrations intended for 
the first six books of the work; the notes had not been arranged or 
completed, though many of them were outlined in the manuscript, 
or the intention to insert them indicated. The several books of 
the translation, so far as it was completed, had been read to 
a little group of friends, consisting of Professors Sheldon and 
Kittredge, and myself, and had received our criticism, which had, 
at times, been utilized in the revision of the work. 

After the death of Professor Morgan, in spite of my obvious 
incompetency from a technical point of view, I undertook, at the 
request of his family, to complete the translation, and to see the 
book through the press. I must, therefore, assume entire respon- 
sibility for the translation of the tenth book, beginning with 
chapter thirteen, and further responsibility for necessary changes 
made by me in the earlier part of the translation, changes which, 
in no case, affect any theory held by Professor Morgan, but which 
involve mainly the adoption of simpler forms of statement, or the 
correction of obvious oversights. 

The text followed is that of Valentine Rose in his second edi- 
tion (Leipzig, 1899), and the variations from this text are, with 
a few exceptions which are indicated in the footnotes, in the 
nature of a return to the consensus of the manuscript readings. 

The illustrations in the first six books are believed to be sub- 
stantially in accord with the wishes of Professor Morgan. The 
suggestions for illustrations in the later books were incomplete, 


and did not indicate, in all cases, with sufficient definiteness to 
allow them to be executed, the changes from conventional plans 
and designs intended by the translator. It has, therefore, been 
decided to include in this part of the work only those illustrations 
which are known to have had the full approval of Professor 
Morgan. The one exception to this principle is the reproduction 
of a rough model of the Ram of Hegetor, constructed by me on the 
basis of the measurements given by Vitruvius and Athenaeus. 

It does not seem to me necessary or even advisable to enter 
into a long discussion as to the date of Vitruvius, which has been 
assigned to various periods from the time of Augustus to the early 
centuries of our era. Professor Morgan, in several articles in the 
Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, and in the Proceedings of 
the American Academy, all of which have been reprinted in a 
volume of Addresses and Essays (New York, 1909), upheld the 
now generally accepted view that Vitruvius wrote in the time of 
Augustus, and furnished conclusive evidence that nothing in his 
language is inconsistent with this view. In revising the transla- 
tion, I met with one bit of evidence for a date before the end of the 
reign of Nero which I have never seen adduced. In vin, 3, 21, the 
kingdom of Cottius is mentioned, the name depending, it is true, 
on an emendation, but one which has been universally accepted 
since it was first proposed in 1513. The kingdom of Cottius was 
made into a Roman province by Nero (cf. Suetonius, Nero, 18), 
and it is inconceivable that any Roman writer subsequently 
referred to it as a kingdom. 

It does seem necessary to add a few words about the literary 
merits of Vitruvius in this treatise, and about Professor Morgan's 
views as to the general principles to be followed in the translation. 

Vitruvius was not a great literary personage, ambitious as he 
was to appear in that character. As Professor Morgan has aptly 
said, "he has all the marks of one unused to composition, to 
whom writing is a painful task." In his hand the measuring-rod 
was a far mightier implement than the pen. His turgid and pom- 
pous rhetoric displays itself in the introductions to the different 


books, where his exaggerated effort to introduce some semblance 
of style into his commonplace lectures on the noble principles 
which should govern the conduct of the architect, or into the pro- 
saic lists of architects and writers on architecture, is everywhere 
apparent. Even in the more technical portions of his work, a like 
conscious effort may be detected, and, at the same time, a lack 
of confidence in his ability to express himself in unmistakable 
language. He avoids periodic sentences, uses only the simpler 
subjunctive constructions, repeats the antecedent in relative 
clauses, and, not infrequently, adopts a formal language closely 
akin to that of specifications and contracts, the style with which 
he was, naturally, most familiar. He ends each book with a brief 
summary, almost a formula, somewhat like a sigh of relief, in 
which the reader unconsciously shares. At times his meaning is 
ambiguous, not because of grammatical faults, which are com- 
paratively few and unimportant, but because, when he does 
attempt a periodic sentence, he becomes involved, and finds it 
difficult to extricate himself. 

Some of these peculiarities and crudities of expression Professor 
Morgan purposely imitated, because of his conviction that a 
translation should not merely reproduce the substance of a 
book, but should also give as clear a picture as possible of the 
original, of its author, and of the working of his mind. The 
translation is intended, then, to be faithful and exact, but it 
deliberately avoids any attempt to treat the language of Vitru- 
vius as though it were Ciceronian, or to give a false impression of 
conspicuous literary merit in a work which is destitute of that 
quality. The translator had, however, the utmost confidence in 
the sincerity of Vitruvius and in the serious purpose of his treatise 
on architecture. 

To those who have liberally given their advice and suggestions 
in response to requests from Professor Morgan, it is impossible 
for me to make adequate acknowledgment. Their number is so 
great, and my knowledge of the indebtedness in individual cases 
is so small, that each must be content with the thought of the full 


and generous acknowledgment which he would have received had 
Professor Morgan himself written this preface. 

Personally I am under the greatest obligations to Professor 
H. L. Warren, who has freely given both assistance and criticism; 
to Professor G. L. Kittredge, who has read with me most of the 
proof; to the Syndics of the Harvard University Press, who have 
made possible the publication of the work; and to the members of 
the Visiting Committee of the Department of the Classics and 
the classmates of Professor Morgan, who have generously sup- 
plied the necessary funds for the illustrations. 

















SAND ............. 44 

LIME ......45 






































BATHS 157 








Jr "* V V 




OWNER 181 















CINNABAR (continued) 216 







BOOK vm 






































INDEX 321 





































































1. From sixteenth century MS. 

1. From model by A. A. Howard. 




1. WHILE your divine intelligence and will, Imperator Caesar, 
were engaged in acquiring the right to command the world, and 
while your fellow citizens, when all their enemies had been laid 
low by your invincible valour, were glorying in your triumph and 
victory, while all foreign nations were in subjection awaiting 
your beck and call, and the Roman people and senate, released 
from their alarm, were beginning to be guided by your most noble 
conceptions and policies, I hardly dared, in view of your serious 
employments, to publish my writings and long considered ideas 
on architecture, for fear of subjecting myself to your displeasure 
by an unseasonable interruption. 

2. But when I saw that you were giving your attention not 
only to the welfare of society in general and to the establishment 
of public order, but also to the providing of public buildings 
intended for utilitarian purposes, so that not only should the 
State have been enriched with provinces by your means, but that 
the greatness of its power might likewise be attended with dis- 
tinguished authority in its public buildings, I thought that I 
ought to take the first opportunity to lay before you my writings 
on this theme. For in the first place it was this subject which made 
me known to your father, to whom I was devoted on account of 
his great qualities. After the council of heaven gave him a place 
in the dwellings of immortal life and transferred your father's 
power to your hands, my devotion continuing unchanged as I 
remembered him inclined me to support you. And so with 
Marcus Aurelius, Publius Minidius, and Gnaeus Cornelius, I 
was ready to supply and repair ballistae, scorpiones, and other 
artillery, and I have received rewards for good service with them. 
After your first bestowal of these upon me, you continued to 
renew them on the recommendation of your sister. 


3. Owing to this favour I need have no fear of want to the end 
of my life, and being thus laid under obligation I began to write 
this work for you, because I saw that you have built and are now 
building extensively, and that in future also you will take care 
that our public and private buildings shall be worthy to go down 
to posterity by the side of your other splendid achievements. I 
have drawn up definite rules to enable you, by observing them, 
to have personal knowledge of the quality both of existing build- 
ings and of those which are yet to be constructed. For in the fol- 
lowing books I have disclosed all the principles of the art. 



1. THE architect should be equipped with knowledge of many 
branches of study and varied kinds of learning, for it is by his 
judgement that all work done by the other arts is put to test. 
This knowledge is the child of practice and theory. Practice is 
the continuous and regular exercise of employment where man- 
ual work is done with any necessary material according to the 
design of a drawing. Theory, on the other hand, is the ability 
to demonstrate and explain the productions of dexterity on the 
principles of proportion. 

2. It follows, therefore, that architects who have aimed at 
acquiring manual skill without scholarship have never been able 
to reach a position of authority to correspond to their pains, 
while those who relied only upon theories and scholarship were 
obviously hunting the shadow, not the substance. But those who 
have a thorough knowledge of both, like men armed at all points, 
have the sooner attained their object and carried authority with 

3. In all matters, but particularly in architecture, there are 
these two points: the thing signified, and that which gives it 
its significance. That which is signified is the subject of which we 
may be speaking; and that which gives significance is a demon- 
stration on scientific principles. It appears, then, that one who 

in both direc- 

tions. He ought, therefore, to be both naturally gifted and 
amenable to instruction. Neither natural ability without instruc- 
tion nor instruction without natural ability can make the perfect 
artist. Let him be educated, skilful with the pencil, instructed in 
geometry, know much history, have followed the philosophers 
with attention, understand music, have some knowledge of medi- 


cine, know the opinions of the jurists, and be acquainted with 
astronomy and the theory of the heavens. 

4. The reasons for all this are as follows. An architect ought to 
be an educated man so as to leave a more lasting remembrance in 
his treatises. Secondly, he must have a knowledge of drawing so 
that he can readily make sketches to show the appearance of the 
work which he proposes. Geometry, also, is of much assistance 
in architecture, and in particular it teaches us the use of the rule 
and compasses, by which especially we acquire readiness in mak- 
ing plans for buildings in their grounds, and rightly apply the 
square, the level, and the plummet. By means of optics, again, 
the light in buildings can be drawn from fixed quarters of the sky. 
It is true that it is by arithmetic that the total cost of buildings is 
calculated and measurements are computed, but difficult ques- 
tions involving symmetry are solved by means of geometrical 
theories and methods. 

5. A wide knowledge of history is requisite because, among the 
ornamental parts of an architect's design for a work, there are 
many the underlying idea of whose employment he should be 
able to explain to inquirers. For instance, suppose him to set up 
the marble statues of women in long robes, called Caryatides, to 
take the place of columns, with the mutules and coronas placed 
directly above their heads, he will give the following explanation 
to his questioners. Caryae, a state in Peloponnesus, sided with 
the Persian enemies against Greece; later the Greeks, having 
gloriously won their freedom by victory in the war, made com- 
mon cause and declared war against the people of Caryae. They 
took the town, killed the men, abandoned the State to desolation, 
and carried off their wives into slavery, without permitting them, 
however, to lay aside the long robes and other marks of their 
rank as married women, so that they might be obliged not only to 
march in the triumph but to appear forever after as a type of 
slavery, burdened with the weight of their shame and so making 
atonement for their State. Hence, the architects of the time de- 
signed for public buildings statues of these women, placed so as to 


carry a load, in order that the sin and the punishment of the people 

of Caryae might be known and handed down even to posterity. 

6. Likewise the Lacedaemonians under the leadership of 

Pausanias, son of Agesipolis, after conquering the Persian 

(From the edition of Vitrnvias by Fra Giocondo, Venice, 1B1I) 

armies, infinite in number, with a small force at the battle of 
Plataea, celebrated a glorious triumph with the spoils and booty, 
and with the money obtained from the sale thereof built the 
Persian Porch, to be a monument to the renown and valour of the 
people and a trophy of victory for posterity. And there they set 
effigies of the prisoners arrayed in barbarian costume and holding 
up the roof, their pride punished by this deserved affront, that 


enemies might tremble for fear of the effects of their courage, and 
that their own people, looking upon this ensample of their 
valour and encouraged by the glory of it, might be ready to 
defend their independence. So from that time on, many have 
put up statues of Persians supporting entablatures and their 
ornaments, and thus from that motive have greatly enriched the 
diversity of their works. There are other stories of the same kind 
which architects ought to know. 

7. As for philosophy, it makes an architect high-minded and 
not self-assuming, but rather renders him courteous, just, and 
honest without avariciousness. This is very important, for no 
work can be rightly done without honesty and incorruptibility. 
Let him not be grasping nor have his mind preoccupied with the 
idea of receiving perquisites, but let him with dignity keep up his 
position by cherishing a good reputation. These are among the 
precepts of philosophy. Furthermore philosophy treats of 
physics (in Greek (j>v<n,o\oyid) where a more careful knowledge 
is required because the problems which come under this head are 
numerous and of very different kinds; as, for example, in the case 
of the conducting of water. For at points of intake and at curves, 
and at places where it is raised to a level, currents of air naturally 
form in one way or another; and nobody who has not learned 
the fundamental principles of physics from philosophy will be able 
to provide against the damage which they do. So the reader of 
Ctesibius or Archimedes and the other writers of treatises of the 
same class will not be able to appreciate them unless he has been 
trained in these subjects by the philosophers. 

8. Music, also, the architect ought to understand so that he 
may have knowledge of the canonical and mathematical theory, 
and besides be able to tune ballistae, catapultae, and scorpiones 
to the proper key. For to the right and left in the beams are the 
holes in the frames through which the strings of twisted sinew are 
stretched by means of windlasses and bars, and these strings 
must not be clamped and made fast until they give the same cor- 
rect note to the ear of the skilled workman. For the arms thrust 


through those stretched strings must, on being let go, strike their 
blow together at the same moment; but if they are not in unison, 
they will prevent the course of projectiles from being straight. 

(From the edition of Vitrnvius by Fra Giocondo, Venice, 1511) 

9. In theatres, likewise, there are the bronze vessels (in Greek 
7Xa) which are placed in niches under the seats in accordance 
with the musical intervals on mathematical principles. These 
vessels are arranged with a view to musical concords or harmony, 
and apportioned in the compass of the fourth, the fifth, and the 
octave, and so on up to the double octave, in such a way that 
when the voice of an actor falls in unison with any of them its 
power is increased, and it reaches the ears of the audience with 


greater clearness and sweetness. Water organs, too, and the 
other instruments which resemble them cannot be made by one 
who is without the principles of music. 

10. The architect should also have a knowledge of the study of 
medicine on account of the questions of climates (in Greek 
K\i/j,a,Ta), air, the healthiness and unhealthiness of sites, and the 
use of different waters. For without these considerations, the 
healthiness of a dwelling cannot be assured. And as for princi- 
ples of law, he should know those which are necessary in the case 
of buildings having party walls, with regard to water dripping 
from the eaves, and also the laws about drains, windows, and 
water supply. And other things of this sort should be known to 
architects, so that, before they begin upon buildings, they may be 
careful not to leave disputed points for the householders to settle 
after the works are finished, and so that in drawing up contracts 
the interests of both employer and contractor may be wisely 
safe-guarded. For if a contract is skilfully drawn, each may ob- 
tain a release from the other without disadvantage. From astron- 
omy we find the east, west, south, and north, as well as the theory 
of the heavens, the equinox, solstice, and courses of the stars. If 
one has no knowledge of these matters, he will not be able to have 
any comprehension of the theory of sundials. 

11. Consequently, since this study is so vast in extent, embel- 
lished and enriched as it is with many different kinds of learning, 
I think that men have no right to profess themselves architects 
hastily, without having climbed from boyhood the steps of these 
studies and thus, nursed by the knowledge of many arts and 
sciences, having reached the heights of the holy ground of 

12. But perhaps to the inexperienced it will seem a marvel that 
human nature can comprehend such a great number of studies 
and keep them in the memory. Still, the observation that all 
studies have a common bond of union and intercourse with one 
another, will lead to the belief that this can easily be realized. 
For a liberal education forms, as it were, a single body made up of 


these members. Those, therefore, who from tender years receive 
instruction in the various forms of learning, recognize the same 
stamp on all the arts, and an intercourse between all studies, and 
so they more readily comprehend them all. This is what led one 
of the ancient architects, Pytheos, the celebrated builder of the 
temple of Minerva at Priene, to say in his Commentaries that an 
architect ought to be able to accomplish much more in all the 
arts and sciences than the men who, by their own particular kinds 
of work and the practice of it, have brought each a single subject 
to the highest perfection. But this is in point of fact not realized. 

13. For an architect ought not to be and cannot be such a 
philologian as was Aristarchus, although not illiterate; nor a 
musician like Aristoxenus, though not absolutely ignorant of 
music; nor a painter like Apelles, though not unskilful in draw- 
ing; nor a sculptor such as was Myron or Polyclitus, though not 
unacquainted with the plastic art; nor again a physician like 
Hippocrates, though not ignorant of medicine; nor in the other 
sciences need he excel in each, though he should not be unskilful 
in them. For, in the midst of all this great variety of subjects, an 
individual cannot attain to perfection in each, because it is 
scarcely in his power to take in and comprehend the general 
theories of them. 

14. Still, it is not architects alone that cannot in all matters 
reach perfection, but even men who individually practise spe- 
cialties in the arts do not all attain to the highest point of merit. 
Therefore, if among artists working each in a single field not all, 
but only a few in an entire generation acquire fame, and that with 
difficulty, how can an architect, who has to be skilful in many 
arts, accomplish not merely the feat in itself a great marvel 
of being deficient in none of them, but also that of surpassing 
all those artists who have devoted themselves with unremitting 
industry to single fields? 

15. It appears, then, that Pytheos made a mistake by not ob- 
serving that the arts are each composed of two things, the actual 
work and the theory of it. One of these, the doing of the work, is 


proper to men trained in the individual subject, while the other, 
the theory, is common to all scholars: for example, to physicians 
and musicians the rhythmical beat of the pulse and its metrical 
movement. But if there is a wound to be healed or a sick man to 
be saved from danger, the musician will not call, for the business 
will be appropriate to the physician. So in the case of a musical 
instrument, not the physician but the musician will be the man to 
tune it so that the ears may find their due pleasure in its strains. 
16. Astronomers likewise have a common ground for discus- 
sion with musicians in the harmony of the stars and musical con- 
cords in tetrads and triads of the fourth and the fifth, and with 
geometricians in the subject of vision (in Greek \6yo<; OTTTIKOS) ; 
and in all other sciences many points, perhaps all, are common so 
far as the discussion of them is concerned. But the actual under- 
taking of works which are brought to perfection by the hand and 
its manipulation is the function of those who have been specially 
trained to deal with a single art. It appears, therefore, that he 
has done enough and to spare who in each subject possesses a 
fairly good knowledge of those parts, with their principles, which 
are indispensable for architecture, so that if he is required to pass 
judgement and to express approval in the case of those things or 
arts, he may not be found wanting. As for men upon whom 
nature has bestowed so much ingenuity, acuteness, and memory 
that they are able to have a thorough knowledge of geometry, 
astronomy, music, and the other arts, they go beyond the func- 
tions of architects and become pure mathematicians. Hence they 
can readily take up positions against those arts because many are 
the artistic weapons with which they are armed. Such men, how- 
ever, are rarely found, but there have been such at times; for 
example, Aristarchus of Samos, Philolaus and Archytas of 
Tarentum, Apollonius of Perga, Eratosthenes of Cyrene, and 
among Syracusans Archimedes and Scopinas, who through 
mathematics and natural philosophy discovered, expounded, and 
left to posterity many things in connexion with mechanics and 
with sundials. 


17. Since, therefore, the possession of such talents due to 
natural capacity is not vouchsafed at random to entire nations, 
but only to a few great men; since, moreover, the function of the 
architect requires a training in all the departments of learning; 
and finally, since reason, on account of the wide extent of the sub- 
ject, concedes that he may possess not the highest but not even 
necessarily a moderate knowledge of the subjects of study, I 
request, Caesar, both of you and of those who may read the said 
books, that if anything is set forth with too little regard for gram- 
matical rule, it may be pardoned. For it is not as a very great 
philosopher, nor as an eloquent rhetorician, nor as a grammarian 
trained in the highest principles of his art, that I have striven to 
write this work, but as an architect who has had only a dip into 
those studies. Still, as regards the efficacy of the art and the 
theories of it, I promise and expect that in these volumes I shall 
undoubtedly show myself of very considerable importance not 
only to builders but also to all scholars. 



1. ARCHITECTURE depends on Order (in Greek Ta'), Ar- 
rangement (in Greek 8ta0e<n?), Eurythmy, Symmetry, Propriety, 
and Economy (in Greek oiKovopta)* 

2. Order gives due measure to the members of a work con- 
sidered separately, and symmetrical agreement to the proportions 
of the whole. It is an adjustment according to quantity (in 
Greek TTOO-OTT;?). By this I mean the selection of modules from 
the members of the work itself and, starting from these individual 
parts of members, constructing the whole work to correspond. 
Arrangement includes the putting of things in their proper 
places and the elegance of effect which is due to adjustments 
appropriate to the character of the work. Its forms of expression 
(in Greek i&&u) are these: groundplan, elevation, and perspec- 


live. A groundplan is made by the proper successive use of com- 
passes and rule, through which we get outlines for the plane sur- 
faces of buildings. An elevation is a picture of the front of a 
building, set upright and properly drawn in the proportions of the 
contemplated work. Perspective is the method of sketching a 
front with the sides withdrawing into the background, the lines 
all meeting in the centre of a circle. All three come of reflexion 
and invention. Reflexion is careful and laborious thought, and 
watchful attention directed to the agreeable effect of one's plan. 
Invention, on the other hand, is the solving of intricate problems 
and the discovery of new principles by means of brilliancy and 
versatility. These are the departments belonging under Arrange- 

3. Eurythmy is beauty and fitness in the adjustments of the 
members. This is found when the members of a work are of a 
height suited to their breadth, of a breadth suited to their length, 
and, in a word, when they all correspond symmetrically. 

4. Symmetry is a proper agreement between the members of 
the work itself, and relation between the different parts and the 
whole general scheme, in accordance with a certain part selected 
as standard. Thus in the human body there is a kind of sym- 
metrical harmony between forearm, foot, palm, finger, and other 
small parts; and so it is with perfect buildings. In the case of 
temples, symmetry may be calculated from the thickness of a 
column, from a triglyph, or even from a module; in the ballista, 
from the hole or from what the Greeks call the Tre/sfr/oT??; in a 
ship, from the space between the tholepins (BiaTrrjyfia) ; and in 
other things, from various members. 

5. Propriety is that perfection of style which comes when a 
work is authoritatively constructed on approved principles. It 
arises from prescription (Greek Be/tana- /t&>), from usage, or 
from nature. From prescription, in the case of hypaethral edi- 
fices, open to the sky, in honour of Jupiter Lightning, the Heaven, 
the Sun, or the Moon: for these are gods whose semblances and 
manifestations we behold before our very eyes in the sky when it 


is cloudless and bright. The temples of Minerva, Mars, and Her- 
cules, will be Doric, since the virile strength of these gods makes 
daintiness entirely inappropriate to their houses. In temples to 
Venus, Flora, Proserpine, Spring- Water, and the Nymphs, the 
Corinthian order will be found to have peculiar significance, be- 
cause these are delicate divinities and so its rather slender out- 
lines, its flowers, leaves, and ornamental volutes will lend propriety 
where it is due. The construction of temples of the Ionic order to 
Juno, Diana, Father Bacchus, and the other gods of that kind, 
will be in keeping with the middle position which they hold ; for 
the building of such will be an appropriate combination of the 
severity of the Doric and the delicacy of the Corinthian. 

6. Propriety arises from usage when buildings having magnif- 
icent interiors are provided with elegant entrance-courts to cor- 
respond; for there will be no propriety in the spectacle of an ele- 
gant interior approached by a low, mean entrance. Or, if dentils 
be carved in the cornice of the Doric entablature or triglyphs rep- 
resented in the Ionic entablature over the cushion-shaped capi- 
tals of the columns, the effect will be spoilt by the transfer of 
the peculiarities of the one order of building to the other, the 
usage in each class having been fixed long ago. 

7. Finally, propriety will be due to natural causes if, for ex- 
ample, in the case of all sacred precincts we select very healthy 
neighbourhoods with suitable springs of water in the places where 
the fanes are to be built, particularly in the case of those to Aes- 
culapius and to Health, gods by whose healing powers great num- 
bers of the sick are apparently cured. For when their diseased 
bodies are transferred from an unhealthy to a healthy spot, and 
treated with waters from health-giving springs, they will the 
more speedily grow well. The result will be that the divinity will 
stand in higher esteem and find his dignity increased, all owing 
to the nature of his site. There will also be natural propriety in 
using an eastern light for bedrooms and libraries, a western light 
in winter for baths and winter apartments, and a northern light 
for picture galleries and other places in which a steady light is 


needed; for that quarter of the sky grows neither light nor dark 
with the course of the sun, but remains steady and unshif ting all 
day long. 

8. Economy denotes the proper management of materials and 
of site, as well as a thrifty balancing of cost and common sense in 
the construction of works. This will be observed if, in the first 
place, the architect does not demand things which cannot be 
found or made ready without great expense. For example: it is 
not everywhere that there is plenty of pitsand, rubble, fir, clear 
fir, and marble, since they are produced in different places and to 
assemble them is difficult and costly. Where there is no pitsand, 
we must use the kinds washed up by rivers or by the sea; the lack 
of fir and clear fir may be evaded by using cypress, poplar, elm, 
or pine; and other problems we must solve in similar ways. 

9. A second stage in Economy is reached when we have to plan 
the different kinds of dwellings suitable for ordinary household- 
ers, for great wealth, or for the high position of the statesman. A 
house in town obviously calls for one form of construction; that 
into which stream the products of country estates requires an- 
other; this will not be the same in the case of money-lenders and 
still different for the opulent and luxurious; for the powers under 
whose deliberations the commonwealth is guided dwellings are to 
be provided according to then 1 special needs: and, in a word, the 
proper form of economy must be observed in building houses for 
each and every class. 



1. THERE are three departments of architecture: the art of 
building, the making of time-pieces, and the construction of ma- 
chinery. Building is, in its turn, divided into two parts, of which 
the first is the construction of fortified towns and of works for 
general use in public places, and the second is the putting up of 
structures for private individuals. There are three classes of pub- 


lie buildings : the first for defensive, the second for religious, and 
the third for utilitarian purposes. Under defence comes the plan- 
ning of walls, towers, and gates, permanent devices for resistance 
against hostile attacks; under religion, the erection of fanes and 
temples to the immortal gods; under utility, the provision of 
meeting places for public use, such as harbours, markets, colon- 
nades, baths, theatres, promenades, and all other similar arrange- 
ments in public places. 

2. All these must be built with due reference to durability, con- 
venience, and beauty. Durability will be assured when founda- 
tions are carried down to the solid ground and materials wisely 
and liberally selected; convenience, when the arrangement of the 
apartments is faultless and presents no hindrance to use, and 
when each class of building is assigned to its suitable and appro- 
priate exposure; and beauty, when the appearance of the work is 
pleasing and in good taste, and when its members are in due pro- 
portion according to correct principles of symmetry. 



1. FOR fortified towns the following general principles are to 
be observed. First comes the choice of a very healthy site. Such 
a site will be high, neither misty nor frosty, and in a climate nei- 
ther hot nor cold, but temperate; further, without marshes in the 
neighbourhood. For when the morning breezes blow to ward the 
town at sunrise, if they bring with them mists from marshes and, 
mingled with the mist, the poisonous breath of the creatures of 
the marshes to be wafted into the bodies of the inhabitants, they 
will make the site unhealthy. Again, if the town is on the coast 
with a southern or western exposure, it will not be healthy, be- 
cause in summer the southern sky grows hot at sunrise and is 
fiery at noon, while a western exposure grows warm after sunrise, 
is hot at noon, and at evening all aglow. 


2. These variations in heat and the subsequent cooling off are 
harmful to the people living on such sites. The same conclusion 
may be reached in the case of inanimate things. For instance, no- 
body draws the light for covered wine rooms from the south or 
west, but rather from the north, since that quarter is never sub- 
ject to change but is always constant and unshifting. So it is with 
granaries: grain exposed to the sun's course soon loses its good 
quality, and provisions and fruit, unless stored in a place unex- 
posed to the sun's course, do not keep long. 

3. For heat is a universal solvent, melting out of things their 
power of resistance, and sucking away and removing their natural 
strength with its fiery exhalations so that they grow soft, and 
hence weak, under its glow. We see this in the case of iron which, 
however hard it may naturally be, yet when heated thoroughly in 
a furnace fire can be easily worked into any kind of shape, and 
still, if cooled while it is soft and white hot, it hardens again with 
a mere dip into cold water and takes on its former quality. 

4. We may also recognize the truth of this from the fact that in 
summer the heat makes everybody weak, not only in unhealthy 
but even in healthy places, and that in winter even the most un- 
healthy districts are much healthier because they are given a so- 
lidity by the cooling off. Similarly, persons removed from cold 
countries to hot cannot endure it but waste away; whereas those 
who pass from hot places to the cold regions of the north, not only 
do not suffer in health from the change of residence but even gain 
by it. 

5. It appears, then, that in founding towns we must beware of 
districts from which hot winds can spread abroad over the inhab- 
itants. For while all bodies are composed of the four elements 
(in Greek o-rot^eta), that is, of heat, moisture, the earthy, and 
air, yet there are mixtures according to natural temperament 
which make up the natures of all the different animals of the 
world, each after its kind. 

6. Therefore, if one of these elements, heat, becomes predom- 
inant in any body whatsoever, it destroys and dissolves all the 


others with its violence. This defect may be due to violent heat 
from certain quarters of the sky, pouring into the open pores in 
too great proportion to admit of a mixture suited to the natural 
temperament of the body in question. Again, if too much mois- 
ture enters the channels of a body, and thus introduces dispropor- 
tion, the other elements, adulterated by the liquid, are impaired, 
and the virtues of the mixture dissolved. This defect, in turn, 
may arise from the cooling properties of moist winds and breezes 
blowing upon the body. In the same way, increase or diminution 
of the proportion of air or of the earthy which is natural to 
the body may enfeeble the other elements; the predominance 
of the earthy being due to overmuch food, that of air to a heavy 

7. If one wishes a more accurate understanding of all this, he 
need only consider and observe the natures of birds, fishes, and 
land animals, and he will thus come to reflect upon distinctions of 
temperament. One form of mixture is proper to birds, another to 
fishes, and a far different form to land animals. Winged creatures 
have less of the earthy, less moisture, heat in moderation, air in 
large amount. Being made up, therefore, of the lighter elements, 
they can more readily soar away into the air. Fish, with their 
aquatic nature, being moderately supplied with heat and made up 
in great part of air and the earthy, with as little of moisture as 
possible, can more easily exist in moisture for the very reason 
that they have less of it than of the other elements in their bodies; 
and so, when they are drawn to land, they leave life and water at 
the same moment. Similarly, the land animals, being moderately 
supplied with the elements of air and heat, and having less of the 
earthy and a great deal of moisture, cannot long continue alive in 
the water, because their portion of moisture is already abundant. 

8. Therefore, if all this is as we have explained, our reason 
showing us that the bodies of animals are made up of the ele- 
ments, and these bodies, as we believe, giving way and breaking 
up as a result of excess or deficiency in this or that element, we 
cannot but believe that we must take great care to select a very 


temperate climate for the site of our city, since healthfulness is, 
as we have said, the first requisite. 

9. I cannot too strongly insist upon the need of a return to the 
method of old times. Our ancestors, when about to build a town 
or an army post, sacrificed some of the cattle that were wont to 
feed on the site proposed and examined their livers. If the livers 
of the first victims were dark-coloured or abnormal, they sacri- 
ficed others, to see whether the fault was due to disease or their 
food. They never began to build defensive works in a place until 
after they had made many such trials and satisfied themselves 
that good water and food had made the liver sound and firm. If 
they continued to find it abnormal, they argued from this that the 
food and water supply found in such a place would be just as un- 
healthy for man, and so they moved away and changed to an- 
other neighbourhood, healthfulness being their chief object. 

10. That pasturage and food may indicate the healthful quali- 
ties of a site is a fact which can be observed and investigated in 
the case of certain pastures in Crete, on each side of the river 
Pothereus, which separates the two Cretan states of Gnosus and 
Gortyna. There are cattle at pasture on the right and left banks 
of that river, but while the cattle that feed near Gnosus have the 
usual spleen, those on the other side near Gortyna have no per- 
ceptible spleen. On investigating the subject, physicians discov- 
ered on this side a kind of herb which the cattle chew and thus 
make their spleen small. The herb is therefore gathered and used 
as a medicine for the cure of splenetic people. The Cretans call it 
a<nr\T]vov. From food and water, then, we may learn whether 
sites are naturally unhealthy or healthy. 

11. If the walled town is built among the marshes themselves, 
provided they are by the sea, with a northern or north-eastern 
exposure, and are above the level of the seashore, the site will be 
reasonable enough. For ditches can be dug to let out the water to 
the shore, and also in times of storms the sea swells and comes 
backing up into the marshes, where its bitter blend prevents the 
reproductions of the usual marsh creatures, while any that swim 


down from the higher levels to the shore are killed at once by the 
saltness to which they are unused. An instance of this may be 
found in the Gallic marshes surrounding Altino, Ravenna, Aqui- 
leia, and other towns in places of the kind, close by marshes. They 
are marvellously healthy, for the reasons which I have given. 

12. But marshes that are stagnant and have no outlets either 
by rivers or ditches, like the Pomptine marshes, merely putrefy 
as they stand, emitting heavy, unhealthy vapours. A case of a 
town built in such a spot was Old Salpia in Apulia, founded by 
Diomede on his way back from Troy, or, according to some writ- 
ers, by Elpias of Rhodes. Year after year there was sickness, un- 
til finally the suffering inhabitants came with a public petition to 
Marcus Hostilius and got him to agree to seek and find them a 
proper place to which to remove their city. Without delay he 
made the most skilful investigations, and at once purchased an 
estate near the sea in a healthy place, and asked the Senate and 
Roman people for permission to remove the town. He constructed 
the walls and laid out the house lots, granting one to each citizen 
for a mere trifle. This done, he cut an opening from a lake into 
the sea, and thus made of the lake a harbour for the town. The re- 
sult is that now the people of Salpia live on a healthy site and at a 
distance of only four miles from the old town. 



1. AFTER insuring on these principles the healthfulness of the 
future city, and selecting a neighbourhood that can supply plenty 
of food stuffs to maintain the community, with good roads or else 
convenient rivers or seaports affording easy means of transport 
to the city, the next thing to do is to lay the foundations for the 
towers and walls. Dig down to solid bottom, if it can be found, 
and lay them therein, going as deep as the magnitude of the pro- 
posed work seems to require. They should be much thicker than 


the part of the walls that will appear above ground, and their 
structure should be as solid as it can possibly be laid. 

2. The towers must be projected beyond the line of wall, so 
that an enemy wishing to approach the wall to carry it by assault 
may be exposed to the fire of missiles on his open flank from the 
towers on his right and left. Special pains should be taken that 
there be no easy avenue by which to storm the wall. The roads 
should be encompassed at steep points, and planned so as to ap- 
proach the gates, not in a straight line, but from the right to the 
left; for as a result of this, the right hand side of the assailants, un- 
protected by their shields, will be next the wall. Towns should 
be laid out not as an exact square nor with salient angles, but in 
circular form, to give a view of the enemy from many points. De- 
fence is difficult where there are salient angles, because the angle 
protects the enemy rather than the inhabitants. 

3. The thickness of the wall should, in my opinion, be such 
that armed men meeting on top of it may pass one another with- 
out interference. In the thickness there should be set a very close 
succession of ties made of charred olive wood, binding the two 
faces of the wall together like pins, to give it lasting endurance. 
For that is a material which neither decay, nor the weather, nor 
time can harm, but even though buried in the earth or set in the 
water it keeps sound and useful forever. And so not only city 
walls but substructures in general and all walls that require a 
thickness like that of a city wall, will be long in falling to decay if 
tied in this manner. 

4. The towers should be set at intervals of not more than a 
bowshot apart, so that in case of an assault upon any one of them, 
the enemy may be repulsed with scorpiones and other means of 
hurling missiles from the towers to the right and left. Opposite 
the inner side of every tower the wall should be interrupted for a 
space the width of the tower, and have only a wooden flooring 
across, leading to the interior of the tower but not firmly nailed. 
This is to be cut away by the defenders in case the enemy gets 
possession of any portion of the wall; and if the work is quickly 




done, the enemy will not be able to make his way to the other 
towers and the rest of the wall unless he is ready to face a fall. 

5. The towers themselves must be either round or polygonal. 
Square towers are sooner shattered by military engines, for the 

(From the edition of Vitruvius by Fra Giocondo, Venice, 1511) 

battering rams pound their angles to pieces; but in the case of 
round towers they can do no harm, being engaged, as it were, in 
driving wedges to their centre. The system of fortification by 
wall and towers may be made safest by the addition of earthen 
ramparts, for neither rams, nor mining, nor other engineering de- 
vices can do them any harm. 

6. The rampart form of defence, however, is not required in all 
places, but only where outside the wall there is high ground from 


which an assault on the fortifications may be made over a level 
space lying between. In places of this kind we must first make 
very wide, deep ditches; next sink foundations for a wall in the 
bed of the ditch and build them thick enough to support an earth- 
work with ease. 

7. Then within this substructure lay a second foundation, far 
enough inside the first to leave ample room for cohorts in line of 
battle to take position on the broad top of the rampart for its de- 
fence. Having laid these two foundations at this distance from 
one another, build cross walls between them, uniting the outer 
and inner foundation, in a comb-like arrangement, set like the 
teeth of a saw. With this form of construction, the enormous 
burden of earth will be distributed into small bodies, and will not 
lie with all its weight in one crushing mass so as to thrust out the 

8. With regard to the material of which the actual wall should 
be constructed or finished, there can be no definite prescription, 
because we cannot obtain in all places the supplies that we desire. 
Dimension stone, flint, rubble, burnt or unburnt brick, use 
them as you find them. For it is not every neighbourhood or par- 
ticular locality that can have a wall built of burnt brick like that 
at Babylon, where there was plenty of asphalt to take the place 
of lime and sand, and yet possibly each may be provided with 
materials of equal usefulness so that out of them a faultless wall 
may be built to last forever. 



1. THE town being fortified, the next step is the apportionment 
of house lots within the wall and the laying out of streets and 
alleys with regard to climatic conditions. They will be properly 
laid out if foresight is employed to exclude the winds from the 
alleys. Cold winds are disagreeable, hot winds enervating, moist 


winds unhealthy. We must, therefore, avoid mistakes in this mat- 
ter and beware of the common experience of many communities. 
For example, MytlTene in the island of Lesbos is a town built with 
magnificence and good taste, but its position shows a lack of fore- 
sight. In that community when the wind is south, the people fall 
ill; when it is northwest, it sets them coughing; with a north wind 
they do indeed recover but cannot stand about in the alleys and 
streets, owing to the severe cold. 

2. Wind is a flowing wave of air, moving hither and thither in- 
definitely. It is produced when heat meets moisture, the rush of 
heat generating a mighty current of air. That this is the fact we 
may learn from bronze eolipiles, and thus by means of a scientific 
invention discover a divine truth lurking in the laws of the heav- 
ens. Eolipiles are hollow bronze balls, with a very small opening 
through which water is poured into them. Set before a fire, not a 
breath issues from them before they get warm ; but as soon as they 
begin to boil, out comes a strong blast due to the fire. Thus from 
this slight and very short experiment we may understand and 
judge of the mighty and wonderful laws of the heavens and the 
nature of winds. 

8. By shutting out the winds from our dwellings, therefore, we 
shall not only make the place healthful for people who are well, 
but also in the case of diseases due perhaps to unfavourable 
situations elsewhere, the patients, who in other healthy places 
might be cured by a different form of treatment, will here be 
more quickly cured by the mildness that comes from the shut- 
ting out of the winds. The diseases which are hard to cure in 
neighbourhoods such as those to which I have referred above are 
catarrh, hoarseness, coughs, pleurisy, consumption, spitting of 
blood, and all others that are cured not by lowering the system 
but by building it up. They are hard to cure, first, because they 
are originally due to chills; secondly, because the patient's system 
being already exhausted by disease, the air there, which is in con- 
stant agitation owing to winds and therefore deteriorated, takes 
all the sap of life out of their diseased bodies and leaves them more 


meagre every day. On the other hand, a mild, thick air, without 
draughts and not constantly blowing back and forth, builds up 
their frames by its unwavering steadiness, and so strengthens and 
restores people who are afflicted with these diseases. 

4 . Some have held that there are only four winds : Solanus from 
due east; Auster from the south; Favonius from due west; Sep- 
tentrio from the north. But more careful investigators tell us that 
there are eight. Chief among such was Andronicus of Cyrrhus 
who in proof built the marble octagonal tower in Athens. On the 
several sides of the octagon he executed reliefs representing the 
several winds, each facing the point from which it blows; and on 
top of the tower he set a conical shaped piece of marble and on 
this a bronze Triton with a rod outstretched in its right hand. It 
was so contrived as to go round with the wind, always stopping 
to face the breeze and holding its rod as a pointer directly over 
the representation of the wind that was blowing. 

5. Thus Eurus is placed to the southeast between Solanus and 
Auster: Africus to the southwest between Auster and Favonius; 
Caurus, or, as many call it, Corus, between Favonius and Sep- 
tentrio; and Aquilo between Septentrio and Solanus. Such, then, 
appears to have been his device, including the numbers and 
names of the wind and indicating the directions from which par- 
ticular winds blow. These facts being thus determined, to find 
the directions and quarters of the winds your method of proced- 
ure should be as follows. 

fr 6. In the middle of the city place a marble amussium, laying it 
true by the level, or else let the spot be made so true by means of 
rule and level that no amussium is necessary. In the very centre of 
that spot set up a bronze gnomon or "shadow tracker" (in Greek 
wuaMjpat). At about the fifth hour in the morning, take the 
end of the shadow cast by this gnomon, and mark it with a point. 
Then, opening your compasses to this point which marks the 
length of the gnomon's shadow, describe a circle from the centre. 
In the afternoon watch the shadow of your gnomon as it length- 
ens, and when it once more touches the circumference of this 



circle and the shadow in the afternoon is equal in length to that 
of the morning, mark it with a point. 

7. From these two points describe with your compasses inter- 
secting arcs, and through their intersection and the centre let a 
line be drawn to the circumference of the circle to give us the 
quarters of south and north. Then, using a sixteenth part of the 
entire circumference of the circle as a diameter, describe a circle 
with its centre on the line to the south, at the point where it 
crosses the circumference, and put points to the right and left on 
the circumference on the south side, repeating the process on the 
north side. From the four points thus obtained draw lines inter- 
secting the centre from one side of the circumference to the other. 
Thus we shall have an eighth part of the circumference set out for 
Auster and another for Septentrio. The rest of the entire circum- 
ference is then to be divided into three equal parts on each side, 
and thus we have designed a figure equally apportioned among 
the eight winds. Then let the directions of your streets and al- 
leys be laid down on the lines of division between the quarters of 
two winds. 

8. On this principle of arrangement the disagreeable force of 
the winds will be shut out from dwellings and lines of houses. For 
if the streets run full in the face of the winds, their constant 
blasts rushing in from the open country, and then confined by 
narrow alleys, will sweep through them with great violence. The 
lines of houses must therefore be directed away from the quarters 
from which the winds blow, so that as they come in they may 
strike against the angles of the blocks and their force thus be bro- 
ken and dispersed. 

9. Those who know names for very many winds will perhaps 
be surprised at our setting forth that there are only eight. Re- 
membering, however, that Eratosthenes of Cyrene, employing 
mathematical theories and geometrical methods, discovered from 
the course of the sun, the shadows cast by an equinoctial gnomon, 
and the inclination of the heaven that the circumference of the 
earth is two hundred and fifty-two thousand stadia, that is, thirty- 


one million five hundred thousand paces, and observing that an 
eighth part of this, occupied by a wind, is three million nine hun- 
dred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred paces, they should 
not be surprised to find that a single wind, ranging over so wide a 
field, is subject to shifts this way and that, leading to a variety of 

10. So we often have Leuconotus and Altanus blowing respect- 
ively to the right and left of Auster; Libonotus and Subvesperus 
to the right and left of Africus; Argestes, and at certain periods 
the Etesiae, on either side of Favonius; Circias and Corus on the 
sides of Caurus; Thracias and Gallicus on either side of Sep ten- 
trio; Supernas and Caecias to the right and left of Aquilo; Carbas, 
and at a certain period the Ornithiae, on either side of Solanus; 
while Eurocircias and Volturnus blow on the flanks of Eurus 
which is between them. There are also many other names for 
winds derived from localities or from the squalls which sweep 
from rivers or down mountains. 

11. Then, too, there are the breezes of early morning; for the 
sun on emerging from beneath the earth strikes humid air as he 
returns, and as he goes climbing up the sky he spreads it out be- 
fore him, extracting breezes from the vapour that was there before 
the dawn. Those that still blow on after sunrise are classed with 
Eurus, and hence appears to come the Greek name evpos as the 
child of the breezes, and the word for "to-morrow," avpiov, 
named from the early morning breezes. Some people do indeed 
say that Eratosthenes could not have inferred the true measure 
of the earth. Whether true or untrue, it cannot affect the truth 
of what I have written on the fixing of the quarters from which 
the different winds blow. 

12. If he was wrong, the only result will be that the individual 
winds may blow, not with the scope expected from his measure- 
ment, but with powers either more or less widely extended. For 
the readier understanding of these topics, since I have treated 
them with brevity, it has seemed best to me to give two figures, 
or, as the Greeks say, o^^ara, at the end of this book: one de- 


signed to show the precise quarters from which the winds arise; 
the other, how by turning the directions of the rows of houses and 
the streets away from their full force, we may avoid unhealthy 
blasts. Let A be the centre of a plane surface, and B the point to 


(From the edition of Vltrnvina by Fra Glocondo, Venice, 1611) 

which the shadow of the gnomon reaches in the morning. Tak- 
ing A as the centre, open the compasses to the point B, which 
marks the shadow, and describe a circle. Put the gnomon back 
where it was before and wait for the shadow to lessen and grow 
again until in the afternoon it is equal to its length in the morn- 
ing, touching the circumference at the point C. Then from the 



[Boos I 

points B and C describe with the compasses two arcs intersect- 
ing at D. Next draw a line from the point of intersection D 
through the centre of the circle to the circumference and call it 
E F. This line will show where the south and north lie. 

13. Then find with the compasses a sixteenth part of the entire 
circumference; then centre the compasses on the point E where 



the line to the south touches the circumference, and set off the 
points G and H to the right and left of E. Likewise on the north 
side, centre the compasses on the circumference at the point F 
on the line to the north, and set off the points I and K to the right 
and left; then draw lines through the centre from G to K and 
from H to I. Thus the space from G to H will belong to Auster 
and the south, and the space from I to K will be that of Septen- 
trio. The rest of the circumference is to be divided equally into 
three parts on the right and three on the left, those to the east at 
the points L and M, those to the west at the points N and O. 


Finally, intersecting lines are to be drawn from M to O and from 
L to N. Thus we shall have the circumference divided into eight 
equal spaces for the winds. The figure being finished, we shall 
have at the eight different divisions, beginning at the south, the 
letter G between Eurus and Auster, H between Auster and Af ri- 
cus, N between Africus and Favonius, O between Favonius and 
Caurus, K between Caurus and Septentrio, I between Septen- 
trio and Aquilo, L between Aquilo and Solanus, and M between 
Solanus and Eurus. This done, apply a gnomon to these eight 
divisions and thus fix the directions of the different alleys. 



1. HAVING laid out the alleys and determined the streets, we 
have next to treat of the choice of building sites for temples, the 
forum, and all other public places, with a view to general conven- 
ience and utility. If the city is on the sea, we should choose ground 
close to the harbour as the place where the forum is to be built; 
but if inland, in the middle of the town. For the temples, the 
sites for those of the gods under whose particular protection the 
state is thought to rest and for Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, 
should be on the very highest point commanding a view of the 
greater part of the city. Mercury should be in the forum, or, like 
Isis and Serapis, in the emporium: Apollo and Father Bacchus 
near the theatre: Hercules at the circus in communities which 
have no gymnasia nor amphitheatres; Mars outside the city but at 
the training ground, and so Venus, but at the harbour. It is more- 
over shown by the Etruscan diviners in treatises on their science 
that the fanes of Venus, Vulcan, and Mars should be situated out- 
side the walls, in order that the young men and married women 
may not become habituated in the city to the temptations inci- 
dent to the worship of Venus, and that buildings may be free from 
the terror of fires through the religious rites and sacrifices which 


call the power of Vulcan beyond the walls. As for Mars, when 
that divinity is enshrined outside the walls, the citizens will 
never take up arms against each other, and he will defend the 
city from its enemies and save it from danger in war. 

2. Ceres also should be outside the city in a place to which peo- 
ple need never go except for the purpose of sacrifice. That place 
should be under the protection of religion, purity, and good mor- 
als. Proper sites should be set apart for the precincts of the other 
gods according to the nature of the sacrifices offered to them. 

The principle governing the actual construction of temples and 
their symmetry I shall explain in my third and fourth books. In 
the second I have thought it best to give an account of the ma- 
terials used in buildings with their good qualities and advantages, 
and then in the succeeding books to describe and explain the pro- 
portions of buildings, their arrangements, and the different forms 
of symmetry. 




1. DINOCRATES, an architect who was full of confidence in his 
own ideas and skill, set out from Macedonia, in the reign of Alex- 
ander, to go to the army, being eager to win the approbation of 
the king. He took with him from his country letters from rela- 
tives and friends to the principal military men and officers of the 
court, in order to gain access to them more readily. Being politely 
received by them, he asked to be presented to Alexander as soon 
as possible. They promised, but were rather slow, waiting for a 
suitable opportunity. So Dinocrates, thinking that they were 
playing with him, had recourse to his own efforts. He was of very 
lofty stature and pleasing countenance, finely formed, and ex- 
tremely dignified. Trusting, therefore, to these natural gifts, he 
undressed himself in his inn, anointed his body with oil, set a 
chaplet of poplar leaves on his head, draped his left shoulder with 
a lion's skin, and holding a club in his right hand stalked forth to a 
place in front of the tribunal where the king was administering 

2. His strange appearance made the people turn round, and 
this led Alexander to look at him. In astonishment he gave orders 
to make way for him to draw near, and asked who he was. " Dino- 
crates," quoth he, "a Macedonian architect, who brings thee 
ideas and designs worthy of thy renown. I have made a design 
for the shaping of Mount Athos into the statue of a man, in 
whose left hand I have represented a very spacious fortified city, 
and in his right a bowl to receive the water of all the streams 
which are in that mountain, so that it may pour from the bowl 
into the sea." 

3. Alexander, delighted with the idea of his design, immedi- 
ately inquired whether there were any fields in the neighbour- 


hood that could maintain the city in corn. On finding that this 
was impossible without transport from beyond the sea, "Dino- 
crates," quoth he, "I appreciate your design as excellent in com- 
position, and I am delighted with it, but I apprehend that any- 
body who should found a city in that spot would be censured for 
bad judgement. For as a newborn babe cannot be nourished with- 
out the nurse's milk, nor conducted to the approaches that lead to 
growth in life, so a city cannot thrive without fields and the fruits 
thereof pouring into its walls, nor have a large population with- 
out plenty of food, nor maintain its population without a supply 
of it. Therefore, while thinking that your design is commendable, 
I consider the site as not commendable; but I would have you 
stay with me, because I mean to make use of your services." 

4. From that time, Dinocrates did not leave the king, but fol- 
lowed him into Egypt. There Alexander, observing a harbour 
rendered safe by nature, an excellent centre for trade, cornfields 
throughout all Egypt, and the great usefulness of the mighty river 
Nile, ordered him to build the city of Alexandria, named after the 
king. This was how Dinocrates, recommended only by his good 
looks and dignified carriage, came to be so famous. But as for me, 
Emperor, nature has not given me stature, age has marred my 
face, and my strength is impaired by ill health. Therefore, since 
these advantages fail me, I shall win your approval, as I hope, by 
the help of my knowledge and my writings. 

5. In my first book, I have said what I had to say about the 
functions of architecture and the scope of the art, as well as about 
fortified towns and the apportionment of building sites within 
the fortifications. Although it would next be in order to explain 
the proper proportions and symmetry of temples and public build- 
ings, as well as of private houses, I thought best to postpone this 
until after I had treated the practical merits of the materials out 
of which, when they are brought together, buildings are con- 
structed with due regard to the proper kind of material for each 
part, and until I had shown of what natural elements those 
materials are composed. But before beginning to explain their 


natural properties, I will prefix the motives which originally gave 
rise to buildings and the development of inventions in this field, 
following in the steps of early nature and of those writers who 
have devoted treatises to the origins of civilization and the inves- 
tigation of inventions. My exposition will, therefore, follow the 
instruction which I have received from them. 



1. THE men of old were born like the wild beasts, in woods, 
caves, and groves, and lived on savage fare. As time went on, the 
thickly crowded trees in a certain place, tossed by storms and 
winds, and rubbing their branches against one another, caught 
fire, and so the inhabitants of the place were put to flight, being 
terrified by the furious flame. After it subsided, they drew near, 
and observing that they were very comfortable standing before 
the warm fire, they put on logs and, while thus keeping it alive, 
brought up other people to it, showing them by signs how much 
comfort they got from it. In that gathering of men, at a time 
when utterance of sound was purely individual, from daily habits 
they fixed upon articulate words just as these had happened to 
come; then, from indicating by name things in common use, the 
result was that in this chance way they began to talk, and thus 
originated conversation with one another. 

2. Therefore it was the discovery of fire that originally gave 
rise to the coming together of men, to the deliberative assembly, 
and to social intercourse. And so, as they kept coming together 
in greater numbers into one place, finding themselves naturally 
gifted beyond the other animals in not being obliged to walk with 
faces to the ground, but upright and gazing upon the splendour of 
the starry firmament, and also in being able to do with ease what- 
ever they chose with their hands and fingers, they began in that 
first assembly to construct shelters. Some made them of green 
boughs, others dug caves on mountain sides, and some, in imi- 
tation of the nests of swallows and the way they built, made 
places of refuge out of mud and twigs. Next, by observing the 
shelters of others and adding new details to their own incep- 


tions, they constructed better and better kinds of huts as time 
went on. 

3. And since they were of an imitative and teachable nature, 
they would daily point out to each other the results of their build- 
ing, boasting of the novelties in ft; and thus, with their natural 
gifts sharpened by emulation, their standards improved daily. 
At first they set up forked stakes connected by twigs and covered 
these walls with mud. Others made walls of lumps of dried 
mud, covering them with reeds and leaves to keep out the rain 
and the heat. Finding that such roofs could not stand the rain 
during the storms of winter, they built them with peaks daubed 
with mud, the roofs sloping and projecting so as to carry off the 
rain water. 

4. That houses originated as I have written above, we can see 
for ourselves from the buildings that are to this day constructed 
of like materials by foreign tribes: for instance, in Gaul, Spain, 
Portugal, and Aquitaine, roofed with oak shingles or thatched. 
Among the Colchians in Pontus, where there are forests in plenty, 
they lay down entire trees flat on the ground to the right and the 
left, leaving between them a space to suit the length of the trees, 
and then place above these another pair of trees, resting on the 
ends of the former and at right angles with them. These four 
trees enclose the space for the dwelling. Then upon these they 
place sticks of timber, one after the other on the four sides, cross- 
ing each other at the angles, and so, proceeding with their walls 
of trees laid perpendicularly above the lowest, they build up high 
towers. The interstices, which are left on account of the thick- 
ness of the building material, are stopped up with chips and mud. 
As for the roofs, by cutting away the ends of the crossbeams 
and making them converge gradually as they lay them across, 
they bring them up to the top from the four sides in the shape 
of a pyramid. They cover it with leaves and mud, and thus con- 
struct the roofs of their towers in a rude form of the "tortoise" 

5. On the other hand, the Phrygians, who live in an open coun- 


try, have no forests and consequently lack timber. They there- 
fore select a natural hillock, run a trench through the middle of 
it, dig passages, and extend the interior space as widely as the 
site admits. Over it they build a pyramidal roof of logs fastened 
together, and this they cover with reeds and brushwood, heaping 
up very high mounds of earth above their dwellings. Thus their 
fashion in houses makes their winters very warm and their sum- 
mers very cool. Some construct hovels with roofs of rushes from 
the swamps. Among other nations, also, in some places there 
are huts of the same or a similar method of construction. 
Likewise at Marseilles we can see roofs without tiles, made of 
earth mixed with straw. In Athens on the Areopagus there is 
to this day a relic of antiquity with a mud roof. The hut of 
Romulus on the Capitol is a significant reminder of the fashions 
of old times, and likewise the thatched roofs of temples on the 

6. From such specimens we can draw our inferences with 
regard to the devices used in the buildings of antiquity, and con- 
clude that they were similar. 

Furthermore, as men made progress by becoming daily more 
expert in building, and as their ingenuity was increased by their 
dexterity so that from habit they attained to considerable skill, 
their intelligence was enlarged by their industry until the 
more proficient adopted the trade of carpenters. From these 
early beginnings, and from the fact that nature had not only 
endowed the human race with senses like the rest of the ani- 
mals, but had also equipped their minds with the powers of 
thought and understanding, thus putting all other animals under 
their sway, they next gradually advanced from the construction 
of buildings to the other arts and sciences, and so passed 
from a rude and barbarous mode of life to civilization and 

7. Then, taking courage and looking forward from the stand- 
point of higher ideas born of the multiplication of the arts, they 
gave up huts and began to build houses with foundations, having 


brick or stone walls, and roofs of timber and tiles; next, observa- 
tion and application led them from fluctuating and indefinite 
conceptions to definite rules of symmetry. Perceiving that nature 
had been lavish in the bestowal of timber and bountiful in stores 
of building material, they treated this like careful nurses, and 
thus developing the refinements of life, embellished them with 
luxuries. Therefore I shall now treat, to the best of my ability, 
of the things which are suitable to be used in buildings, showing 
their qualities and their excellencies. 

8. Some persons, however, may find fault with the position of 
this book, thinking that it should have been placed first. I will 
therefore explain the matter, lest it be thought that I have made a 
mistake. Being engaged in writing a complete treatise on archi- 
tecture, I resolved to set forth in the first book the branches of 
learning and studies of which it consists, to define its depart- 
ments, and to show of what it is composed. Hence I have there 
declared what the qualities of an architect should be. In the first 
book, therefore, I have spoken of the function of the art, but in 
this I shall discuss the use of the building materials which nature 
provides. For this book does not show of what architecture is 
composed, but treats of the origin of the building art, how it was 
fostered, and how it made progress, step by step, until it reached 
its present perfection. 

9. This book is, therefore, in its proper order and place. 

I will now return to my subject, and with regard to the ma- 
terials suited to the construction of buildings will consider their 
natural formation and in what proportions their elementary con- 
stituents were combined, making it all clear and not obscure to 
my readers. For there is no kind of material, no body, and no 
thing that can be produced or conceived of, which is not made up 
of elementary particles; and nature does not admit of a tmthful 
exploration in accordance with the doctrines of the physicists 
without an accurate demonstration of the primary causes of 
things, showing how and why they are as they are. 




1. FIRST of all Thales thought that water was the primordial 
substance of all things. Heraclitus of Ephesus, surnamed by 
the Greeks o-Koretw on account of the obscurity of his writ- 
ings, thought that it was fire. Democritus and his follower Epi- 
curus thought that it was the atoms, termed by our writers "bod- 
ies that cannot be cut up," or, by some, "indivisibles." The 
school of the Pythagoreans added air and the earthy to the water 
and fire. Hence, although Democritus did not in a strict sense 
name them, but spoke only of indivisible bodies, yet he seems to 
have meant these same elements, because when taken by them- 
selves they cannot be harmed, nor are they susceptible of dissolu- 
tion, nor can they be cut up into parts, but throughout time eter- 
nal they forever retain an infinite solidity. 

2. All things therefore appear to be made up and produced by 
the coming together of these elements, so that they have been 
distributed by nature among an infinite number of kinds of 
things. Hence I believed it right to treat of the diversity and 
practical peculiarities of these things as well as of the qualities 
which they exhibit in buildings, so that persons who are intending 
to build may understand them and so make no mistake, but may 
gather materials which are suitable to use in their buildings. 



1. BEGINNING with bricks, I shall state of what kind of clay 
they ought to be made. They should not be made of sandy or 
pebbly clay, or of fine gravel, because when made of these kinds 
they are in the first place heavy; and, secondly, when washed by 


the rain as they stand in walls, they go to pieces and break up, and 
the straw in them does not hold together on account of the rough- 
ness of the material. They should rather be made of white and 
chalky or of red clay, or even of a coarse grained gravelly clay. 
These materials are smooth and therefore durable; they are not 
heavy to work with, and are readily laid. 

2. Bricks should be made in Spring or Autumn, so that they 
may dry uniformly. Those made in Summer are defective, be- 
cause the fierce heat of the sun bakes their surface and makes the 
brick seem dry while inside it is not dry. And so the shrinking, 
which follows as they dry, causes cracks in the parts which were 
dried before, and these cracks make the bricks weak. Bricks will 
be most serviceable if made two years before using; for they can- 
not dry thoroughly in less time. When fresh undried bricks are 
used in a wall, the stucco covering stiffens and hardens into a 
permanent mass, but the bricks settle and cannot keep the same 
height as the stucco; the motion caused by their shrinking pre- 
vents them from adhering to it, and they are separated from their 
union with it. Hence the stucco, no longer joined to the core of 
the wall, cannot stand by itself because it is so thin; it breaks off, 
and the walls themselves may perhaps be ruined by their settling. 
This is so true that at Utica in constructing walls they use brick 
only if it is dry and made five years previously, and approved as 
such by the authority of a magistrate. 

3. There are three kinds of bricks. First, the kind called in 
Greek Lydian, being that which our people use, a foot and a 
half long and one foot wide. The other two kinds are used by the 
Greeks in their buildings. Of these, one is called irevrdScopov, 
the other TerpdSwpov. ASpov is the Greek for "palm," for in 
Greek Bwpov means the giving of gifts, and the gift is always pre- 
sented in the palm of the hand. A brick five palms square is called 
"pentadoron " ; one four palms square "tetradoron." Public 
buildings are constructed of TreirrdSoopa, private of rerpaBcapa. 

4. With these bricks there are also half-bricks. When these are 
used in a wall, a course of bricks is laid on one face and a course 


of half-bricks on the other, and they are bedded to the line on 
each face. The walls are bonded by alternate courses of the two 

^gx^~X" / ft / / T Different kinds, and as the 

bricks are always laid so as 

viTKtnrius' BRICK-BOND AccoBJoiNG TO * break joints, this lends 
REBER strength and a not unattrac- 

tive appearance to both sides of such walls. 

In the states of Maxilua and Callet, in Further Spain, as well 
as in Pitane in Asia Minor, there are bricks which, when fin- 
ished and dried, will float on being thrown into water. The 
reason why they can float seems to be that the clay of which 
they are made is like pumice-stone. So it is light, and also it 
does not, after being hardened by exposure to the air, take up or 
absorb liquid. So these bricks, being of this light and porous 
quality, and admitting no moisture into their texture, must by 
the laws of nature float in water, like pumice, no matter what 
their weight may be. They have therefore great advantages; for 
they are not heavy to use in building and, once made, they are 
not spoiled by bad weather. 



1. IN walls of masonry the first question must be with regard 
to the sand, in order that it may be fit to mix into mortar and 
have no dirt in it. The kinds of pitsand are these: black, gray, 
red, and carbuncular. Of these the best will be found to be that 
which crackles when rubbed in the hand, while that which has 
much dirt in it will not be sharp enough. Again : throw some sand 
upon a white garment and then shake it out; if the garment is not 
soiled and no dirt adheres to it, the sand is suitable. 

2. But if there are no sandpits from which it can be dug, then 
we must sift it out from river beds or from gravel or even from the 
sea beach. This kind, however, has these defects when used in 


masonry: it dries slowly; the wall cannot be built up without in- 
terruption but from time to time there must be pauses in the 
work; and such a wall cannot carry vaultings. Furthermore, when 
sea-sand is used in walls and these are coated with stucco, a salty 
efflorescence is given out which spoils the surface. 

3. But pitsand used in masonry dries quickly, the stucco coat- 
ing is permanent, and the walls can support vaultings. I am 
speaking of sand fresh from the sandpits. For if it lies unused 
too long after being taken out, it is disintegrated by exposure to 
sun, moon, or hoar frost, and becomes earthy. So when mixed in 
masonry, it has no binding power on the rubble, which conse- 
quently settles and down comes the load which the walls can no 
longer support. Fresh pitsand, however, in spite of all its excel- 
lence in concrete structures, is not equally useful in stucco, the 
richness of which, when the lime and straw are mixed with such 
sand, will cause it to crack as it dries on account of the great 
strength of the mixture. But river sand, though useless in " sig- 
ni 1111 in " on account of its thinness, becomes perfectly solid in 
stucco when thoroughly worked by means of polishing instru- 



1. SAND and its sources having been thus treated, next with 
regard to lime we must be careful that it is burned from a stone 
which, whether soft or hard, is in any case white. Lime made of 
close-grained stone of the harder sort will be good in structural 
parts; lime of porous stone, in stucco. After slaking it, mix your 
mortar, if using pitsand, in the proportions of three parts of sand 
to one of lime; if using river or sea-sand, mix two parts of sand 
with one of lime. These will be the right proportions for the com- 
position of the mixture. Further, in using river or sea-sand, the 
addition of a third part composed of burnt brick, pounded up and 
sifted, will make your mortar of a better composition to use. 


2. The reason why lime makes a solid structure on being com- 
bined with water and sand seems to be this : that rocks, like all 
other bodies, are composed of the four elements. Those which 
contain a larger proportion of air, are soft; of water, are tough 
from the moisture; of earth, hard; and of fire, more brittle. There- 
fore, if limestone, without being burned, is merely pounded up 
small and then mixed with sand and so put into the work, the 
mass does not solidify nor can it hold together. But if the stone 
is first thrown into the kiln, it loses its former property of solidity 
by exposure to the great heat of the fire, and so with its strength 
burnt out and exhausted it is left with its pores open and empty. 
Hence, the moisture and air in the body of the stone being 
burned out and set free, and only a residuum of heat being left 
lying in it, if the stone is then immersed in water, the moisture, 
before the water can feel the influence of the fire, makes its 
way into the open pores; then the stone begins to get hot, and 
finally, after it cools off, the heat is rejected from the body of 
the lime. 

3. Consequently, limestone when taken out of the kiln cannot 
be as heavy as when it was thrown in, but on being weighed, 
though its bulk remains the same as before, it is found to have 
lost about a third of its weight owing to the boiling out of the 
water. Therefore, its pores being thus opened and its texture ren- 
dered loose, it readily mixes with sand, and hence the two mate- 
rials cohere as they dry, unite with the rubble, and make a solid 



1. THERE is also a kind of powder which from natural causes 
produces astonishing results. It is found in the neighbourhood of 
Baiae and in the country belonging to the towns round about 
Mt. Vesuvius. This substance, when mixed with lime and rub- 


ble, not only lends strength to buildings of other kinds, but even 
when piers of it are constructed in the sea, they set hard under 
water. The reason for this seems to be that the soil on the slopes 
of the mountains in these neighbourhoods is hot and full of hot 
springs. This would not be so unless the mountains had beneath 
them huge fires of burning sulphur or alum or asphalt. So the fire 
and the heat of the flames, coming up hot from far within through 
the fissures, make the soil there light, and the tufa found there 
is spongy and free from moisture. Hence, when the three sub- 
stances, all formed on a similar principle by the force of fire, are 
mixed together, the water suddenly taken in makes them cohere, 
and the moisture quickly hardens them so that they set into 
a mass which neither the waves nor the force of the water can 

2. That there is burning heat in these regions may be proved 
by the further fact that in the mountains near Baiae, which be- 
longs to the Cumaeans, there are places excavated to serve as 
sweating-baths, where the intense heat that comes from far be- 
low bores its way through the earth, owing to the force of the fire, 
and passing up appears in these regions, thus making remarkably 
good sweating-baths. Likewise also it is related that in ancient 
times the tides of heat, swelling and overflowing from under 
Mt. Vesuvius, vomited forth fire from the mountain upon the 
neighbouring country. Hence, what is called "sponge-stone" or 
"Pompeian pumice" appears to have been reduced by burning 
from another kind of stone to the condition of the kind which 
we see. 

3. The kind of sponge-stone taken from this region is not pro- 
duced everywhere else, but only about Aetna and among the hills 
of Mysia which the Greeks call the "Burnt District," and in 
other places of the same peculiar nature. Seeing that in such 
places there are found hot springs and warm vapour in excava- 
tions on the mountains, and that the ancients tell us that there 
were once fires spreading over the fields in those very regions, it 
seems to be certain that moisture has been extracted from the 


tufa and earth, by the force of fire, just as it is from limestone in 

4. Therefore, when different and unlike things have been sub- 
jected to the action of fire and thus reduced to the same condi- 
tion, if after this, while in a warm, dry state, they are suddenly 
saturated with water, there is an effervescence of the heat latent 
in the bodies of them all, and this makes them firmly unite and 
quickly assume the property of one solid mass. 

There will still be the question why Tuscany, although it 
abounds in hot springs, does not furnish a powder out of which, 
on the same principle, a wall can be made which will set fast under 
water. I have therefore thought best to explain how this seems to 
be, before the question should be raised. 

5. The same kinds of soil are not found in all places and coun- 
tries alike, nor is stone found everywhere. Some soils are earthy; 
others gravelly, and again pebbly; in other places the material 
is sandy; in a word, the properties of the soil are as different and 
unlike as are the various countries. In particular, it may be ob- 
served that sandpits are hardly ever lacking in any place within 
the districts of Italy and Tuscany which are bounded by the 
Apennines ; whereas across the Apennines toward the Adriatic none 
are found, and in Achaea and Asia Minor or, in short, across the 
sea, the very term is unknown. Hence it is not in all the places 
where boiling springs of hot water abound, that there is the same 
combination of favourable circumstances which has been described 
above. For things are produced in accordance with the will of 
nature; not to suit man's pleasure, but as it were by a chance dis- 

6. Therefore, where the mountains are not earthy but consist of 
soft stone, the force of the fire, passing through the fissures in the 
stone, sets it afire. The soft and delicate part is burned out, while 
the hard part is left. Consequently, while in Campania the burn- 
ing of the earth makes ashes, in Tuscany the combustion of the 
stone makes carbuncular sand. Both are excellent in walls, but 
one is better to use for buildings on land, the other for piers 


1. 2. Ancient quarries. .'!. A similar modern quarry. 

The top of the rock shows the original ground level. The present ground level shows the 
depth to which the rock has been removed. 


under salt water. The Tuscan stone is softer in quality than tufa 
but harder than earth, and being thoroughly kindled by the vio- 
lent heat from below, the result is the production in some places 
of the kind of sand called carbuncular. 



1. I HAVE now spoken of lime and sand, with their varieties and 
points of excellence. Next comes the consideration of stone- 
quarries from which dimension stone and supplies of rubble to be 
used in building are taken and brought together. The stone in 
quarries is found to be of different and unlike qualities. In some 
it is soft: for example, in the environs of the city at the quarries 
of Grotta Rossa, Palla, Fidenae, and of the Alban hills; in 
others, it is medium, as at Tivoli, at Amiternum, or Mt. Soracte, 
and in quarries of this sort; in still others it is hard, as in lava 
quarries. There are also numerous other kinds: for instance, in 
Campania, red and black tufas ; in Umbria, Rcenum, and Vene- 
tia, white tufa which can be cut with a toothed saw, like wood. 

2. All these soft kinds have the advantage that they can be 
easily worked as soon as they have been taken from the quarries. 
Under cover they play their part well; but in open and exposed 
situations the frost and rime make them crumble, and they go to 
pieces. On the seacoast, too, the salt eats away and dissolves them, 
nor can they stand great heat either. But travertine and all stone 
of that class can stand injury whether from a heavy load laid 
upon it or from the weather; exposure to fire, however, it cannot 
bear, but splits and cracks to pieces at once. This is because in 
its natural composition there is but little moisture and not much 
of the earthy, but a great deal of air and of fire. Therefore, it is 
not only without the earthy and watery elements, but when fire, 
expelling the air from it by the operation and force of heat, pene- 
trates into its inmost parts and occupies the empty spaces of the 


fissures, there comes a great glow and the stone is made to burn 
as fiercely as do the particles of fire itself. 

3. There are also several quarries called Anician in the terri- 
tory of Tarquinii, the stone being of the colour of peperino. The 
principal workshops lie round the lake of Bolsena and in the pre- 
fecture of Statonia. This stone has innumerable good qualities. 
Neither the season of frost nor exposure to fire can harm it, but 
it remains solid and lasts to a great age, because there is only a 
little air and fire in its natural composition, a moderate amount 
of moisture, and a great deal of the earthy. Hence its structure 
is of close texture and solid, and so it cannot be injured by the 
weather or by the force of fire. 

4. This may best be seen from monuments in the neighbour- 
hood of the town of Ferento which are made of stone from these 
quarries. Among them are large statues exceedingly well made, 
images of smaller size, and flowers and acanthus leaves gracefully 
carved. Old as these are, they look as fresh as if they were only 
just finished. Bronze workers, also, make moulds for the casting 
of bronze out of stone from these quarries, and find it very useful 
in bronze-founding. If the quarries were only near Rome, all our 
buildings might well be constructed from the products of these 

5. But since, on account of the proximity of the stone-quarries 
of Grotta Rossa, Palla, and the others that are nearest to the city, 
necessity drives us to make use of their products, we must pro- 
ceed as follows, if we wish our work to be finished without flaws. 
Let the stone be taken from the quarry two years before building 
is to begin, and not in winter but in summer. Then let it lie ex- 
posed in an open place. Such stone as has been damaged by the 
two years of exposure should be used in the foundations. The 
rest, which remains unhurt, has passed the test of nature and 
will endure in those parts of the building which are above 
ground. This precaution should be observed, not only with 
dimension stone, but also with the rubble which is to be used 
in walls. 

hotii lloscioni 




1. THERE are two styles of walls: "opus reticulatum," now 
used by everybody, and the ancient style called "opus incertum." 
Of these, the reticulatum looks better, but its construction makes 
it likely to crack, because its beds and builds spread out in every 
direction. On the other hand, in the opus incertum, the rubble, 
lying in courses and imbricated, makes a wall which, though not 
beautiful, is stronger than the reticulatum. 

2. Both kinds should be constructed of the smallest stones, so 
that the walls, being thoroughly puddled with the mortar, which 
is made of lime and sand, may hold together longer. Since the 
stones used are soft and porous, they are apt to suck the mois- 
ture out of the mortar and so to dry it up. But when there is 
abundance of lime and sand, the wall, containing more moisture, 
will not soon lose its strength, for they will hold it together. But 
as soon as the moisture is sucked out of the mortar by the porous 
rubble, and the lime and sand separate and disunite, the rubble 
can no longer adhere to them and the wall will in time become a 

3. This we may learn from several monuments in the environs 
of the city, which are built of marble or dimension stone, but on 
the inside packed with masonry between the outer walls. In the 
course of time, the mortar has lost its strength, which has been 
sucked out of it by the porousness of the rubble; and so the monu- 
ments are tumbling down and going to pieces, with their joints 
loosened by the settling of the material that bound them together. 

4. He who wishes to avoid such a disaster should leave a 
cavity behind the facings, and on the inside build walls two 
feet thick, made of red dimension stone or burnt brick or lava in 
courses, and then bind them to the fronts by means of iron clamps 
and lead. For thus his work, being no mere heap of material but 
regularly laid in courses, will be strong enough to last forever 


without a flaw, because the beds and builds, all settling equally 
and bonded at the joints, will not let the work bulge out, nor 
allow the fall of the face walls which have been tightly fastened 

5. Consequently, the method of construction employed by the 
Greeks is not to be despised. They do not use a structure of soft 
rubble polished on the outside, but whenever they forsake dimen- 
sion stone, they lay courses of lava or of some hard stone, and, as 
though building with brick, they bind the upright joints by inter- 
changing the direction of the stones as they lie in the courses. 
Thus they attain to a perfection that will endure to eternity. 
These structures are of two kinds. One of them is called "isodo- 
mum," the other "pseudisodomum." 

6. A wall is called isodomum when all the courses are of equal 
height; pseudisodomum, when the rows of courses do not match 
but run unequally. Both kinds are strong: first, because the 
rubble itself is of close texture and solid, unable to suck the mois- 
ture out of the mortar, but keeping it in its moist condition for a 
very long period; secondly, because the beds of the stones, being 
laid smooth and level to begin with, keep the mortar from falling, 
and, as they are bonded throughout the entire thickness of the 
wall, they hold together for a very long period. 

7. Another method is that which they call einr\e/cTov, used 
also among us in the country. In this the facings are finished, but 
the other stones left in their natural state and then laid with 
alternate bonding stones. But our workmen, in their hurry to 
finish, devote themselves only to the facings of the walls, setting 
them upright but filling the space between with a lot of broken 
stones and mortar thrown in anyhow. This makes three differ- 
ent sections in the same structure; two consisting of facing and 
one of filling between them. The Greeks, however, do not build so ; 
but laying their stones level and building every other stone length- 
wise into the thickness, they do not fill the space between, but 
construct the thickness of their walls in one solid and unbroken 
mass from the facings to the interior. Further, at intervals they 

f, - 


lay single stones which run through the entire thickness of the 
wall. These stones, which show at each end, are called Stdrovoi,, 
and by their bonding powers they add very greatly to the solidity 
of the walls. 

8. One who in accordance with these notes will take pains in 
selecting his method of construction, may count upon having 
something that will last. No walls made of rubble and finished 
with delicate beauty no such walls can escape ruin as time goes 
on. Hence, when arbitrators are chosen to set a valuation on 
party walls, they do not value them at what they cost to build, 
but look up the written contract in each case and then, after de- 
ducting from the cost one eightieth for each year that the wall has 
been standing, decide that the remainder is the sum to be paid. 
They thus in effect pronounce that such walls cannot last more 
than eighty years. 

9. In the case of brick walls, however, no deduction is made 
provided that they are still standing plumb, but they are always 
valued at what they cost to build. Hence in some states we may 
see public buildings and private houses, as well as those of kings, 
built of brick: in Athens, for example, the part of the wall which 
faces Mt. Hymettus and Pentelicus; at Patras, the cellae of the 
temple of Jupiter and Hercules, which are brick, although on the 
outside the entablature and columns of the temple are of stone; 
in Italy, at Arezzo, an ancient wall excellently built; at Tralles, 
the house built for the kings of the dynasty of Attalus, which is 
now always granted to the man who holds the state priesthood. 
In Sparta, paintings have been taken out of certain walls by cut- 
ting through the bricks, then have been placed in wooden frames, 
and so brought to the Comitium to adorn the aedileship of Varro 
and Murena. 

10. Then there is the house of Croesus which the people of 
Sardis have set apart as a place of repose for their fellow-citizens 
in the retirement of age, a "Gerousia" for the guild of the 
elder men. At Halicarnassus, the house of that most potent king 
Mausolus, though decorated throughout with Proconnesian mar- 


ble, has walls built of brick which are to this day of extraordinary 
strength, and are covered with stucco so highly polished that they 
seem to be as glistening as glass. That king did not use brick 
from poverty; for he was choke-full of revenues, being ruler of 
all Caria. 

11. As for his skill and ingenuity as a builder, they may be seen 
from what follows. He was born at Melassa, but recognizing the 
natural advantages of Halicarnassus as a fortress, and seeing that 
it was suitable as a trading centre and that it had a good harbour, 
he fixed his residence there. The place had a curvature like that 
of the seats in a theatre. On the lowest tier, along the harbour, 
was built the forum. About half-way up the curving slope, at 
the point where the curved cross-aisle is in a theatre, a broad wide 
street was laid out, in the middle of which was built the Mauso- 
leum, a work so remarkable that it is classed among the Seven 
Wonders of the World. At the top of the hill, in the centre, is the 
fane of Mars, containing a colossal acrolithic statue by the fa- 
mous hand of Leochares. That is, some think that this statue is 
by Leochares, others by Timotheus. At the extreme right of the 
summit is the fane of Venus and Mercury, close to the spring of 

12. There is a mistaken idea that this spring infects those who 
drink of it with an unnatural lewdness. It will not be out of place 
to explain how this idea came to spread throughout the world 
from a mistake in the telling of the tale. It cannot be that the 
water makes men effeminate and unchaste, as it is said to do; for 
the spring is of remarkable clearness and excellent in flavour. 
The fact is that when Melas and Arevanias came there from Ar- 
gos and Troezen and founded a colony together, they drove out 
the Carians and Lelegans who were barbarians. These took 
refuge in the mountains, and, uniting there, used to make raids, 
plundering the Greeks and laying their country waste in a cruel 
manner. Later, one of the colonists, to make money, set up a well- 
stocked shop, near the spring because the water was so good, and 
the way in which he carried it on attracted the barbarians. So 









they began to come down, one at a time, and to meet with society, 
and thus they were brought back of their own accord, giving up 
their rough and savage ways for the delights of Greek customs. 
Hence this water acquired its peculiar reputation, not because 
it really induced unchastity, but because those barbarians were 
softened by the charm of civilization. 

13. But since I have been tempted into giving a description of 
this fortified place, it remains to finish my account of it. Cor- 
responding to the fane of Venus and the spring described above, 
which are on the right, we have on the extreme left the royal pal- 
ace which king Mausolus built there in accordance with a plan all 
his own. To the right it commands a view of the forum, the har- 
bour, and the entire line of fortifications, while just below it, to 
the left, there is a concealed harbour, hidden under the walls in 
such a way that nobody could see or know what was going on in 
it. Only the king himself could, in case of need, give orders from 
his own palace to the oarsmen and soldiers, without the knowledge 
of anybody else. 

14. After the death of Mausolus, his wife Artemisia became 
queen, and the Rhodians, regarding it as an outrage that a woman 
should be ruler of the states of all Caria, fitted out a fleet and 
sallied forth to seize upon the kingdom. When news of this 
reached Artemisia, she gave orders that her fleet should be hid- 
den away in that harbour with oarsmen and marines mustered 
and concealed, but that the rest of the citizens should take their 
places on the city wall. After the Rhodians had landed at the 
larger harbour with their well-equipped fleet, she ordered the 
people on the wall to cheer them and to promise that they would 
deliver up the town. Then, when they had passed inside the wall, 
leaving their fleet empty, Artemisia suddenly made a canal which 
led to the sea, brought her fleet thus out of the smaller harbour, 
and so sailed into the larger. Disembarking her soldiers, she 
towed the empty fleet of the Rhodians out to sea. So the Rhod- 
ians were surrounded without means of retreat, and were slain in 
the very forum. 


15. So Artemisia embarked her own soldiers and oarsmen in 
the ships of the Rhodians and set forth for Rhodes. The Rhod- 
ians, beholding their own ships approaching wreathed with laurel, 
supposed that their fellow-citizens were returning victorious, 
and admitted the enemy. Then Artemisia, after taking Rhodes 
and killing its leading men, put up in the city of Rhodes a trophy 
of her victory, including two bronze statues, one representing the 
state of the Rhodians, the other herself. Herself she fashioned in 
the act of branding the state of the Rhodians. In later times the 
Rhodians, labouring under the religious scruple which makes it 
a sin to remove trophies once they are dedicated, constructed a 
building to surround the place, and thus by the erection of the 
"Grecian Station" covered it so that nobody could see it, and 
ordered that the building be called "afiarov." 

16. Since such very powerful kings have not disdained walls 
built of brick, although with their revenues and from booty they 
might often have had them not only of masonry or dimension 
stone but even of marble, I think that one ought not to reject 
buildings made of brick-work, provided that they are properly 
"topped." But I shall explain why this kind of structure should 
not be used by the Roman people within the city, not omitting 
the reasons and the grounds for them. 

17. The laws of the state forbid that walls abutting on public 
property should be more than a foot and a half thick. The other 
walls are built of the same thickness in order to save space. Now 
brick walls, unless two or three bricks thick, cannot support 
more than one story; certainly not if they are only a foot and a 
half in thickness. But with the present importance of the city 
and the unlimited numbers of its population, it is necessary to in- 
crease the number of dwelling-places indefinitely. Consequently, 
as the ground floors could not admit of so great a number living 
in the city, the nature of the case has made it necessary to find 
relief by making the buildings high. In these tall piles reared with 
piers of stone, walls of burnt brick, and partitions of rubble work, 
and provided with floor after floor, the upper stories can be par- 


titioned off into rooms to very great advantage. The accommo- 
dations within the city walls being thus multiplied as a result 
of the many floors high in the air, the Roman people easily find 
excellent places in which to live. 

18. It has now been explained how limitations of building space 
necessarily forbid the employment of brick walls within the city. 
When it becomes necessary to use them outside the city, they 
should be constructed as follows in order to be perfect and dura- 
ble. On the top of the wall lay a structure of burnt brick, about a 
foot and a half in height, under the tiles and projecting like a cop- 
ing. Thus the defects usual in these walls can be avoided. For 
when the tiles on the roof are broken or thrown down by the wind 
so that rain-water can leak through, this burnt brick coating will 
prevent the crude brick from being damaged, and the cornice-like 
projection will throw off the drops beyond the vertical face, and 
thus the walls, though of crude brick structure, will be preserved 

19. With regard to burnt brick, nobody can tell offhand 
whether it is of the best or unfit to use in a wall, because its 
strength can be tested only after it has been used on a roof and 
exposed to bad weather and time then, if it is good it is accepted. 
If not made of good clay or if not baked sufficiently, it shows 
itself defective there when exposed to frosts and rime. Brick that 
will not stand exposure on roofs can never be strong enough to 
carry its load in a wall. Hence the strongest burnt brick walls are 
those which are constructed out of old roofing tiles. 

20. As for "wattle and daub" I could wish that it had never 
been invented. The more it saves in time and gains in space, the 
greater and the more general is the disaster that it may cause; for 
it is made to catch fire, like torches. It seems better, therefore, to 
spend on walls of burnt brick, and be at expense, than to save with 
" wattle and daub," and be in danger. And, in the stucco covering, 
too, it makes cracks from the inside by the arrangement of its 
studs and girts. For these swell with moisture as they are daubed, 
and then contract as they dry, and, by their shrinking, cause the 


solid stucco to split. But since some are obliged to use it either 
to save time or money, or for partitions on an unsupported span, 
the proper method of construction is as follows. Give it a high 
foundation so that it may nowhere come in contact with the bro- 
ken stone-work composing the floor; for if it is sunk in this, it rots 
in course of time, then settles and sags forward, and so breaks 
through the surface of the stucco covering. 

I have now explained to the best of my ability the subject of 
walls, and the preparation of the different kinds of material em- 
ployed, with their advantages and disadvantages. Next, follow- 
ing the guidance of Nature, I shall treat of the frame-work and 
the kinds of wood used in it, showing how they may be pro- 
cured of a sort that will not give way as time goes on. 



1. TIMBER should be felled between early Autumn and the time 
when Favonius begins to blow. For in Spring all trees become 
pregnant, and they are all employing their natural vigour in the 
production of leaves and of the fruits that return every year. The 
requirements of that season render them empty and swollen, and 
so they are weak and feeble because of their looseness of texture. 
This is also the case with women who have conceived. Their bod- 
ies are not considered perfectly healthy until the child is born; 
hence, pregnant slaves, when offered for sale, are not warranted 
sound, because the fetus as it grows within the body takes to itself 
as nourishment all the best qualities of the mother's food, and so 
the stronger it becomes as the full time for birth approaches, the 
less compact it allows that body to be from which it is produced. 
After the birth of the child, what was heretofore taken to pro- 
mote the growth of another creature is now set free by the deliv- 
ery of the newborn, and the channels being now empty and 
open, the body will take it in by lapping up its juices, and thus 


becomes compact and returns to the natural strength which it 
had before. 

2. On the same principle, with the ripening of the fruits in 
Autumn the leaves begin to wither and the trees, taking up their 
sap from the earth through the roots, recover themselves and are 
restored to their former solid texture. But the strong air of win- 
ter compresses and solidifies them during the time above men- 
tioned. Consequently, if the timber is felled on the principle and 
at the time above mentioned, it will be felled at the proper season. 

3. In felling a tree we should cut into the trunk of it to the 
very heart, and then leave it standing so that the sap may drain 
out drop by drop throughout the whole of it. In this way the use- 
less liquid which is within will run out through the sapwood in- 
stead of having to die in a mass of decay, thus spoiling the quality 
of the timber. Then and not till then, the tree being drained dry 
and the sap no longer dripping, let it be felled and it will be in the 
highest state of usefulness. 

4. That this is so may be seen in the case of fruit trees. When 
these are tapped at the base and pruned, each at the proper time, 
they pour out from the heart through the tapholes all the super- 
fluous and corrupting fluid which they contain, and thus the 
draining process makes them durable. But when the juices of 
trees have no means of escape, they clot and rot in them, making 
the trees hollow and good for nothing. Therefore, if the draining 
process does not exhaust them while they are still alive, there is 
no doubt that, if the same principle is followed in felling them for 
timber, they will last a long time and be very useful in buildings. 

5. Trees vary and are unlike one another in their qualities. 
Thus it is with the oak, elm, poplar, cypress, fir, and the others 
which are most suitable to use in buildings. The oak, for instance, 
has not the efficacy of the fir, nor the cypress that of the elm. Nor 
in the case of other trees, is it natural that they should be alike; 
but the individual kinds are effective in building, some in one 
way, some in another, owing to the different properties of their 


6. To begin with fir: it contains a great deal of air and fire with 
very little moisture and the earthy, so that, as its natural prop- 
erties are of the lighter class, it is not heavy. Hence, its consist- 
ence being naturally stiff, it does not easily bend under the load, 
and keeps its straightness when used in the framework. But it 
contains so much heat that it generates and encourages decay, 
which spoils it; and it also kindles fire quickly because of the air 
in its body, which is so open that it takes in fire and so gives out 
a great flame. 

7. The part which is nearest to the earth before the tree is cut 
down takes up moisture through the roots from the immediate 
neighbourhood and hence is without knots and is "clear." But 
the upper part, on account of the great heat in it, throws up 
branches into the air through the knots; and this, when it is cut 
off about twenty feet from the ground and then hewn, is called 
" knotwood" because of its hardness and knottiness. The lowest 
part, after the tree is cut down and the sapwood of the same 
thrown away, is split up into four pieces and prepared for joiner's 
work, and so is called "clearstock." 

8. Oak, on the other hand, having enough and to spare of the 
earthy among its elements, and containing but little moisture, air, 
and fire, lasts for an unlimited period when buried in under- 
ground structures. It follows that when exposed to moisture, as 
its texture is not loose and porous, it cannot take in liquid on ac- 
count of its compactness, but, withdrawing from the moisture, 
it resists it and warps, thus making cracks in the structures in 
which it is used. 

9. The winter oak, being composed of a moderate amount of 
all the elements, is very useful in buildings, but when in a moist 
place, it takes in water to its centre through its pores, its air and 
fire being expelled by the influence of the moisture, and so it rots. 
The Turkey oak and the beech, both containing a mixture of 
moisture, fire, and the earthy, with a great deal of air, through 
this loose texture take in moisture to their centre and soon decay. 
White and black poplar, as well as willow, linden, and the agnus 


castus, containing an abundance of fire and air, a moderate 
amount of moisture, and only a small amount of the earthy, are 
composed of a mixture which is proportionately rather light, 
and so they are of great service from their stiffness. Although on 
account of the mixture of the earthy in them they are not hard, 
yet their loose texture makes them gleaming white, and they are 
a convenient material to use in carving. 

10. The alder, which is produced close by river banks, and 
which seems to be altogether useless as building material, has 
really excellent qualities. It is composed of a very large propor- 
tion of air and fire, not much of the earthy, and only a little mois- 
ture. Hence, in swampy places, alder piles driven close together 
beneath the foundations of buildings take in the water which their 
own consistence lacks and remain imperishable forever, support- 
ing structures of enormous weight and keeping them from decay. 
Thus a material which cannot last even a little while above 
ground, endures for a long time when covered with moisture. 

11. One can see this at its best in Ravenna; for there all the 
buildings, both public and private, have piles of this sort beneath 
their foundations. The elm and the ash contain a very great 
amount of moisture, a minimum of air and fire, and a moderate 
mixture of the earthy in their composition. When put in shape 
for use in buildings they are tough and, having no stiffness on ac- 
count of the weight of moisture in them, soon bend. But when 
they become dry with age, or are allowed to lose their sap and die 
standing in the open, they get harder, and from their toughness 
supply a strong material for dowels to be used in joints and other 

12. The hornbeam, which has a very small amount of fire and 
of the earthy in its composition, but a very great proportion of 
air and moisture, is not a wood that breaks easily, and is very con- 
venient to handle. Hence, the Greeks call it "zygia," because 
they make of it yokes for their draught-animals, and their word 
for yoke is vya. Cypress and pine are also just as admirable; 
for although they contain an abundance of moisture mixed with 


an equivalent composed of all the other elements, and so are apt 
to warp when used in buildings on account of this superfluity of 
moisture, yet they can be kept to a great age without rotting, 
because the liquid contained within their substances has a bitter 
taste which by its pungency prevents the entrance of decay or of 
those little creatures which are destructive. Hence, buildings 
made of these kinds of wood last for an unending period of time. 

13. The cedar and the juniper tree have the same uses and good 
qualities, but, while the cypress and pine yield resin, from the 
cedar is produced an oil called cedar-oil. Books as well as other 
things smeared with this are not hurt by worms or decay. The 
foliage of this tree is like that of the cypress but the grain of the 
wood is straight. The statue of Diana in the temple at Ephesus 
is made of it, and so are the coffered ceilings both there and in all 
other famous fanes, because that wood is everlasting. The tree 
grows chiefly in Crete, Africa, and in some districts of Syria. 

14. The larch, known only to the people of the towns on the 
banks of the river Po and the shores of the Adriatic, is not only 
preserved from decay and the worm by the great bitterness of its 
sap, but also it cannot be kindled with fire nor ignite of itself, un- 
less like stone in a limekiln it is burned with other wood. And even 
then it does not take fire nor produce burning coals, but after a 
long time it slowly consumes away. This is because there is a very 
small proportion of the elements of fire and air in its composition, 
which is a dense and solid mass of moisture and the earthy, so 
that it has no open pores through which fire can find its way; but 
it repels the force of fire and does not let itself be harmed by it 
quickly. Further, its weight will not let it float in water, so that 
when transported it is loaded on shipboard or on rafts made of fir. 

15. It is worth while to know how this wood was discovered. 
The divine Caesar, being with his army in the neighbourhood of 
the Alps, and having ordered the towns to furnish supplies, the 
inhabitants of a fortified stronghold there, called Larignum, 
trusting in the natural strength of their defences, refused to obey 
his command. So the general ordered his forces to the assault. 


In front of the gate of this stronghold there was a tower, made of 
beams of this wood laid in alternating directions at right angles 
to each other, like a funeral pyre, and built high, so that they 
could drive off an attacking party by throwing stakes and stones 
from the top. When it was observed that they had no other mis- 
siles than stakes, and that these could not be hurled very far from 
the wall on account of the weight, orders were given to approach 
and to throw bundles of brushwood and lighted torches at this 
outwork. These the soldiers soon got together. 

16. The flames soon kindled the brushwood which lay about 
that wooden structure and, rising towards heaven, made every- 
body think that the whole pile had fallen. But when the fire had 
burned itself out and subsided, and the tower appeared to view 
entirely uninjured, Caesar in amazement gave orders that they 
should be surrounded with a palisade, built beyond the range of 
missiles. So the townspeople were frightened into surrendering, 
and were then asked where that wood came from which was not 
harmed by fire. They pointed to trees of the kind under discus- 
sion, of which there are very great numbers in that vicinity. And 
so, as that stronghold was called Larignum, the wood was called 
larch. It is transported by way of the Po to Ravenna, and is to 
be had in Fano, Pesaro, Ancona, and the other towns in that 
neighbourhood. If there were only a ready method of carrying 
this material to Rome, it would be of the greatest use in buildings; 
if not for general purposes, yet at least if the boards used in the 
eaves running round blocks of houses were made of it, the build- 
ings would be free from the danger of fire spreading across to 
them, because such boards can neither take fire from flames or 
from burning coals, nor ignite spontaneously. 

17. The leaves of these trees are like those of the pine; timber 
from them comes in long lengths, is as easily wrought in joiner's 
work as is the clearwood of fir, and contains a liquid resin, of the 
colour of Attic honey, which is good for consumptives. 

With regard to the different kinds of timber, I have now ex- 
plained of what natural properties they appear to be composed, 


and how they were produced. It remains to consider the question 
why the highland fir, as it is called in Rome, is inferior, while the 
lowland fir is extremely useful in buildings so far as durability is 
concerned; and further to explain how it is that their bad or good 
qualities seem to be due to the peculiarities of their neighbour- 
hood, so that this subject may be clearer to those who examine it. 



1. THE first spurs of the Apennines arise from the Tuscan sea 
between the Alps and the most distant borders of Tuscany. The 
mountain range itself bends round and, almost touching the 
shores of the Adriatic in the middle of the curve, completes its 
circuit by extending to the strait on the other shore. Hence, this 
side of the curve, sloping towards the districts of Tuscany and 
Campania, lies basking in the sun, being constantly exposed to 
the full force of its rays all day. But the further side, sloping to- 
wards the Upper Sea and having a northern exposure, is constantly 
shrouded in shadowy darkness. Hence the trees which grow on 
that side, being nourished by the moisture, not only themselves 
attain to a very large size, but their fibre too, filled full of mois- 
ture, is swollen and distended with abundance of liquid. When 
they lose their vitality after being felled and hewn, the fibre re- 
tains its stiffness, and the trees as they dry become hollow and 
frail on account of their porosity, and hence cannot last when 
used in buildings. 

2. But trees which grow in places facing the course of the sun 
are not of porous fibre but are solid, being drained by the dryness; 
for the sun absorbs moisture and draws it out of trees as well as 
out of the earth. The trees in sunny neighbourhoods, therefore, 
being solidified by the compact texture of their fibre, and not 
being porous from moisture, are very useful, so far as durability 
goes, when they are hewn into timber. Hence the lowland firs, 


being conveyed from sunny places, are better than those high- 
land firs, which are brought here from shady places. 

3. To the best of my mature consideration, I have now treated 
the materials which are necessary in the construction of buildings, 
the proportionate amount of the elements which are seen to be 
contained in their natural composition, and the points of excel- 
lence and defects of each kind, so that they may be not unknown 
to those who are engaged in building. Thus those who can follow 
the directions contained in this treatise will be better informed 
in advance, and able to select, among the different kinds, those 
which will be of use in their works. Therefore, since the prelimin- 
aries have been explained, the buildings themselves will be 
treated in the remaining books; and first, as due order requires, I 
shall in the next book write of the temples of the immortal gods 
and their symmetrical proportions. 




1. APOLLO at Delphi, through the oracular utterance of his 
priestess, pronounced Socrates the wisest of men. Of him it is re- 
lated that he said with sagacity and great learning that the hu- 
man breast should have been furnished with open windows, so 
that men might not keep their feelings concealed, but have them 
open to the view. Oh that nature, following his idea, had con- 
structed them thus unfolded and obvious to the view! For if it 
had been so, not merely the virtues and vices of the mind would 
be easily visible, but also its knowledge of branches of study, dis- 
played to the contemplation of the eyes, would not need testing 
by untrustworthy powers of judgement, but a singular and last- 
ing influence would thus be lent to the learned and wise. How- 
ever, since they are not so constructed, but are as nature willed 
them to be, it is impossible for men, while natural abilities are 
concealed in the breast, to form a judgement on the quality of 
the knowledge of the arts which is thus deeply hidden. And if 
artists themselves testify to their own skill, they can never, unless 
they are wealthy or famous from the age of their studios, or unless 
they are also possessed of the public favour and of eloquence, 
have an influence commensurate with their devotion to their 
pursuits, so that people may believe them to have the know- 
ledge which they profess to have. 

2. In particular we can learn this from the case of the sculptors 
and painters of antiquity. Those among them who were marked 
by high station or favourably recommended have come down to 
posterity with a name that will last forever; for instance, Myron, 
Polycletus, Phidias, Lysippus, and the others who have attained 
to fame by their art. For they acquired it by the execution of 
works for great states or for kings or for citizens of rank. But 


those who, being men of no less enthusiasm, natural ability, and 
dexterity than those famous artists, and who executed no less 
perfectly finished works for citizens of low station, are unremem- 
bered, not because they lacked diligence or dexterity in their art, 
but because fortune failed them; for instance, Teleas of Athens, 
Chion of Corinth, Myager the Phocaean, Pharax of Ephesus, 
Boedas of Byzantium, and many others. Then there were painters 
like Aristomenes of Thasos, Polycles and Andron of Ephesus, 
Theo of Magnesia, and others who were not deficient in diligence 
or enthusiasm for their art or in dexterity, but whose narrow 
means or ill-luck, or the higher position of their rivals in the strug- 
gle for honour, stood in the way of their attaining distinction. 

3. Of course, we need not be surprised if artistic excellence goes 
unrecognized on account of being unknown; but there should be 
the greatest indignation when, as often, good judges are flattered 
by the charm of social entertainments into an approbation which 
is a mere pretence. Now if, as Socrates wished, our feelings, opin- 
ions, and knowledge gained by study had been manifest and clear 
to see, popularity and adulation would have no influence, but 
men who had reached the height of knowledge by means of cor- 
rect and definite courses of study, would be given commissions 
without any effort on their part. However, since such things 
are not plain and apparent to the view, as we think they should 
have been, and since I observe that the uneducated rather than 
the educated are in higher favour, thinking it beneath me to en- 
gage with the uneducated hi the struggle for honour, I prefer to 
show the excellence of our department of knowledge by the pub- 
lication of this treatise. 

4. In my first book, Emperor, I described to you the art, with 
its points of excellence, the different kinds of training with which 
the architect ought to be equipped, adding the reasons why he 
ought to be skilful in them, and I divided up the subject of archi- 
tecture as a whole among its departments, duly defining the lim- 
its of each. Next, as was preeminent and necessary, I explained 
on scientific principles the method of selecting healthy sites for 


fortified towns, pointed out by geometrical figures the different 
winds and the quarters from which they blow, and showed the 
proper way to lay out the lines of streets and rows of houses 
within the walls. Here I fixed the end of my first book. In the sec- 
ond, on building materials, I treated their various advantages in 
structures, and the natural properties of which they are composed. 
In this third book I shall speak of the temples of the immortal 
gods, describing and explaining them in the proper manner. 



1. THE design of a temple depends on symmetry, the princi- 
ples of which must be most carefully observed by the architect. 
They are due to proportion, in Greek ava\oyia. Proportion is 
a correspondence among the measures of the members of an en- 
tire work, and of the whole to a certain part selected as standard. 
From this result the principles of symmetry. Without symme- 
try and proportion there can be no principles in the design of any 
temple; that is, if there is no precise relation between its members, 
as in the case of those of a well shaped man. 

2. For the human body is so designed by nature that the face, 
from the chin to the top of the forehead and the lowest roots of 
the hair, is a tenth part of the whole height; the open hand from 
the wrist to the tip of the middle finger is just the same; the head 
from the chin to the crown is an eighth, and with the neck and 
shoulder from the top of the breast to the lowest roots of the hair 
is a sixth; from the middle of the breast to the summit of the 
crown is a fourth. If we take the height of the face itself, the dis- 
tance from the bottom of the chin to the under side of the nostrils 
is one third of it; the nose from the under side of the nostrils to a 
line between the eyebrows is the same; from there to the lowest 
roots of the hair is also a third, comprising the forehead. The 
length of the foot is one sixth of the height of the body; of the 
forearm, one fourth; and the breadth of the breast is also one 
fourth. The other members, too, have their own symmetrical 
proportions, and it was by employing them that the famous 
painters and sculptors of antiquity attained to great and endless 

3. Similarly, in the members of a temple there ought to be the 
greatest harmony in the symmetrical relations of the different 


parts to the general magnitude of the whole. Then again, in the 
human body the central point is naturally the navel. For if a 
man be placed flat on his back, with his hands and feet extended, 
and a pair of compasses centred at his navel, the fingers and toes 
of his twp hands and feet will touch the circumference of a cir- 
cle described therefrom. And just as the human body yields a 
circular outline, so too a square figure may be found from it. For 
if we measure the distance from the soles of the feet to the top of 
the head, and then apply that measure to the outstretched arms, 
the breadth will be found to be the same as the height, as in the 
case of plane surfaces which are perfectly square. 

4. Therefore, since nature has designed the human body so 
that its members are duly proportioned to the frame as a whole, 
it appears that the ancients had good reason for their rule, that in 
perfect buildings the different members must be in exact sym- 
metrical relations to the whole general scheme. Hence, while 
transmitting to us the proper arrangements for buildings of all 
kinds, they were particularly careful to do so in the case of tem- 
ples of the gods, buildings in which merits and faults usually last 

5. Further, it was from the members of the body that they de- 
rived the fundamental ideas of the measures which are obviously 
necessary in all works, as the finger, palm, foot, and cubit. These 
they apportioned so as to form the "perfect number," called in 
Greek r^Xeiov, and as the perfect number the ancients fixed 
upon ten. For it is from the number of the fingers of the hand 
that the palm is found, and the foot from the palm. Again, while 
ten is naturally perfect, as being made up by the fingers of the two 
palms, Plato also held that this number was perfect because 
ten is composed of the individual units, called by the Greeks 
/ioi/oSe?. But as soon as eleven or twelve is reached, the num- 
bers, being excessive, cannot be perfect until they come to ten for 
the second time; for the component parts of that number are the 
individual units. 

6. The mathematicians, however, maintaining a different view, 


have said that the perfect number is six, because this number is 
composed of integral parts which are suited numerically to their 
method of reckoning: thus, one is one sixth; two is one third; 
three is one half; four is two thirds, or Si>otpos as they call it; 
five is five sixths, called 7revrd/j.oipo<;; and six is the perfect num- 
ber. As the number goes on growing larger, the addition of a unit 
above six is the e^e/cro?; eight, formed by the addition of a 
third part of six, is the integer and a third, called eVi'r/JiTo?; the 
addition of one half makes nine, the integer and a half, termed 
ij/wo'Xio? ; the addition of two thirds, making the number ten, 
is the integer and two thirds, which they call eVtSt/ttot/jo?; in 
the number eleven, where five are added, we have the five sixths, 
called en-wre/wi-To?; finally, twelve, being composed of the two 
simple integers, is called StTrXao-to?. 

7. And further, as the foot is one sixth of a man's height, the 
height of the body as expressed in number of feet being limited to 
six, they held that this was the perfect number, and observed that 
the cubit consisted of six palms or of twenty-four fingers. This 
principle seems to have been followed by the states of Greece. As 
the cubit consisted of six palms, they made the drachma, which 
they used as their unit, consist in the same way of six bronze coins, 
like our asses, which they call obols; and, to correspond to the fin- 
gers, divided the drachma into twenty-four quarter-obols, which 
some call dichalca others trichalca. 

8. But our countrymen at first fixed upon the ancient number 
and made ten bronze pieces go to the denarius, and this is the 
origin of the name which is applied to the denarius to this day. 
And the fourth part of it, consisting of two asses and half of a 
third, they called "sesterce." But later, observing that six and 
ten were both of them perfect numbers, they combined the two, 
and thus made the most perfect number, sixteen. They found 
their authority for this in the foot. For if we take two palms 
from the cubit, there remains the foot of four palms; but the palm 
contains four fingers. Hence the foot contains sixteen fingers, and 
the denarius the same number of bronze asses. 


9. Therefore, if it is agreed that number was found out from 
the human fingers, and that there is a symmetrical correspondence 
between the members separately and the entire form of the body, 
in accordance with a certain part selected as standard, we can 
have nothing but respect for those who, in constructing temples 
of the immortal gods, have so arranged the members of the works 
that both the separate parts and the whole design may harmon- 
ize in their proportions and symmetry. 



1. THEHE are certain elementary forms on which the general 
aspect of a temple depends. First there is the temple in ant is, 
or vao? ev -rrapaa-rdaiv as it is called in Greek; then the prostyle, 
amphiprostyle, peripteral, pseudodipteral, dipteral, and hypae- 
thral. These different forms may be described as follows. 

2. It will be a temple in antis when it has antae carried out in 
front of the walls which enclose the cella, and in the middle, be- 
tween the antae, two columns, and over them the pediment con- 
structed in the symmetrical proportions to be described later in 
this work. An example will be found at the Three Fortunes, in 
that one of the three which is nearest the Colline gate. 

3. The prostyle is in all respects like the temple in antis, except 
that at the corners, opposite the antae, it has two columns, and 
that it has architraves not only in front, as in the case of the tem- 
ple in antis, but also one to the right and one to the left in the 
wings. An example of this is the temple of Jove and Faunus in 
the Island of the Tiber. 

4. The amphiprostyle is in all other respects like the prostyle, 
but has besides, in the rear, the same arrangement of columns and 

5. A temple will be peripteral that has six columns in front and 
six in the rear, with eleven on each side including the corner col- 



[BOOK m 









umns. Let the columns be so placed as to leave a space, the width 
of an intercolumniation, all round between the walls and the rows 
of columns on the outside, thus forming a walk round the cella of 












the temple, as in the cases of the temple of Jupiter Stator by Her- 
modorus in the Portico of Metellus, and the Marian temple of 
Honour and Valour constructed by Mucius, which has no portico 
in the rear. 

6. The pseudodipteral is so constructed that in front and in the 
rear there are in each case eight columns, with fifteen on each 
side, including the corner columns. The walls of the cella in front 
and in the rear should be directly over against the four middle 
columns. Thus there will be a space, the width of two intercol- 
umniations plus the thickness of the lower diameter of a column, 
all round between the walls and the rows of columns on the out- 
side. There is no example of this in Rome, but at Magnesia there 
is the temple of Diana by Hermogenes, and that of Apollo at 
Alabanda by Mnesthes. 

7. The dipteral also is octastyle in both front and rear porti- 
coes, but it has two rows of columns all round the temple, like 
the temple of Quirinus, which is Doric, and the temple of Diana at 
Ephesus, planned by Chersiphron, which is Ionic. 

8. The hypaethral is decastyle in both front and rear porticoes. 
In everything else it is the same as the dipteral, but inside it has 
two tiers of columns set out from the wall all round, like the col- 
onnade of a peristyle. The central part is open to the sky, with- 
out a roof. Folding doors lead to it at each end, in the porticoes 
in front and in the rear. There is no example of this sort in Rome, 
but in Athens there is the octastyle in the precinct of the Olym- 



1. THERE are five classes of temples, designated as follows: 
pycnostyle, with the columns close together; systyle, with the 
intercolumniations a little wider; diastyle, more open still; araeo- 
style, farther apart than they ought to be; eustyle, with the in- 
tervals apportioned just right. 




2. The pycnostyle is a temple in an intercolumniation of which 
the thickness of a column and a half can be inserted: for example, 
the temple of the Divine Caesar, that of Venus in Caesar's forum, 
and others constructed like them. The systyle is a temple in which 









the thickness of two columns can be placed in an intercolumnia- 
tion, and in which the plinths of the bases are equivalent to the 
distance between two plinths: for example, the temple of Eques- 
trian Fortune near the stone theatre, and the others which are 
constructed on the same principles. 

3. These two kinds have practical disadvantages. When the 
matrons mount the steps for public prayer or thanksgiving, they 
cannot pass through the intercolumniations with their arms about 
one another, but must form single file; then again, the effect of the 
folding doors is thrust out of sight by the crowding of the col- 
umns, and likewise the statues are thrown into shadow; the nar- 
row space interferes also with walks round the temple. 

4. The construction will be diastyle when we can insert the 
thickness of three columns in an intercolumniation, as in the case 
of the temple of Apollo and Diana. This arrangement involves 
the danger that the architraves may break on account of the great 
width of the intervals. 

5. In araeostyles we cannot employ stone or marble for the 
architraves, but must have a series of wooden beams laid upon 
the columns. And moreover, in appearance these temples are 
clumsy-roofed, low, broad, and their pediments are adorned in the 
Tuscan fashion with statues of terra-cotta or gilt bronze: for ex- 
ample, near the Circus Maximus, the temple of Ceres and Pom- 
pey's temple of Hercules; also the temple on the Capitol. 

6. An account must now be given of the eustyle, which is the 
most approved class, and is arranged on principles developed with 
a view to convenience, beauty, and strength. The intervals 
should be made as wide as the thickness of two columns and a 
quarter, but the middle intercolumniations, one in front and the 
other in the rear, should be of the thickness of three columns. 
Thus built, the effect of the design will be beautiful, there will be 
no obstruction at the entrance, and the walk round the cella will 
be dignified. 

7. The rule of this arrangement may be set forth as follows. If 
a tetrastyle is to be built, let the width of the front which shall 









have already been determined for the temple, be divided into 
eleven parts and a half, not including the substructures and the 
projections of the bases; if it is to be of six columns, into eighteen 
parts. If an octastyle is to be constructed, let the front be divided 
into twenty-four parts and a half. Then, whether the temple is 
to be tetrastyle, hexastyle, or octastyle, let one of these parts be 
taken, and it will be the module. The thickness of the columns 
will be equal to one module. Each of the intercolumniations, 
except those in the middle, will measure two modules and a quar- 
ter. The middle intercolumniations in front and in the rear will 
each measure three modules. The columns themselves will be 
nine modules and a half in height. As a result of this division, the 
intercolumniations and the heights of the columns will be in due 

8. We have no example of this in Rome, but at Teos in Asia 
Minor there is one which is hexastyle, dedicated to Father 

These rules for symmetry were established by Hermogenes, 
who was also the first to devise the principle of the pseudodipteral 
octastyle. He did so by dispensing with the inner rows of thirty- 
eight columns which belonged to the symmetry of the dipteral 
temple, and in this way he made a saving in expense and labour. 
He thus provided a much wider space for the walk round the 
cella between it and the columns, and without detracting at all 
from the general effect, or making one feel the loss of what had 
been really superfluous, he preserved the dignity of the whole 
work by his new treatment of it. 

9. For the idea of the pteroma and the arrangement of the col- 
umns round a temple were devised in order that the intercolum- 
niations might give the imposing effect of high relief; and also, 
in case a multitude of people should be caught in a heavy shower 
and detained, that they might have in the temple and round 
the cella a wide free space in which to wait. These ideas are 
developed, as I have described, in the pseudodipteral arrange- 
ment of a temple. It appears, therefore, that Hermogenes pro- 





J 3 
















3 * 

8 o 






duced results which exhibit much acute ingenuity, and that he 
left sources from which those who came after him could derive 
instructive principles. 

10. In araeostyle temples, the columns should be constructed 
so that their thickness is one eighth part of their height. In the 
diastyle, the height of a column should be measured off into eight 
and a half parts, and the thickness of the column fixed at one of 
these parts. In the systyle, let the height be divided into nine and 
a half parts, and one of these given to the thickness of the column. 
In the pycnostyle, the height should be divided into ten parts, 
and one of these used for the thickness of the column. In 
the eustyle temple, let the height of a column be divided, as in 
the systyle, into nine and a half parts, and let one part be taken 
for the thickness at the bottom of the shaft. With these dimen- 
sions we shall be taking into account the proportions of the inter- 

11. For the thickness of the shafts must be enlarged in pro- 
portion to the increase of the distance between the columns. In 
the araeostyle, for instance, if only a ninth or tenth part is given 
to the thickness, the column will look thin and mean, because the 
width of the intercolumniations is such that the air seems to eat 
away and diminish the thickness of such shafts. On the other 
hand, in pycnostyles, if an eighth part is given to the thickness, it 
will make the shaft look swollen and ungraceful, because the in- 
tercolumniations are so close to each other and so narrow. We 
must therefore follow the rules of symmetry required by each 
kind of building. Then, too, the columns at the corners should 
be made thicker than the others by a fiftieth of their own diame- 
ter, because they are sharply outlined by the unobstructed air 
round them, and seem to the beholder more slender than they are. 
Hence, we must counteract the ocular deception by an adjust- 
ment of proportions. 

12. Moreover, the diminution in the top of a column at the 
necking seems to be regulated on the following principles: if a 
column is fifteen feet or under, let the thickness at the bottom 




v-r/ 1 





5 . 


~s **- 


-X N, 















i , 




i -t iA4M a***ii "< -< 


vrrewNj AT aniLta vmyvna AT nucfn 













,i . 













\. . . . _ . . ! 








be divided into six parts, and let five of those parts form the thick- 
ness at the top. If it is from fifteen feet to twenty feet, let the 
bottom of the shaft be divided into six and a half parts, and let 
five and a half of those parts be the upper thickness of the col- 
umn. In a column of from twenty feet to thirty feet, let the bot- 
tom of the shaft be divided into seven parts, and let the dimin- 
ished top measure six of these. A column of from thirty to forty 
feet should be divided at the bottom into seven and a half parts, 
and, on the principle of diminution, have six and a half of these 
at the top. Columns of from forty feet to fifty should be 
divided into eight parts, and diminish to seven of these at the top 
of the shaft under the capital. In the case of higher columns, let 
the diminution be determined proportionally, on the same prin- 

13. These proportionate enlargements are made in the thick- 
ness of columns on account of the different heights to which the 
eye has to climb. For the eye is always in search of beauty, and if 
we do not gratify its desire for pleasure by a proportionate en- 
largement in these measures, and thus make compensation for 
ocular deception, a clumsy and awkward appearance will be pre- 
sented to the beholder. With regard to the enlargement made at 
the middle of columns, which among the Greeks is called evraa-vs, 
at the end of the book a figure and calculation will be subjoined, 
showing how an agreeable and appropriate effect may be pro- 
duced by it. 



1. THE foundations of these works should be dug out of the 
solid ground, if it can be found, and carried down into solid ground 
as far as the magnitude of the work shall seem to require, and 
the whole substructure should be as solid as it can possibly be 
laid. Above ground, let walls be laid under the columns, thicker 
by one half than the columns are to be, so that the lower may be 



stronger than the higher. Hence they are called "stereobates"; 
for they take the load. And the projections of the bases should 
not extend beyond this solid foundation. The wall-thickness is 
similarly to be preserved above ground likewise, and the intervals 
between these walls should be vaulted over, or filled with earth 
rammed down hard, to keep the walls well apart. 

2. If, however, solid ground cannot be found, but the place 
proves to be nothing but a heap of loose earth to the very bottom, 
or a marsh, then it must be dug up and cleared out and set with 
piles made of charred alder or olive wood or oak, and these 
must be driven down by machinery, very closely together like 
bridge-piles, and the intervals between them filled in with char- 
coal, and finally the foundations are to be laid on them in the 
most solid form of construction. The foundations having been 
brought up to the level, the stylobates are next to be put in place. 

3. The columns are then to be distributed over the stylobates 
in the manner above described: close together in the pycnostyle; 
in the systyle, diastyle, or eustyle, as they are described and ar- 
ranged above. In araeostyle temples one is free to arrange them 
as far apart as one likes. Still, in peripterals, the columns should 
be so placed that there are twice as many intercolumniations on 
the sides as there are in front; for thus the length of the work will 
be twice its breadth. Those who make the number of columns 
double, seem to be in error, because then the length seems to be 
one intercolumniation longer than it ought to be. 

4. The steps in front must be arranged so that there shall al- 
ways be an odd number of them; for thus the right foot, with 
which one mounts the first step, will also be the first to reach the 
level of the temple itself. The rise of such steps should, I think, 
be limited to not more than ten nor less than nine inches; for 
then the ascent will not be difficult. The treads of the steps ought 
to be made not less than a foot and a half, and not more than two 
feet deep. If there are to be steps running all round the temple, 
they should be built of the same size. 

5. But if a podium is to be built on three sides round the 


temple, it should be so constructed that its plinths, bases, dies, 
coronae, and cymatiumare appropriate to the actual stylobate 
which is to be under the bases of the columns.. 

(From his edition of Vitravtu*, Venice, 1511) 

The level of the stylobate must be increased along the mid- 
dle by the scamilli impares; for if it is laid perfectly level, it 
will look to the eye as though it were hollowed a little. At 
the end of the book a figure will be found, with a description 
showing how the scamilli may be made to suit this purpose. 




1. THIS finished, let the bases of the columns be set in place, 
and constructed in such proportions that their height, including 
the plinth, may be half the thickness of a column, and their pro- 
jection (called in Greek e/c<f>opa) the same. 1 Thus in both length 
and breadth it will be one and one half thicknesses of a column. 

2. If the base is to be in the Attic style, let its height be so di- 
vided that the upper part shall be one third part of the thickness 
of the column, and the rest left for the plinth. Then, excluding 
the plinth, let the rest be divided into four parts, and of these let 
one fourth constitute the upper torus, and let the other three be 
divided equally, one part composing the lower torus, and the 
other, with its fillets, the scotia, which the Greeks call T/JO^I'XO?. 

3. But if Ionic bases are to be built, their proportions shall be 
so determined that the base may be each way equal in breadth 
to the thickness of a column plus three eighths of the thickness; 
its height that of the Attic base, and so too its plinth; excluding 
the plinth, let the rest, which will be a third part of the thickness 
of a column, be divided into seven parts. Three of these parts 
constitute the torus at the top, and the other four are to be di- 
vided equally, one part constituting the upper trochilus with its 
astragals and overhang, the other left for the lower trochilus. But 
the lower will seem to be larger, because it will project to the edge 
of the plinth. The astragals must be one eighth of the trochilus. 
The projection of the base will be three sixteenths of the thick- 
ness of a column. 

4. The bases being thus finished and put in place, the columns 
are to be put in place : the middle columns of the front and rear 
porticoes perpendicular to their own centre; the corner columns, 
and those which are to extend in a line from them along the sides 

1 Reading aeque tantam as in new Rose. Codd. sextanlem; Schn. quadrantem. 





The difference between tbe Roman and the Greek relation of the baluster-Bide of the 
capital to the echinus is to be noted. 


of the temple to the right and left, are to be set so that their inner 
sides, which face toward the cella wall, are perpendicular, but 
their outer sides in the manner which I have described in speak- 
ing of their diminution. Thus, in the design of the temple the 
lines will be adjusted with due regard to the diminution. 

5. The shafts of the columns having been erected, the rule for 
the capitals will be as follows. If they are to be cushion-shaped, 
they should be so proportioned that the abacus is in length and 
breadth equivalent to the thickness of the shaft at its bottom 
plus one eighteenth thereof, and the height of the capital, includ- 
ing the volutes, one half of that amount. The faces of the volutes 
must recede from the edge of the abacus inwards by one and a 
half eighteenths of that same amount. Then, the height of the 
capital is to be divided into nine and a half parts, and down 
along the abacus on the four sides of the volutes, down along the 
fillet at the edge of the abacus, lines called "catheti " are to be let 
fall. Then, of the nine and a half parts let one and a half be re- 
served for the height of the abacus, and let the other eight be used 
for the volutes. 

6. Then let another line be drawn, beginning at a point situ- 
ated at a distance of one and a half parts toward the inside from 
the line previously let fall down along the edge of the abacus. 
Next, let these lines be divided in such a way as to leave four and 
a half parts under the abacus; then, at the point which forms the 
division between the four and a half parts and the remaining three 
and a half, fix the centre of the eye, and from that centre describe 
a circle with a diameter equal to one of the eight parts. This will 
be the size of the eye, and in it draw a diameter on the line of the 
"cathetus." Then, in describing the quadrants, let the size of each 
be successively less, by half the diameter of the eye, than that 
which begins under the abacus, and proceed from the eye until 
that same quadrant under the abacus is reached. 

7. The height of the capital is to be such that, of the nine and 
a half parts, three parts are below the level of the astragal at the 
top of the shaft, and the rest, omitting the abacus and the chan- 


nel, belongs to its echinus. The projection of the echinus beyond 
the fillet of the abacus should be equal to the size of the eye. The 
projection of the bands of the cushions should be thus obtained : 
place one leg of a pair of compasses in the centre of the capital and 
open out the other to the edge of the echinus; bring this leg round 
and it will touch the outer edge of the bands. The axes of the 
volutes should not be thicker than the size of the eye, and the 
volutes themselves should be channelled out to a depth which is 
one twelfth of their height. These will be the symmetrical pro- 
portions for capitals of columns twenty-five feet high and less. 
For higher columns the other proportions will be the same, but 
the length and breadth of the abacus will be the thickness of the 
lower diameter of a column plus one ninth part thereof; thus, 
just as the higher the column the less the diminution, so the pro- 
jection of its capital is proportionately increased and its breadth * 
is correspondingly enlarged. 

8. With regard to the method of describing volutes, at the end 
of the book a figure will be subjoined and a calculation showing 
how they may be described so that their spirals may be true to 
the compass. 

The capitals having been finished and set up in due propor- 
tion to the columns (not exactly level on the columns, however, 
but with the same measured adjustment, so that in the upper 
members there may be an increase corresponding to that which 
was made in the stylobates), the rule for the architraves is to be 
as follows. If the columns are at least twelve feet and not more 
than fifteen feet high, let the height of the architrave be equal to 
half the thickness of a column at the bottom. If they are from 
fifteen feet to twenty, let the height of a column be measured off 
into thirteen parts, and let one of these be the height of the archi- 
trave. If they are from twenty to twenty-five feet, let this height 
be divided into twelve and one half parts, and let one of them 
form the height of the architrave. If they are from twenty-five 
feet to thirty, let it be divided into twelve parts, and let one of 

1 Codd. altiiudo. 


them form the height. If they are higher, the heights of the archi- 
traves are to be worked out proportionately in the same manner 
from the height of the columns. 

9. For the higher that the eye has to climb, the less easily can 
it make its way through the thicker and thicker mass of air. So 
it fails when the height is great, its strength is sucked out of it, 
and it conveys to the mind only a confused estimate of the dimen- 
sions. Hence there must always be a corresponding increase in 
the symmetrical proportions of the members, so that whether the 
buildings are on unusually lofty sites or are themselves somewhat 
colossal, the size of the parts may seem in due proportion. The 
depth of the architrave on its under side just above the capital, 
is to be equivalent to the thickness of the top of the column just 
under the capital, and on its uppermost side equivalent to the 
foot of the shaft. 

10. The cymatium of the architrave should be one seventh of 
the height of the whole architrave, and its projection the same. 
Omitting the cymatium, the rest of the architrave is to be divided 
into twelve parts, and three of these will form the lowest fascia, 
four, the next, and five, the highest fascia. The frieze, above the 
architrave, is one fourth less high than the architrave, but if 
there are to be reliefs upon it, it is one fourth higher than the 
architrave, so that the sculptures may be more imposing. Its cy- 
matium is one seventh of the whole height of the frieze, and 
the projection of the cymatium is the same as its height. 

11. Over the frieze comes the line of dentils, made of the same 
height as the middle fascia of the architrave and with a projec- 
tion equal to their height. The intersection (or in Greek ^TOTT??) 
is apportioned so that the face of each dentil is half as wide as its 
height and the cavity of each intersection two thirds of this face 
in width. The cymatium here is one sixth of the whole height of 
this part. The corona with its cymatium, but not including the 
sima, has the height of the middle fascia of the architrave, and 
the total projection of the corona and dentils should be equal to 
the height from the frieze to the cymatium at the top of the corona. 



r> imiM - imm i 


01 W 


J.JU XJ7U9 *7 

vcnmvw jo nurou lux w axa 





X73TJD MI ^ 




o > s 

8 I 

s i 

I 1 

S i 

S5 S 

5 S 

Si << 


And as a general rule, all projecting parts have greater beauty 
when their projection is equal to their height. 

12. The height of the tympanum, which is in the pediment, is 
to be obtained thus: let the front of the corona, from the two ends 
of its cymatium, be measured off into nine parts, and let one of 
these parts be set up in the middle at the peak of the tympanum, 
taking care that it is perpendicular to the entablature and the 
neckings of the columns. The coronae over the tympanum are to 
be made of equal size with the coronae under it, not including the 
simae. Above the coronae are the simae (in Greek eTraieriSes), 
which should be made one eighth higher than the height of the 
coronae. The acroteria at the corners have the height of the cen- 
tre of the tympanum, and those in the middle are one eighth part 
higher than those at the corners. 

13. All the members which are to be above the capitals of the 
columns, that is, architraves, friezes, coronae, tympana, gables, 
and acroteria, should be inclined to the front a twelfth part of 
their own height, for the reason that when we stand in front of 
them, if two lines are drawn from the eye, one reaching to the 
bottom of the building and the other to the top, that which 
reaches to the top will be the longer. Hence, as the line of sight 
to the upper part is the longer, it makes that part look as if it were 
leaning back. But when the members are inclined to the front, as 
described above, they will seem to the beholder to be plumb and 

14. Each column should have twenty-four flutes, channelled 
out in such a way that if a carpenter's square be placed in the 
hollow of a flute and turned, the arm will touch the corners of the 
fillets on the right and left, and the tip of the square may keep 
touching some point in the concave surface as it moves through 
it. The breadth of the flutes is to be equivalent to the enlarge- 
ment in the middle of a column, which will be found in the figure. 

15. In the simae which are over the coronae on the sides of the 
temple, lion's heads are to be carved and arranged at intervals 
thus : First one head is marked out directly over the axis of each 


column, and then the others are arranged at equal distances 
apart, and so that there shall be one at the middle of every roof- 
tiling. Those that are over the columns should have holes bored 
through them to the gutter which receives the rain-water from 
the tiles, but those between them should be solid. Thus the mass 
of water that falls by way of the tiles into the gutter will not be 
thrown down along the intercolumniations nor drench people 
who are passing through them, while the lion's heads that are 
over the columns will appear to be vomiting as they discharge 
streams of water from their mouths. 

In this book I have written as clearly as I could on the arrange- 
ments of Ionic temples. In the next I shall explain the propor- 
tions of Doric and Corinthian temples. 




1. I HAVE observed, Emperor, that many in their treatises and 
volumes of commentaries on architecture have not presented the 
subject with well-ordered completeness, but have merely made a 
beginning and left, as it were, only desultory fragments. I have 
therefore thought that it would be a worthy and very useful thing 
to reduce the whole of this great art to a complete and orderly 
form of presentation, and then in different books to lay down and 
explain the required characteristics of different departments. 
Hence, Caesar, in my first book I have set forth to you the func- 
tion of the architect and the things in which he ought to be 
trained. In the second I have discussed the supplies of mate- 
rial of which buildings are constructed. In the third, which deals 
with the arrangements of temples and their variety of form, I 
showed the nature and number of their classes, with the adjust- 
ments proper to each form according to the usage of the Ionic 
order, one of the three which exhibit the greatest delicacy of pro- 
portion in their symmetrical measurements. In the present book 
I shall speak of the established rules for the Doric and Corinthian 
orders, and shall explain their differences and peculiarities. 



1. CORINTHIAN columns are, excepting in their capitals, of the 
same proportions in all respects as Ionic; but the height of their 
capitals gives them proportionately a taller and more slender 
effect. This is because the height of the Ionic capital is only one 
third of the thickness of the column, while that of the Corinthian 
is the entire thickness of the shaft. Hence, as two thirds are 
added in Corinthian capitals, their tallness gives a more slender 
appearance to the columns themselves. 

2. The other members which are placed above the columns, 
are, for Corinthian columns, composed either of the Doric propor- 
tions or according to the Ionic usages; for the Corinthian order 
never had any scheme peculiar to itself for its cornices or other 
ornaments, but may have mutules in the coronae and guttae on 
the architraves according to the triglyph system of the Doric 
style, or, according to Ionic practices, it may be arranged with a 
frieze adorned with sculptures and accompanied with dentils and 

3. Thus a third architectural order, distinguished by its cap- 
ital, was produced out of the two other orders. To the forms of 
their columns are due the names of the three orders, Doric, Ionic, 
and Corinthian, of which the Doric was the first to arise, and in 
early times. For Dorus, the son of Hellen and the nymph Phthia, 
was king of Achaea and all the Peloponnesus, and he built a fane, 
which chanced to be of this order, in the precinct of Juno at Ar- 
golis, a very ancient city, and subsequently others of the same 
order in the other cities of Achaea, although the rules of sym- 
metry were not yet in existence. 

4. Later, the Athenians, in obedience to oracles of the Delphic 
Apollo, and with the general agreement of all Hellas, despatched 


thirteen colonies at one time to Asia Minor, appointing leaders 
for each colony and giving the command-in-chief to Ion, son of 
Xuthus and Creusa (whom further Apollo at Delphi hi the 
oracles had acknowledged as his son). Ion conducted those col- 
onies to Asia Minor, took possession of the land of Caria, and 
there founded the grand cities of Ephesus, Miletus, Myus (long 
ago engulfed by the water, and its sacred rites and suffrage handed 
over by the lonians to the Milesians), Priene, Samos, Teos, Colo- 
phon, Chius, Erythrae, Phocaea, Clazomenae, Lebedos, and 
Melite. This Melite, on account of the arrogance of its citizens, 
was destroyed by the other cities in a war declared by general 
agreement, and in its place, through the kindness of King Attalus 
and Arsinoe, the city of the Smyrnaeans was admitted among the 

5. Now these cities, after driving out the Carians and Lele- 
gans, called that part of the world Ionia from their leader Ion, 
and there they set off precincts for the immortal gods and be- 
gan to build fanes : first of all, a temple to Panionion Apollo such 
as they had seen in Achaea, calling it Doric because they had first 
seen that kind of temple built in the states of the Dorians. 

6. Wishing to set up columns in that temple, but not having 
rules for their symmetry, and being in search of some way by 
which they could render them fit to bear a load and also of a 
satisfactory beauty of appearance, they measured the imprint of 
a man's foot and compared this with his height. On finding that, 
in a man, the foot was one sixth of the height, they applied the 
same principle to the column, and reared the shaft, including the 
capital, to a height six times its thickness at its base. Thus the 
Doric column, as used in buildings, began to exhibit the propor- 
tions, strength, and beauty of the body of a man. 

7. Just so afterwards, when they desired to construct a temple 
to Diana in a new style of beauty, they translated these foot- 
prints into terms characteristic of the slenderness of women, and 
thus first made a column the thickness of which was only one 
eighth of its height, so that it might have a taller look. At the 


foot they substituted the base in place of a shoe; in the capital 
they placed the volutes, hanging down at the right and left like 
curly ringlets, and ornamented its front with cymatia and with 
festoons of fruit arranged in place of hair, while they brought the 
flutes down the whole shaft, falling like the folds in the robes worn 
by matrons. Thus in the invention of the two different kinds of 
columns, they borrowed manly beauty, naked and unadorned, for 
the one, and for the other the delicacy, adornment, and propor- 
tions characteristic of women. 

8. It is true that posterity, having made progress in refinement 
and delicacy of feeling, and finding pleasure in more slender pro- 
portions, has established seven diameters of the thickness as the 
height of the Doric column, and nine as that of the Ionic. The 
lonians, however, originated the order which is therefore named 

The third order, called Corinthian, is an imitation of the slen- 
derness of a maiden; for the outlines and limbs of maidens, being 
more slender on account of their tender years, admit of prettier 
effects in the way of adornment. 

9. It is related that the original discovery of this form of cap- 
ital was as follows. A freeborn maiden of Corinth, just of mar- 
riageable age, was attacked by an illness and passed away. After 
her burial, her nurse, collecting a few little things which used to 
give the girl pleasure while she was alive, put them in a basket, 
carried it to the tomb, and laid it on top thereof, covering it 
with a roof-tile so that the things might last longer in the open 
air. This basket happened to be placed just above the root of an 
acanthus. The acanthus root, pressed down meanwhile though 
it was by the weight, when springtime came round put forth 
leaves and stalks in the middle, and the stalks, growing up along 
the sides of the basket, and pressed out by the corners of the tile 
through the compulsion of its weight, were forced to bend into 
volutes at the outer edges. 

10. Just then Callimachus, whom the Athenians called Kara- 

for the refinement and delicacy of his artistic work, 




r i 









passed by this tomb and observed the basket with the tender 
young leaves growing round it. Delighted with the novel style 
and form, he built some columns after that pattern for the Cor- 
inthians, determined their symmetrical proportions, and estab- 
lished from that time forth the rules to be followed in finished 
works of the Corinthian order. 

11. The proportions of this capital should be fixed as follows. 
Let the height of the capital, including its abacus, be equivalent 
to the thickness of the base of a column. Let the breadth of 
the abacus be proportioned so that diagonals drawn from one 
corner of it to the other shall be twice the height of the capitals, 
which will give the proper breadth to each face of the abacus. 
The faces should curve inwards, by one ninth of the breadth of 
the face, from the outside edge of the corners of the abacus. At 
the bottom the capital should be of the thickness of the top of the 
column omitting the conge and astragal. The height of the abacus 
is one seventh of the height of the capital. 

12. Omitting the height of the abacus, let the rest be divided 
into three parts, of which one should be given to the lowest leaf. 
Let the second leaf occupy the middle part of the height. Of the 
same height should be the stalks, out of which grow leaves pro- 
jected so as to support the volutes which proceed from the stalks, 
and run out to the utmost corners of the abacus; the smaller 
spirals between them should be carved just under the flower 
which is on the abacus. The flowers on the four sides are to be 
made as large as the height of the abacus. On these principles 
of proportion, Corinthian capitals will be finished as they ought 
to be. 

There are other kinds of capitals set upon these same columns 
and called by various names, but they have no peculiarities of 
proportion of which we can speak, nor can we recognize from 
them another order of columns. Even their very names are, as 
we can see, derived with some changes from the Corinthian, the 
cushion-shaped, and the Doric, whose symmetrical proportions 
have been thus transferred to delicate sculptures of novel form. 




1. SINCE the origin and invention of the orders of columns 
have been described above, I think it not out of place to speak in 
the same way about their ornaments, showing how these arose 
and from what original elements they were devised. The upper 
parts of all buildings contain timber work to which various terms 
are applied. And not only in its terminology but actually in its 
uses it exhibits variety. The main beams are those which are 
laid upon columns, pilasters, and antae; tie-beams and rafters are 
found in the framing. Under the roof, if the span is pretty large, 
are the crossbeams and struts; if it is of moderate extent, only the 
ridgepole, with the principal rafters extending to the outer edge 
of the eaves. Over the principal rafters are the purlines, and then 
above these and under the roof-tiles come the common rafters, 
extending so far that the walls are covered by their projection. 

2. Thus each and every detail has a place, origin, and order of 
its own. In accordance with these details, and starting from car- 
penter's work, artists in building temples of stone and marble 
imitated those arrangements in their sculptures, believing that 
they must follow those inventions. So it was that some ancient 
carpenters, engaged in building somewhere or other, after lay- 
ing the tie-beams so that they projected from the inside to the 
outside of the walls, closed up the space between the beams, and 
above them ornamented the coronae and gables with carpentry 
work of beauty greater than usual; then they cut off the pro- 
jecting ends of the beams, bringing them into line and flush 
with the face of the walls; next, as this had an ugly look to them, 
they fastened boards, shaped as triglyphs are now made, on the 
ends of the beams, where they had been cut off in front, and 
painted them with blue wax so that the cutting off of the ends of 
the beams, being concealed, would not offend the eye. Hence 
it was in imitation of the arrangement of the tie-beams that men 


began to employ, in Doric buildings, the device of triglyphs and 
the metopes between the beams. 

3. Later, others in other buildings allowed the projecting prin- 
cipal rafters to run out till they were flush with the triglyphs, and 
then formed their projections into simae. From that practice, like 
the triglyphs from the arrangement of the tie-beams, the system 
of mutules under the coronae was devised from the projections of 
the principal rafters. Hence generally, in buildings of stone and 
marble, the mutules are carved with a downward slant, in imita- 
tion of the principal rafters. For these necessarily have a slant- 
ing and projecting position to let the water drip down. The 
scheme of triglyphs and mutules in Doric buildings was, there- 
fore, the imitative device that I have described. 

4. It cannot be that the triglyphs represent windows, as some 
have erroneously said, since the triglyphs are placed at the cor- 
ners and over the middle of columns places where, from the 
nature of the case, there can be no windows at all. For buildings 
are wholly disconnected at the corners if openings for windows 
are left at those points. Again, if we are to suppose that there 
were open windows where the triglyphs now stand, it will follow, 
on the same principle, that the dentils of the Ionic order have 
likewise taken the places of windows. For the term "metope" 
is used of the intervals between dentils as well as of those between 
triglyphs. The Greeks call the seats of tie-beams and rafters oirai, 
while our people call these cavities columbaria (dovecotes). 
Hence, the space between the tie-beams, being the space between 
two "opae," was named by them /teToV?;. 

5. The system of triglyphs and mutules was invented for the 
Doric order, and similarly the scheme of dentils belongs to the 
Ionic, in which there are proper grounds for its use in buildings. 
Just as mutules represent the projection of the principal rafters, 
so dentils in the Ionic are an imitation of the projections of the 
common rafters. And so in Greek works nobody ever put den- 
tils under mutules, as it is impossible that common rafters 
should be underneath principal rafters. Therefore, if that which 


in the original must be placed above the principal rafters, is put 
in the copy below them, the result will be a work constructed on 
false principles. Neither did the ancients approve of or employ 
mutules or dentils in pediments, but only plain coronae, for the 
reason that neither principal nor common rafters tail into the 
fronts of pediments, nor can they overhang them, but they are laid 
with a slope towards the eaves. Hence the ancients held that 
what could not happen in the original would have no valid reason 
for existence in the copy. 

6. For in all their works they proceeded on definite principles 
of fitness and in ways derived from the truth of Nature. Thus 
they reached perfection, approving only those things which, if 
challenged, can be explained on grounds of the truth. Hence, 
from the sources which have been described they established and 
left us the rules of symmetry and proportion for each order. Fol- 
lowing in their steps, I have spoken above on the Ionic and Cor- 
inthian styles, and I shall now briefly explain the theory of the 
Doric and its general appearance. 



1. SOME of the ancient architects said that the Doric order 
ought not to be used for temples, because faults and incongruities 
were caused by the laws of its symmetry. Arcesius and Pytheos 
said so, as well as Hermogenes. He, for instance, after getting 
together a supply of marble for the construction of a Doric tem- 
ple, changed his mind and built an Ionic temple to Father Bac- 
chus with the same materials. This is not because it is unlovely 
in appearance or origin or dignity of form, but because the ar- 
rangement of the triglyphs and metopes (lacunaria) is an em- 
barrassment and inconvenience to the work. 

2. For the triglyphs ought to be placed so as to correspond to 
the centres of the columns, and the metopes between the triglyphs 


ought to be as broad as they are high. But in violation of this 
rule, at the corner columns triglyphs are placed at the outside 
edges and not corresponding to the centre of the columns. Hence 
the metopes next to the corner columns do not come out perfectly 
square, but are too broad by half the width of a triglyph. Those 
who would make the metopes all alike, make the outermost inter- 
columniations narrower by half the width of a triglyph. But the 
result is faulty, whether it is attained by broader metopes or 
narrower intercolumniations. For this reason, the ancients ap- 
pear to have avoided the scheme of the Doric order in their 

3. However, since our plan calls for it, we set it forth as we 
have received it from our teachers, so that if anybody cares to 
set to work with attention to these laws, he may find the propor- 
tions stated by which he can construct correct and faultless ex- 
amples of temples in the Doric fashion. 

Let the front of a Doric temple, at the place where the columns 
are put up, be divided, if it is to be tetrastyle, into twenty-seven 
parts; if hexastyle, into forty-two. One of these parts will be the 
module (in Greek e^ar???) ; and this module once fixed, all the 
parts of the work are adjusted by means of calculations based 
upon it. 

4. The thickness of the columns will be two modules, and their 
height, including the capitals, fourteen. The height of a capital 
will be one module, and its breadth two and one sixth modules. 
Let the height of the capital be divided into three parts, of which 
one will form the abacus with its cymatium, the second the 
echinus with its annulets, and the third the necking. The diminu- 
tion of the column should be the same as described for Ionic col- 
umns in the third book. The height of the architrave, including 
taenia and guttae, is one module, and of the taenia, one seventh 
of a module. The guttae, extending as wide as the triglyphs and 
beneath the taenia, should hang down for one sixth of a module, 
including their regula. The depth of the architrave on its under 
side should answer to the necking at the top of the column. Above 




the architrave, the triglyphs and metopes are to be placed : the 
triglyphs one and one half modules high, and one module wide in 
front. They are to be arranged so that one is placed to correspond 
to the centre of each corner and intermediate column, and two 
over each intercolumniation except the middle intercolumnia- 
tions of the front and rear porticoes, which have three each. The 
intervals in the middle being thus extended, a free passage will 
be afforded to those who would approach the statues of the 

5. The width of the triglyph should be divided into six parts, 
and five of these marked off in the middle by means of the rule, 
and two half parts at the right and left. Let one part, that in 
the centre, form a "femur" (in Greek /?/**) On each side of 
it are the channels, to be cut in to fit the tip of a carpenter's 
square, and in succession the other femora, one at the right and 
the other at the left of a channel. To the outsides are relegated 
the semichannels. The triglyphs having been thus arranged, let 
the metopes between the triglyphs be as high as they are wide, 
while at the outer corners there should be semimetopes inserted, 
with the width of half a module. 

In these ways all defects will be corrected, whether in metopes 
or intercolumniations or lacunaria, as all the arrangements have 
been made with uniformity. 

6. The capitals of each triglyph are to measure one sixth of a 
module. Over the capitals of the triglyphs the corona is to be 
placed, with a projection of two thirds of a module, and having a 
Doric cymatium at the bottom and another at the top. So the 
corona with its cymatia is half a module in height. Set off on the 
under side of the corona, vertically over the triglyphs and over 
the middle of the metopes, are the viae in straight lines and the 
guttae arranged in rows, six guttae broad and three deep. The 
spaces left (due to the fact that the metopes are broader than the 
triglyphs) may be left unornamented or may have thunderbolts 
carved on them. Just at the edge of the corona a line should be 
cut in, called the scotia. All the other parts, such as tympana 


and the simae of the corona, are to be constructed as described 
above in the case of the Ionic order. 

7. Such will be the scheme established for diastyle buildings. 
But if the building is to be systyle and monotriglyphic, let the 
front of the temple, if tetrastyle, be divided into nineteen and a 
half parts; if hexastyle, into twenty-nine and a half parts. One 
of these parts will form the module in accordance with which the 
adjustments are to be made as above described. 

8. Thus, over each portion of the architrave two metopes and 
twotriglyphs l will be placed; and, in addition, at the corners half a 
triglyph and besides a space large enough for a half triglyph. At 
the centre, vertically under the gable, there should be room for 
three triglyphs and three metopes, in order that the centre inter- 
columniation, by its greater width, may give ample room for 
people to enter the temple, and may lend an imposing effect to the 
view of the statues of the gods. 

9. The columns should be fluted with twenty flutes. If these 
are to be left plane, only the twenty angles need be marked off. 
But if they are to be channelled out, the contour of the channel- 
ling may be determined thus : draw a square with sides equal in 
length to the breadth of the fluting, and centre a pair of compasses 
in the middle of this square. Then describe a circle with a cir- 
cumference touching the angles of the square, and let the 
channellings have the contour of the segment formed by the cir- 
cumference and the side of the square. The fluting of the Doric 
column will thus be finished in the style appropriate to it. 

10. With regard to the enlargement to be made in the column 
at its middle, let the description given for Ionic columns in the 
third book be applied here also in the case of Doric. 

Since the external appearance of the Corinthian, Doric, and 
Ionic proportions has now been described, it is necessary next to 
explain the arrangements of the cella and the pronaos. 

1 That is : two metopes with a triglyph between them, and half of the triglyph on 
either side. 




1. THE length of a temple is adjusted so that its width may be 
half its length, and the actual cella one fourth greater in length 
than in width, including the wall in which the folding doors are 
placed. Let the remaining three parts, constituting the pronaos, 
extend to the antae terminating the walls, which antae ought to 
be of the same thickness as the columns. If the temple is to be 
more than twenty feet in width, let two columns be placed be- 
tween the two antae, to separate the pteroma from the pronaos. 
The three intercolumniations between the antae and the columns 
should be closed by low walls made of marble or of joiner's work, 
with doors in them to afford passages into the pronaos. 

2. If the width is to be more than forty, feet, let columns be 
placed inside and opposite to the columns between the antae. 
They should have the same height as the columns in front of them, 
but their thickness should be proportionately reduced: thus, if 
the columns in front are in thickness one eighth of their height, 
these should be one tenth; if the former are one ninth or one 
tenth, these should be reduced in the same proportion. For their 
reduction will not be discernible, as the air has not free play about 
them. Still, in case they look too slender, when the outer col- 
umns have twenty or twenty-four flutes, these may have twenty- 
eight or thirty-two. Thus the additional number of flutes will 
make up proportionately for the loss in the body of the shaft, 
preventing it from being seen, and so in a different way the col- 
umns will be made to look equally thick. 

3. The reason for this result is that the eye, touching thus upon 
a greater number of points, set closer together, has a larger com- 
pass to cover with its range of vision. For if two columns, equally 
thick but one unfluted and the other fluted, are measured by 
drawing lines round them, one line touching the body of the col- 
umns in the hollows of the channels and on the edges of the flutes, 





- GREATER. THAN 40' ' 



L . vy . J 






these surrounding lines, even though the columns are equally 
thick, will not be equal to each other, because it takes a line of 
greater length to compass the channels and the flutes. This being 
granted, it is not improper, in narrow quarters or where the space 
is enclosed, to use in a building columns of somewhat slender 
proportions, since we can help out by a duly proportionate num- 
ber of flutings. 

4. The walls of the cella itself should be thick in proportion to 
its size, provided that their antae are kept of the same thickness 
as the columns. If the walls are to be of masonry, let the rubble 
used be as small as possible; but if they are to be of dimension 
stone or marble, the material ought to be of a very moderate and 
uniform size; for the laying of the stones so as to break joints will 
make the whole work stronger, and their bevelled edges, stand- 
ing up about the builds and beds, will give it an agreeable look, 
somewhat like that of a picture. 



1. THE quarter toward which temples of the immortal gods 
ought to face is to be determined on the principle that, if there is 
no reason to hinder and the choice is free, the temple and the 
statue placed in the cella should face the western quarter of the 
sky. This will enable those who approach the altar with offerings 
or sacrifices to face the direction of the sunrise in facing the sta- 
tue in the temple, and thus those who are undertaking vows look 
toward the quarter from which the sun comes forth, and likewise 
the statues themselves appear to be coming forth out of the east 
to look upon them as they pray and sacrifice. 

2. But if the nature of the site is such as to forbid this, then the 
principle of determining the quarter should be changed, so that 
the widest possible view of the city may be had from the sanctuar- 
ies of the gods. Furthermore, temples that are to be built beside 


rivers, as in Egypt on both sides of the Nile, ought, as it seems, to 
face the river banks. Similarly, houses of the gods on the sides of 
public roads should be arranged so that the passers-by can have 
a view of them and pay their devotions face to face. 



1. FOR the doorways of temples and their casings the rules are 
as follows, first determining of what style they are to be. The 
styles of portals are Doric, Ionic, and Attic. 

In the Doric, the symmetrical proportions are distinguished by 
the following rules. Let the top of the corona, which is laid above 
the casing, be on a level with the tops of the capitals of the col- 
umns in the pronaos. The aperture of the doorway should be de- 
termined by dividing the height of the temple, from floor to cof- 
fered ceiling, into three and one half parts and letting two and 
one half 1 thereof constitute the height of the aperture of the fold- 
ing doors. Let this in turn be divided into twelve parts, and let 
five and a half of these form the width of the bottom of the aper- 
ture. At the top, this width should be diminished, if the aperture 
is sixteen feet in height, by one third the width of the door-jamb; 
if the aperture is from sixteen to twenty-five feet, let the upper 
part of it be diminished by one quarter of the jamb; if from 
twenty-five to thirty feet, let the top be diminished by one eighth 
of the jamb. Other and higher apertures should, as it seems, have 
their sides perpendicular. 

2. Further, the jambs themselves should be diminished at the 
top by one fourteenth of their width. The height of the lintel 
should be equivalent to the width of the jambs at the top. Its 
cymatium ought to be one sixth of the jamb, with a projection 
equivalent to its height. The style of carving of the cymatium 
with its astragal should be the Lesbian. Above the cymatium of 

1 Codd. duae. 


the lintel, place the frieze of the doorway, of the same height as 
the lintel, and having a Doric cymatium and Lesbian astragal 
carved upon it. Let the corona and its cymatium at the top of all 
be carved without ornamentation, and have a projection equal 
to its height. To the right and left of the lintel, which rests upon 
the jambs, there are to be projections fashioned like projecting 
bases and jointed to a nicety with the cymatium itself. 

3. If the doorways are to be of the Ionic style, the height of 
the aperture should be reached in the same manner as in the 
Doric. Let its width be determined by dividing the height into 
two and one half parts and letting one of them form the width at 
the bottom. The diminutions should be the same as for Doric. 
The width of the faces of the jambs should be one fourteenth of 
the height of the aperture, and the cymatium one sixth of the 
width. Let the rest, excluding the cymatium, be divided into 
twelve parts. Let three of these compose the first fascia with its 
astragal, four the second, and five the third, the fasciae with 
their astragals running side by side all round. 

4. The cornices of Ionic doorways should be constructed in the 
same manner as those of Doric, in due proportions. The consoles, 
otherwise called brackets, carved at the right and left, should 
hang down to the level of the bottom of the lintel, exclusive of 
the leaf. Their width on the face should be two thirds of the 
width of the jamb, but at the bottom one fourth slenderer than 

Doors should be constructed with the hinge-stiles one twelfth 
of the width of the whole aperture. The panels between two 
stiles should each occupy three of the twelve parts. 

5. The rails will be apportioned thus: divide the height into 
five parts, of which assign two to the upper portion and three to 
the lower; above the centre place the middle rails; insert the 
others at the top and at the bottom. Let the height of a rail be 
one third of the breadth of a panel, and its cymatium one sixth 
of the rail. The width of the meeting-stiles should be one half the 
rail, and the cover-joint two thirds of the rail. The stiles toward 



- 1 - 1 









the side of the jambs should be one half the rail. If the doors have 
folds in them, the height will remain as before, but the width 
should be double that of a single door; if the door is to have four 
folds, its height should be increased. 

6. Attic doorways are built with the same proportions as Doric. 
Besides, there are fasciae running all round under the cymatia on 
the jambs, and apportioned so as to be equal to three sevenths 
of a jamb, excluding the cymatium. The doors are without lattice- 
work, are not double but have folds in them, and open outward. 

The laws which should govern the design of temples built in 
the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian styles, have now, so far as I 
could arrive at them, been set forth according to what may be 
called the accepted methods. I shall next speak of the arrange- 
ments in the Tuscan style, showing how they should be treated. 



1. THE place where the temple is to be built having been di- 
vided on its length into six parts, deduct one and let the rest be 
given to its width. Then let the length be divided into two equal 
parts, of which let the inner be reserved as space for the cellae, and 
the part next the front left for the arrangement of the columns. 

2. Next let the width be divided into ten parts. Of these, let 
three on the right and three on the left be given to the smaller 
cellae, or to the alae if there are to be alae, and the other four de- 
voted to the middle of the temple. Let the space in front of the 
cellae, in the pronaos, be marked out for columns thus : the corner 
columns should be placed opposite the antae on the line of the 
outside walls; the two middle columns, set out on the line of the 
walls which are between the antae and the middle of the temple; 
and through the middle, between the antae and the front col- 
umns, a second row, arranged on the same lines. Let the thick- 
ness of the columns at the bottom be one seventh of their height, 






, ' 




! ( 









I I It 



their height one third of the width of the temple, and the dimi- 
nution of a column at the top, one fourth of its thickness at the 

3. The height of their bases should be one half of that thick- 
ness. The plinth of their bases should be circular, and in height 
one half the height of the bases, the torus above it and conge 
being of the same height as the plinth. The height of the capital 
is one half the thickness of a column. The abacus has a width 
equivalent to the thickness of the bottom of a column. Let the 
height of the capital be divided into three parts, and give one to 
the plinth (that is, the abacus), the second to the echinus, and the 
third to the necking with its conge. 

4. Upon the columns lay the main beams, fastened together, 
to a height commensurate with the requirements of the size of 
the building. These beams fastened together should be laid so 
as to be equivalent in thickness to the necking at the top of a 
column, and should be fastened together by means of dowels and 
dove-tailed tenons in such a way that there shall be a space 
two fingers broad between them at the fastening. For if they 
touch one another, and so do not leave airholes and admit 
draughts of air to blow between them, they get heated and soon 
begin to rot. 

5. Above the beams and walls let the mutules project to a dis- 
tance equal to one quarter of the height of a column; along the 
front of them nail casings; above, build the tympanum of the 
pediment either in masonry or in wood. The pediment with its 
ridgepole, principal rafters, and purlines are to be built in such a 
way that the eaves shall be equivalent to one third of the com- 
pleted roof. 



1. THERE are also circular temples, some of which are con- 
structed in monopteral form, surrounded by columns but without 





a cella, while others are termed peripteral. Those that are with- 
out a cella have a raised platform and a flight of steps leading to 
it, one third of the diameter of the temple. The columns upon the 
stylobates are constructed of a height equivalent to the diameter 
taken between the outer edges of the stylobate walls, and of a 


From Dttrm 

thickness equivalent to one tenth of their height including the 
capitals and bases. The architrave has the height of one half of 
the thickness of a column. The frieze and the other parts placed 
above it are such as I have described in the third * book, on the 
subject of symmetrical proportions. 

2. But if such a temple is to be constructed in peripteral form, 
let two steps and then the stylobate be constructed below. Next, 
let the cella wall be set up, recessed within the stylobate about 
one fifth of the breadth thereof, and let a place for folding doors 
be left in the middle to afford entrance. This cella, excluding its 
walls and the passage round the outside, should have a diameter 
equivalent to the height of a column above the stylobate. Let 

1 Codd. quarto. 




the columns round the cella be arranged in the symmetrical pro- 
portions just given. 

3. The proportions of the roof in the centre should be such that 
the height of the rotunda, excluding the finial, is equivalent to 
one half the diameter of the whole work. The finial, excluding 


its pyramidal base, should have the dimensions of the capital of 
a column. All the rest must be built in the symmetrical propor- 
tions described above. 

4. There are also other kinds of temples, constructed in the 
same symmetrical proportions and yet with a different kind of 
plan: for example, the temple of Castor in the district of the 
Circus Flaminius, that of Vejovis between the two groves, and 
still more ingeniously the temple of Diana in her sacred grove, 
with columns added on the right and left at the flanks of the 
pronaos. Temples of this kind, like that of Castor in the Circus, 
were first built in Athens on the Acropolis, and in Attica at 
Sunium to Pallas Minerva. The proportions of them are not dif- 
ferent, but the same as usual. For the length of their cellae is 
twice the width, as in other temples; but all that we regularly 
find in the fronts of others is in these transferred to the sides. 


5. Some take the arrangement of columns belonging to the 
Tuscan order and apply it to buildings in the Corinthian and 
Ionic styles, and where there are projecting antae in the pronaos, 
set up two columns in a line with each of the cella walls, thus mak- 
ing a combination of the principles of Tuscan and Greek build- 

6. Others actually remove the temple walls, transferring them 
to the intercolumniations, and thus, by dispensing with the space 
needed for a pteroma, greatly increase the extent of the cella. So, 
while leaving all the rest in the same symmetrical proportions, 
they appear to have produced a new kind of plan with the new 
name "pseudoperipteral." These kinds, however, vary according 
to the requirements of the sacrifices. For we must not build tem- 
ples according to the same rules to all gods alike, since the per- 
formance of the sacred rites varies with the various gods. 

7. I have now set forth, as they have come down to me, all the 
principles governing the building of temples, have marked out 
under separate heads their arrangements and proportions, and 
have set forth, so far as I could express them in writing, the dif- 
ferences in their plans and the distinctions which make them un- 
like one another. Next, with regard to the altars of the immortal 
gods, I shall state how they may be constructed so as to conform 
to the rules governing sacrifices. 



ALTARS should face the east, and should always be placed on a 
lower level than are the statues in the temples, so that those who 
are praying and sacrificing may look upwards towards the divin- 
ity. They are of different heights, being each regulated so as to 
be appropriate to its own god. Their heights are to be adjusted 
thus: for Jupiter and all the celestials, let them be constructed as 
high as possible; for Vesta and Mother Earth, let them be built 


low. In accordance with these rules will altars be adjusted when 
one is preparing his plans. 

Having described the arrangements of temples in this book, in 
the following we shall give an exposition of the construction of 
public buildings. 




1. THOSE who have filled books of unusually large size, Em- 
peror, in setting forth their intellectual ideas and doctrines, have 
thus made a very great and remarkable addition to the authority 
of their writings. I could wish that circumstances made this as 
permissible in the case of our subject, so that the authority of 
the present treatise might be increased by amplifications; but this 
is not so easy as it may be thought. Writing on architecture is 
not like history or poetry. History is captivating to the reader 
from its very nature; for it holds out the hope of various novel- 
ties. Poetry, with its measures and metrical feet, its refinement 
in the arrangement of words, and the delivery in verse of the 
sentiments expressed by the several characters to one another, 
delights the feelings of the reader, and leads him smoothly on 
to the very end of the work. 

2. But this cannot be the case with architectural treatises, be- 
cause those terms which originate in the peculiar needs of the art, 
give rise to obscurity of ideas from the unusual nature of the lan- 
guage. Hence, while the things themselves are not well known, 
and their names not in common use, if besides this the principles 
are described in a very diffuse fashion without any attempt at 
conciseness and explanation in a few pellucid sentences, such full- 
ness and amplitude of treatment will be only a hindrance, and will 
give the reader nothing but indefinite notions. Therefore, when 
I mention obscure terms, and the symmetrical proportions of 
members of buildings, I shall give brief explanations, so that they 
may be committed to memory; for thus expressed, the mind will 
be enabled to understand them the more easily. 

3. Furthermore, since I have observed that our citizens are 
distracted with public affairs and private business, I have thought 


it best to write briefly, so that my readers, whose intervals of 
leisure are small, may be able to comprehend in a short time. 

Then again, Pythagoras and those who came after him in his 
school thought it proper to employ the principles of the cube in 
composing books on their doctrines, and, having determined 
that the cube consisted of 216 1 lines, held that there should be no 
more than three cubes in any one treatise. 

4. A cube is a body with sides all of equal breadth and their 
surfaces perfectly square. When thrown down, it stands firm and 
steady so long as it is untouched, no matter on which of its sides 
it has fallen, like the dice which players throw on the board. The 
Pythagoreans appear to have drawn their analogy from the cube, 
because the number of lines mentioned will be fixed firmly and 
steadily in the memory when they have once settled down, like 
a cube, upon a man's understanding. The Greek comic poets, 
also, divided their plays into parts by introducing a choral song, 
and by this partition on the principle of the cubes, they relieve the 
actor's speeches by such intermissions. 

5. Since these rules, founded on the analogy of nature, were 
followed by our predecessors, and since I observe that I have to 
write on unusual subjects which many persons will find obscure, 
I have thought it best to write in short books, so that they may 
the more readily strike the understanding of the reader: for they 
will thus be easy to comprehend. I have also arranged them so 
that those in search of knowledge on a subject may not have to 
gather it from different places, but may find it in one complete 
treatment, with the various classes set forth each in a book by 
itself. Hence, Caesar, in the third and fourth books I gave the 
rules for temples; in this book I shall treat of the laying out of 
public places. I shall speak first of the proper arrangement of the 
forum, for in it the course of both public and private affairs is 
directed by the magistrates. 

> Codd. CC. & L. 



1. THE Greeks lay out their forums in the form of a square 
surrounded by very spacious double colonnades, adorn them 
with columns set rather closely together, and with entablatures 
of stone or marble, and construct walks above in the upper story. 
But in the cities of Italy the same method cannot be followed, for 
the reason that it is a custom handed down from our ancestors 
that gladiatorial shows should be given in the forum. 

2. Therefore let the intercolumniations round the show place 
be pretty wide; round about in the colonnades put the bankers' 
offices; and have balconies on the upper floor properly arranged 
so as to be convenient, and to bring in some public revenue. 


From Oiell 

A, Forum. B, Basilica. C, Curia. C', Official Building. D, Small Temple. 
E, Latrina. F, Atrium. 


The size of a forum should be proportionate to the number of 
inhabitants, so that it may not be too small a space to be useful, 
nor look like a desert waste for lack of population. To determine 
its breadth, divide its length into three parts and assign two of 
them to the breadth. Its shape will then be oblong, and its ground 
plan conveniently suited to the conditions of shows. 

3. The columns of the upper tier should be one fourth smaller 
than those of the lower, because, for the purpose of bearing the 
load, what is below ought to be stronger than what is above, and 
also, because we ought to imitate nature as seen in the case of 
things growing; for example, in round smooth-stemmed trees, like 
the fir, cypress, and pine, every one of which is rather thick just 
above the roots and then, as it goes on increasing in height, ta- 
pers off naturally and symmetrically in growing up to the top. 
Hence, if nature requires this in things growing, it is the right ar- 
rangement that what is above should be less in height and thick- 
ness than what is below. 

4. Basilicas should be constructed on a site adjoining the 
forum and in the warmest possible quarter, so that in winter 
business men may gather in them without being troubled by 
the weather. In breadth they should be not less than one third 
nor more than one half of their length, unless the site is naturally 
such as to prevent this and to oblige an alteration in these pro- 
portions. If the length of the site is greater than necessary, Chal- 
cidian porches may be constructed at the ends, as in the Julia 

5. It is thought that the columns of basilicas ought to be as 
high as the side-aisles are broad; an aisle should be limited to one 
third of the breadth which the open space in the middle is to have. 
Let the columns of the upper tier be smaller than those of the 
lower, as written above. The screen, to be placed between the 
upper and the lower tiers of columns, ought to be, it is thought, 
one fourth lower than the columns of the upper tier, so that peo- 
ple walking in the upper story of the basilica may not be seen by 
the business men. The architraves, friezes, and cornices should 

Bcalt of ilctrct 



^,', Fo J lm - B ' 1!asllica - C, Temple of Apollo. D, IV, Market Buildings. E, Latrlna. 
, City Treasury. O, Memorial Arch. H.Templeof Jupiter. 1, Arch of Tiberius. K Macel 
im (provision market). L, Sanctuary of the City Lares. M, Temple of Vespasian 

Jj. ''"'Id'ngof Eumachia, O, Comitium. P, Office of the Duumvirs. Q, The City Council. 

lv Oincc 01 tile Atdilcs. 







be adjusted to the proportions of the columns, as we have stated 
in the third book. 

6. But basilicas of the greatest dignity and beauty may also be 
constructed in the style of that one which I erected, and the build- 
ing of which I superintended at 
Fano. Its proportions and symme- 
trical relations were established as 
follows. In the middle, the main 
roof between the columns is 120 feet 
long and sixty feet wide. Its aisle 
round the space beneath the main 
roof and between the walls and the 
columns is twenty feet broad. The 
columns, of unbroken height, mea- 
suring with their capitals fifty feet, 
and being each five feet thick, have 
behind them pilasters, twenty feet 
high, two and one half feet broad, 
and one and one half feet thick, 
which support the beams on which 
is carried the upper flooring of the 
aisles. Above them are other pilas- 
ters, eighteen feet high, two feet 
broad, and a foot thick, which carry 
the beams supporting the principal 
raftering and the roof of the aisles, 
which is brought down lower than 
the main roof. 

7. The spaces remaining between 
the beams supported by the pilasters and the columns, are left for 
windows between the intercolumniations. The columns are : on 
the breadth of the main roof at each end, four, including the 
corner columns at right and left; on the long side which is next 
to the forum, eight, including the same corner columns; on the 
other side, six, including the corner columns. This is because the 

From Durm 









two middle columns on that side are omitted, in order not to 
obstruct the view of the pronaos of the temple of Augustus (which 
is built at the middle of the side wall of the basilica, facing the 
middle of the forum and the temple of Jupiter) and also the 
tribunal which is in the former temple, shaped as a hemicycle 
whose curvature is less than a semicircle. 

8. The open side of this hemicycle is forty-six feet along the 
front, and its curvature inwards is fifteen feet, so that those who 
are standing before the magistrates may not be in the way of the 
business men in the basilica. Round about, above the columns, 
are placed the architraves, consisting of three two-foot timbers 
fastened together. These return from the columns which stand 
third on the inner side to the antae which project from the 
pronaos, and which touch the edges of the hemicycle at right 
and left. 

9. Above the architraves and regularly dispersed on supports 
directly over the capitals, piers are placed, three feet high and 
four feet broad each way. Above them is placed the projecting 
cornice round about, made of two two-foot timbers. The tie- 
beams and struts, being placed above them, and directly over the 
shafts of the columns and the antae and walls of the pronaos, 
hold up one gable roof along the entire basilica, and another from 
the middle of it, over the pronaos of the temple. 

10. Thus the gable tops run in two directions, like the letter 
T, and give a beautiful effect to the outside and inside of the main 
roof. Further, by the omission of an ornamental entablature 
and of a line of screens and a second tier of columns, troublesome 
labour is saved and the total cost greatly diminished. On the other 
hand, the carrying of the columns themselves in unbroken height 
directly up to the beams that support the main roof, seems to add 
an air of sumptuousness and dignity to the work. 




1. THE treasury, prison, and senate house ought to adjoin the 
forum, but in such a way that their dimensions may be propor- 
tionate to those of the forum. Particularly, the senate house 
should be constructed with special regard to the importance of 
the town or city. If the building is square, let its height be fixed 
at one and one half times its breadth; but if it is to be oblong, add 
together its length and breadth and, having got the total, let 
half of it be devoted to the height up to the coffered ceiling. 

2. Further, the inside walls should be girdled, at a point half- 
way up their height, with coronae made of woodwork or of 
stucco. Without these, the voice of men engaged in discussion 
there will be carried up to the height above, and so be unintelli- 
gible to their listeners. But when the walls are girdled with cor- 
onae, the voice from below, being detained before rising and 
becoming lost in the air, will be intelligible to the ear. 


1. AFTER the forum has been arranged, next, for the purpose 
of seeing plays or festivals of the immortal gods, a site as healthy 
as possible should be selected for the theatre, in accordance with 
what has been written in the first book, on the principles of health- 
fulness in the sites of cities. For when plays are given, the spec- 
tators, with their wives and children, sit through them spell- 
bound, and their bodies, motionless from enjoyment, have the 
pores open, into which blowing winds find their way. If these 
winds come from marshy districts or from other unwholesome 
quarters, they will introduce noxious exhalations into the sys- 
tem. Hence, such faults will be avoided if the site of the theatre 
is somewhat carefully selected. 


2. We must also beware that it has not a southern exposure. 
When the sun shines full upon the rounded part of it, the air, be- 
ing shut up in the curved enclosure and unable to circulate, stays 
there and becomes heated; and getting glowing hot it burns up, 
dries out, and impairs the fluids of the human body. For these 
reasons, sites which are unwholesome in such respects are to be 
avoided, and healthy sites selected. 

3. The foundation walls will be an easier matter if they are on a 
hillside; but if they have to be laid on a plain or in a marshy place, 
solidity must be assured and substructures built in accordance 
with what has been written in the third book, on the foundations 
of temples. Above the foundation walls, the ascending rows of 
seats, from the substructures up, should be built of stone and 
marble materials. 

4. The curved cross-aisles should be constructed in propor- 
tionate relation, it is thought, to the height of the theatre, but 
not higher than the footway of the passage is broad. If they 
are loftier, they will throw back the voice and drive it away from 
the upper portion, thus preventing the case-endings of words 
from reaching with distinct meaning the ears of those who are in 
the uppermost seats above the cross-aisles. In short, it should be 
so contrived that a line drawn from the lowest to the highest seat 
will touch the top edges and angles of all the seats. Thus the 
voice will meet with no obstruction. 

5. The different entrances ought to be numerous and spacious, 
the upper not connected with the lower, but built in a continuous 
straight line from all parts of the house, without turnings, so that 
the people may not be crowded together when let out from shows, 
but may have separate exits from all parts without obstructions. 

Particular pains must also be taken that the site be not a 
"deaf" one, but one through which the voice can range with the 
greatest clearness. This can be brought about if a site is selected 
where there is no obstruction due to echo. 

6. Voice is a flowing breath of air, perceptible to the hearing 
by contact. It moves in an endless number of circular rounds, 


like the innumerably increasing circular waves which appear when 
a stone is thrown into smooth water, and which keep on spread- 
ing indefinitely from the centre unless interrupted by narrow 
limits, or by some obstruction which prevents such waves from 
reaching their end in due formation. When they are interrupted 
by obstructions, the first waves, flowing back, break up the form- 
ation of those which follow. 

7. In the same manner the voice executes its movements in 
concentric circles; but while in the case of water the circles move 
horizontally on a plane surface, the voice not only proceeds hori- 
zontally, but also ascends vertically by regular stages. Therefore, 
as in the case of the waves formed in the water, so it is in the case 
of the voice: the first wave, when there is no obstruction to inter- 
rupt it, does not break up the second or the following waves, but 
they all reach the ears of the lowest and highest spectators with- 
out an echo. 

8. Hence the ancient architects, following in the footsteps of 
nature, perfected the ascending rows of seats in theatres from 
their investigations of the ascending voice, and, by means of the 
canonical theory of the mathematicians and that of the musicians, 
endeavoured to make every voice uttered on the stage come with 
greater clearness and sweetness to the ears of the audience. For 
just as musical instruments are brought to perfection of clearness 
in the sound of their strings by means of bronze plates or horn 
jfoeia, so the ancients devised methods of increasing the power 
of the voice in theatres through the application of harmonics. 



1. HARMONICS is an obscure and difficult branch of musical 
science, especially for those who do not know Greek. If we de- 
sire to treat of it, we must use Greek words, because some of them 
have no Latin equivalents. Hence, I will explain it as clearly as 


I can from the writings of Aristoxenus, append his scheme, and 
define the boundaries of the notes, so that with somewhat care- 
ful attention anybody may be able to understand it pretty easily. 

2. The voice, in its changes of position when shifting pitch, 
becomes sometimes high, sometimes low, and its movements are 
of two kinds, in one of which its progress is continuous, in the 
other by intervals. The continuous voice does not become sta- 
tionary at the " boundaries " or at any definite place, and so the 
extremities of its progress are not apparent, but the fact that 
there are differences of pitch is apparent, as in our ordinary 
speech in sol, lux, flos, vox; for in these cases we cannot tell at 
what pitch the voice begins, nor at what pitch it leaves off, but 
the fact that it becomes low from high and high from low is ap- 
parent to the ear. In its progress by intervals the opposite is the 
case. For here, when the pitch shifts, the voice, by change of 
position, stations itself on one pitch, then on another, and, as it 
frequently repeats this alternating process, it appears to the 
senses to become stationary, as happens in singing when we pro- 
duce a variation of the mode by changing the pitch of the voice. 
And so, since it moves by intervals, the points at which it begins 
and where it leaves off are obviously apparent in the boundaries 
of the notes, but the intermediate points escape notice and are 
obscure, owing to the intervals. 

3. There are three classes of modes: first, that which the 
Greeks term the enharmonic ; second, the chromatic ; third, the dia- 
tonic. The enharmonic mode is an artistic conception, and there- 
fore execution in it has a specially severe dignity and distinction. 
The chromatic, with its delicate subtlety and with the "crowd- 
ing" of its notes, gives a sweeter kind of pleasure. In the dia- 
tonic, the distance between the intervals is easier to understand, 
because it is natural. These three classes differ in their arrange- 
ment of the tetrachord. In the enharmonic, the tetrachord con- 
sists of two tones and two "dieses." A diesis is a quarter tone; 
hence in a semitone there are included two dieses. In the chro- 
matic there are two semitones arranged in succession, and the 


third interval is a tone and a half. In the diatonic, there are two 
consecutive tones, and the third interval of a semitone com- 
pletes the tetrachord. Hence, in the three classes, the tetra- 
chords are equally composed of two tones and a semitone, but 
when they are regarded separately according to the terms of 
each class, they differ in the arrangement of their intervals. 

4. Now then, these intervals of tones and semitones of the 
tetrachord are a division introduced by nature in the case of the 
voice, and she has defined their limits by measures according to 
the magnitude of the intervals, and determined their character- 
istics in certain different ways. These natural laws are followed 
by the skilled workmen who fashion musical instruments, in 
bringing them to the perfection of their proper concords. 

5. In each class there are eighteen notes, termed in Greek 
<t>06yyot,, of which eight in all the three classes are constant and 
fixed, while the other ten, not being tuned to the same pitch, are 
variable. The fixed notes are those which, being placed between 
the moveable, make up the unity of the tetrachord, and remain 
unaltered in their boundaries according to the different classes. 
Their names are proslambanomenos, hypate hypaton, hypate 
meson, mese, nete synhemmenon, paramese, nete diezeugmenon, 
nete hyperbolaeon. The moveable notes are those which, being 
arranged in the tetrachord between the immoveable, change from 
place to place according to the different classes. They are called 

^ ,^,rfr 




I 111 

| I f I f f 


parhypate hypaton, lichanos hypaton, parhypate meson, lichanos 
meson, trite synhemmenon, paranete synhemmenon, trite die- 
zeugmenon, paranete diezeugmenon, trite hyperbolaeon, para- 
nete hyperbolaeon. 

6. These notes, from being moveable, take on different quali- 
ties; for they may stand at different intervals and increasing dis- 
tances. Thus, parhypate, which in the enharmonic is at the inter- 
val of half a semitone from hypate, has a semitone interval when 
transferred to the chromatic. What is called lichanos in the en- 
harmonic is at the interval of a semitone from hypate; but when 
shifted to the chromatic, it goes two semitones away; and in 
the diatonic it is at an interval of three semitones from hypate. 
Hence the ten notes produce three different kinds of modes on 
account of their changes of position in the classes. 

7. There are five tetrachords: first, the lowest, termed in Greek 

; second, the middle, called pea-ov third, the conjunct, termed 
, fourth, the disjunct, named &teevypevov t the fifth, which 
is the highest, is termed in Greek virepfioXaiov. The concords, 
termed in Greek <rv(juf>taviai, of which human modulation will natur- 
ally admit, are six in number: the fourth, the fifth, the octave, 
the octave and fourth, the octave and fifth, and the double octave. 

8. Their names are therefore due to numerical value; for when 
the voice becomes stationary on some one note, and then, shift- 
ing its pitch, changes its position and passes to the limit of the 
fourth note from that one, we use the term "fourth"; when it 
passes to the fifth, the term is "fifth." * 

9. For there can be no consonancies either in the case of the 
notes of stringed instruments or of the singing voice, between 
two intervals or between three or six or seven; but, as written 
above, it is only the harmonies of the fourth, the fifth, and so on 
up to the double octave, that have boundaries naturally corres- 
ponding to those of the voice: and these concords are produced 
by the union of the notes. 

1 The remainder of this section is omitted from the translation as being an obvious 




1. IN accordance with the foregoing investigations on mathe- 
matical principles, let bronze vessels be made, proportionate to 
the size of the theatre, and let them be so fashioned that, when 
touched, they may produce with one another the notes of the 
fourth, the fifth, and so on up to the double octave. Then, having 
constructed niches in between the seats of the theatre, let the 
vessels be arranged in them, in accordance with musical laws, in 
such a way that they nowhere touch the wall, but have a clear 
space all round them and room over their tops. They should be set 
upside down, and be supported on the side facing the stage by 
wedges not less than half a foot high. Opposite each niche, aper- 
tures should be left in the surface of the seat next below, two feet 
long and hah* a foot deep. 

2. The arrangement of these vessels, with reference to the 
situations in which they should be placed, may be described as 
follows. If the theatre be of no great size, mark out a horizontal 
range halfway up, and in it construct thirteen arched niches 
with twelve equal spaces between them, so that of the above 
mentioned "echea" those which give the note netehyperbolaeon 
may be placed first on each side, in the niches which are at the 
extreme ends ; next to the ends and a fourth below in pitch, the note 
nete diezeugmenon; third, paramese, a fourth below; fourth, nete 
synhemmenon; fifth, mese, a fourth below; sixth, hypate meson, 
a fourth below; and in the middle and another fourth below, one 
vessel giving the note hypate hypaton. 

3. On this principle of arrangement, the voice, uttered from 
the stage as from a centre, and spreading and striking against 
the cavities of the different vessels, as it comes in contact with 
them, will be increased in clearness of sound, and will wake an 
harmonious note in unison with itself. 

But if the theatre be rather large, let its height be divided 




into four parts, so that three horizontal ranges of niches may 
be marked out and constructed: one for the enharmonic, an- 
other for the chromatic, and the third for the diatonic system. 
Beginning with the bottom range, let the arrangement be as de- 
scribed above in the case of a smaller theatre, but on the enhar- 
monic system. 

4. In the middle range, place first at the extreme ends the 
vessels which give the note of the chromatic hyperbolaeon; next 





f r 

- f 

f , 

i fay. \ 

F -F 






1 **~^ 


-z) & 





to them, those which give the chromatic diezeugmenon, a fourth 
below; third, the chromatic synhemmenon; fourth, the chromatic 
meson, a fourth below; fifth, the chromatic hypaton, a fourth 
below; sixth, the paramese, for this is both the concord of the fifth 
to the chromatic hyperbolaeon, and the concord 1 of the chro- 
matic synhemmenon. 

5. No vessel is to be placed in the middle, for the reason that 
there is no other note in the chromatic system that forms a 
natural concord of sound. 

In the highest division and range of niches, place at the extreme 
ends vessels fashioned so as to give the note of the diatonic hyper- 
bolaeon; next, the diatonic diezeugmenon, a fourth below; third, 
the diatonic synhemmenon ; fourth, the diatonic meson, a fourth 
below; fifth, the diatonic hypaton, a fourth below; sixth, the 

1 Codd. diatessaron, which is impossible, paramese being the concord of the fourth 
to the chromatic meson, and identical with the chromatic synhemmenon. 


proslambanomenos, a fourth below; in the middle, the note 
mese, for this is both the octave to proslambanomenos, and the 
concord of the fifth to the diatonic hypaton. 

6. Whoever wishes to carry out these principles with ease, has 
only to consult the scheme at the end of this book, drawn up in 
accordance with the laws of music. It was left by Aristoxenus, 
who with great ability and labour classified and arranged in it the 
different modes. In accordance with it, and by giving heed to 
these theories, one can easily bring a theatre to perfection, from 
the point of view of the nature of the voice, so as to give pleasure 
to the audience. 

7. Somebody will perhaps say that many theatres are built 
every year in Rome, and that in them no attention at all is paid 
to these principles ; but he will be in error, from the fact that all 
our public theatres made of wood contain a great deal of board- 
ing, which must be resonant. This may be observed from the 
behaviour of those who sing to the lyre, who, when they wish 
to sing in a higher key, turn towards the folding doors on the 
stage, and thus by their aid are reinforced with a sound in har- 
mony with the voice. But when theatres are built of solid ma- 
terials like masonry, stone, or marble, which cannot be resonant, 
then the principles of the "echea" must be applied. 

8. If, however, it is asked in what theatre these vessels have 
been employed, we cannot point to any in Rome itself, but only 
to those in the districts of Italy and in a good many Greek states. 
We have also the evidence of Lucius Mummius, who, after de- 
stroying the theatre in Corinth, brought its bronze vessels to 
Rome, and made a dedicatory offering at the temple of Luna with 
the money obtained from the sale of them. Besides, many skilful 
architects, in constructing theatres in small towns, have, for 
lack of means, taken large jars made of clay, but similarly reso- 
nant, and have produced very advantageous results by arranging 
them on the principles described. 




1. THE plan of the theatre itself is to be constructed as follows. 
Having fixed upon the principal centre, draw a line of circum- 
ference equivalent to what is to be the perimeter at the bottom, 
and in it inscribe four equilateral triangles, at equal distances 
apart and touching the boundary line of the circle, as the as- 
trologers do in a figure of the twelve signs of the zodiac, when 
they are making computations from the musical harmony of the 
stars. Taking that one of these triangles whose side is nearest to 
the scaena, let the front of the scaena be determined by the line 
where that side cuts off a segment of the circle (A-B), and draw, 
through the centre, a parallel line (C-D) set off from that posi- 
tion, to separate the platform of the stage from the space of the 

2. The platform has to be made deeper than that of the Greeks, 
because all our artists perform on the stage, while the orchestra 
contains the places reserved for the seats of senators. The 
height of this platform must be not more than five feet, in order 
that those who sit in the orchestra may be able to see the per- 
formances of all the actors. The sections (cunei) for spectators in 
the theatre should be so divided, that the angles of the triangles 
which run about the circumference of the circle may give the 
direction for the flights of steps between the sections, as far as up 
to the first curved cross-aisle. Above this, the upper sections are 
to be laid out, midway between (the lower sections), with alter- 
nating passage-ways. 

3. The angles at the bottom, which give the directions for the 
flights of steps, will be seven in number (C, E, F, G, H, I, D) ; the 
other five angles will determine the arrangement of the scene: 
thus, the angle in the middle ought to have the "royal door"(K) 
opposite to it; the angles to the right and left (L, M) will desig- 
nate the position of the doors for guest chambers; and the two 








outermost angles (A, B) will point to the passages in the wings. 
The steps for the spectators' places, where the seats are arranged, 
should be not less than a foot and a palm in height, nor more 
than a foot and six fingers; their depth should be fixed at not 
more than two and a half feet, nor less than two feet. 

4. The roof of the colonnade to be built at the top of the rows 
of seats, should lie level with the top of the "scaena," for the rea- 
son that the voice will then rise with equal power until it reaches 
the highest rows of seats and the roof. If the roof is not so high, 
in proportion as it is lower, it will check the voice at the point 
which the sound first reaches. 

5. Take one sixth of the diameter of the orchestra between 
the lowest steps, and let the lower seats at the ends on both sides 
be cut away to a height of that dimension so as to leave en- 
trances (O, P) . At the point where this cutting away occurs, fix 
the soffits of the passages. Thus their vaulting will be sufficiently 

6. The length of the "scaena" ought to be double the diameter 
of the orchestra. The height of the podium, starting from the 
level of the stage, is, including the corona and cymatium, one 
twelfth of the diameter of the orchestra. Above the podium, 
the columns, including their capitals and bases, should have a 
height of one quarter of the same diameter, and the architraves 
and ornaments of the columns should be one fifth of their height. 
The parapet above, including its cyma and corona, is one 
half the height of the parapet below. Let the columns above this 
parapet be one fourth less in height than the columns below, and 
the architraves and ornaments of these columns one fifth of their 
height. If the "scaena" is to have three stories, let the upper- 
most parapet be half the height of the intermediate one, the 
columns at the top one fourth less high than the intermediate, 
and the architraves and coronae of these columns one fifth of 
their height as before. 

7. It is not possible, however, that in all theatres these rules 
of symmetry should answer all conditions and purposes, but the 






architect ought to consider to what extent he must follow the 
principle of symmetry, and to what extent it may be modified 
to suit the nature of the site or the size of the work. There are, of 
course, some things which, for utility's sake, must be made of 
the same size in a small theatre, and a large one: such as the 
steps, curved cross-aisles, their parapets, the passages, stair- 
ways, stages, tribunals, and any other things which occur that 
make it necessary to give up symmetry so as not to interfere 
with utility. Again, if in the course of the work any of the 
material fall short, such as marble, timber, or anything else that 
is provided, it will not be amiss to make a slight reduction 
or addition, provided that it is done without going too far, 
but with intelligence. This will be possible, if the architect is a 
man of practical experience and, besides, not destitute of clever- 
ness and skill. 

8. The "scaena" itself displays the following scheme. In the 
centre are double doors decorated like those of a royal palace. 
At the right and left are the doors of the guest chambers. Beyond 
are spaces provided for decoration places that the Greeks 
call vepiaKToi, because in these places are triangular pieces of 
machinery (A, A) which revolve, each having three decorated 
faces. When the play is to be changed, or when gods enter to the 
accompaniment of sudden claps of thunder, these may be re- 
volved and present a face differently decorated. Beyond these 
places are the projecting wings which afford entrances to the 
stage, one from the forum, the other from abroad. 

9. There are three kinds of scenes, one called the tragic, second, 
the comic, third, the satyric. Their decorations are different and 
unlike each other in scheme. Tragic scenes are delineated with 
columns, pediments, statues, and other objects suited to kings; 
comic scenes exhibit private dwellings, with balconies and views 
representing rows of windows, after the manner of ordinary 
dwellings; satyric scenes are decorated with trees, caverns, moun- 
tains, and other rustic objects delineated in landscape style. 




1. IN the theatres of the Greeks, these same rules of construc- 
tion are not to be followed in all respects. First, in the circle at 
the bottom where the Roman has four triangles, the Greek has 
three squares with their angles touching the line of circumfer- 
ence. The square whose side is nearest to the "scaena, " and cuts 
off a segment of the circle, determines by this line the limits of 
the "proscaenium" (A, B). Parallel to this line and tangent 
to the outer circumference of the segment, a line is drawn which 
fixes the front of the "scaena" (C-D). Through the centre of 
the orchestra and parallel to the direction of the "proscaenium," 
a line is laid off, and centres are marked where it cuts the circum- 
ference to the right and left (E, F) at the ends of the half-circle. 
Then, with the compasses fixed at the right, an arc is described 
from the horizontal distance at the left to the left hand side 
of the " proscaenium " (F, G) ; again with the centre at the 
left end, an arc is described from the horizontal distance at the 
right to the right hand side of the " proscaenium" (E, H). 

2. As a result of this plan with three centres, the Greeks have 
a roomier orchestra, and a "scaena" set further back, as well as 
a stage of less depth. They call this the Xoyetov, for the reason 
that there the tragic and comic actors perform on the stage, 
while other artists give their performances in the entire orchestra; 
hence, from this fact they are given in Greek the distinct names 
"Scenic" and "Thymelic." The height of this "logeum" ought 
to be not less than ten feet nor more than twelve. Let the ascend- 
ing flights of steps between the wedges of seats, as far up as the 
first curved cross-aisle, be laid out on lines directly opposite to 
the angles of the squares. Above the cross-aisle, let other flights 
be laid out in the middle between the first; and at the top, as often 
as there is a new cross-aisle, the number of flights of steps is 
always increased to the same extent. 












1. ALL this having been settled with the greatest pains and 
skill, we must see to it, with still greater care, that a site has been 
selected where the voice has a gentle fall, and is not driven back 
with a recoil so as to convey an indistinct meaning to the ear. 
There are some places which from their very nature interfere 
with the course of the voice, as for instance the dissonant, which 
are termed in Greek Karrf^ovmet ; the circumsonant, which with 
them are named Trepi^xoOiTe?; again the resonant, which are 
termed ajr^owres ; and the consonant, which they call ffwtj- 
"Xpvirrei. The dissonant are those places in which the first sound 
uttered that is carried up high, strikes against solid bodies above, 
and, being driven back, checks as it sinks to the bottom the rise 
of the succeeding sound. 

2. The circumsonant are those in which the voice spreads 
all round, and then is forced into the middle, where it dissolves, 
the case-endings are not heard, and it dies away there in sounds 
of indistinct meaning. The resonant are those in which it comes 
into contact with some solid substance and recoils, thus producing 
an echo, and making the terminations of cases sound double. 
The consonant are those in which it is supported from below, 
increases as it goes up, and reaches the ears in words which are 
distinct and clear in tone. Hence, if there has been careful 
attention in the selection of the site, the effect of the voice will, 
through this precaution, be perfectly suited to the purposes of a 

The drawings of the plans may be distinguished from each 
other by this difference, that theatres designed from squares are 
meant to be used by Greeks, while Roman theatres are designed 
from equilateral triangles. Whoever is willing to follow these 
directions will be able to construct perfectly correct theatres. 




1. COLONNADES must be constructed behind the scaena, so 
that when sudden showers interrupt plays, the people may 
have somewhere to retire from the theatre, and so that there 
may be room for the preparation of all the outfit of the stage. 
Such places, for instance, are the colonnades of Pompey, and 
also, in Athens, the colonnades of Eumenes and the fane of 
Father Bacchus; also, as you leave the theatre, the music hall 
which Themistocles surrounded with stone columns, and roofed 
with the yards and masts of ships captured from the Persians. 
It was burned during the war with Mithridates, and afterwards 
restored by King Ariobarzanes. At Smyrna there is the Stratoni- 
ceum, at Tralles, a colonnade on each side of the scaena above 
the race course, and in other cities which have had careful archi- 
tects there are colonnades and walks about the theatres. 

2. The approved way of building them requires that they 
should be double, and have Doric columns on the outside, with 
the architraves and their ornaments finished according to the 
law of modular proportion. The approved depth for them re- 
quires that the depth, from the lower part of the outermost 
columns to the columns in the middle, and from the middle 
columns to the wall enclosing the walk under the colonnade, 
should be equal to the height of the outer columns. Let the middle 
columns be one fifth higher than the outer columns, and designed 
in the Ionic or Corinthian style. 

3. The columns will not be subject to the same rules of sym- 
metry and proportion which I prescribed in the case of sanctu- 
aries; for the dignity which ought to be their quality in temples 
of the gods is one thing, but their elegance in colonnades and 
other public works is quite another. Hence, if the columns are 
to be of the Doric order, let their height, including the capital, be 
measured off into fifteen parts. Of these parts, let one be fixed 


upon to form the module, and in accordance with this module 
the whole work is to be developed. Let the thickness of the 
columns at the bottom be two modules; an intercolumniation, 
five and a half modules; the height of a column, excluding the 
capital, fourteen modules; the capital, one module in height and 
two and one sixth modules in breadth. Let the modular propor- 
tions of the rest of the work be carried out as written in the 
fourth book in the case of temples. 

4. But if the columns are to be Ionic, let the shaft, excluding 
base and capital, be divided into eight and one half parts, and 
let one of these be assigned to the thickness of a column. Let 
the base, including the plinth, be fixed at half the thickness, and 
let the proportions of the capital be as shown in the third book. 
If the column is to be Corinthian, let its shaft and base be pro- 
portioned as in the Ionic, but its capital, as has been written in 
the fourth book. In the stylobates, let the increase made there 
by means of the " scamilli impares " be taken from the description 
written above in the third book. Let the architraves, coronae, 
and all the rest be developed, in proportion to the columns, from 
what has been written in the foregoing books. 

5. The space in the middle, between the colonnades and open 
to the sky, ought to be embellished with green things; for walking 
in the open air is very healthy, particularly for the eyes, since the 
refined and rarefied air that comes from green things, finding its 
way in because of the physical exercise, gives a clean-cut image, 
and, by clearing away the gross humours from the eyes, leaves 
the sight keen and the image distinct. Besides, as the body gets 
warm with exercise in walking, this air, by sucking out the 
humours from the frame, diminishes their superabundance, and 
disperses and thus reduces that superfluity which is more than 
the body can bear. 

6. That this is so may be seen from the fact that misty vapours 
never arise from springs of water which are under cover, nor 
even from watery marshes which are underground; but in un- 
covered places which are open to the sky, when the rising 


sun begins to act upon the world with its heat, it brings out the 
vapour from damp and watery spots, and rolls it in masses up- 
wards. Therefore, if it appears that in places open to the sky the 
more noxious humours are sucked out of the body by the air, as 
they obviously are from the earth in the form of mists, I think 
there is no doubt that cities should be provided with the room- 
iest and most ornamented walks, laid out under the free and 
open sky. 

7. That they may be always dry and not muddy, the following 
is to be done. Let them be dug down and cleared out to the lowest 
possible depth. At the right and left construct covered drains, 
and in their walls, which are directed towards the walks, lay 
earthen pipes with their lower ends inclined into the drams. Hav- 
ing finished these, fill up the place with charcoal, and then strew 
sand over the walks and level them off. Hence, on account of 
the porous nature of the charcoal and the insertion of the pipes 
into the drains, quantities of water will be conducted away, 
and the walks will thus be rendered perfectly dry and without 

8. Furthermore, our ancestors in establishing these works 
provided cities with storehouses for an indispensable material. 
The fact is that in sieges everything else is easier to procure than 
is wood. Salt can easily be brought in beforehand; corn can be got 
together quickly by the State or by individuals, and if it gives 
out, the defence may be maintained on cabbage, meat, or beans; 
water can be had by digging wells, or when there are sudden falls 
of rain, by collecting it from the tiles. But a stock of wood, which 
is absolutely necessary for cooking food, is a difficult and trouble- 
some thing to provide; for it is slow to gather and a good deal 
is consumed. 

9. On such occasions, therefore, these walks are thrown open, 
and a definite allowance granted to each inhabitant according 
to tribes. Thus these uncovered walks insure two excellent things: 
first, health in time of peace; secondly, safety in time of war. 
Hence, walks that are developed on these principles, and built 

Photo r.rooklyn Institute 

Photo Brvokh/ii Institute 


not only behind the "scaena" of theatres, but also at the temples 
of all the gods, will be capable of being of great use to cities. 

As it appears that we have given an adequate account of them, 
next will follow descriptions of the arrangements of baths. 



1. IN the first place, the warmest possible situation must be 
selected; that is, one which faces away from the north and north- 
east. The rooms for the hot and tepid baths should be lighted 
from the southwest, or, if the nature of the situation prevents this, 
at all events from the south, because the set time for bathing is 
principally from midday to evening. We must also see to it that 
the hot bath rooms in the women's and men's departments adjoin 
each other, and are situated in the same quarter; for thus it will 
be possible that the same furnace should serve both of them and 
their fittings. Three bronze cauldrons are to be set over the fur- 
nace, one for hot, another for tepid, and the third for cold water, 
placed in such positions that the amount of water which flows 
out of the hot water cauldron may be replaced from that for tepid 
water, and in the same way the cauldron for tepid water may be 
supplied from that for cold. The arrangement must allow the semi- 
cylinders for the bath basins to be heated from the same furnace. 

2. The hanging floors of .the hot bath rooms are to be con- 
structed as follows. First the surface of the ground should be laid 
with tiles a foot and a half square, sloping towards the furnace in 
such a way that, if a ball is thrown in, it cannot stop inside but 
must return of itself to the furnace room; thus the heat of the fire 
will more readily spread under the hanging flooring. Upon them, 
pillars made of eight-inch bricks are built, and set at such a dis- 
tance apart that two-foot tiles may be used to cover them. These 
pillars should be two feet in height, laid with clay mixed with hair, 
and covered on top with the two-foot tiles which support the floor. 




3. The vaulted ceilings will be more serviceable if built of ma- 
sonry; but if they are of framework, they should have tile work on 
the under side, to be constructed as follows. Let iron bars or arcs 
be made, and hang them to the framework by means of iron hooks 
set as close together as possible; and let these bars or arcs be 
placed at such distances apart that each pair of them may support 
and carry an unflanged tile. Thus the entire vaulting will be 

. " : ' . FA.LAES **>.': ' . ' .-; -. 


8,8. Shops. B. Private Baths. A-T. Men's Bath. A'-T'. Women's Baths. E.EX. Entrances. 
A,A'. Apodytoria. F. Frigidarium. T,T'. Tepidarium. C.O. Caldarium. K,K,K. Kettles in 
furnace room. P. Piscina. 


completely supported on iron. These vaults should have the 
joints on their upper side daubed with clay mixed with hair, and 
their under side, facing the floor, should first be plastered with 
pounded tile mixed with lime, and then covered with polished 
stucco in relief or smooth. Vaults in hot bath rooms will be more 
serviceable if they are doubled; for then the moisture from the 
heat will not be able to spoil the timber in the framework, but will 
merely circulate between the two vaults. 

4. The size of the baths must depend upon the number of the 
population. The rooms should be thus proportioned: let their 
breadth be one third of their length, excluding the niches for the 
washbowl and the bath basin. The washbowl ought without fail 
to be placed under a window, so that the shadows of those who 
stand round it may not obstruct the light. Niches for washbowls 
must be made so roomy that when the first comers have taken 
their places, the others who are waiting round may have proper 
standing room. The bath basin should be not less than six feet 
broad from the wall to the edge, the lower step and the "cushion" 
taking up two feet of this space. 

5. The Laconicum and other sweating baths must adjoin the 
tepid room, and their height to the bottom of the curved dome 
should be equal to their width. Let an aperture be left in the 
middle of the dome with a bronze disc hanging from it by chains. 
By raising and lowering it, the temperature of the sweating 
bath can be regulated. The chamber itself ought, as it seems, to 
be circular, so that the force of the fire and heat may spread 
evenly from the centre all round the circumference. 



1. NEXT, although the building of palaestrae is not usual in 
Italy, I think it best to set forth the traditional way, and to show 
how they are constructed among the Greeks. The square or ob- 


long peristyle in a palaestra should be so formed that the circuit 
of it makes a walk of two stadia, a distance which the Greeks call 
the Stat/Xo?. Let three of its colonnades be single, but let the 
fourth, which is on the south side, be double, so that when there 
is bad weather accompanied by wind, the drops of rain may not 
be able to reach the interior. 

2. In the three colonnades construct roomy recesses (A) with 
seats in them, where philosophers, rhetoricians, and others who 
delight in learning may sit and converse. In the double colonnade 
let the rooms be arranged thus: the young men's hall (B) in the 
middle; this is a very spacious recess (exedra) with seats in it, and 
it should be one third longer than it is broad. At the right, the 
bag room (C) ; then next, the dust room (D) ; beyond the dust 
room, at the corner of the colonnade, the cold washing room (E), 
which the Greeks call \ovrpov. At the left of the young men's hall is 
the anointing room (F) ; then, next to the anointing room, the cold 
bath room (G), and beyond that a passage into the furnace room 
(H) at the corner of the colonnade. Next, but inside and on a line 
with the cold bath room, put the vaulted sweating bath (I), its 
length twice its breadth, and having at the ends on one side a 
Laconicum (K), proportioned in the same manner as above de- 
scribed, and opposite the Laconicum the warm washing room (L). 
Inside a palaestra, the peristyle ought to be laid out as described 

3. But on the outside, let three colonnades be arranged, one 
as you leave the peristyle and two at the right and left, with run- 
ning-tracks in them. That one of them which faces the north 
should be a double colonnade of very ample breadth, while the 
other should be single, and so constructed that on the sides next 
the walls and the side along the columns it may have edges, 
serving as paths, of not less than ten feet, with the space between 
them sunken, so that steps are necessary in going down from the 
edges a foot and a half to the plane, which plane should be not less 
than twelve feet wide. Thus people walking round on the edges 
will not be interfered with by the anointed who are exercising. 




4. This kind of colonnade is called among the Greeks 
because athletes during the winter season exercise in covered 
running tracks. Next to this "xystus" and to the double colon- 




D C- 




^ 5 r~ 

C |D| t 
1 1 C 

ijoo (BECK rtrr 





nade should be laid out the uncovered walks which the Greeks 
term -jrapaSpofj-iSes and our people "xysta," into which, in fair 
weather during the winter, the athletes come out from the "xys- 
tus" for exercise. The "xysta" ought to be so constructed that 
there may be plantations between the two colonnades, or groves 


of plane trees, with walks laid out in them among the trees and 
resting places there, made of "opus signinum." Behind the "xys- 
tus " a stadium, so designed that great numbers of people may 
have plenty of room to look on at the contests between the 

I have now described all that seemed necessary for the proper 
arrangement of things within the city walls. 



1. THE subject of the usefulness of harbours is one which I 
must not omit, but must explain by what means ships are shel- 
tered in them from storms. If their situation has natural advan- 
tages, with projecting capes or promontories which curve or return 
inwards by their natural conformation, such harbours are ob- 
viously of the greatest service. Round them, of course, colon- 
nades or shipyards must be built, or passages from the colon- 
nades to the business quarters, and towers must be set up on both 
sides, from which chains can be drawn across by machinery. 

2. But if we have a situation without natural advantages, and 
unfit to shelter ships from storms, it is obvious that we must pro- 
ceed as follows. If there is no river in the neighbourhood, but 
if there can be a roadstead on one side, then, let the advances be 
made from the other side by means of walls or embankments, 
and let the enclosing harbour be thus formed. Walls which are 
to be under water should be constructed as follows. Take the 
powder which comes from the country extending from Cumae 
to the promontory of Minerva, and mix it in the mortar trough 
in the proportion of two to one. 

3. Then, in the place previously determined, a cofferdam, with 
its sides formed of oaken stakes with ties between them, is to be 
driven down into the water and firmly propped there; then, the 
lower surface inside, under the water, must be levelled off and 


dredged, working from beams laid across; and finally, concrete 
from the mortar trough the stuff having been mixed as pre- 
scribed above must be heaped up until the empty space which 
was within the cofferdam is filled up by the wall. This, however, 
is possessed as a gift of nature by such places as have been de- 
scribed above. 

But if by reason of currents or the assaults of the open sea the 
props cannot hold the cofferdam together, then, let a platform of 
the greatest possible strength be constructed, beginning on the 
ground itself or on a substructure; and let the platform be con- 
structed with a level surface for less than hah* its extent, while the 
rest, which is close to the beach, slopes down and out. 

4. Then, on the water's edge and at the sides of the platform, 
let marginal walls be constructed, about one and one half feet 
thick and brought up to a level with the surface above mentioned; 
next, let the sloping part be filled in with sand and levelled off 
with the marginal wall and the surface of the platform. Then, 
upon this level surface construct a block as large as is required, 
and when it is finished, leave it for not less than two months 
to dry. Then, cut away the marginal wall which supports the 
sand. Thus, the sand will be undermined by the waves, and 
this will cause the block to fall into the sea. By this method, 
repeated as often as necessary, an advance into the water can be 

5. But in places where this powder is not found, the following 
method must be employed. A cofferdam with double sides, com- 
posed of charred stakes fastened together with ties, should be con- 
structed in the appointed place, and clay in wicker baskets made 
of swamp rushes should be packed in among the props. After 
this has been well packed down and filled in as closely as possible, 
set up your water-screws, wheels, and drums, and let the space 
now bounded by the enclosure be emptied and dried. Then, dig 
out the bottom within the enclosure. If it proves to be of earth, 
it must be cleared out and dried till you come to solid bottom 
and for a space wider than the wall which is to be built upon it, 


and then filled in with masonry consisting of rubble, lime, and 

6. But if the place proves to be soft, the bottom must be 
staked with piles made of charred alder or olive wood, and then 
filled in with charcoal as has been prescribed in the case of the 
foundations of theatres and the city wall. Finally, build the 
wall of dimension stone, with the bond stones as long as pos- 
sible, so that particularly the stones in the middle may be held 
together by the joints. Then, fill the inside of the wall with broken 
stone or masonry. It will thus be possible for even a tower to 
be built upon it. 

7. When all this is finished, the general rule for shipyards will 
be to build them facing the north. Southern exposures from their 
heat produce rot, the wood worm, ship worms, and all sorts of other 
destructive creatures, and strengthen and keep them alive. And 
these buildings must by no means be constructed of wood, for fear 
of fire. As for their size, no definite limit need be set, but they 
must be built to suit the largest type of ship, so that if even larger 
ships are hauled up, they may find plenty of room there. 

I have described in this book the construction and completion 
of all that I could remember as necessary for general use in the 
public places of cities. In the following book I shall consider 
private houses, their conveniences, and symmetrical proportions. 




1. IT is related of the Socratic philosopher Aristippus that, be- 
ing shipwrecked and cast ashore on the coast of the Rhodians, he 
observed geometrical figures drawn thereon, and cried out to his 
companions : " Let us be of good cheer, for I seethe traces of man." 
With that he made for the city of Rhodes, and went straight to 
the gymnasium. There he fell to discussing philosophical subjects, 
and presents were bestowed upon him, so that he could not only fit 
himself out, but could also provide those who accompanied him 
with clothing and all other necessaries of life. When his compan- 
ions wished to return to their country, and asked him what mes- 
sage he wished them to carry home, he bade them say this: that 
children ought to be provided with property and resources of 
a kind that could swim with them even out of a shipwreck. 

2. These are indeed the true supports of life, and neither For- 
tune's adverse gale, nor political revolution, nor ravages of war 
can do them any harm. Developing the same idea, Theophrastus, 
urging men to acquire learning rather than to put their trust in 
money, states the case thus: "The man of learning is the only 
person in the world who is neither a stranger when in a foreign 
land, nor friendless when he has lost his intimates and relatives ; 
on the contrary, he is a citizen of every country, and can fearlessly 
look down upon the troublesome accidents of fortune. But he 
who thinks himself entrenched in defences not of learning but of 
luck, moves in slippery paths, struggling through life unsteadily 
and insecurely." 

3. And Epicurus, in much the same way, says that the wise owe 
little to fortune; all that is greatest and essential is under the di- 
rection of the thinking power of the mind and the understanding. 
Many other philosophers have said the same thing. Likewise the 


poets who wrote the ancient comedies in Greek have expressed 
the same sentiments in their verses on the stage: for example, 
Eucrates, Chionides, Aristophanes, and with them Alexis in par- 
ticular, who says that the Athenians ought to be praised for the 
reason that, while the laws of all Greeks require the maintenance 
of parents by their children, the laws of the Athenians require 
this only in the case of those who have educated their children in 
the arts. All the gifts which fortune bestows she can easily take 
away; but education, when combined with intelligence, never 
fails, but abides steadily on to the very end of life. 

4. Hence, I am very much obliged and infinitely grateful to my 
parents for their approval of this Athenian law, and for having 
taken care that I should be taught an art, and that of a sort which 
cannot be brought to perfection without learning and a liberal 
education in all branches of instruction. Thanks, therefore, to the 
attention of my parents and the instruction given by my teachers, 
I obtained a wide range of knowledge, and by the pleasure which 
I take in literary and artistic subjects, and in the writing of trea- 
tises, I have acquired intellectual possessions whose chief fruits 
are these thoughts: that superfluity is useless, and that not to feel 
the want of anything is true riches. There may be some people, 
however, who deem all this of no consequence, and think that the 
wise are those who have plenty of money. Hence it is that very 
many, in pursuit of that end, take upon themselves impudent 
assurance, and attain notoriety and wealth at the same time. 

5. But for my part, Caesar, I have never been eager to make 
money by my art, but have gone on the principle that slender 
means and a good reputation are preferable to wealth and disre- 
pute. For this reason, only a little celebrity has followed; but still, 
my hope is that, with the publication of these books, I shall become 
known even to posterity. And it is not to be wondered at that I 
am so generally unknown. Other architects go about and ask for 
opportunities to practise their profession ; but I have been taught 
by my instructors that it is the proper thing to undertake a charge 
only after being asked, and not to ask for it; since a gentleman will 


blush with shame at petitioning for a thing that arouses suspi- 
cion. It is in fact those who can grant favours that are courted, 
not those who receive them. What are we to think must be the 
suspicions of a man who is asked to allow his private means to be 
expended in order to please a petitioner? Must he not believe 
that the thing is to be done for the profit and advantage of that 

6. Hence it was that the ancients used to entrust their work in 
the first place to architects of good family, and next inquired 
whether they had been properly educated, believing that one ought 
to trust in the honour of a gentleman rather than in the assurance 
of impudence. And the architects themselves would teach none but 
their own sons or kinsmen, and trained them to be good men, who 
could be trusted without hesitation in matters of such import- 

But when I see that this grand art is boldly professed by the 
uneducated and the unskilful, and by men who, far from being 
acquainted with architecture, have no knowledge even of the car- 
penter's trade, I can find nothing but praise for those householders 
who, in the confidence of learning, are emboldened to build for 
themselves. Their judgment is that, if they must trust to inex- 
perienced persons, it is more becoming to them to use up a good 
round sum at their own pleasure than at that of a stranger. 

7. Nobody, therefore, attempts to practise any other art in his 
own home as, for instance, the shoemaker's, or the fuller's, or 
any other of the easier kinds but only architecture, and this is 
because the professionals do not possess the genuine art but term 
themselves architects falsely. For these reasons I have thought 
proper to compose most carefully a complete treatise on architec- 
ture and its principles, believing that it will be no unacceptable 
gift to all the world. In the fifth book I have said what I had to 
say about the convenient arrangement of public works; in this 
I shall set forth the theoretical principles and the symmetrical 
proportions of private houses. 



1. IF our designs for private houses are to be correct, we must 
at the outset take note of the countries and climates in which they 
are built. One style of house seems appropriate to build in Egypt, 
another in Spain, a different kind in Pontus, one still different in 
Rome, and so on with lands and countries of other characteristics. 
This is because one part of the earth is directly under the sun's 
course, another is far away from it, while another lies midway 
between these two. Hence, as the position of the heaven with re- 
gard to a given tract on the earth leads naturally to different 
characteristics, owing to the inclination of the circle of the zo- 
diac and the course of the sun, it is obvious that designs for houses 
ought similarly to conform to the nature of the country and to 
diversities of climate. 

2. In the north, houses should be entirely roofed over and shel- 
tered as much as possible, not in the open, though having a warm 
exposure. But on the other hand, where the force of the sun is 
great in the southern countries that suffer from heat, houses 
must be built more in the open and with a northern or north- 
eastern exposure. Thus we may amend by art what nature, if left 
to herself, would mar. In other situations, also, we must make 
modifications to correspond to the position of the heaven and its 
effects on climate. 

3. These effects are noticeable and discernible not only in 
things in nature, but they also are observable in the limbs and 
bodies of entire races. In places on which the sun throws out its 
heat in moderation, it keeps human bodies in their proper condi- 
tion, and where its path is very close at hand, it parches them up, 
and burns out and takes away the proportion of moisture which 
they ought to possess. But, on the other hand, in the cold re- 




gions that are far away from the south, the moisture is not drawn 
out by hot weather, but the atmosphere is full of dampness which 
diffuses moisture into the system, and makes the frame larger 
and the pitch of the voice deeper. This is also the reason why 
the races that are bred in the north are of vast height, and have 
fair complexions, straight red hair, grey eyes, and a great deal 
of blood, owing to the abundance of moisture and the coolness 
of the atmosphere. 

4. On the contrary, those that are nearest to the southern half 
of the axis, and that lie directly under the sun's course, are of 
lower stature, with a swarthy complexion, hair curling, black 
eyes, strong legs, and but little blood on account of the force of 
the sun. Hence, too, this poverty of blood makes them over- 
timid to stand up against the sword, but great heat and fevers 
they can endure without timidity, because their frames are bred 
up in the raging heat. Hence, men that are born in the north 
are rendered over-timid and weak by fever, but their wealth of 
blood enables them to stand up against the sword without timid- 

5. The pitch of the voice is likewise different and varying in 
quality with different nations, for the following reasons. The 
terminating points east and west on the level of the earth, where 
the upper and lower parts of the heaven are divided, seem to lie 
in a naturally balanced circle which mathematicians call the 
Horizon. Keeping this idea definitely in mind, if we imagine a 
line drawn from the northern side 

of the circumference (N) to the 
side which lies above the southern 
half of the axis (S), and from here 
another line obliquely up to the 
pivot at the summit, beyond the 
stars composing the Great Bear 
(the pole star P), we shall doubt- 
less see that we have in the heaven a triangular figure like that 
of the musical instrument which the Greeks call the "sambuca." 


6. And so, under the space which is nearest to the pivot at the 
bottom, off the southern portions of the line of the axis, are found 
nations that on account of the slight altitude of the heaven above 
them, have shrill and very high-pitched voices, like the string 
nearest to the angle in the musical instrument. Next in order 
come other nations as far as the middle of Greece, with lower ele- 
vations of the voice; and from this middle point they go on in 
regular order up to the extreme north,where, under high altitudes, 
the vocal utterance of the inhabitants is, under natural laws, pro- 
duced in heavier tones. Thus it is obvious that the system of the 
universe as a whole is, on account of the inclination of the hea- 
ven, composed in a most perfect harmony through the temporary 
power of the sun. 

7. The nations, therefore, that lie midway between the pivots 
at the southern and the northern extremities of the axis, converse 
in a voice of middle pitch, like the notes in the middle of a musical 
scale; but, as we proceed towards the north, the distances to the 
heaven become greater, and so the nations there, whose vocal 
utterance is reduced by the moisture to the "hypates" and to 
" proslambanomenon," are naturally obliged to speak in heavier 
tones. In the same way, as we proceed from the middle point 
to the south, the voices of the nations there correspond in 
extreme height of pitch and in shrillness to the "paranetes" and 

8. That it is a fact that things are made heavier from being 
in places naturally moist, and higher pitched from places that 
are hot, may be proved from the following experiment. Take two 
cups which have been baked in the same oven for an equal time, 
which are of equal weight, and which give the same note when 
struck. Dip one of them into water and, after taking it out of 
water, strike them both. This done, there will be a great 
difference in their notes, and the cups can no longer be equal in 
weight. Thus it is with men: though born in the same general 
form and under the same all-embracing heaven, yet in some of 
them, on account of the heat in their country, the voice strikes 


the air on a high note, while in others, on account of abundance 
of moisture, the quality of tones produced is very heavy. 

9. Further, it is owing to the rarity of the atmosphere that 
southern nations, with their keen intelligence due to the heat, 
are very free and swift in the devising of schemes, while northern 
nations, being enveloped in a dense atmosphere, and chilled by 
moisture from the obstructing air, have but a sluggish intelligence. 
That this is so, we may see from the case of snakes. Their move- 
ments are most active in hot weather, when they have got rid 
of the chill due to moisture, whereas at the winter solstice, and in 
winter weather, they are chilled by the change of temperature, and 
rendered torpid and motionless. It is therefore no wonder that 
man's intelligence is made keener by warm air and duller by 

10. But although southern nations have the keenest wits, and 
are infinitely clever in forming schemes, yet the moment it comes 
to displaying valour, they succumb because all manliness of spirit 
is sucked out of them by the sun. On the other hand, men born 
in cold countries are indeed readier to meet the shock of arms 
with great courage and without timidity, but their wits are so 
slow that they will rush to the charge inconsiderately and inex- 
pertly, thus defeating their own devices. Such being nature's ar- 
rangement of the universe, and all these nations being allotted 
temperaments which are lacking in due moderation, the truly 
perfect territory, situated under the middle of the heaven, and 
having on each side the entire extent of the world and its coun- 
tries, is that which is occupied by the Roman people. 

11. In fact, the races of Italy are the most perfectly consti- 
tuted in both respects in bodily form and in mental activity 
to correspond to their valour. Exactly as the planet Jupiter is 
itself temperate, its course lying midway between Mars, which is 
very hot, and Saturn, which is very cold, so Italy, lying between 
the north and the south, is a combination of what is found on 
each side, and her preeminence is well regulated and indisputable. 
And so by her wisdom she breaks the courageous onsets of the 


barbarians, and by her strength of hand thwarts the devices of 
the southerners. Hence, it was the divine intelligence that set 
the city of the Roman people in a peerless and temperate coun- 
try, in order that it might acquire the right to command the 
whole world. 

12. Now if it is a fact that countries differ from one another, 
and are of various classes according to climate, so that the very 
nations born therein naturally differ in mental and physical con- 
formation and qualities, we cannot hesitate to make our houses 
suitable in plan to the peculiarities of nations and races, since 
we have the expert guidance of nature herself ready to our 

I have now set forth the peculiar characteristics of localities, so 
far as I could note them, in the most summary way, and have 
stated how we ought to make our houses conform to the physical 
qualities of nations, with due regard to the course of the sun and 
to climate. Next I shall treat the symmetrical proportions of the 
different styles of houses, both as wholes and in then- separate 



1. THERE is nothing to which an architect should devote more 
thought than to the exact proportions of his building with refer- 
ence to a certain part selected as the standard. After the stand- 
ard of symmetry has been determined, and the proportionate di- 
mensions adjusted by calculations, it is next the part of wisdom 
to consider the nature of the site, or questions of use or beauty, 
and modify the plan by diminutions or additions in such a man- 
ner that these diminutions or additions in the symmetrical rela- 
tions may be seen to be made on correct principles, and without 
detracting at all from the effect. 

2. The look of a building when seen close at hand is one thing, 
on a height it is another, not the same in an enclosed place, still 


different in the open, and in all these cases it takes much judg- 
ment to decide what is to be done. The fact is that the eye does 
not always give a true impression, but very often leads the mind 
to form a false judgment. In painted scenery, for example, col- 
umns may appear to jut out, mutules to project, and statues to be 
standing in the foreground, although the picture is of course per- 
fectly flat. Similarly with ships, the oars when under the water 
are straight, though to the eye they appear to be broken. To the 
point where they touch the surface of the sea they look straight, 
as indeed they are, but when dipped under the water they emit 
from their bodies undulating images which come swimming up 
through the naturally transparent medium to the surface of the 
water, and, being there thrown into commotion, make the oars 
look broken. 

3. Now whether this appearance is due to the impact of the 
images, or to the effusion of the rays from the eye, as the physicists 
hold, in either case it is obvious that the vision may lead us to 
false impressions. 

4. Since, therefore, the reality may have a false appearance, 
and since things are sometimes represented by the eyes as other 
than they are, I think it certain that diminutions or additions 
should be made to suit the nature or needs of the site, but in such 
fashion that the buildings lose nothing thereby. These results, 
however, are also attainable by flashes of genius, and not only 
by mere science. 

5. Hence, the first thing to settle is the standard of symmetry, 
from which we need not hesitate to vary. Then, lay out the 
ground lines of the length and breadth of the work proposed, 
and when once we have determined its size, let the construction 
follow this with due regard to beauty of proportion, so that the 
beholder may feel no doubt of the eurythmy of its effect. I must 
now tell how this may be brought about, and first I will speak 
of the proper construction of a cavaedium. 






- 1. THERE are five different styles of cavaedium, termed accord- 
ing to their construction as follows: Tuscan, Corinthian, tetra- 
style, displuviate, and testudinate. 

In the Tuscan, the girders that cross the breadth of the atrium 
have crossbeams on them, and valleys sloping in and running 
from the angles of the walls to the angles formed by the beams, 
and the rainwater falls down along the rafters to the roof-opening 
(compluvium) in the middle. 

In the Corinthian, the girders and roof -opening are constructed 
on these same principles, but the girders run in from the side 
walls, and are supported all round on columns. 

In the tetrastyle, the girders are supported at the angles by 
columns, an arrangement which relieves and strengthens the 
girders; for thus they have themselves no great span to support, 
and they are not loaded down by the crossbeams. 

i Tzr// 

From JAiu 

Illustrating the Tuscan Atrium 

1. Fauces 13. Kitchen, a, hearth 

2, 3. Shops 14. Rear Entrance 

4. Storage 16. Portico 

5. Atrium 18. Stairs to rooms 

6. Chambers over the rear of 

7. Tablinum the house 

8. Alae 20. Garden 
9, 10. Dining Rooms 

From Man 

Illustrating Corinthian Atrium 

CHAP. Ill] 



2. In the displuviate, there are beams which slope outwards, 
supporting the roof and throwing the rainwater off. This style 
is suitable chiefly in winter resi- 
dences, for its roof-opening, be- 
ing high up, is not an obstruc- 
tion to the light of the dining 

rooms. It is, however, very 
troublesome to keep in repair, 
because the pipes, which are in- 
tended to hold the water that 
comes dripping down the walls 
all round, cannot take it quickly 
enough as it runs down from 
the channels, but get too full 
and run over, thus spoiling the 
woodwork and the walls of 
houses of this style. 

The testudinate is employed 
where the span is not great, 
and where large rooms are pro- 
vided in upper stories. 

3. In width and length, atri- 
ums are designed according to three classes. The first is laid out 
by dividing the length into five parts and giving three parts to 
the width; the second, by dividing it into three parts and assign- 
ing two parts to the width; the third, by using the width to 
describe a square figure with equal sides, drawing a diagonal 
line in this square, and giving the atrium the length of this 
diagonal line. 

4. Their height up to the girders should be one fourth less than 
their width, the rest being the proportion assigned to the ceiling 
and the roof above the girders. 

The alae, to the right and left, should have a width equal to 
one third of the length of the atrium, when that is from thirty 
to forty feet long. From forty to fifty feet, divide the length by 

From Ma* 


Illustrating the Tctrastylc Atrium 

a. fauces 

d. tetrastyle atrium 
n. dining room 
o. tablinum 

p. audron 
r. peristyle 
w. summer dining 




three and one half, and give the alae the result. When it is from 
fifty to sixty feet in length, devote one fourth of the length to the 
alae. From sixty to eighty feet, divide the length by four and 
one half and let the result be the width of the alae. From eighty 
feet to one hundred feet, the length divided into five parts will 
produce the right width for the alae. Their lintel beams should 
be placed high enough to make the height of the alae equal to 
their width. 

5. The tablinum should be given two thirds of the width of the 
atrium when the latter is twenty feet wide. If it is from thirty to 
forty feet, let half the width of the atrium be devoted to the 
tablinum. When it is from forty to sixty feet, divide the width 
into five parts and let two of these be set apart for the tablinum. 
In the case of smaller atriums, the symmetrical proportions 
cannot be the same as in larger. For if, in the case of the smaller, 
we employ the proportion that belong to the larger, both tablina 
and alae must be unserviceable, while if, in the 
case of the larger, we employ the proportions of 
the smaller, the rooms mentioned will be huge 
monstrosities. Hence, I have thought it best to 
describe exactly their respective proportionate 
sizes, with a view both to convenience and to 

6. The height of the tablinum at the lintel 
should be one eighth more than its width. Its 
ceiling should exceed this height by one third 
of the width. The fauces in the case of smaller 
atriums should be two thirds, and in the case of 
larger one half the width of the tablinum. Let 
the busts of ancestors with their ornaments 
be set up at a height corresponding to the width of the alae. 
The proportionate width and height of doors may be settled, if 
they are Doric, in the Doric manner, and if Ionic, in the Ionic 
manner, according to the rules of symmetry which have been 
given about portals in the fourth book. In the roof -opening let 

From Mini 





From J>mm 


an aperture be left with a breadth of not less than one fourth nor 
more than one third the width of the atrium, and with a length 
proportionate to that of the atrium. 

7. Peristyles, lying athwart, should be one third longer than 
they are deep, and their columns as high as the colonnades 
are wide. Intercolumniations of 

peristyles should be not less 
than three nor more than four 
tunes the thickness of the col- 
umns. If the columns of the 
peristyle are to be made in the 
Doric style, take the modules 
which I have given in the 
fourth book, on the Doric order, 
and arrange the columns with 
reference to these modules and 
to the scheme of the triglyphs. 

8. Dining rooms ought to be twice as long as they are wide. 
The height of all oblong rooms should be calculated by adding 
together their measured length and width, taking one half of this 
total, and using the result for the height. But in the case of exedrae 
or square oeci, let the height be brought up to one and one half 
times the width. Picture galleries, like exedrae, should be con- 
structed of generous dimensions. Corinthian and tetrastyle oeci, 
as well as those termed Egyptian, should have the same symmetri- 
cal proportions in width and length as the dining rooms described 
above, but, since they have columns in them, their dimensions 
should be ampler. 

9. The following will be the distinction between Corinthian 
and Egyptian oeci: the Corinthian have single tiers of columns, 
set either on a podium or on the ground, with architraves over 
them and coronae either of woodwork or of stucco, and carved 
vaulted ceilings above the coronae. In the Egyptian there are 
architraves over the columns, and joists laid thereon from the 
architraves to the surrounding walls, with a floor in the upper 


story to allow of walking round under the open sky. Then, above 
the architrave and perpendicularly over the lower tier of columns, 
columns one fourth smaller should be imposed. Above their archi- 
traves and ornaments are decorated ceilings, and the upper 
columns have windows set in between them. Thus the Egyptian 
are not like Corinthian dining rooms, but obviously resemble 

10. There are also, though not customary in Italy, the oeci 
which the Greeks call Cyzicene. These are built with a northern 
exposure and generally command a view of gardens, and have 
folding doors in the middle. They are also so long and so wide 
that two sets of dining couches, facing each other, with room 
to pass round them, can be placed therein. On the right and left 
they have windows which open like folding doors, so that views 
of the garden may be had from the dining couches through the 
opened windows. The height of such rooms is one and one half 
times their width. 

11. All the above-mentioned symmetrical relations should be 
observed, in these kinds of buildings, that can be observed without 
embarrassment caused by the situation. The windows will be an 
easy matter to arrange if they are not darkened by high walls; 
but in cases of confined space, or when there are other unavoidable 
obstructions, it will be permissible to make diminutions or addi- 
tions in the symmetrical relations, with ingenuity and acute- 
ness, however, so that the result may be not unlike the beauty 
which is due to true symmetry. 



1. WE shall next explain how the special purposes of different 
rooms require different exposures, suited to convenience and to 
the quarters of the sky. Winter dining rooms and bathrooms 
should have a southwestern exposure, for the reason that they 


need the evening light, and also because the setting sun, facing 
them in all its splendour but with abated heat, lends a gentler 
warmth to that quarter in the evening. Bedrooms and libraries 
ought to have an eastern exposure, because their purposes re- 
quire the morning light, and also because books in such libraries 
will not decay. In libraries with southern exposures the books 
are ruined by worms and dampness, because damp winds come 
up, which breed and nourish the worms, and destroy the books 
with mould, by spreading then- damp breath over them. 

2. Dining rooms for Spring and Autumn to the east; for when 
the windows face that quarter, the sun, as he goes on his career 
from over against them to the west, leaves such rooms at the 
proper temperature at the time when it is customary to use them. 
Summer dining rooms to the north, because that quarter is not, 
like the others, burning with heat during the solstice, for the rea- 
son that it is unexposed to the sun's course, and hence it always 
keeps cool, and makes the use of the rooms both healthy and agree- 
able. Similarly with picture galleries, embroiderers' work rooms, 
and painters' studios, in order that the fixed light may permit 
the colours used in their work to last with qualities unchanged. 




1. AFTER settling the positions of the rooms with regard to the 
quarters of the sky, we must next consider the principles on 
which should be constructed those apartments in private houses 
which are meant for the householders themselves, and those which 
are to be shared in common with outsiders. The private rooms are 
those into which nobody has the right to enter without an invita- 
tion, such as bedrooms, dining rooms, bathrooms, and all others 
used for the like purposes. The common are those which any of 
the people have a perfect right to enter, even without an invita- 


tion : that is, entrance courts, cavaedia, peristyles, and all intended 
for the like purpose. Hence, men of everyday fortune do not need 
entrance courts, tablina, or atriums built in grand style, because 
such men are more apt to discharge their social obligations by 
going round to others than to have others come to them. 

2. Those who do business in country produce must have stalls 
and shops hi their entrance courts, with crypts, granaries, store- 
rooms, and so forth in their houses, constructed more for the pur- 
pose of keeping the produce in good condition than for ornamental 

For capitalists and farmers of the revenue, somewhat comfort- 
able and showy apartments must be constructed, secure against 
robbery; for advocates and public speakers, handsomer and 
more roomy, to accommodate meetings; for men of rank who, 
from holding offices and magistracies, have social obligations to 
their fellow-citizens, lofty entrance courts in regal style, and 
most spacious atriums and peristyles, with plantations and 
walks of some extent in them, appropriate to their dignity. 
They need also libraries, picture galleries, and basilicas, finished 
in a style similar to that of great public buildings, since public 
councils as well as private law suits and hearings before arbi- 
trators are very often held in the houses of such men. 

3. If, therefore, houses are planned on these principles to suit 
different classes of persons, as prescribed in my first book, under 
the subject of Propriety, there will be no room for criticism; for 
they will be arranged with convenience and perfection to suit 
every purpose. The rules on these points will hold not only for 
houses in town, but also for those in the country, except that in 
town atriums are usually next to the front door, while in country 
seats peristyles come first, and then atriums surrounded by paved 
colonnades opening upon palaestrae and walks. 

I have now set forth the rules for houses in town so far as I 
could describe them in a summary way. Next I shall state how 
farmhouses may be arranged with a view to convenience in use, 
and shall give the rules for their construction. 






1. IN the first place, inspect the country from the point of 
view of health, in accordance with what is written in my first 
book, on the building of cities, and let your farmhouses be situ- 
ated accordingly. Their dimensions should depend upon the size 
of the farm and the amount of produce. Then- courtyards and the 
dimensions thereof should be determined by the number of cattle 
and the number of yokes of oxen 

that will need to be kept therein. 
Let the kitchen be placed on the 
warmest side of the courtyard, 
with the stalls for the oxen ad- 
joining, and their cribs facing 
the kitchen fire and the eastern 
quarter of the sky, for the rea- 
son that oxen facing the light 
and the fire do not get rough- 
coated. Even peasants wholly 
without knowledge of the quar- 
ters of the sky believe that oxen 
ought to face only in the direc- 
tion of the sunrise. 

2. Their stalls ought to be not 
less than ten nor more than fif- 
teen feet wide, and long enough 
to allow not less than seven feet 
for each yoke. Bathrooms, also, 
should adjoin the kitchen; for in 
this situation it will not take 
long to get ready a bath in the 

Let the pressing room, 

From <,. 


* court. B. Kitchen. C-F. Baths, a. sta- 

ble. J. Toolroom. K, L, Y, V. Bedrooms. 
ff- Dining Room. M. Anteroom. O. Bakery. 
P. Room with two winepresses. Q. Corridor. 
S. Court for fermentation of wine. S. Barn. 
T. Threihing-floor. Y. Boom with oil press. 


be next to the kitchen; for in this situation it will be easy to deal 
with the fruit of the olive. Adjoining it should be the wine room 
with its windows lighted from the north. In a room with win- 
dows on any other quarter so that the sun can heat it, the heat 
will get into the wine and make it weak. 

3. The oil room must be situated so as to get its light from the 
south and from warm quarters; for oil ought not to be chilled, but 
should be kept thin by gentle heat. In dimensions, oil rooms 
should be built to accommodate the crop and the proper num- 
ber of jars, each of which, holding about one hundred and twenty 
gallons, must take up a space four feet in diameter. The pressing 
room itself, if the pressure is exerted by means of levers and a 
beam, and not worked by turning screws, should be not less than 
forty feet long, which will give the lever man a convenient amount 
of space. It should be not less than sixteen feet wide, which will 
give the men who are at work plenty of free space to do the turn- 
ing conveniently. If two presses are required in the place, allow 
twenty-four feet for the width. 

4. Folds for sheep and goats must be made large enough to 
allow each animal a space of not less than four and a half, nor 
more than six feet. Rooms for grain should be set in an elevated 
position and with a northern or north-eastern exposure. Thus 
the grain will not be able to heat quickly, but, being cooled by the 
wind, keeps a long time. Other exposures produce the corn weevil 
and the other little creatures that are wont to spoil the grain. 
To the stable should be assigned the very warmest place in the 
farmhouse, provided that it is not exposed to the kitchen fire; 
for when draught animals are stabled very near a fire, their coats 
get rough. 

5. Furthermore, there are advantages in building cribs apart 
from the kitchen and in the open, facing the east; for when the 
oxen are taken over to them on early winter mornings in clear 
weather, their coats get sleeker as they take their fodder in the 
sunlight. Barns for grain, hay, and spelt, as well as bakeries, 
should be built apart from the farmhouse, so that farmhouses 


may be better protected against danger from fire. If something 
more refined is required in farmhouses, they may be constructed 
on the principles of symmetry which have been given above in 
the case of town houses, provided that there is nothing in such 
buildings to interfere with their usefulness on a farm. 

6. We must take care that all buildings are well lighted, but 
this is obviously an easier matter with those which are on country 
estates, because there can be no neighbour's wall to interfere, 
whereas in town high party walls or limited space obstruct the 
light and make them dark. Hence we must apply the following 
test in this matter. On the side from which the light should be 
obtained let a line be stretched from the top of the wall that seems 
to obstruct the light to the point at which it ought to be intro- 
duced, and if a considerable space of open sky can be seen when 
one looks up above that line, there will be no obstruction to the 
light in that situation. 

7. But if there are timbers in the way, or lintels, or upper stories, 
then, make the opening higher up and introduce the light in this 
way. And as a general rule, we must arrange so as to leave places 
for windows on all sides on which a clear view of the sky can be had, 
for this will make our buildings light. Not only in dining rooms 
and other rooms for general use are windows very necessary, but 
also in passages, level or inclined, and on stairs ; for people carrying 
burdens too often meet and run against each other in such places. 

I have now set forth the plans used for buildings in our native 
country so that they may be clear to builders. Next, I shall 
describe summarily how houses are planned in the Greek fashion, 
so that these also may be understood. 



1. THE Greeks, having no use for atriums, do not build them, 
but make passage-ways for people entering from the front door, 




not very wide, with stables on one side and doorkeepers' rooms on 
the other, and shut off by doors at the inner end. This place be- 
tween the two doors is termed in Greek dvpcapelov. From it one 
enters the peristyle. This peristyle has colonnades on three sides, 

and on the side facing the south 
it has two antae, a considerable 
distance apart, carrying an archi- 
trave, with a recess for a distance 
one third less than the space be- 
tween the antae. This space is 
called by some writers "prostas," 
by others "pastas." 

2. Hereabouts, towards the in- 
ner side, are the large rooms in 
which mistresses of houses sit with 
their wool-spinners. To the right 
and left of the prostas there are 
chambers, one of which is called 
the "thalamos," the other the 
"amphithalamos." All round the 
colonnades are dining rooms for 
everyday use, chambers, and 
rooms for the slaves. This part 
of the house is termed "gynae- 

3. In connexion with these there are ampler sets of apartments 
with more sumptuous peristyles, surrounded by four colonnades 
of equal height, or else the one which faces the south has higher 
columns than the others. A peristyle that has one such higher 
colonnade is called a Rhodian peristyle. Such apartments have 
fine entrance courts with imposing front doors of their own; the 
colonnades of the peristyles are decorated with polished stucco 
in relief and plain, and with coffered ceilings of woodwork; off 
the colonnades that face the north they have Cyzicene dining 
rooms and picture galleries; to the east, libraries; exedrae to the 





west; and to the south, large square rooms of such generous di- 
mensions that four sets of dining couches can easily be arranged 
in them, with plenty of room for serving and for the amusements. 

4. Men's dinner parties are held in these large rooms; for it 
was not the practice, according to Greek custom, for the mistress 
of the house to be present. On the contrary, such peristyles are 
called the men's apartments, since in them the men can stay 
without interruption from the women. Furthermore, small sets 
of apartments are built to the right and left, with front doors of 
their own and suitable dining rooms and chambers, so that 
guests from abroad need not be shown into the peristyles, but 
rather into such guests' apartments. For when the Greeks be- 
came more luxurious, and their circumstances more opulent, 
they began to provide dining rooms, 

chambers, and store-rooms of provi- 
sions for their guests from abroad, and 
on the first day they would invite 
them to dinner, sending them on the 
next chickens, eggs, vegetables, fruits, 
and other country produce. This is 
why artists called pictures represent- 
ing the things which were sent to 
guests "xenia." Thus, too, the heads 
of families, while being entertained 
abroad, had the feeling that they were 
not away from home, since they en- 
joyed privacy and freedom in such 
guests' apartments. 

5. Between the two peristyles and 
the guests' apartments are the pass- 
age-ways called "mesauloe," because 

they are situated midway between two courts; but our people 
called them "andrones." 

This, however, is a very strange fact, for the term does not fit 
either the Greek or the Latin use of it. The Greeks call the large 

From Bull. dt. Con-. Hell. OSS 




rooms in which men's dinner parties are usually held 
because women do not go there. There are other similar instances 
as in the case of "xystus," "prothyrum," "telamones," and some 
others of the sort. As a Greek term, WTOS means a colonnade 
of large dimensions in which athletes exercise in the winter time. 
But our people apply the term "xysta" to uncovered walks, 

* i 

1 ! 1 1 1 1 






II 10 li 20 JSH 

From MM. d. Deuttch. Arch. Intl. 

13. Prothyron. 7. Tablinum. 

which the Greeks call Tra/saSpo/itSe?. Again, irpoOvpa means in 
Greek the entrance courts before the front doors; we, however, 
use the term "prothyra" in the sense of the Greek SidQvpa. 

6. Again, figures in the form of men supporting mutules or 
coronae, we term "telamones" the reasons why or wherefore 
they are so called are not found in any story but the Greeks 
name them arXaire?. For Atlas is described in story as holding 
up the firmament because, through his vigorous intelligence and 
ingenuity, he was the first to cause men to be taught about the 
courses of the sun and moon, and the laws governing the revolu- 
tions of all the constellations. Consequently, in recognition of 


this benefaction, painters and sculptors represent him as holding 
up the firmament, and the Atlantides, his daughters, whom we 
call "Vergiliae" and the Greeks IlXeta'Se?, are consecrated in 
the firmament among the constellations. 

7. All this, however, I have not set forth for the purpose of 
changing the usual terminology or language, but I have thought 
that it should be explained so that it may be known to 

I have now explained the usual ways of planning houses both 
in the Italian fashion and according to the practices of the 
Greeks, and have described, with regard to their symmetry, the 
proportions of the different classes. Having, therefore, already 
written of their beauty and propriety, I shall next explain, with 
reference to durability, how they may be built to last to a great 
age without defects. 



1. HOUSES which are set level with the ground will no doubt 
last to a great age, if their foundations are laid in the manner 
which we have explained in the earlier books, with regard to city 
walls and theatres. But if underground rooms and vaults are in- 
tended, their foundations ought to be thicker than the walls 
which are to be constructed in the upper part of the house, 
and the walls, piers, and columns of the latter should be set 
perpendicularly over the middle of the foundation walls below, 
so that they may have solid bearing; for if the load of the walls 
or columns rests on the middle of spans, they can have no perma- 
nent durability. 

2. It will also do no harm to insert posts between lintels and 
sills where there are piers or antae; for where the lintels and 
beams have received the load of the walls, they may sag in the 
middle, and gradually undermine and destroy the walls. But 


when there are posts set up underneath and wedged in there, they 
prevent the beams from settling and injuring such walls. 

3. We must also manage to discharge the load of the walls by 
means of archings composed of voussoirs with joints radiating 
to the centre. For when arches with voussoirs are sprung from 
the ends of beams, or from the bearings of lintels, in the first 
place they will discharge the load and the wood will not sag; sec- 
ondly, if in course of time the wood becomes at all defective, it 
can easily be replaced without the construction of shoring. 

4. Likewise in houses where piers are used in the construction, 
when there are arches composed of voussoirs with joints radiat- 
ing to the centre, the outermost piers at these points must be 
made broader than the others, so that they may have the strength 
to resist when the wedges, under the pressure of the load of the 
walls, begin to press along their joints towards the centre, and thus 
to thrust out the abutments. Hence, if the piers at the ends are of 
large dimensions, they will hold the voussoirs together, and 
make such works durable. 

5. Having taken heed in these matters to see that proper atten- 
tion is paid to them, we must also be equally careful that all walls 
are perfectly vertical, and that they do not lean forward anywhere. 
Particular pains, too, must be taken with substructures, for here 
an endless amount of harm is usually done by the earth used as 
filling. This cannot always remain of the same weight that it 
usually has in summer, but in winter time it increases in weight 
and bulk by taking up a great deal of rain water, and then it 
bursts its enclosing walls and thrusts them out. 

6. The following means must be taken to provide against such 
a defect. First, let the walls be given a thickness proportionate to 
the amount of filling; secondly, build counterforts or buttresses 
at the same time as the wall, on the outer side, at distances from 
each other equivalent to what is to be the height of the substruc- 
ture and with the thickness of the substructure. At the bottom 
let them run out to a distance corresponding to the thickness 
that has been determined for the substructure, and then gradu- 




ally diminish in extent so that at the surface their projection is 
equal to the thickness of the wall of the building. 

7. Furthermore, inside, to meet the mass of earth, there should 
be saw-shaped constructions attached to the wall, the single 

(From the edition of Vi truvlus by Fra Giocondo, Venice 1511) 

teeth extending from the wall for a distance equivalent to what 
is to be the height of the substructure, and the teeth being con- 
structed with the same thickness as the wall. Then at the outer- 
most angles take a distance inwards, from the inside of the angle, 
equal to the height of the substructure, and mark it off on each 
side; from these marks build up a diagonal structure and from the 
middle of it a second, joined on to the angle of the wall. With this 
arrangement, the teeth and diagonal structures will not allow 
the filling to thrust with all its force against the wall, but will 
check and distribute the pressure. 

8. I have now shown how buildings can be constructed without 
defects, and the way to take precautions against the occurrence 


of them. As for replacing tiles, roof timbers, and rafters, we need 
not be so particular about them as about the parts just mentioned, 
because they can easily be replaced, however defective they may 
become. Hence, I have shown by what methods the parts which 
are not considered solid can be rendered durable, and how they 
are constructed. 

9. As for the kind of material to be used, this does not depend 
upon the architect, for the reason that all kinds of materials are 
not found in all places alike, as has been shown in the first book. 
Besides, it depends on the owner whether he desires to build in 
brick, or rubble work, or dimension stone. Consequently the 
question of approving any work may be considered under three 
heads: that is, delicacy of workmanship, sumptuousness, and 
design. When it appears that a work has been carried out sump- 
tuously, the owner will be the person to be praised for the great 
outlay which he has authorized; when delicately, the master 
workman will be approved for his execution; but when propor- 
tions and symmetry lend it an imposing effect, then the glory of 
it will belong to the architect. 

10. Such results, however, may very well be brought about 
when he allows himself to take the advice both of workmen and 
of laymen. In fact, all kinds of men, and not merely architects, 
can recognize a good piece of work, but between laymen and the 
latter there is this difference, that the layman cannot tell what it 
is to be like without seeing it finished, whereas the architect, as 
soon as he has formed the conception, and before he begins the 
work, has a definite idea of the beauty, the convenience, and 
the propriety that will distinguish it. 

I have now described as clearly as I could what I thought neces- 
sary for private houses, and how to build them. In the following 
book I shall treat of the kinds of polished finish employed to make 
them elegant, and durable without defects to a great age. 




1. IT was a wise and useful provision of the ancients to trans- 
mit their thoughts to posterity by recording them in treatises, so 
that they should not be lost, but, being developed in succeeding 
generations through publication in books, should gradually attain 
in later times, to the highest refinement of learning. And so the 
ancients deserve no ordinary, but unending thanks, because they 
did not pass on in envious silence, but took care that their ideas 
of every kind should be transmitted to the future in their writings. 

2. If they had not done so, we could not have known what deeds 
were done in Troy, nor what Thales, Democritus, Anaxagoras, 
Xenophanes, and the other physicists thought about nature, and 
what rules Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, Epicurus, and other 
philosophers laid down for the conduct of human life; nor would 
the deeds and motives of Croesus, Alexander, Darius, and other 
kings have been known, unless the ancients had compiled treat- 
ises, and published them in commentaries to be had in universal 
remembrance with posterity. 

3. So, while they deserve our thanks, those, on the contrary, 
deserve our reproaches, who steal the writings of such men and 
publish them as their own ; and those also, who depend in their 
writings, not on their own ideas, but who enviously do wrong to the 
works of others and boast of it, deserve not merely to be blamed, 
but to be sentenced to actual punishment for their wicked course 
of life. With the ancients, however, it is said that such things 
did not pass without pretty strict chastisement. What the re- 
sults of their judgments were, it may not be out of place to set 
forth as they are transmitted to us. 

4. The kings of the house of Attalus having established, un- 
der the influence of the great charms of literature, an excellent 


library at Pergamus to give pleasure to the public, Ptolemy also 
was aroused with no end of enthusiasm and emulation into exer- 
tions to make a similar provision with no less diligence at Alexan- 
dria. Having done so with the greatest care, he felt that this was 
not enough without providing for its increase and development, 
for which he sowed the seed. He established public contests in 
honour of the Muses and Apollo, and appointed prizes and 
honours for victorious authors in general, as is done in the case 
of athletes. 

5. These arrangements having been made, and the contests 
being at hand, it became necessary to select literary men as 
judges to decide them. The king soon selected six of the citizens, 
but could not so easily find a proper person to be the seventh. 
He therefore turned to those who presided over the library, and 
asked whether they knew anybody who was suitable for the 
purpose. Then they told him that there was one Aristophanes 
who was daily engaged in reading through all the books with the 
greatest enthusiasm and the greatest care. Hence, when the 
gathering for the contests took place, and separate seats were 
set apart for the judges, Aristophanes was summoned with the 
rest, and sat down in the place assigned to him. 

6. A group of poets was first brought in to contend, and, as 
they recited their compositions, the whole audience by its ap- 
plause showed the judges what it approved. So, when they were 
individually asked for their votes, the six agreed, and awarded 
the first prize to the poet who, as they observed, had most 
pleased the multitude, and the second to the one who came next. 
But Aristophanes, on being asked for his vote, urged that the 
poet who had least pleased the audience should be declared to 
be the first. 

7. As the king and the entire assembly showed great indigna- 
tion, he arose, and asked and received permission to speak. Si- 
lence being obtained, he stated that only one of them his man 
was a poet, and that the rest had recited things not their own; 
furthermore, that judges ought to give their approval, not to 


thefts, but to original compositions. The people were amazed, and 
the king hesitated, but Aristophanes, trusting to his memory, had 
a vast number of volumes brought out from bookcases which he 
specified, and, by comparing them with what had been recited, 
obliged the thieves themselves to make confession. So, the king 
gave orders that they should be accused of theft, and after con- 
demnation sent them off in disgrace; but he honoured Aristo- 
phanes with the most generous gifts, and put him in charge of the 

8. Some years later, Zoilus, who took the surname of Homero- 
niast ix, came from Macedonia to Alexandria and read to the king 
his writings directed against the Iliad and Odyssey. Ptolemy, 
seeing the father of poets and captain of all literature abused in 
his absence, and his works, to which all the world looked up in ad- 
miration, disparaged by this person, made no rejoinder, although 
he thought it an outrage. Zoilus, however, after remaining in the 
kingdom some time, sank into poverty, and sent a message to the 
king, requesting that something might be bestowed upon him. 

9. But it is said that the king replied, that Homer, though dead 
a thousand years ago, had all that time been the means of live- 
lihood for many thousands of men; similarly, a person who laid 
claim to higher genius ought to be able to support not one man 
only, but many others. And in short, various stories are told about 
his death, which was like that of one found guilty of parricide. 
Some writers have said that he was crucified by Philadelphus; 
others that he was stoned at Chios; others again that he was 
thrown alive upon a funeral pyre at Smyrna. Whichever of these 
forms of death befell him, it was a fitting punishment and his just 
due; for one who accuses men that cannot answer and show, face 
to face, what was the meaning of their writings, obviously de- 
serves no other treatment. 

10. But for my part, Caesar, I am not bringing forward the 
present treatise after changing the titles of other men's books 
and inserting my own name, nor has it been my plan to win ap- 
probation by finding fault with the ideas of another. On the con- 


trary, I express unlimited thanks to all the authors that have in 
the past, by compiling from antiquity remarkable instances of 
the skill shown by genius, provided us with abundant materials of 
different kinds. Drawing from them as it were water from springs, 
and converting them to our own purposes, we find our powers 
of writing rendered more fluent and easy, and, relying upon such 
authorities, we venture to produce new systems of instruction. 

11. Hence, as I saw that such beginnings on their part formed 
an introduction suited to the nature of my own purpose, I set 
out to draw from them, and to go somewhat further. 

In the first place Agatharcus, in Athens, when Aeschylus was 
bringing out a tragedy, painted a scene, and left a commentary 
about it. This led Democritus and Anaxagoras to write on the 
same subject, showing how, given a centre in a definite place, the 
lines should naturally correspond with due regard to the point 
of sight and the divergence of the visual rays, so that by this 
deception a faithful representation of the appearance of buildings 
might be given in painted scenery, and so that, though all is 
drawn on a vertical flat fagade, some parts may seem to be with- 
drawing into the background, and others to be standing out in 

12. Afterwards Silenus published a book on the proportions 
of Doric structures; Theodoras, on the Doric temple of Juno 
which is in Samos; Chersiphron and Metagenes, on the Ionic 
temple at Ephesus which is Diana's; Pytheos, on the Ionic fane 
of Minerva which is at Priene; Ictinus and Carpion, on the 
Doric temple of Minerva which is on the acropolis of Athens; 
Theodoras the Phocian, on the Round Building which is at Delphi ; 
Philo, on the proportions of temples, and on the naval arsenal 
which was 1 at the port of Peiraeus; Hermogenes, on the Ionic 
temple of Diana which is at Magnesia, a pseudodipteral, and on 
that of Father Bacchus at Teos, a monopteral ; Arcesius, on the 
Corinthian proportions, and on the Ionic temple of Aesculapius 
at Tralles, which it is said that he built with his own hands; on 

Codd. fuerat. 


the Mausoleum, Satyrus and Pytheos who were favoured with 
the greatest and highest good fortune. 

13. For men whose artistic talents are believed to have won 
them the highest renown for all time, and laurels forever green, 
devised and executed works of supreme excellence in this build- 
ing. The decoration and perfection of the different fagades were 
undertaken by different artists in emulation with each other: 
Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas, Praxiteles, and, as some think, 
Timotheus; and the distinguished excellence of then- art made 
that building famous among the seven wonders of the world. 

14. Then, too, many less celebrated men have written treatises 
on the laws of symmetry, such as Nexaris, Theocydes, Demo- 
philus, Pollis, Leonidas, Silanion, Melampus, Sarnacus, and 
Euphranor; others again on machinery, such as Diades, Archy- 
tas, Archimedes, Ctesibius, Nymphodorus, Philo of Byzantium, 
Diphilus, Democles, Charias, Polyidus, Pyrrus, and Agesistratus. 
From their commentaries I have gathered what I saw was use- 
ful for the present subject, and formed it into one complete treat- 
ise, and this principally, because I saw that many books in this 
field had been published by the Greeks, but very few indeed by 
our countrymen. Fuficius, in fact, was the first to undertake to 
publish a book on this subject. Terentius Varro, also, in his work 
"On the Nine Sciences" has one book on architecture, and 
Publius Septimius, two. 

15. But to this day nobody else seems to have bent his ener- 
gies to this branch of literature, although there have been, even 
among our fellow-citizens in old times, great architects who could 
also have written with elegance. For instance, in Athens, the 
architects Antistates, Callaeschrus, Antimachides, and Pormus 
laid the foundations when Peisistratus began the temple of Olym- 
pian Jove, but after his death they abandoned the undertaking, 
on account of political troubles. Hence it was that when, about 
four hundred years later, King Antiochus promised to pay the 
expenses of that work, the huge cella, the surrounding columns 
in dipteral arrangement, and the architraves and other orna- 


ments, adjusted according to the laws of symmetry, were nobly 
constructed with great skill and supreme knowledge by Cossu- 
tius, a citizen of Rome. Moreover, this work has a name for 
its grandeur, not only in general, but also among the select 

16. There are, in fact, four places possessing temples embel- 
lished with workmanship in marble that causes them to be men- 
tioned in a class by themselves with the highest renown. To their 
great excellence and the wisdom of their conception they owe 
their place of esteem in the ceremonial worship of the gods. 
First there is the temple of Diana at Ephesus, in the Ionic style, 
undertaken by Chersiphron of Gnosus and his son Metagenes, 
and said to have been finished later by Demetrius, who was him- 
self a slave of Diana, and by Paeonius the Milesian. At Miletus, 
the temple of Apollo, also Ionic in its proportions, was the under- 
taking of the same Paeonius and of the Ephesian Daphnis. At 
Eleusis, the cella of Ceres and Proserpine, of vast size, was 
completed to the roof by Ictinus in the Doric style, but without 
exterior columns and with plenty of room for the customary 

17. Afterwards, however, when Demetrius of Phalerum was 
master of Athens, Philo set up columns in front before the temple, 
and made it prostyle. Thus, by adding an entrance hall, he gave 
the initiates more room, and imparted the greatest dignity to the 
building. Finally, in Athens, the temple of the Olympion with 
its dimensions on a generous scale, and built in the Corinthian 
style and proportions, is said to have been constructed, as written 
above, by Cossutius, no commentary by whom has been found. 
But Cossutius is not the only man by whom we should like to have 
writings on our subject. Another is Gaius Mucius, who, having 
great knowledge on which to rely, completed the cella, columns, 
and entablature of the Marian temple of Honour and Valour, 
in symmetrical proportions according to the accepted rules of 
the art. If this building had been of marble, so that besides 
the refinement of its art it possessed the dignity coming from 


magnificence and great outlay, it would be reckoned among the 
first and greatest of works. 

18. Since it appears, then, that our architects in the old days, 
and a good many even in our own times, have been as great as 
those of the Greeks, and nevertheless only a few of them have 
published treatises, I resolved not to be silent, but to treat the 
different topics methodically in different books. Hence, since 
I have given an account of private houses in the sixth book, in 
this, which is the seventh in order, I shall treat of polished 
finishings and the methods of giving them both beauty and 



1. FIRST I shall begin with the concrete flooring, which is the 
most important of the polished finishings, observing that great 
pains and the utmost precaution must be taken to ensure its dur- 
ability. If this concrete flooring is to be laid level with the ground, 
let the soil be tested to see whether it is everywhere solid, and if 
it is, level it off and upon it lay the broken stone with its bedding. 
But if the floor is either wholly or partly filling, it should be 
rammed down hard with great care. In case a wooden framework 
is used, however, we must see that no wall which does not reach 
up to the top of the house is constructed under the floor. Any 
wall which is there should preferably fall short, so as to leave the 
wooden planking above it an unsupported span. If a wall comes 
up solid, the unyielding nature of its solid structure must, when 
the joists begin to dry, or to sag and settle, lead to cracks in the 
floor on the right and left along the line of wall. 

2. We must also be careful that no common oak gets in with 
the winter oak boards, for as soon as common oak boards get 
damp, they warp and cause cracks in floors. But if there is no 
winter oak, and necessity drives, for lack of this it seems advis- 
able to use common oak boards cut pretty thin; for the less thick 
they are, the more easily they can be held in place by being nailed 
on. Then, at the ends of every joist, nail on two boards so that 
they shall not be able to warp and stick up at the edges. As for 
Turkey oak or beech or ash, none of them can last to a great age. 

When the wooden planking is finished, cover it with fern, if 
there is any, otherwise with straw, to protect the wood from being 
hurt by the lime. 

3. Then, upon this lay the bedding, composed of stones not 
smaller than can fill the hand. After the bedding is laid, mix the 


broken stone in the proportions, if it is new, of three parts to one 
of lime; if it is old material used again, five parts may answer to 
two in the mixture. Next, lay the mixture of broken stone, bring 
on your gangs, and beat it again and again with wooden beetles 
into a solid mass, and let it be not less than three quarters of a 
foot in thickness when the beating is finished. On this lay the 
nucleus, consisting of pounded tile mixed with lime in the pro- 
portions of three parts to one, and forming a layer not less than 
six digits thick. On top of the nucleus, the floor, whether made 
of cut slips or of cubes, should be well and truly laid by rule and 

4. After it is laid and set at the proper inclination, let it be 
rubbed down so that, if it consists of cut slips, the lozenges, or 
triangles, or squares, or hexagons may not stick up at different 
levels, but be all jointed together on the same plane with one 
another; if it is laid in cubes, so that all the edges may be level; 
for the rubbing down will not be properly finished unless all the 
edges are on the same level plane. The herring-bone pattern, 
made of Tibur burnt brick, must also be carefully finished, so as 
to be without gaps or ridges sticking up, but all flat and rubbed 
down to rule. When the rubbing down is completely finished by 
means of the smoothing and polishing processes, sift powdered 
marble on top, and lay on a coating of lime and sand. 

5. In the open air, specially adapted kinds of floors must be 
made, because their framework, swelling with dampness, or 
shrinking from dryness, or sagging and settling, injures the floors 
by these changes; besides, the frost and rime will not let them go 
unhurt. Hence, if necessity drives, we must proceed as follows 
in order to make them as free from defects as possible. After 
finishing the plank flooring, lay a second plank flooring over it at 
right angles, and nail it down so as to give double protection to 
the framework. Then, mix with new broken stone one third the 
quantity of pounded tile, and let lime be added to the mixture 
in the mortar trough in the proportion of two parts to five. 

6. Having made the bedding, lay on this mixture of broken 


stone, and let it be not less than a foot thick when the beating is 
finished. Then, after laying the nucleus, as above described, con- 
struct the floor of large cubes cut about two digits each way, and 
let it have an inclination of two digits for every ten feet. If it 
is well put together and properly rubbed down, it will be free 
from all flaws. In order that the mortar in the joints may not 
suffer from frosts, drench it with oil-dregs every year before 
winter begins. Thus treated, it will not let the hoarfrost enter it. 
7. If, however, it seems needful to use still greater care, lay 
two-foot tiles, jointed together in a bed of mortar, over the 
broken stone, with little channels of one finger's breadth cut in 
the faces of all the joints. Connect these channels and fill them 
with a mixture of lime and oil; then, rub the joints hard and make 
them compact. Thus, the lime sticking in the channels will 
harden and solidify into a mass, and so prevent water or anything 
else from penetrating through the joints. After this layer is fin- 
ished, spread the nucleus upon it, and work it down by beating 
it with rods. Upon this lay the floor, at the inclination above 
described, either of large cubes or burnt brick in herring-bone 
pattern, and floors thus constructed will not soon be spoiled. 



1. LEAVING the subject of floors, we must next treat of stucco 
work. This will be all right if the best lime, taken in lumps, is 
slaked a good while before it is to be used, so that if any lump 
has not been burned long enough in the kiln, it will be forced to 
throw off its heat during the long course of slaking in the water, 
and will thus be thoroughly burned to the same consistency. 
When it is taken not thoroughly slaked but fresh, it has little 
crude bits concealed in it, and so, when applied, it blisters. When 
such bits complete their slaking after they are on the building, 
they break up and spoil the smooth polish of the stucco. 


2. But when the proper attention has been paid to the slaking, 
and greater pains have thus been employed in the preparation 
for the work, take a hoe, and apply it to the slaked lime in the 
mortar bed just as you hew wood. If it sticks to the hoe in bits, 
the lime is not yet tempered; and when the iron is drawn out dry 
and clean, it will show that the lime is weak and thirsty; but when 
the lime is rich and properly slaked, it will stick to the tool like 
glue, proving that it is completely tempered. Then get the scaf- 
folding ready, and proceed to construct the vaultings in the rooms, 
unless they are to be decorated with flat coffered ceilings. 



1. WHEN vaulting is required, the procedure should be as fol- 
lows. Set up horizontal furring strips at intervals of not more 
than two feet apart, using preferably cypress, as fir is soon spoiled 
by decay and by age. Arrange these strips so as to form a curve, 
and make them fast to the joists of the floor above or to the roof, 
if it is there, by nailing them with many iron nails to ties fixed at 
intervals. These ties should be made of a kind of wood that 
neither decay nor time nor dampness can spoil, such as box, 
juniper, olive, oak, cypress, or any other similar wood except 
common oak; for this warps, and causes cracks in work in which 
it is used. 

2. Having arranged the furring strips, take cord made of Span- 
ish broom, and tie Greek reeds, previously pounded flat, to them 
in the required contour. Immediately above the vaulting spread 
some mortar made of lime and sand, to check any drops that may 
fall from the joists or from the roof. If a supply of Greek reed is 
not to be had, gather slender marsh reeds, and make them up with 
silk cord into bundles all of the same thickness and adjusted 
to the proper length, provided that the bundles are not more than 
two feet long between any two knots. Then tie them with cord 


to the beams, as above described, and drive wooden pegs into 
them. Make all the other preparations as above described. 

3. Having thus set the vaultings in their places and interwoven 
them, apply the rendering coat to their lower surface; then lay 
on the sand mortar, and afterwards polish it off with the pow- 
dered marble. After the vaultings have been polished, set the 
impost mouldings directly beneath them. These obviously 
ought to be made extremely slender and delicate, for when they 
are large, their weight carries them down, and they cannot sup- 
port themselves. Gypsum should by no means be used in their 
composition, but powdered marble should be laid on uniformly, 
lest gypsum, by setting too quickly should keep the work from 
drying uniformly. We must also beware of the ancients' scheme 
for vaultings; for in their mouldings the soffits overhang very 
heavily, and are dangerous. 

4. Some mouldings are flat, others in relief. In rooms where 
there has to be a fire or a good many lights, they should be flat, 
so that they can be wiped off more easily. In summer apart- 
ments and in exedrae where there is no smoke nor soot to hurt 
them, they should be made in relief. It is always the case that 
stucco, in the pride of its dazzling white, gathers smoke not only 
from its own house but also from others. 

5. Having finished the mouldings, apply a very rough render- 
ing coat to the walls, and afterwards, when the rendering coat 
gets pretty dry, spread upon it the layers of sand mortar, exactly 
adjusted in length to rule and line, in height to the plummet, and 
at the angles to the square. The stucco will thus present a fault- 
less appearance for paintings. When it gets pretty dry, spread on 
a second coat and then a third. The better the foundation of 
sand mortar that is laid on, the stronger and more durable hi 
its solidity will be the stucco. 

6. When not less than three coats of sand mortar, besides the 
rendering coat, have been laid on, then, we must make the mix- 
ture for the layers of powdered marble, the mortar being so 
tempered that when mixed it does not stick to the trowel, but 


the iron comes out freely and clean from the mortar trough. 
After this powdered marble has been spread on and gets dry, 
lay on a medium second coat. When that has been applied and 
well rubbed down, spread on a finer coat. The walls, being thus 
rendered solid by three coats of sand mortar and as many of 
marble, will not possibly be liable to cracks or to any other defect. 

7. And further, such walls, owing to the solid foundation given 
by thorough working with polishing instruments, and the smooth- 
ness of it, due to the hard and dazzling white marble, will bring 
out in brilliant splendour the colours which are laid on at the same 
time with the polishing. 

These colours, when they are carefully laid on stucco still 
wet, do not fade but are permanent. This is because the lime, 
having had its moisture burned out in the kiln, becomes porous 
and loses its strength, and its dryness makes it take up anything 
that may come in contact with it. On mixing with the seeds or 
elements that come from other substances, it forms a solid mass 
with them and, no matter what the constituent parts may then 
be, it must, obviously, on becoming dry, possess the qualities 
which are peculiar to its own nature. 

8. Hence, stucco that is properly made does not get rough as 
time goes on, nor lose its colours when it is wiped off, unless they 
have been laid on with little care and after it is dry. So, when the 
stucco on walls is made as described above, it will have strength 
and brilliancy, and an excellence that will last to a great age. But 
when only one coat of sand mortar and one of fine marble have 
been spread on, its thin layer is easily cracked from want of 
strength, and from its lack of thickness it will not take on the 
brilliance, due to polishing, which it ought to have. 

9. Just as a silver mirror that is formed of a thin plate reflects 
indistinctly and with a feeble light, while one that is substantially 
made can take on a very high polish, and reflects a brilliant and 
distinct image when one looks therein, so it is with stucco. When 
the stuff of which it is formed is thin, it not only cracks but also 
soon fades; when, however, it has a solid foundation of sand mor- 


tar and of marble, thickly and compactly applied, it is not only 
brilliant after being subjected to repeated polishings, but also 
reflects from its surface a clear image of the beholder. 

10. The Greek stucco-workers not only employ these methods 
to make their works durable, but also construct a mortar trough, 
mix the lime and sand in it, bring on a gang of men, and beat the 
stuff with wooden beetles, and do not use it until it has been thus 
vigorously worked. Hence, some cut slabs out of old walls and use 
them as panels, and the stucco of such panels and "reflectors " has 
projecting bevelled edges all round it. 

11. But if stucco has to be made on "wattle and daub," where 
there must be cracks at the uprights and cross-sticks, because they 
must take in moisture when they are daubed with the mud, and 
cause cracks in the stucco when they dry and shrink, the follow- 
ing method will prevent this from happening. After the whole 
wall has been smeared with the mud, nail rows of reeds to it by 
means of "fly-nails," then spread on the mud a second time, and, 
if the first rows have been nailed with the shafts transverse, nail 
on a second set with the shafts vertical, and then, as above de- 
scribed, spread on the sand mortar, the marble, and the whole 
mass of stucco. Thus, the double series of reeds with their shafts 
crossing on the walls will prevent any chipping or cracking from 
taking place. 



1. HAVING spoken of the method by which stucco work should 
be done in dry situations, I shall next explain how the polished 
finish is to be accomplished in places that are damp, in such a way 
that it can last without defects. First, in apartments which are 
level with the ground, apply a rendering coat of mortar, mixed 
with burnt brick instead of sand, to a height of about three feet 
above the floor, and then lay on the stucco so that those portions 


of it may not be injured by the dampness. But if a wall is in a 
state of dampness all over, construct a second thin wall a little 
way from it on the inside, at a distance suited to circumstances, 
and in the space between these two walls run a channel, at a lower 
level than that of the apartment, with vents to the open air. 
Similarly, when the wall is brought up to the top, leave air- 
holes there. For if the moisture has no means of getting out by 
vents at the bottom and at the top, it will not fail to spread all 
over the new wall. This done, apply a rendering coat of mortar 
made with burnt brick to this wall, spread on the layer of stucco, 
and polish it. 

2. But if there is not room enough for the construction of a 
wall, make channels with their vents extending to the open air. 
Then lay two-foot tiles resting on the margin of the channel on 
one side, and on the other side construct a foundation of pillars 
for them, made of eight-inch bricks, on top of each of which the 
edges of two tiles may be supported, each pillar being not more 
than a hand's breadth distant from the wall. Then, above, set 
hooked tiles fastened to the wall from bottom to top, carefully 
covering the inner sides of them with pitch so that they will reject 
moisture. Both at the bottom and at the top above the vaulting 
they should have airholes. 

3. Then, whitewash them with lime and water so that they will 
not reject the rendering coat of burnt brick. For, as they are dry 
from the loss of water burnt out in the kiln, they can neither take 
nor hold the rendering coat unless lime has been applied beneath 
it to stick the two substances together, and make them unite. 
After spreading the rendering coat upon this, apply layers of 
burnt brick mortar instead of sand mortar, and finish up all the 
rest in the manner described above for stucco work. 

4. The decorations of the polished surfaces of the walls ought 
to be treated with due regard to propriety, so as to be adapted to 
their situations, and not out of keeping with differences in kind. 
In winter dining rooms, neither paintings on grand subjects nor 
delicacy of decoration in the cornice work of the vaultings is a 


serviceable kind of design, because they are spoiled by the smoke 
from the fire and the constant soot from the lamps. In these rooms 
there should be panels above the dadoes, worked in black, and 
polished, with yellow ochre or vermilion blocks interposed be- 
tween them. After the vaulting has been treated in the flat style, 
and polished, the Greek method of making floors for use in winter 
dining rooms may not be unworthy of one's notice, as being very 
inexpensive and yet serviceable. 

5. An excavation is made below the level of the dining room to 
a depth of about two feet, and, after the ground has been rammed 
down, the mass of broken stones or the pounded burnt brick is 
spread on, at such an inclination that it can find vents in the drain. 
Next, having filled in with charcoal compactly trodden down, a 
mortar mixed of gravel, lime, and ashes is spread on to a depth 
of half a foot. The surface having been made true to rule and level, 
and smoothed off with whetstone, gives the look of a black pave- 
ment. Hence, at their dinner parties, whatever is poured out of 
the cups, or spirted from the mouth, no sooner falls than it dries 
up, and the servants who wait there do not catch cold from that 
kind of floor, although they may go barefoot. 



1. FOR the other apartments, that is, those intended to be used 
in Spring, Autumn, and Summer, as well as for atriums and 
peristyles, the ancients required realistic pictures of real things. 
A picture is, in fact, a representation of a thing which really 
exists or which can exist: for example, a man, a house, a ship, 
or anything else from whose definite and actual structure copies 
resembling it can be taken. Consequently the ancients who intro- 
duced polished finishings began by representing different kinds 
of marble slabs in different positions, and then cornices and 
blocks of yellow ochre arranged in various ways. 


2. Afterwards they made such progress as to represent the forms 
of buildings, and of columns, and projecting and overhanging pedi- 
ments; in their open rooms, such as exedrae, on account of the 
size, they depicted the facades of scenes in the tragic, comic, 
or satyric style; and their walks, on account of the great length, 
they decorated with a variety of landscapes, copying the char- 
acteristics of definite spots. In these paintings there are har- 
bours, promontories, seashores, rivers, fountains, straits, fanes, 
groves, mountains, flocks, shepherds; in some places there are 
also pictures designed in the grand style, with figures of the gods 
or detailed mythological episodes, or the battles at Troy, or the 
wanderings of Ulysses, with landscape backgrounds, and other 
subjects reproduced on similar principles from real life. 

3. But those subjects which were copied from actual realities 
are scorned in these days of bad taste. We now have fresco 
paintings of monstrosities, rather than truthful representations 
of definite things. For instance, reeds are put in the place of 
columns, fluted appendages with curly leaves and volutes, in- 
stead of pediments, candelabra supporting representations of 
shrines, and on top of their pediments numerous tender stalks 
and volutes growing up from the roots and having human figures 
senselessly seated upon them; sometimes stalks having only 
half-length figures, some with human heads, others with the heads 
of animals. 

4. Such things do not exist and cannot exist and never have 
existed. Hence, it is the new taste that has caused bad judges of 
poor art to prevail over true artistic excellence. For how is it 
possible that a reed should really support a roof, or a candelabrum 
a pediment with its ornaments, or that such a slender, flexible 
thing as a stalk should support a figure perched upon it, or that 
roots and stalks should produce now flowers and now half-length 
figures? Yet when people see these frauds, they find no fault with 
them but on the contrary are delighted, and do not care whether 
any of them can exist or not. Their understanding is darkened 
by decadent critical principles, so that it is not capable of giving 


its approval authoritatively and on the principle of propriety 
to that which really can exist. The fact is that pictures which are 
unlike reality ought not to be approved, and even if they are tech- 
nically fine, this is no reason why they should offhand be judged 
to be correct, if their subject is lacking in the principles of reality 
carried out with no violations. 

5. For instance, at Tralles, Apaturius of Alabanda designed 
with skilful hand the scaena of the little theatre which is 
there called the eKKXrja-iaffTijpiov, representing columns in it 
and statues, Centaurs supporting the architraves, rotundas with 
round roofs on them, pediments with overhanging returns, and 
cornices ornamented with lions' heads, which are meant for 
nothing but the rainwater from the roofs, and then on top of 
it all he made an episcaenium in which were painted rotundas, 
porticoes, half-pediments, and all the different kinds of decora- 
tion employed in a roof. The effect of high relief in this scaena 
was very attractive to all who beheld it, and they were ready to 
give their approval to the work, when Licymnius the mathema- 
tician came forward and said that (6.) the Alabandines were con- 
sidered bright enough in all matters of politics, but that on ac- 
count of one slight defect, the lack of the sense of propriety, they 
were believed to be unintelligent. "In their gymnasium the stat- 
ues are all pleading causes, in their forum, throwing the discus, 
running, or playing ball. This disregard of propriety in the inter- 
change of statues appropriate to different places has brought 
the state as a whole into disrepute. Let us then beware lest this 
scaena of Apaturius make Alabandines or Abderites of us. Which 
of you can have houses or columns or extensive pediments on top 
of his tiled roof? Such things are built above the floors, not above 
the tiled roofs. Therefore, if we give our approval to pictures of 
things which can have no reason for existence in actual fact, we 
shall be voluntarily associating ourselves with those communi- 
ties which are believed to be unintelligent on account of just such 

7. Apaturius did not venture to make any answer, but removed 


the scaena, altered it so that it conformed to reality, and gave 
satisfaction with it in its improved state. Would to God that 
Licymnius could come to life again and reform the present con- 
dition of folly and mistaken practices in fresco painting! How- 
ever, it may not be out of place to explain why this false method 
prevails over the truth. The fact is that the artistic excellence 
which the ancients endeavoured to attain by working hard and 
taking pains, is now attempted by the use of colours and the 
brave show which they make, and expenditure by the em- 
ployer prevents people from missing the artistic refinements 
that once lent authority to works. 

8. For example, which of the ancients can be found to have 
used vermilion otherwise than sparingly, like a drug? But to- 
day whole walls are commonly covered with it everywhere. 
Then, too, there is malachite green, purple, and Armenian blue. 
When these colours are laid on, they present a brilliant appear- 
ance to the eye even although they are inartistically applied, and 
as they are costly, they are made exceptions in contracts, to be 
furnished by the employer, not by the contractor. 

I have now sufficiently explained all that I could suggest for 
the avoidance of mistakes in stucco work. Next, I shall speak of 
the components as they occur to me, and first I shall treat of 
marble, since I spoke of lime at the beginning. 



MARBLE is not produced everywhere of the same kind. In 
some places the lumps are found to contain transparent grains 
like salt, and this kind when crushed and ground is extremely 
serviceable in stucco work. In places where this is not found, 
the broken bits of marble or "chips," as they are called, which 
marble-workers throw down as they work, may be crushed and 
ground and used in stucco after being sifted. In still other places 

214 VITRUVIUS [Boos Vn 

for example, on the borderland of Magnesia and Ephesus 
there are places where it can be dug out all ready to use, without 
the need of grinding or sifting, but as fine as any that is crushed 
and sifted by hand. 



As for colours, some are natural products found in fixed places, 
and dug up there, while others are artificial compounds of differ- 
ent substances treated and mixed in proper proportions so as to 
be equally serviceable. 

1. We shall first set forth the natural colours that are dug up 
as such, like yellow ochre, which is termed &xpa in Greek. This 
is found in many places, including Italy, but Attic, which was the 
best, is not now to be had because in the times when there were 
slaves in the Athenian silver mines, they would dig galleries 
underground in order to find the silver. Whenever a vein of 
ochre was found there, they would follow it up like silver, and 
so the ancients had a fine supply of it to use in the polished fin- 
ishings of their stucco work. 

2. Red earths are found in abundance in many places, but the 
best in only a few, for instance at Sinope in Pontus, in Egypt, in 
the Balearic islands of Spain, as well as in Lemnos, an island the 
enjoyment of whose revenues the Senate and Roman people 
granted to the Athenians. 

3. Paraetonium white gets its name from the place where it is 
dug up. The same is the case with Melian white, because there is 
said to be a mine of it in Melos, one of the islands of the Cyclades. 

4. Green chalk is found in numerous places, but the best at 
Smyrna. The Greeks call it eeoSoreiov, because this kind of chalk 
was first found on the estate of a person named Theodotus. 

5. Orpiment, which is termed apa-eviicov in Greek, is dug up 
in Pontus. Sandarach, in many places, but the best is mined in 
Pontus close by the river Hypanis. 




1. I SHALL now proceed to explain the nature of cinnabar. It 
is said that it was first found in the Cilbian country belonging to 
Ephesus, and both it and its properties are certainly very strange. 
First, before getting to the vermilion itself by methods of treat- 
ment, they dig out what is called the clod, an ore like iron, but 
rather of a reddish colour and covered with a red dust. During 
the digging it sheds, under the blows of the tools, tear after tear 
of quicksilver, which is at once gathered up by the diggers. 

2. When these clods have been collected, they are so full of 
moisture that they are thrown into an oven in the laboratory to 
dry, and the fumes that are sent up from them by the heat of 
the fire settle down on the floor of the oven, and are found to be 
quicksilver. When the clods are taken out, the drops which re- 
main are so small that they cannot be gathered up, but they 
are swept into a vessel of water, and there they run together and 
combine into one. Four pints of it, when measured and weighed, 
will be found to be one hundred pounds. 

3. If the quicksilver is poured into a vessel, and a stone weigh- 
ing one hundred pounds is laid upon it, the stone swims on the 
surface, and cannot depress the liquid, nor break through, nor 
separate it. If we remove the hundred pound weight, and put 
on a scruple of gold, it will not swim, but will sink to the bottom 
of its own accord. Hence, it is undeniable that the gravity of a 
substance depends not on the amount of its weight, but on its 

4. Quicksilver is a useful thing for many purposes. For in- 
stance, neither silver nor copper can be gilded properly without 
it. And when gold has been woven into a garment, and the gar- 
ment becomes worn out with age so that it is no longer respect- 
able to use, the pieces of cloth are put into earthen pots, and 
burned up over a fire. The ashes are then thrown into water and 


quicksilver added thereto. This attracts all the bits of gold, and 
makes them combine with itself. The water is then poured off, 
and the rest emptied into a cloth and squeezed in the hands, 
whereupon the quicksilver, being a liquid, escapes through the 
loose texture of the cloth, but the gold, which has been brought 
together by the squeezing, is found inside in a pure state. 


CINNABAR (continued) 

1 . I WILL now return to the preparation of vermilion. When the 
lumps of ore are dry, they are crushed in iron mortars, and re- 
peatedly washed and heated until the impurities are gone, and 
the colours come. When the cinnabar has given up its quick- 
silver, and thus lost the natural virtues that it previously had, it 
becomes soft in quality and its powers are feeble. 

2. Hence, though it keeps its colour perfectly when applied 
in the polished stucco finish of closed apartments, yet in open 
apartments, such as peristyles or exedrae or other places of the 
sort, where the bright rays of the sun and moon can penetrate, it 
is spoiled by contact with them, loses the strength of its colour, 
and turns black. Among many others, the secretary Faberius, 
who wished to have his house on the Aventine finished in elegant 
style, applied vermilion to all the walls of the peristyle; but 
after thirty days they turned to an ugly and mottled colour. 
He therefore made a contract to have other colours applied in- 
stead of vermilion. 

3. But anybody who is more particular, and who wants a pol- 
ished finish of vermilion that will keep its proper colour, should, 
after the wall has been polished and is dry, apply with a brush 
Pontic wax melted over a fire and mixed with a little oil; then 
after this he should bring the wax to a sweat by warming it and 
the wall at close quarters with charcoal enclosed in an iron ves- 
sel; and finally he should smooth it all off by rubbing it down with 


a wax candle and clean linen cloths, just as naked marble statues 
are treated. 

4. This process is termed ydvmo-Ki in Greek. The protecting 
coat of Pontic wax prevents the light of the moon and the rays 
of the sun from licking up and drawing the colour out of such 
polished finishing. 

The manufactories which were once at the mines of the Ephe- 
sians have now been transferred to Rome, because this kind of 
ore was later discovered in Spain. The clods are brought from 
the mines there, and treated in Rome by public contractors. 
These manufactories are between the temples of Flora and 

5. Cinnabar is adulterated by mixing lime with it. Hence, 
one will have to proceed as follows, if one wishes to prove that it 
is unadulterated. Take an iron plate, put the cinnabar upon it, 
and lay it on the fire until the plate gets red hot. When the glow- 
ing heat makes the colour change and turn black, remove the 
plate from the fire, and if the cinnabar when cooled returns to its 
former colour, it will be proved to be unadulterated; but if it 
keeps the black colour, it will show that it has been adulterated. 

6. I have now said all that I could think of about cinnabar. 
Malachite green is brought from Macedonia, and is dug up in 
the neighbourhood of copper mines. The names Armenian blue 
and India ink show in what places these substances are found. 



1. I SHALL now pass to those substances which by artificial 
treatment are made to change their composition, and to take on 
the properties of colours; and first I shall treat of black, the use 
of which is indispensable in many works, in order that the fixed 
technical methods for the preparation of that compound may be 


2. A place is built like a Laconicum, and nicely finished in 
marble, smoothly polished. In front of it, a small furnace is con- 
structed with vents into the Laconicum, and with a stokehole 
that can be very carefully closed to prevent the flames from es- 
caping and being wasted. Resin is placed in the furnace. The 
force of the fire in burning it compels it to give out soot into the 
Laconicum through the vents, and the soot sticks to the walls 
and the curved vaulting. It is gathered from them, and some 
of it is mixed and worked with gum for use as writing ink, 
while the rest is mixed with size, and used on walls by fresco 

3. But if these facilities are not at hand, we must meet the 
exigency as follows, so that the work may not be hindered by 
tedious delay. Burn shavings and splinters of pitch pine, and when 
they turn to charcoal, put them out, and pound them in a mortar 
with size. This will make a pretty black for fresco painting. 

4. Again, if the lees of wine are dried and roasted in an oven, 
and then ground up with size and applied to a wall, the result will 
be a colour even more delightful than ordinary black; and the 
better the wine of which it is made, the better imitation it will 
give, not only of the colour of ordinary black, but even of that of 
India ink. 



1. METHODS of making blue were first discovered in Alexan- 
dria, and afterwards Vestorius set up the making of it at Puz- 
zuoli. The method of obtaining it from the substances of which 
it has been found to consist, is strange enough. Sand and the 
flowers of natron are brayed together so finely that the product 
is like meal, and copper is grated by means of coarse files over the 
mixture, like sawdust, to form a conglomerate. Then it is made 
into balls by rolling it in the hands and thus bound together for 
drying. The dry balls are put in an earthern jar, and the jars in 


an oven. As soon as the copper and the sand grow hot and unite 
under the intensity of the fire, they mutually receive each other's 
sweat, relinquishing their peculiar qualities, and having lost 
their properties through the intensity of the fire, they are reduced 
to a blue colour. 

2. Burnt ochre, which is very serviceable in stucco work, is 
made as follows. A clod of good yellow ochre is heated to a glow 
on a fire. It is then quenched in vinegar, and the result is a 
purple colour. 



1. IT is now in place to describe the preparation of white lead 
and of verdigris, which with us is called "aeruca." In Rhodes 
they put shavings in jars, pour vinegar over them, and lay pieces 
of lead on the shavings; then they cover the jars with lids to pre- 
vent evaporation. After a definite time they open them, and find 
that the pieces of lead have become white lead. In the same way 
they put in plates of copper and make verdigris, which is called 

2. White lead on being heated in an oven changes its colour on 
the fire, and becomes sandarach. This was discovered as the re- 
sult of an accidental fire. It is much more serviceable than the 
natural sandarach dug up in mines. 



1. I SHALL now begin to speak of purple, which exceeds all the 
colours that have so far been mentioned both in costliness and 
in the superiority of its delightful effect. It is obtained from a 
marine shellfish, from which is made the purple dye, which is as 
wonderful to the careful observer as anything else in nature; 


for it has not the same shade in all the places where it is found, 
but is naturally qualified by the course of the sun. 

2. That which is found in Pontus and Gaul is black, because 
those countries are nearest to the north. As one passes on from 
north to west, it is found of a bluish shade. Due east and west, 
what is found is of a violet shade. That which is obtained in 
southern countries is naturally red in quality, and therefore this 
is found in the island of Rhodes and in other such countries that 
are nearest to the course of the sun. 

3. After the shellfish have been gathered, they are broken up 
with iron tools, the blows of which drive out the purple fluid like 
a flood of tears, and then it is prepared by braying it in mortars. 
It is called "ostrum " because it is taken from the shells of marine 
shellfish. On account of its saltness, it soon dries up unless it has 
honey poured over it. 




1. PURPLE colours are also manufactured by dyeing chalk with 
madder root and with hysginum. Other colours are made from 
flowers. Thus, when fresco painters wish to imitate Attic yellow 
ochre, they put dried violets into a vessel of water, and heat them 
over a fire; then, when the mixture is ready, they pour it onto a 
linen cloth, and squeeze it out with the hands, catching the water 
which is now coloured by the violets, in a mortar. Into this they 
pour chalk and bray it, obtaining the colour of Attic yellow ochre. 

2. They make a fine purple colour by treating bilberry in the 
same way and mixing it with milk. Those who cannot use 
malachite green on account of its deamess, dye blue with the 
plant called dyer's weed, and thus obtain a most vivid green. 
This is called dyer's malachite green. Again, for want of indigo, 
they dye Selinusian or anularian chalk with woad, which the 
Greeks call iVem?, and make an imitation of indigo. 


8. In this book I have written down, so far as I could recall 
them, the methods and means of attaining durability in polished 
finishings, how pictures that are appropriate should be made, and 
also the natural qualities of all the colours. And so, having pre- 
scribed in seven books the suitable principles which should gov- 
ern the construction of all kinds of buildings, I shall treat in the 
next of water, showing how it may be found in places where it is 
wanting, by what method it may be conducted, and by what 
means its wholesomeness and fitness may be tested. 




1. AMONG the Seven Sages, Thales of Miletus pronounced for 
water as the primordial element in all things; Heraclitus, for fire; 
the priests of the Magi, for water and fire; Euripides, a pupil of 
Anaxagoras, and called by the Athenians "the philosopher of 
the stage," for air and earth. Earth, he held, was impregnated 
by the rains of heaven and, thus conceiving, brought forth the 
young of mankind and of all the living creatures in the world; 
whatever is sprung from her goes back to her again when the 
compelling force of time brings about a dissolution; and what- 
ever is born of the air returns hi the same way to the regions of 
the sky; nothing suffers annihilation, but at dissolution there is a 
change, and things fall back to the essential element in which 
they were before. But Pythagoras, Empedocles, Epicharmus, 
and other physicists and philosophers have set forth that the 
primordial elements are four in number: air, fire, earth, and 
water; and that it is from their coherence to one another under 
the moulding power of nature that the qualities of things are 
produced according to different classes. 

2. And, in fact, we see not only that all which comes to birth is 
produced by them, but also that nothing can be nourished with- 
out their influence, nor grow, nor be preserved. The body, for 
example, can have no life without the flow of the breath to and 
fro, that is, unless an abundance of air flows in, causing dilations 
and contractions in regular succession. Without the right pro- 
portion of heat, the body will lack vitality, will not be well set 
up, and will not properly digest strong food. Again, without the 
fruits of the earth to nourish the bodily will be enfeebled, 
and so lose its admixture of the earthy element. 

3. Finally, without the influence of moisture, living creatures 
will be bloodless and, having the liquid element sucked out of 


them, will wither away. Accordingly the divine intelligence has 
not made what is really indispensable for man either hard to get 
or costly, like pearls, gold, silver, and so forth, the lack of which 
neither our body nor our nature feels, but has spread abroad, 
ready to hand through all the world, the things without which 
the life of mortals cannot be maintained. Thus, to take exam- 
ples, suppose there is a deficiency of breath in the body, the air, 
to which is assigned the function of making up the deficiency, 
performs that service. To supply heat, the mighty sun is ready, 
and the invention of fire makes life more secure. Then again, the 
fruits of the earth, satisfying our desires with a more than suffi- 
cient store of food stuffs, support and maintain living beings with 
regular nourishment. Finally, water, not merely supplying drink 
but filling an infinite number of practical needs, does us services 
which make us grateful because it is gratis. 

4. Hence, too, those who are clothed in priesthoods of the 
Egyptian orders declare that all things depend upon the power 
of the liquid element. So, when the waterpot is brought back 
to precinct and temple with water, in accordance with the holy 
rite, they throw themselves upon the ground and, raising their 
hands to heaven, thank the divine benevolence for its invention. 

Therefore, since it is held by physicists and philosophers and 
priests that all things depend upon the power of water, I have 
thought that, as in the former seven books the rules for buildings 
have been set forth, in this I ought to write on the methods of 
finding water, on those special merits which are due to the quali- 
ties of localities, on the ways of conducting it, and how it may 
be tested in advance. For it is the chief requisite for life, for hap- 
piness, and for everyday use. 



1 . THIS will be easier if there are open springs of running water. 
But if there are no springs which gush forth, we must search for 
them underground, and conduct them together. The following 
test should be applied. Before sunrise, lie down flat in the place 
where the search is to be made, and placing the chin on the earth 
and supporting it there, take a look out over the country. In 
this way the sight will not range higher than it ought, the chin 
being immovable, but will range over a definitely limited height 
on the same level through the country. Then, dig in places where 
vapours are seen curling and rising up into the air. This sign 
cannot show itself in a dry spot. 

2. Searchers for water must also study the nature of different 
localities; for those in which it is found are well defined. In clay 
the supply is poor, meagre, and at no great depth. It will not 
have the best taste. In fine gravel the supply is also poor, but it 
will be found at a greater depth. It will be muddy and not sweet. 
In black earth some slight drippings and drops are found that 
gather from the storms of winter and settle down in compact, 
hard places. They have the best taste. Among pebbles the veins 
found are moderate, and not to be depended upon. These, too, 
are extremely sweet. In coarse grained gravel and carbuncular 
sand the supply is surer and more lasting, and it has a good taste. 
In red tufa it is copious and good, if it does not run down through 
the fissures and escape. At the foot of mountains and in lava it 
is more plentiful and abundant, and here it is also colder and more 
wholesome. In flat countries the springs are salt, heavy-bodied, 
tepid, and ill-flavoured, excepting those which run underground 
from mountains, and burst forth in the middle of a plain, where, 
if protected by the shade of trees, their taste is equal to that of 
mountain springs. 


3. In the kinds of soil described above, signs will be found 
growing, such as slender rushes, wild willows, alders, agnus 
castus trees, reeds, ivy, and other plants of the same sort that 
cannot spring up of themselves without moisture. But they are 
also accustomed to grow in depressions which, being lower than 
the rest of the country, receive water from the rains and the 
surrounding fields during the winter, and keep it for a compara- 
tively long time on account of their holding power. These must 
not be trusted, but the search must be made in districts and soils, 
yet not in depressions, where those signs are found growing not 
from seed, but springing up naturally of themselves. 

4. If the indications mentioned appear in such places, the fol- 
lowing test should be applied. Dig out a place not less than 
three feet square and five feet deep, and put into it about sunset 
a bronze or leaden bowl or basin, whichever is at hand. Smear the 
inside with oil, lay it upside down, and cover the top of the exca- 
vation with reeds or green boughs, throwing earth upon them. 
Next day uncover it, and if there are drops and drippings in the 
vessel, the place will contain water. 

5. Again, if a vessel made of unbaked clay be put in the hole, 
and covered in the same way, it will be wet when uncovered, and 
already beginning to go to pieces from dampness, if the place 
contains water. If a fleece of wool is placed in the excavation, 
and water can be wrung out of it on the following day, it will 
show that the place has a supply. Further, if a lamp be trimmed, 
filled with oil, lighted, and put in that place and covered up, and 
if on the next day it is not burnt out, but still contains some re- 
mains of oil and wick, and is itself found to be damp, it will indi- 
cate that the place contains water; for all heat attracts moisture. 
Again, if a fire is made in that place, and if the ground, when thor- 
oughly warmed and burned, sends up a misty vapour from its 
surface, the place will contain water. 

6. After applying these tests and finding the signs de- 
scribed above, a well must next be sunk in the place, and if a 
spring of water is found, more wells must be dug thereabouts, 


and all conducted by means of subterranean channels into 
one place. 

The mountains and districts with a northern exposure are the 
best spots in which to search, for the reason that springs are 
sweeter, more wholesome, and more abundant when found there. 
Such places face away from the sun's course, and the trees are 
thick in them, and the mountains, being themselves full of woods, 
cast shadows of their own, preventing the rays of the sun from 
striking uninterruptedly upon the ground and drying up the 

7. The valleys among the mountains receive the rains most 
abundantly, and on account of the thick woods the snow is 
kept in them longer by the shade of the trees and mountains. 
Afterwards, on melting, it filters through the fissures in the ground, 
and thus reaches the very foot of the mountains, from which 
gushing springs come belching out. 

But in flat countries, on the contrary, a good supply cannot be 
had. For however great it is, it cannot be wholesome, because, 
as there is no shade in the way, the intense force of the sun draws 
up and carries off the moisture from the flat plains with its heat, 
and if any water shows itself there, the lightest and purest and the 
delicately wholesome part of it is summoned away by the air, and 
dispersed to the skies, while the heaviest and the hard and un- 
pleasant parts are left in springs that are in flat places. 



1. RAINWATER has, therefore, more wholesome qualities, be- 
cause it is drawn from the lightest and most delicately pure parts 
of all the springs, and then, after being filtered through the agi- 
tated air, it is liquefied by storms and so returns to the earth. And 
rainfall is not abundant in the plains, but rather on the moun- 
tains or close to mountains, for the reason that the vapour which 


is set in motion at sunrise in the morning, leaves the earth, 
and drives the air before it through the heaven in whatever 
direction it inclines; then, when once in motion, it has currents 
of air rushing after it, on account of the void which it leaves 

2. This air, driving the vapour everywhere as it rushes along, 
produces gales and constantly increasing currents by its mighty 
blasts. Wherever the winds carry the vapour which rolls in masses 
from springs, rivers, marshes, and the sea, it is brought together 
by the heat of the sun, drawn off, and carried upward in the 
form of clouds; then these clouds are supported by the current 
of air until they come to mountains, where they are broken up 
from the shock of the collision and the gales, turn into water on 
account of their own fulness and weight, and in that form are 
dispersed upon the earth. 

3. That vapour, mists, and humidity come forth from the earth, 
seems due to the reason that it contains burning heat, mighty 
currents of air, intense cold, and a great quantity of water. So, as 
soon as the earth, which has cooled off during the night, is struck 
by the rays of the rising sun, and the winds begin to blow while 
it is yet dark, mists begin to rise upward from damp places. 
That the air when thoroughly heated by the sun can make va- 
pours rise rolling up from the earth, may be seen by means of an 
example drawn from baths. 

4. Of course there can be no springs above the vaultings of 
hot bathrooms, but the atmosphere in such rooms, becoming well 
warmed by the hot air from the furnaces, seizes upon the water 
on the floors, and takes it up to the curved vaultings and holds 
it up there, for the reason that hot vapour always pushes upwards. 
At first it does not let the moisture go, for the quantity is small; 
but as soon as it has collected a considerable amount, it cannot 
hold it up, on account of the weight, but sprinkles it upon the heads 
of the bathers. In the same way, when the atmospheric air feels 
the heat of the sun, it draws the moisture from all about, causes 
it to rise, and gathers it into clouds. For the earth gives out 


moisture under the influence of heat just as a man's heated body 
emits sweat. 

5. The winds are witnesses to this fact. Those that are pro- 
duced and come from the coolest directions, the north and north- 
east winds, blow in blasts that are rarefied by the great dryness 
in the atmosphere, but the south wind and the others that assail 
us from the direction of the sun's course are very damp, and al- 
ways bring rain, because they reach us from warm regions after 
being well heated there, and licking up and carrying off the mois- 
ture from the whole country, they pour it out on the regions in 
the north. 

6. That this is the state of the case may be proved by the 
sources of rivers, the majority and the longest of which, as 
drawn and described in geographies of the world, are found to 
rise in the north. First in India, the Ganges and Indus spring 
from the Caucasus; in Syria, the Tigris and Euphrates; in Pon- 
tus in Asia, the Dnieper, Bug, and Don; in Colchis, the Phasis; in 
Gaul, the Rhone; in Celtica, the Rhine; on this side of the Alps, 
the Timavo and Po; in Italy, the Tiber; in Maurusia, which we 
call Mauretania, the Dyris, rising in the Atlas range and running 
westerly to Lake Heptagonus, where it changes its name and is 
called Agger; then from Lake Heptabolus it runs at the base 
of barren mountains, flowing southerly and emptying into the 
marsh called l ... It surrounds Meroe', which is a kingdom in 
southern Ethiopia, and from the marsh grounds there, winding 
round by the rivers Astansoba and Astoboa and a great many 
others, it passes through the mountains to the Cataract, and 
from there it dashes down, and passes to the north between Ele- 
phantis and Syene and the plains of Thebes into Egypt, where 
it is called the Nile. 

7. That the source of the Nile is in Mauretania is known prin- 
cipally from the fact that there are other springs on the other 
side of the Atlas range flowing into the ocean to the west, and 
that ichneumons, crocodiles, and other animals and fishes of 

1 Here something is lost, as also in chapter III, sections 5 and 6. 

232 VITRUVros [BOOK vni 

like nature are found there, although there are no hippopota- 

8. Therefore, since in descriptions of the world it appears that 
all rivers of any size flow from the north, and since in the plains 
of Africa, which are exposed to the course of the sun in the south, 
the moisture is deeply hidden, springs not common, and rivers 
rare, it follows that the sources of springs which lie to the north or 
northeast are much better, unless they hit upon a place which is 
full of sulphur, alum, or asphalt. In this case they are completely 
changed, and flow in springs which have a bad smell and taste, 
whether the water is hot or cold. 

9. The fact is, heat is not at all a property of water, but when a 
stream of cold water happens upon a hot place, it boils up, and 
issues through the fissures and out of the ground in a state of 
heat. This cannot last very long, but in a short time the water 
becomes cold. If it were naturally hot, it would not cool off and 
lose its heat. Its taste, however, and its smell and colour are not 
restored, because it has become saturated and compounded with 
these qualities on account of the rarity of its nature. 



1. THERE are, however, some hot springs that supply water 
of the best taste, which is so delightful to drink that one does not 
think with regret of the Fountain of the Muses or the Marcian 
aqueduct. These hot springs are produced naturally, in the fol- 
lowing manner. When fire is kindled down beneath in alum or 
asphalt or sulphur, it makes the earth immediately over it very 
hot, and emits a glowing heat to the parts still farther above it, 
so that if there are any springs of sweet water found in the upper 
strata, they begin to boil in their fissures when they are met 
by this heat, and so they run out with their taste unimpaired. 

2. And there are some cold springs that have a bad smell and 


taste. They rise deep down in the lower strata, cross places which 
are on fire, and then are cooled by running a long distance through 
the earth, coming out above ground with their taste, smell, and 
colour spoiled; as, for instance, the river Albula on the road to 
Tivoli and the cold springs of Ardea, which have the same smell 
and are called sulphur springs, and others in similar places. Al- 
though they are cold, yet at first sight they seem to be hot for 
the reason that when they happen upon a burning spot deep 
down below, the liquid and the fire meet, and with a great noise 
at the collision they take in strong currents of air, and thus, swol- 
len by a quantity of compressed wind, they come out at the 
springs in a constant state of ebullition. When such springs 
are not open but confined by rocks, the force of the air in them 
drives them up through the narrow fissures to the summits of 

3. Consequently those who think that they have excavated 
sources of springs at the height of such hills find themselves mis- 
taken when they open up their excavations. Suppose a bronze 
vase filled not to the very lips, but containing two thirds of the 
quantity of water which forms its capacity, and with a cover 
placed upon it. When it is subjected to a very hot fire, the water 
must become thoroughly heated, and from the rarity of its nature 
it greatly expands by taking in the heat, so that it not only fills 
the vase but raises its cover by means of the currents of air in it, 
and swells and runs over. But if you take the cover off, the expand- 
ing forces are released into the open air, and the water settles 
down again to its proper level. So it is with the sources of springs. 
As long as they are confined in narrow channels, the currents of 
air in the water rush up in bubbles to the top, but as soon as they 
are given a wider outlet, they lose their air on account of the 
rarity peculiar to water, and so settle down and resume their 
proper level. 

4. Every hot spring has healing properties because it has been 
boiled with foreign substances, and thus acquires a new useful 
quality. For example, sulphur springs cure pains in the sinews, 

234 VITRUVros [BOOK vm 

by warming up and burning out the corrupt humours of the 
body by their heat. Aluminous springs, used in the treatment of 
the limbs when enfeebled by paralysis or the stroke of any such 
malady, introduce warmth through the open pores, counter- 
acting the chill by the opposite effect of their heat, and thus 
equably restoring the limbs to their former condition. Asphaltic 
springs, taken as purges, cure internal maladies. 

5. There is also a kind of cold water containing natron, found 
for instance at Penne in the Vestine country, at Cutiliae, and at 
other similar places. It is taken as a purge and in passing through 
the bowels reduces scrofulous tumours. Copious springs are 
found where there are mines of gold, silver, iron, copper, lead, and 
the like, but they are very harmful. For they contain, like hot 
springs, sulphur, alum, asphalt, . . . and when it passes into 
the body in the form of drink, and spreading through the veins 
reaches the smews and joints, it expands and hardens them. 
Hence the sinews, swelling with this expansion, are contracted 
in length and so give men the cramp or the gout, for the reason 
that their veins are saturated with very hard, dense, and cold 

6. There is also a sort of water which, since it contains . . . 
that are not perfectly clear, and it floats like a flower on the sur- 
face, in colour like purple glass. This may be seen particularly 
in Athens, where there are aqueducts from places and springs 
of that sort leading to the city and the port of Piraeus, from which 
nobody drinks, for the reason mentioned, but they use them for 
bathing and so forth, and drink from wells, thus avoiding their 
unwholesomeness. At Troezen it cannot be avoided, because 
no other kind of water at all is found, except what the Cibdeli 
furnish, and so in that city all or most of the people have dis- 
eases of the feet. At the city of Tarsus in Cilicia is a river named 
Cydnus, in which gouty people soak their legs and find relief 
from pain. 

7. There are also many other kinds of water which have pe- 
culiar properties; for example, the river Himera in Sicily, which, 


after leaving its source, is divided into two branches. One flows in 
the direction of Etruria and has an exceedingly sweet taste on ac- 
count of a sweet juice in the soil through which it runs; the other 
runs through a country where there are salt pits, and so it has a 
salt taste. At Paraetonium, and on the road to Ammon, and at 
Casius in Egypt there are marshy lakes which are so salt that 
they have a crust of salt on the surface. In many other places 
there are springs and rivers and lakes which are necessarily ren- 
dered salt because they run through salt pits. 

8. Others flow through such greasy veins of soil that they are 
overspread with oil when they burst out as springs : for example, 
at Soli, a town in Cilicia, the river named Liparis, in which swim- 
mers or bathers get anointed merely by the water. Likewise there 
is a lake in Ethiopia which anoints people who swim in it, and 
one in India which emits a great quantity of oil when the sky is 
clear. At Carthage is a spring that has oil swimming on its surface 
and smelling like sawdust from citrus wood, with which oil sheep 
are anointed. In Zacynthus and about Dyrrachium and Apol- 
lonia are springs which discharge a great quantity of pitch with 
their water. In Babylon, a lake of very great extent, called Lake 
Asphaltitis, has liquid asphalt swimming on its surface, with 
which asphalt and with burnt brick Semiramis built the wall 
surrounding Babylon. At Jaffa in Syria and among the Nomads 
in Arabia, are lakes of enormous size that yield very large masses 
of asphalt, which are carried off by the inhabitants thereabouts. 

9. There is nothing marvellous in this, for quarries of hard 
asphalt are numerous there. So, when a quantity of water bursts 
its way through the asphaltic soil, it carries asphalt out with it, 
and after passing out of the ground, the water is separated and 
so rejects the asphalt from itself. Again, in Cappadocia on the 
road from Mazaca to Tyana, there is an extensive lake into which 
if a part of a reed or of some other thing be plunged, and with- 
drawn the next day, it will be found that the part thus withdrawn 
has turned into stone, while the part which remained above water 
retains its original nature. 


10. In the same way, at Hierapolis in Phrygia there is a multi- 
tude of boiling hot springs from which water is let into ditches 
surrounding gardens and vineyards, and this water becomes an 
incrustation of stone at the end of a year. Hence, every year 
they construct banks of earth to the right and left, let in 
the water, and thus out of these incrustations make walls for 
their fields. This seems due to natural causes, since there is 
a juice having a coagulating potency like rennet underground 
in those spots and in that country. When this potency appears 
above ground mingled with spring water, the mixture cannot 
but be hardened by the heat of the sun and air, as appears in 
salt pits. 

11. There are also springs which issue exceedingly bitter, ow- 
ing to a bitter juice in the soil, such as the river Hypanis in Pon- 
tus. For about_forty miles from its source its taste is very sweet; 
then it reaches a point about one hundred and sixty miles from 
its mouth, where it is joined by a very small brook. This runs 
into it, and at once makes that vast river bitter, for the reason 
that the water of the brook becomes bitter by flowing through 
the kind of soil and the veins in which there are sandarach 

12. These waters are given their different flavours by the prop- 
erties of the soil, as is also seen in the case of fruits. If the roots 
of trees, vines, or other plants did not produce their fruits by 
drawing juices from soil of different properties, the flowers of 
all would be of the same kind in all places and districts. But we 
find in the island of Lesbos the protropum wine, in Maeonia, the 
catacecaumenites, in Lydia, the Tmolian, in Sicily, the Mamer- 
tine, in Campania, the Falernian, between Terracina and Fondi, 
the Caecuban, and wines of countless varieties and qualities pro- 
duced in many other places. This could not be the case, were it 
not that the juice of the soil, introduced with its proper flavours 
into the roots, feeds the stem, and, mounting along it to the top, 
imparts a flavour to the fruit which is peculiar to its situation 
and kind. 


13. If soils were not different and unlike in their kinds of 
juices, Syria and Arabia would not be the only places in which 
the reeds, rushes, and all the plants are aromatic, and in which 
there are trees bearing frankincense or yielding pepper berries 
and lumps of myrrh, nor would assafoetida be found only in the 
stalks growing in Gyrene, but everything would be of the same 
sort, and produced in the soil of all countries. It is the inclination 
of the firmament and the force of the sun, as it draws nearer or 
recedes in its course, that make these diversities such as we find 
them in different countries and places, through the nature of the 
soil and its juices. And not only in the case of the things men- 
tioned, but also in that of sheep and cattle. These diversities 
would not exist if the different properties of soils and their juices 
were not qualified by the power of the sun. 

14. For instance, there are in Boeotia the rivers Cephisus and 
Melas, in Lucania, the Crathis, in Troy, the Xanthus, and cer- 
tain springs in the country of the Clazomenians, the Erythraeans, 
and the Laodiceans. When sheep are ready for breeding at the 
proper season of the year, they are driven every day during that 
season to those rivers to drink, and the result is that, however 
white they may be, they beget in some places whity-brown 
lambs, in other places gray, and in others black as a raven. Thus, 
the peculiar character of the liquid, entering their body, produces 
in each case the quality with which it is imbued. Hence, it is said 
that the people of Ilium gave the river Xanthus its name because 
reddish cattle and whity-brown sheep are found in the plains of 
Troy near that river. 

15. Deadly kinds of water are also found, which run through 
soil containing a noxious juice, and take in its poisonous quality: 
for instance, there is said to have been a spring at Terracina, 
called the spring of Neptune, which caused the death of those 
who thoughtlessly drank from it. In consequence, it is said that 
the ancients stopped it up. At Chrobs in Thrace there is a lake 
which causes the death not only of those who drink of it, but 
also of those who bathe in it. In Thessaly there is a gushing 


fount of which sheep never taste, nor does any sort of creature 
draw near to it, and close by this fount there is a tree with 
crimson flowers. 

16. In Macedonia, at the place where Euripides is buried, two 
streams approach from the right and left of his tomb, and unite. 
By one of these, travellers are in the habit of lying down and 
taking luncheon, because its water is good ; but nobody goes near 
the stream on the other side of the tomb, because its water is said 
to be death-dealing. In Arcadia there is a tract of land called 
Nonacris, which has extremely cold water trickling from a rock 
in the mountains. This water is called "Water of the Styx," and 
no vessel, whether of silver, bronze, or iron, can stand it without 
flying to pieces and breaking up. Nothing but a mule's hoof can 
keep it together and hold it, and tradition says that it was thus 
conveyed by Antipater through his son lollas into the province 
where Alexander was staying, and that the king was killed by 
him with this water. 

17. Among the Alps in the kingdom of Cottius there is a water 
those who taste of which immediately fall lifeless. In the Falis- 
can country on the Via Campana in the Campus Cornetus is a 
grove in which rises a spring, and there the bones of birds and 
of lizards and other reptiles are seen lying. 

Some springs are acid, as at Lyncestus and in Italy in the Velian 
country, at Teano in Campania, and in many other places. These 
when used as drinks have the power of breaking up stones in the 
bladder, which form in the human body. 

18. This seems to be due to natural causes, as there is a sharp 
and acid juice contained in the soil there, which imparts a sharp- 
ness to these springs as they issue from it; and so, on entering the 
body, they disperse all the deposits and concretions, due to the 
use of other waters, which they find in the body. Why such things 
are broken up by acid waters we can see from the following ex- 
periments. If an egg is left for some time in vinegar, its shell will 
soften and dissolve. Again, if a piece of lead, which is very flex- 
ible and heavy, is put in a vase and vinegar poured over it, and 


the vase covered and sealed up, the lead will be dissolved and 
turn into white lead. 

19. On the same principle, copper, which is naturally more 
solid, will disperse and turn into verdigris if similarly treated. 
So, also, a pearl. Even rocks of lava, which neither iron nor fire 
alone can dissolve, split into pieces and dissolve when heated with 
fire and then sprinkled with vinegar. Hence, since we see these 
things taking place before our very eyes, we can infer that on the 
same principle even patients with the stone may, in the nature 
of things, be cured in like manner by means of acid waters, on 
account of the sharpness of the potion. 

20. Then there are springs in which wine seems to be mingled, 
like the one in Paphlagonia, the water of which intoxicates those 
who drink of the spring alone without wine. The Aequians in 
Italy and the tribe of the Medulli in the Alps have a kind of 
water which causes swellings in the throats of those who drink it. 

21. In Arcadia is the well-known town of Clitor, in whose ter- 
ritory is a cave with running water which makes people who drink 
of it abstemious. At this spring, there is an epigram in Greek 
verses inscribed on stone to the effect that the water is unsuitable 
for bathing, and also injurious to vines, because it was at this 
spring that Melampus cleansed the daughters of Proetus of their 
madness by sacrificial rites, and restored those maidens to their 
former sound state of mind. The inscription runs as written below : 

Swain, if by noontide thirst thou art opprest 

When with thy flocks to Cleitor's bounds thou'st hied, 
Take from this fount a draught, and grant a rest 

To all thy goats the water nymphs beside. 
But bathe not in 't when full of drunken cheer, 

Lest the mere vapour may bring thee to bane; 
Shun my vine-hating spring Melampus here 

From madness once washed Proetus' daughters sane, 
And all th' offscouring here did hide, when they 
From Argos came to rugged Arcady. 

22. In the island of Zea is a spring of which those who thought- 
lessly drink lose their understanding, and an epigram is cut there 


to the effect that a draught from the spring is delightful, but that 
he who drinks will become dull as a stone. These are the verses: 

This stone sweet streams of cooling drink doth drip, 
But stone his wits become who doth it sip. 

23. At Susa, the capital of the Persian kingdom, there is a little 
spring, those who drink of which lose their teeth. An epigram is 
written there, the significance of which is to this effect, that the 
water is excellent for bathing, but that taken as drink, it knocks 
out the teeth by the roots. The verses of this epigram are, in 
Greek, as follows: 

Stranger, you see the waters of a spring 

In which 't is safe for men their hands to lave; 

But if the weedy basin entering 
You drink of its unpalatable wave, 

Your grinders tumble out that self-same day 

From jaws that orphaned sockets will display. 

24. There are also in some places springs which have the pecu- 
liarity of giving fine singing voices to the natives, as at Tarsus in 
Magnesia and in other countries of that kind. Then there is 
Zama, an African city, which King Juba fortified by enclosing it 
with a double wall, and he established his royal residence there. 
Twenty miles from it is the walled town of Ismuc, the lands 
belonging to which are marked off by a marvellous kind of bound- 
ary. For although Africa was the mother and nurse of wild ani- 
mals, particularly serpents, yet not one is ever born in the lands 
of that town, and if ever one is imported and put there, it dies at 
once; and not only this, but if soil is taken from this spot to 
another place, the same is true there. It is said that this kind of 
soil is also found in the Balearic Islands. The above mentioned 
soil has a still more wonderful property, of which I have learned 
in the following way. 

25. Caius Julius, Masinissa's son, who owned all the lands 
about that town, served with Caesar the father. He was once my 
guest. Hence, in our daily intercourse, we naturally talked of 


literary subjects. During a conversation between us on the effi- 
cacy of water and its qualities, he stated that there were springs 
in that country of a kind which caused people born there to have 
fine singing voices, and that consequently they always sent 
abroad and bought handsome lads and ripe girls, and mated 
them, so that their progeny might have not only fine voices but 
also beautiful forms. 

26. This great variety in different things is a distribution due 
to nature, for even the human body, which consists in part of the 
earthy, contains many kinds of juices, such as blood, milk, sweat, 
urine, and tears. If all this variation of flavours is found in a 
small portion of the earthy, we should not be surprised to find in 
the great earth itself countless varieties of juices, through the 
veins of which the water runs, and becomes saturated with them 
before reaching the outlets of springs. In this way, different 
varieties of springs of peculiar kinds are produced, on account of 
diversity of situation, characteristics of country, and dissimilar 
properties of soils. 

27. Some of these things I have seen for myself, others I 
have found written in Greek books, the authorities for these 
writings being Theophrastus, Timaeus, Posidonius, Hegesias, 
Herodotus, Aristides, and Metrodorus. These men with much 
attention and endless pains showed by their writings that the 
peculiarities of sites, the properties of waters, and the charac- 
teristics of countries are conditioned by the inclination of the 
heaven. Following their investigations, I have set down in this 
book what I thought sufficient about different kinds of water, to 
make it easier, by means of these directions, for people to pick 
out springs from which they can conduct the water in aqueducts 
for the use of cities and towns. 

28. For it is obvious that nothing in the world is so necessary 
for use as water, seeing that any living creature can, if deprived 
of grain or fruit or meat or fish, or any one of them, support life 
by using other foodstuffs; but without water no animal nor any 
proper food can be produced, kept in good condition, or prepared. 


Consequently we must take great care and pains in searching for 
springs and selecting them, keeping in view the health of man- 



1. SPRINGS should be tested and proved in advance in the 
following ways. If they run free and open, inspect and observe 
the physique of the people who dwell in the vicinity before begin- 
ning to conduct the water, and if their frames are strong, their 
complexions fresh, legs sound, and eyes clear, the springs de- 
serve complete approval. If it is a spring just dug out, its water 
is excellent if it can be sprinkled into a Corinthian vase or into 
any other sort made of good bronze without leaving a spot on it. 
Again, if such water is boiled in a bronze cauldron, afterwards 
left for a time, and then poured off without sand or mud being 
found at the bottom of the cauldron, that water also will have 
proved its excellence. 

2. And if green vegetables cook quickly when put into a vessel 
of such water and set over a fire, it will be a proof that the water 
is good and wholesome. Likewise if the water in the spring is itself 
limpid and clear, if there is no growth of moss or reeds where it 
spreads and flows, and if its bed is not polluted by filth of any sort 
but has a clean appearance, these signs indicate that the water 
is light and wholesome in the highest degree. 



1. I SHALL now treat of the ways in which water should be 
conducted to dwellings and cities. First comes the method of 
taking the level. Levelling is done either with dioptrae, or with 
water levels, or with the chorobates, but it is done with greater 


accuracy by means of the chorobates, because dioptrae and levels 
are deceptive. The chorobates is a straightedge about twenty 
feet long. At the extremities it has legs, made exactly alike and 
jointed on perpendicularly to the extremities of the straightedge, 
and also crosspieces, fastened by tenons, connecting the straight- 
edge and the legs. These crosspieces have vertical lines drawn 
upon them, and there are plumblines hanging from the straight- 
edge over each of the lines. When the straightedge is in po- 
sition, and the plumblines strike both the lines alike and at the 
same time, they show that the instrument stands level. 

2. But if the wind interposes, and constant motion prevents 
any definite indication by the lines, then have a groove on the 
upper side, five feet long, one digit wide, and a digit and a half 
deep, and pour water into it. If the water comes up uniformly 
to the rims of the groove, it will be known that the instrument is 
level. When the level is thus found by means of the chorobates, 
the amount of fall will also be known. 

3. Perhaps some reader of the works of Archimedes will say 
that there can be no true levelling by means of water, because 
he holds that water has not a level surface, but is of a spheri- 
cal form, having its centre at the centre of the earth. Still, 
whether water is plane or spherical, it necessarily follows that 
when the straightedge is level, it will support the water evenly 
at its extremities on the right and left, but that if it slopes 
down at one end, the water at the higher end will not reach the 
rim of the groove in the straightedge. For though the water, 
wherever poured in, must have a swelling and curvature in the 
centre, yet the extremities on the right and left must be on a level 
with each other. A picture of the chorobates will be found drawn 
at the end of the book. If there is to be a considerable fall, the 
conducting of the water will be comparatively easy. But if the 
course is broken by depressions, we must have recourse to sub- 




1. THERE are three methods of conducting water, in channels 
through masonry conduits, or in lead pipes, or in pipes of baked 
clay. If in conduits, let the masonry be as solid as possible, and 
let the bed of the channel have a gradient of not less than a 
quarter of an inch for every hundred feet, and let the masonry 
structure be arched over, so that the sun may not strike the water 
at all. When it has reached the city, build a reservoir with a dis- 
tribution tank in three compartments connected with the res- 
ervoir to receive the water, and let the reservoir have three pipes, 
one for each of the connecting tanks, so that when the water 
runs over from the tanks at the ends, it may run into the one 
between them. 

2. From this central tank, pipes will be laid to all the basins 
and fountains; from the second tank, to baths, so that they may 
yield an annual income to the state; and from the third, to priv- 
ate houses, so that water for public use will not run short; for 
people will be unable to divert it if they have only their own 
supplies from headquarters. This is the reason why I have made 
these divisions, and also in order that individuals who take water 
into then- houses may by their taxes help to maintain the con- 
ducting of the water by the contractors. 

3. If, however, there are hills between the city and the source 
of supply, subterranean channels must be dug, and brought to a 
level at the gradient mentioned above. If the bed is of tufa or 
other stone, let the channel be cut in it; but if it is of earth or 
sand, there must be vaulted masonry walls for the channel, and 
the water should thus be conducted, with shafts built at every 
two hundred and forty feet. 

4. But if the water is to be conducted in lead pipes, first build 
a reservoir at the source; then, let the pipes have an interior area 
corresponding to the amount of water, and lay these pipes from 


this reservoir to the reservoir which is inside the city walls. The 
pipes should be cast in lengths of at least ten feet. If they are 
hundreds, they should weigh 1200 pounds each length; if eight- 
ies, 960 pounds; if fifties, 600 pounds; forties, 480 pounds; 
thirties, 360 pounds; twenties, 240 pounds; fifteens, 180 pounds; 
tens, 120 pounds; eights, 100 pounds; fives, 60 pounds. The pipes 
get the names of their sizes from the width of the plates, taken 
in digits, before they are rolled into tubes. Thus, when a pipe 
is made from a plate fifty digits in width, it will be called a 
"fifty," and so on with the rest. 

5. The conducting of the water through lead pipes is to be 
managed as follows. If there is a regular fall from the source to 
the city, without any intervening hills that are high enough to 
interrupt it, but with depressions in it, then we must build sub- 
structures to bring it up to the level as in the case of channels and 
conduits. If the distance round such depressions is not great, 
the water may be carried round circuitously; but if the valleys 
are extensive, the course will be directed down their slope. On 
reaching the bottom, a low substructure is built so that the level 
there may continue as long as possible. This will form the 
"venter," termed KotXfo by the Greeks. Then, on reaching the 
hill on the opposite side, the length of the venter makes the water 
slow in swelling up to rise to the top of the hill. 

6. But if there is no such venter made in the valleys, nor any 
substructure built on a level, but merely an elbow, the water 
will break out, and burst the joints of the pipes. And in the ven- 
ter, water cushions must be constructed to relieve the pressure 
of the air. Thus, those who have to conduct water through lead 
pipes will do it most successfully on these principles, because its 
descents, circuits, venters, and risings can be managed in this 
way, when the level of the fall from the sources to the city is once 

7. It is also not ineffectual to build reservoirs at intervals of 
24,000 feet, so that if a break occurs anywhere, it will not com- 
pletely ruin the whole work, and the place where it has occurred 


can easily be found; but such reservoirs should not be built at a 
descent, nor in the plane of a venter, nor at risings, nor any- 
where in valleys, but only where there is an unbroken level. 

8. But if we wish to spend less money, we must proceed as 
follows. Clay pipes with a skin at least two digits thick should 
be made, but these pipes should be tongued at one end so that 
they can fit into and join one another. Then' joints must be coated 
with quicklime mixed with oil, and at the angles of the level of 
the venter a piece of red tufa stone, with a hole bored through it, 
must be placed right at the elbow, so that the last length of pipe 
used in the descent is jointed into the stone, and also the first 
length of the level of the venter; similarly at the hill on the oppo- 
site side the last length of the level of the venter should stick into 
the hole in the red tufa, and the first of the rise should be simi- 
larly jointed into it. 

9. The level of the pipes being thus adjusted, they will not be 
sprung out of place by the force generated at the descent and at 
the rising. For a strong current of air is generated in an aque- 
duct which bursts its way even through stones unless the water is 
let in slowly and sparingly from the source at first, and checked 
at the elbows or turns by bands, or by the weight of sand ballast. 
All the other arrangements should be made as in the case of lead 
pipes. And ashes are to be put in beforehand when the water is 
let in from the source for the first time, so that if any of the joints 
have not been sufficiently coated, they may be coated with ashes. 

10. Clay pipes for conducting water have the following ad- 
vantages. In the first place, in construction : if anything hap- 
pens to them, anybody can repair the damage. Secondly, water 
from clay pipes is much more wholesome than that which is con- 
ducted through lead pipes, because lead is found to be harmful 
for the reason that white lead is derived from it, and this is said 
to be hurtful to the human system. Hence, if what is produced 
from it is harmful, no doubt the thing itself is not wholesome. 

11. This we can exemplify from plumbers, since in them the 
natural colour of the body is replaced by a deep pallor. For when 


lead is smelted in casting, the fumes from it settle upon their 
members, and day after day burn out and take away all the vir- 
tues of the blood from their limbs. Hence, water ought by no 
means to be conducted in lead pipes, if we want to have it whole- 
some. That the taste is better when it comes from clay pipes may 
be proved by everyday life, for though our tables are loaded with 
silver vessels, yet everybody uses earthenware for the sake of 
purity of taste. 

12. But if there are no springs from which we can construct 
aqueducts, it is necessary to dig wells. Now in the digging of wells 
we must not disdain reflection, but must devote much acuteness 
and skill to the consideration of the natural principles of things, 
because the earth contains many various substances in itself; for 
like everything else, it is composed of the four elements. In the 
first place, it is itself earthy, and of moisture it contains springs 
of water, also heat, which produces sulphur, alum, and asphalt; 
and finally, it contains great currents of air, which, coming up in 
a pregnant state through the porous fissures to the places where 
wells are being dug, and finding men engaged in digging there, 
stop up the breath of life in then- nostrils by the natural strength 
of the exhalation. So those who do not quickly escape from the 
spot, are killed there. 

13. Toguard against this, we must proceedas follows. Letdown 
a lighted lamp, and if it keeps on burning, a man may make the 
descent without danger. But if the light is put out by the strength 
of the exhalation, then dig air shafts beside the well on the right 
and left. Thus the vapours will be carried off by the air shafts as 
if through nostrils. When these are finished and we come to the 
water, then a wall should be built round the well without stop- 
ping up the vein. 

14. But if the ground is hard, or if the veins lie too deep, the 
water supply must be obtained from roofs or higher ground, and 
collected in cisterns of "signinum work." Signinum work is made 
as follows. In the first place, procure the cleanest and sharpest 
sand, break up lava into bits of not more than a pound in weight, 


and mix the sand in a mortar trough with the strongest lime in 
the proportion of five parts of sand to two of lime. The trench 
for the signinum work, down to the level of the proposed depth 
of the cistern, should be beaten with wooden beetles covered with 

15. Then after having beaten the walls, let all the earth be- 
tween them be cleared out to a level with the very bottom of the 
walls. Having evened this off, let the ground be beaten to the 
proper density. If such constructions are in two compartments 
or in three so as to insure clearing by changing from one to an- 
other, they will make the water much more wholesome and 
sweeter to use. For it will become more limpid, and keep its 
taste without any smell, if the mud has somewhere to settle; 
otherwise it will be necessary to clear it by adding salt. 

In this book I have put what I could about the merits and va- 
rieties of water, its usefulness, and the ways in which it should 
be conducted and tested; in the next I shall write about the sub- 
ject of dialling and the principles of timepieces. 




1. THE ancestors of the Greeks have appointed such great 
honours for the famous athletes who are victorious at the Olym- 
pian, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean games, that they are not 
only greeted with applause as they stand with palm and crown at 
the meeting itself, but even on returning to their several states 
in the triumph of victory, they ride into their cities and to their 
fathers' houses in four-horse chariots, and enjoy fixed revenues 
for life at the public expense. When I think of this, I am amazed 
that the same honours and even greater are not bestowed upon 
those authors whose boundless ^ services are performed for all 
time and for all nations. This would have been a practice all the 
more worth establishing, because in the case of athletes it is 
merely then- own bodily frame that is strengthened by their 
training, whereas in the case of authors it is the mind, and not 
only their own but also man's in general, by the doctrines laid 
down in their books for the acquiring of knowledge and the 
sharpening of the intellect. 

2. What does it signify to mankind that Milo of Croton and 
other victors of his class were invincible? Nothing, save that in 
their lifetime they were famous among their countrymen. But 
the doctrines of Pythagoras, Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle, 
and the daily life of other learned men, spent in constant in- 
dustry, yield fresh and rich fruit, not only to their own country- 
men, but also to all nations. And they who from then- tender 
years are filled with the plenteous learning which this fruit 
affords, attain to the highest capacity of knowledge, and can 
introduce into then- states civilized ways, impartial justice, 
and laws, things without which no state can be sound. 

3. Since, therefore, these great benefits to individuals and to 
communities are due to the wisdom of authors, I think that not 


only should palms and crowns be bestowed upon them, but that 
they should even be granted triumphs, and judged worthy of 
being consecrated in the dwellings of the gods. 

Of their many discoveries which have been useful for the de- 
velopment of human life, I will cite a few examples. On review- 
ing these, people will admit that honours ought of necessity to 
be bestowed upon them. 

4. First of all, among the many very useful theorems of Plato, 
I will cite one as demonstrated by him. Suppose there is a place 
or a field in the form of a square and we are required to double 
it. This has to be effected by means of lines correctly drawn, for 
it will take a kind of calculation not to be made by means of mere 
multiplication. The following is the demonstration. A square 
place ten feet long and ten feet wide gives an area of one hun- 
dred feet. Now if it is required to double the square, and to make 
one of two hundred feet, we must ask how long will be the side 
of that square so as to get from this the two hundred feet corres- 
ponding to the doubling of the area. Nobody can find this by 
means of arithmetic. For if we take fourteen, multiplication will 
give one hundred and ninety-six feet; if fifteen, two hundred and 
twenty-five feet. 

5. Therefore, since this is inexplicable by arithmetic, let a 
diagonal line be drawn from angle to angle of that square of ten 
feet in length and width, dividing it into two triangles of equal 
size, each fifty feet in area. Taking this diagonal line as the length, 
describe another square. Thus we shall have in the larger square 
four triangles of the same size and the same number of feet as the 
two of fifty feet each which were formed by the diagonal line in 
the smaller square. In this way Plato demonstrated the doubling 
by means of lines, as the figure appended at the bottom of the 
page will show. 

6. Then again, Pythagoras showed that a right angle can be 
formed without the contrivances of the artisan. Thus, the 
result which carpenters reach very laboriously, but scarcely to 
exactness, with their squares, can be demonstrated to perfec- 


tion from the reasoning and methods of his teaching. If we 
take three rules, one three feet, the second four feet, and the 
third five feet in length, and join these rules together with their 
tips touching each other so as to make a triangular figure, they 
will form a right angle. Now if a square be described on the 
length of each one of these rules, the square on the side of three 
feet in length will have an area of nine feet; of four feet, six- 
teen; of five, twenty -five. 

7. Thus the area in number of feet made up of the two squares 
on the sides three and four feet in length is equalled by that of 
the one square described on the side of five. When Pythagoras 
discovered this fact, he had no doubt that the Muses had guided 
him in the discovery, and it is said that he very gratefully offered 
sacrifice to them. 

This theorem affords a useful means of measuring many things, 
and it is particularly serviceable in the building of staircases in 
buildings, so that the steps may be at the proper levels. 

8. Suppose the height of the story, from the flooring above 
to the ground below, to be divided into three parts. Five of these 
will give the right length for the stringers of the stairway. Let 
four parts, each equal to one of the three composing the height 
between the upper story and the ground, be set off from the per- 
pendicular, and there fix the lower ends of the stringers. In this 
manner the steps and the stairway itself will be properly placed. 
A figure of this also will be found appended below. 

9. In the case of Archimedes, although he made many wonder- 
ful discoveries of diverse kinds, yet of them all, the following, which 
I shall relate, seems to have been the result of a boundless in- 
genuity. Hiero, after gaining the royal power in Syracuse, re- 
solved, as a consequence of his successful exploits, to place in a 
certain temple a golden crown which he had vowed to the immor- 
tal gods. He contracted for its making at a fixed price, and 
weighed out a precise amount of gold to the contractor. At the 
appointed time the latter delivered to the king's satisfaction an 
exquisitely finished piece of handiwork, and it appeared that in 


weight the crown corresponded precisely to what the gold had 

10. But afterwards a charge was made that gold had been ab- 
stracted and an equivalent weight of silver had been added in the 
manufacture of the crown. Hiero, thinking it an outrage that he 
had been tricked, and yet not knowing how to detect the theft, re- 
quested Archimedes to consider the matter. The latter, while the 
case was still on his mind, happened to go to the bath, and on 
getting into a tub observed that the more his body sank into it 
the more water ran out over the tub. As this pointed out the way 
to explain the case in question, without a moment's delay, and 
transported with joy, he jumped out of the tub and rushed home 
naked, crying with a loud voice that he had found what he was 
seeking; for as he ran he shouted repeatedly in Greek, "Evpyica, 

11. Taking this as the beginning of his discovery, it is said that 
he made two masses of the same weight as the crown, one of gold 
and the other of silver. After making them, he filled a large vessel 
with water to the very brim, and dropped the mass of silver into 
it. As much water ran out as was equal in bulk to that of the sil- 
ver sunk in the vessel. Then, taking out the mass, he poured back 
the lost quantity of water, using a pint measure, until it was 
level with the brim as it had been before. Thus he found the 
weight of silver corresponding to a definite quantity of water. 

12. After this experiment, he likewise dropped the mass of gold 
into the full vessel and, on taking it out and measuring as before, 
found that not so much water was lost, but a smaller quantity: 
namely, as much less as a mass of gold lacks in bulk compared to 
a mass of silver of the same weight. Finally, filling the vessel again 
and dropping the crown itself into the same quantity of water, he 
found that more water ran over for the crown than for the mass 
of gold of the same weight. Hence, reasoning from the fact that 
more water was lost in the case of the crown than in that of the 
mass, he detected the mixing of silver with the gold, and made 
the theft of the contractor perfectly clear. 


13. Now let us turn our thoughts to the researches of Archytas 
of Tarentum and Eratosthenes of Cyrene. They made many dis- 
coveries from mathematics which are welcome to men, and so, 
though they deserve our thanks for other discoveries, they are 
particularly worthy of admiration for their ideas in that field. 
For example, each in a different way solved the problem enjoined 
upon Delos by Apollo in an oracle, the doubling of the number of 
cubic feet in his altars; this done, he said, the inhabitants of the 
island would be delivered from an offence against religion. 

14. Archytas solved it by his figure of the semicylinders; 
Eratosthenes, by means of the instrument called the mesolabe. 

Noting all these things with the great delight which learning 
gives, we cannot but be stirred by these discoveries when we 
reflect upon the influence of them one by one. I find also much for 
admiration in the books of Democritus on nature, and in his com- 
mentary entitled Xeipoxurjra, in which he made use of his ring 
to seal with soft wax the principles which he had himself put 
to the test. 

15. These, then, were men whose researches are an everlast- 
ing possession, not only for the improvement of character but also 
for general utility. The fame of athletes, however, soon declines 
with their bodily powers. Neither when they are in the flower of 
their strength, nor afterwards with posterity, can they do for 
human life what is done by the researches of the learned. 

16. But although honours are not bestowed upon authors for 
excellence of character and teaching, yet as their minds, naturally 
looking up to the higher regions of the air, are raised to the sky 
on the steps of history, it must needs be, that not merely their 
doctrines, but even their appearance, should be known to poster- 
ity through time eternal. Hence, men whose souls are aroused 
by the delights of literature cannot but carry enshrined in their 
hearts the likeness of the poet Ennius, as they do those of the 
gods. Those who are devotedly attached to the poems of Accius 
seem to have before them not merely his vigorous language but 
even his very figure. 

256 VITRUVroS [BOOK ix 

17. So, too, numbers born after our time will feel as if they were 
discussing nature face to face with Lucretius, or the art of rhetoric 
with Cicero; many of our posterity will confer with Varro on the 
Latin language; likewise, there will be numerous scholars who, 
as they weigh many points with the wise among the Greeks, will 
feel as if they were carrying on private conversations with them. 
In a word, the opinions of learned authors, though their bodily 
forms are absent, gain strength as time goes on, and, when tak- 
ing part in councils and discussions, have greater weight than 
those of any living men. 

18. Such, Caesar, are the authorities on whom I have'depended, 
and applying their views and opinions I have written the present 
books, in the first seven treating of buildings and in the eighth 
of water. In this I shall set forth the rules for dialling, showing 
how they are found through the shadows cast by the gnomon from 
the sun's rays in the firmament, and on what principles these 
shadows lengthen and shorten. 



1. IT is due to the divine intelligence and is a very great 
wonder to all who reflect upon it, that the shadow of a gnomon at 
the equinox is of one length in Athens, of another in Alexandria, 
of another in Rome, and not the same at Piacenza, or at other 
places in the world. Hence drawings for dials are very different 
from one another, corresponding to differences of situation. This 
is because the length of the shadow at the equinox is used in 
constructing the figure of the analemma, in accordance with 
which the hours are marked to conform to the situation and the 
shadow of the gnomon. The analemma is a basis for calculation 
deduced from the course of the sun, and found by observation 
of the shadow as it increases until the winter solstice. By means 
of this, through architectural principles and the employment of 
the compasses, we find out the operation of the sun in the uni- 

2. The word "universe" means the general assemblage of all 
nature, and it also means the heaven that is made up of the 
constellations and the courses of the stars. The heaven revolves 
steadily round earth and sea on the pivots at the ends of its axis. 
The architect at these points was the power of Nature, and she 
put the pivots there, to be, as it were, centres, one of them above 
the earth and sea at the very top of the firmament and even be- 
yond the stars composing the Great Bear, the other on the op- 
posite side under the earth in the regions of the south. Round 
these pivots (termed in Greek ?rJXot) as centres, like those of 
a turning lathe, she formed the circles in which the heaven passes 
on its everlasting way. In the midst thereof, the earth and sea 
naturally occupy the central point. 

3. It follows from this natural arrangement that the central 
point in the north is high above the earth, while on the south, the 


region below, it is beneath the earth and consequently hidden by 
it. Furthermore, across the middle, and obliquely inclined to the 
south, there is a broad circular belt composed of the twelve signs, 
whose stars, arranged in twelve equivalent divisions, represent 
each a shape which nature has depicted. And so with the firma- 
ment and the other constellations, they move round the earth 
and sea in glittering array, completing their orbits according to 
the spherical shape of the heaven. 

4. They are all visible or invisible according to fixed times. 
While six of the signs are passing along with the heaven above 
the earth, the other six are moving under the earth and hidden by 
its shadow. But there are always six of them making their way 
above the earth; for, corresponding to that part of the last sign 
which in the course of its revolution has to sink, pass under the 
earth, and become concealed, an equivalent part of the sign oppo- 
site to it is obliged by the law of their common revolution to 
pass up and, having completed its circuit, to emerge out of the 
darkness into the light of the open space on the other side. This 
is because the rising and setting of both are subject to one and 
the same power and law. 

5. While these signs, twelve in number and occupying each 
one twelfth part of the firmament, steadily revolve from east to 
west, the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, as well as Mars, Jupi- 
ter, and Saturn, differing from one another in the magnitude of 
their orbits as though their courses were at different points in a 
flight of steps, pass through those signs in just the opposite direc- 
tion, from west to east in the firmament. The moon makes her 
circuit of the heaven in twenty-eight days plus about an hour, 
and with her return to the sign from which she set forth, completes 
a lunar month. 

6. The sun takes a full month to move across the space of one 
sign, that is, one twelfth of the firmament. Consequently, in 
twelve months he traverses the spaces of the twelve signs, and, 
on returning to the sign from which he began, completes the 
period of a full year. Hence, the circuit made by the moon thir- 


teen times in twelve months, is measured by the sun only once 
in the same number of months. But Mercury and Venus, their 
paths wreathing around the sun's rays as their centre, retro- 
grade and delay their movements, and so, from the nature of 
that circuit, sometimes wait at stopping-places within the spaces 
of the signs. 

7. This fact may best be recognized from Venus. When she 
is following the sun, she makes her appearance in the sky after 
his setting, and is then called the Evening Star, shining most 
brilliantly. At other times she precedes him, rising before day- 
break, and is named the Morning Star. Thus Mercury and 
Venus sometimes delay in one sign for a good many days, and 
at others advance pretty rapidly into another sign. They do not 
spend the same number of days in every sign, but the longer 
they have previously delayed, the more rapidly they accomplish 
their journeys after passing into the next sign, and thus they 
complete their appointed course. Consequently, in spite of their 
delay in some of the signs, they nevertheless soon reach the pro- 
per place in their orbits after freeing themselves from their en- 
forced delay. 

8. Mercury, on his journey through the heavens, passes through 
the spaces of the signs in three hundred and sixty days, and so 
arrives at the sign from which he set out on his course at the be- 
ginning of his revolution. His average rate of movement is such 
that he has about thirty days in each sign. 

9. Venus, on becoming free from the hindrance of the sun's 
rays, crosses the space of a sign in thirty days. Though she thus 
stays less than forty days in particular signs, she makes good the 
required amount by delaying in one sign when she comes to a 
pause. Therefore she completes her total revolution in heaven in 
four hundred and eighty-five days, and once more enters the sign 
from which she previously began to move. 

10. Mars, after traversing the spaces of the constellations for 
about six hundred and eighty-three days, arrives at the point 
from which he had before set out at the beginning of his course, 


and while he passes through some of the signs more rapidly than 
others, he makes up the required number of days whenever he 
comes to a pause. Jupiter, climbing with gentler pace against the 
revolution of the firmament, travels through each sign in about 
three hundred and sixty days, and finishes in eleven years and 
three hundred and thirteen days, returning to the sign in which he 
had been twelve years before. Saturn, traversing the space of 
one sign in twenty-nine months plus a few days, is restored after 
twenty-nine years and about one hundred and sixty days to that 
in which he had been thirty years before. He is, as it appears, 
slower, because the nearer he is to the outermost part of the fir- 
mament, the greater is the orbit through which he has to pass. 

11. The three that complete their circuits above the sun's 
course do not make progress while they are in the triangle which 
he has entered, but retrograde and pause until the sun has 
crossed from that triangle into another sign. Some hold that this 
takes place because, as they say, when the sun is a great dis- 
tance off, the paths on which these stars wander are without 
light on account of that distance, and so the darkness retards 
and hinders them. But I do not think that this is so. The splen- 
dour of the sun is clearly to be seen, and manifest without any 
kind of obscurity, throughout the whole firmament, so that those 
very retrograde movements and pauses of the stars are visible 
even to us. 

12. If then, at this great distance, our human vision can discern 
that sight, why, pray, are we to think that the divine splendour of 
the stars can be cast into darkness? Rather will the following way 
of accounting for it prove to be correct. Heat summons and at- 
tracts everything towards itself; for instance, we see the fruits 
of the earth growing up high under the influence of heat, and that 
spring water is vapourised and drawn up to the clouds at sunrise. 
On the same principle, the mighty influence of the sun, with 
his rays diverging in the form of a triangle, attracts the stars 
which follow him, and, as it were, curbs and restrains those that 
precede, not allowing them to make progress, but obliging them 


to retrograde towards himself until he passes out into the sign 
that belongs to a different triangle. 

13. Perhaps the question will be raised, why the sun by his 
great heat causes these detentions in the fifth sign from himself 
rather than in the second or third, which are nearer. I will there- 
fore set forth what seems to be the reason. His rays diverge 
through the firmament in straight lines as though forming an 
equilateral triangle, that is, to the fifth sign from the sun, no 
more, no less. If his rays were diffused in circuits spreading all 
over the firmament, instead of in straight lines diverging so as to 
form a triangle, they would burn up all the nearer objects. This 
is a fact which the Greek poet Euripides seems to have remarked; 
for he says that places at a greater distance from the sun are in 
a violent heat, and that those which are nearer he keeps temper- 
ate. Thus in the play of Phaethon, the poet writes: icatei rA 
Troppai, rayyvdev 8' evtcpar' ^et. 

14. If then, fact and reason and the evidence of an ancient 
poet point to this explanation, I do not see why we should decide 
otherwise than as I have written above on this subject. 

Jupiter, whose orbit is between those of Mars and Saturn, 
traverses a longer course than Mars, and a shorter than Saturn. 
Likewise with the rest of these stars: the farther they are from the 
outermost limits of the heaven, and the nearer their orbits to the 
earth, the sooner they are seen to finish their courses; for those 
of them that have a smaller orbit often pass those that are higher, 
going under them. 

15. For example, place seven ants on a wheel such as potters 
use, having made seven channels on the wheel about the centre, 
increasing successively in circumference; and suppose those ants 
obliged to make a circuit in these channels while the wheel is 
turned in the opposite direction. In spite of having to move 
in a direction contrary to that of the wheel, the ants must neces- 
sarily complete their journeys in the opposite direction, and that 
ant which is nearest the centre must finish its circuit sooner, 
while the ant that is going round at the outer edge of the disc of 


the wheel must, on account of the size of its circuit, be much 
slower in completing its course, even though it is moving just 
as quickly as the other. In the same way, these stars, which 
struggle on against the course of the firmament, are accomplish- 
ing an orbit on paths of their own; but, owing to the revolution 
of the heaven, they are swept back as it goes round every day. 

16. The reason why some of these stars are temperate, others 
hot, and others cold, appears to be this: that the flame of every 
kind of fire rises to higher places. Consequently, the burning 
rays of the sun make the ether above him white hot, in the re- 
gions of the course of Mars, and so the heat of the sun makes him 
hot. Saturn, on the contrary, being nearest to the outermost limit 
of the firmament and bordering on the quarters of the heaven 
which are frozen, is excessively cold. Hence, Jupiter, whose course 
is between the orbits of these two, appears to have a moderate 
and very temperate influence, intermediate between their cold 
and heat. 

I have now described, as I have received them from my teacher, 
the belt of the twelve signs and the seven stars that work and 
move in the opposite direction, with the laws and numerical re- 
lations under which they pass from sign to sign, and how they 
complete their orbits. I shall next speak of the waxing and wan- 
ing of the moon, according to the accounts of my predecessors. 



1. ACCORDING to the teaching of Berosus, who came from the 
state, or rather nation, of the Chaldees, and was the pioneer of 
Chaldean learning in Asia, the moon is a ball, one half luminous 
and the rest of a blue colour. When, in the course of her orbit, she 
has passed below the disc of the sun, she is attracted by his rays 
and great heat, and turns thither her luminous side, on account 
of the sympathy between light and light. Being thus summoned 


by the sun's disc and facing upward, her lower half, as it is not 
luminous, is invisible on account of its likeness to the air. When 
she is perpendicular to the sun's rays, all her light is confined to 
her upper surface, and she is then called the new moon. 

2. As she moves on, passing by to the east, the effect of the sun 
upon her relaxes, and the outer edge of the luminous side sheds 
its light upon the earth in an exceedingly thin line. This is called 
the second day of the moon. Day by day she is further relieved 
and turns, and thus are numbered the third, fourth, and following 
days. On the seventh day, the sun being in the west and the 
moon in the middle of the firmament between the east and west, 
she is half the extent of the firmament distant from the sun, 
and therefore half of the luminous side is turned toward the earth. 
But when the sun and moon are separated by the entire extent 
of the firmament, and the moon is in the east with the sun over 
against her in the west, she is completely relieved by her still 
greater distance from his rays, and so, on the fourteenth day, she 
is at the full, and her entire disc emits its light. On the succeeding 
days, up to the end of the month, she wanes daily as she turns in 
her course, being recalled by the sun until she comes under his 
disc and rays, thus completing the count of the days of the month. 

3. But Aristarchus of Samos, a mathematician of great powers, 
has left a different explanation in his teaching on this subject, as 
I shall now set forth. It is no secret that the moon has no light of 
her own, but is, as it were, a mirror, receiving brightness from the 
influence of the sun. Of all the seven stars, the moon traverses 
the shortest orbit, and her course is nearest to the earth. Hence 
in every month, on the day before she gets past the sun, she is 
under his disc and rays, and is consequently hidden and invis- 
ible. When she is thus in conjunction with the sun, she is called 
the new moon. On the next day, reckoned as her second, she gets 
past the sun and shows the thin edge of her sphere. Three days 
away from the sun, she waxes and grows brighter. Removing 
further every day till she reaches the seventh, when her distance 
from the sun at his setting is about one half the extent of the 


firmament, one half of her is luminous: that is, the half which 
faces toward the sun is lighted up by him. 

4. On the fourteenth day, being diametrically across the whole 
extent of the firmament from the sun, she is at her full and rises 
when the sun is setting. For, as she takes her place over against 
him and distant the whole extent of the firmament, she thus re- 
ceives the light from the sun throughout her entire orb. On the 
seventeenth day, at sunrise, she is inclining to the west. On the 
twenty -second day, after sunrise, the moon is about mid-heaven; 
hence, the side exposed to the sun is bright and the rest dark. 
Continuing thus her daily course, she passes under the rays of the 
sun on about the twenty-eighth day, and so completes the ac- 
count of the month. 

I will next explain how the sun, passing through a different 
sign each month, causes the days and hours to increase and 
diminish in length. 



1. THE sun, after entering the sign Aries and passing through 
one eighth of it, determines the vernal equinox. On reaching the 
tail of Taurus and the constellation of the Pleiades, from which 
the front half of Taurus projects, he advances into a space greater 
than half the firmament, moving toward the north. From Taurus 
he enters Gemini at the time of the rising of the Pleiades, and, 
getting higher above the earth, he increases the length of the 
days. Next, coming from Gemini into Cancer, which occupies the 
shortest space in heaven, and after traversing one eighth of it, he 
determines the summer solstice. Continuing on, he reaches the 
head and breast of Leo, portions which are reckoned as belong- 
ing to Cancer. 

2. After leaving the breast of Leo and the boundaries of 
Cancer, the sun, traversing the rest of Leo, makes the days shorter, 
diminishing the size of his circuit, and returning to the same 


course that he had in Gemini. Next, crossing from Leo into Virgo, 
and advancing as far as the bosom of her garment, he still fur- 
ther shortens his circuit, making his course equal to what it was 
in Taurus. Advancing from Virgo by way of the bosom of her 
garment, which forms the first part of Libra, he determines the 
autumn equinox at the end of one eighth of Libra. Here his 
course is equal to what his circuit was in the sign Aries. 

3. When the sun has entered Scorpio, at the time of the setting 
of the Pleiades, he begins to make the days shorter as he advances 
toward the south. From Scorpio he enters Sagittarius and, on 
reaching the thighs, his daily course is still further diminished. 
From the thighs of Sagittarius, which are reckoned as part of 
Capricornus, he reaches the end of the first eighth of the latter, 
where his course in heaven is shortest. Consequently, this sea- 
son, from the shortness of the day, is called bruma or dies bru- 
males. Crossing from Capricornus into Aquarius, he causes the 
days to increase to the length which they had when he was in 
Sagittarius. From Aquarius he enters Pisces at the time when 
Favonius begins to blow, and here his course is the same as in 
Scorpio. In this way the sun passes round through the signs, 
lengthening or shortening the days and hours at definite 

I shall next speak of the other constellations formed by ar- 
rangements of stars, and lying to the right and left of the belt of 
the signs, in the southern and northern portions of the firmament. 



1. THE Great Bear, called in Greek a/3ro? or eXwcjj, has her 
Warden behind her. Near him is the Virgin, on whose right shoul- 
der rests a very bright star which we call Harbinger of the Vin- 
tage, and the Greeks -rpoTptrfr}^. But Spica in that constella- 
tion is brighter. Opposite there is another star, coloured, between 


the knees of the Bear Warden, dedicated there under the name of 

2. Opposite the head of the Bear, at an angle with the feet 
of the Twins, is the Charioteer, standing on the tip of the horn 
of the Bull; hence, one and the same star is found in the tip of 
the left horn of the Bull and in the right foot of the Charioteer. 
Supported on the hand of the Charioteer are the Kids, with the 
She-Goat at his left shoulder. Above the Bull and the Ram is 
Perseus, having at his right . . - 1 with the Pleiades moving 
beneath, and at his left the head of the Ram. His right hand 
rests on the likeness of Cassiopea, and with his left he holds the 
Gorgon's head by its top over the Ram, laying it at the feet of 

3. Above Andromeda are the Fishes, one above her belly and 
the other above the backbone of the Horse. A very bright 
star terminates both the belly of the Horse and the head of 
Andromeda. Andromeda's right hand rests above the likeness 
of Cassiopea, and her left above the Northern Fish. The Water- 
man's head is above that of the Horse. The Horse's hoofs lie 
close to the Waterman's knees. Cassiopea is set apart in the 
midst. High above the He-Goat are the Eagle and the Dolphin, 
and near them is the Arrow. Farther on is the Bird, whose right 
wing grazes the head and sceptre of Cepheus, with its left resting 
over Cassiopea. Under the tail of the Bird lie the feet of the 

4. Above the Archer, Scorpion, and Balance, is the Serpent, 
reaching to the Crown with the end of its snout. Next, the Ser- 
pent-holder grasps the Serpent about the middle in his hands, 
and with his left foot treads squarely on the foreparts of the 
Scorpion. A little way from the head of the Serpent-holder is the 
head of the so-called Kneeler. Their heads are the more readily 
to be distinguished as the stars which compose them are by no 
means dim. 

1 From this point to the end of section 3 the text is often hopelessly corrupt. The 
translation follows, approximately, the manuscript reading, but cannot pretend to be 


5. The foot of the Kneeler rests on the temple of that Ser- 
pent which is entwined between the She-Bears (called Septen- 
triones) . The little Dolphin moves in front of the Horse. Opposite 
the bill of the Bird is the Lyre. The Crown is arranged between 
the shoulders of the Warden and the Kneeler. In the northern 
circle are the two She-Bears with their shoulder-blades con- 
fronting and their breasts turned away from one another. The 
Greeks call the Lesser Bear icvvwrovpa, and the Greater eXbcTj. 
Their heads face different ways, and their tails are shaped so 
that each is in front of the head of the other Bear; for the tails 
of both stick up over them. 

6. The Serpent is said to lie stretched out between their tails, 
and in it there is a star, called Polus, shining near the head of the 
Greater Bear. At the nearest point, the Serpent winds its head 
round, but is also flung in a fold round the head of the Lesser 
Bear, and stretches out close to her feet. Here it twists back, 
making another fold, and, lifting itself up, bends its snout and 
right temple from the head of the Lesser Bear round towards 
the Greater. Above the tail of the Lesser Bear are the feet of 
Cepheus, and at this point, at the very top, are stars forming an 
equilateral triangle. There are a good many stars common to 
the Lesser Bear and to Cepheus. 

I have now mentioned the constellations which are arranged 
in the heaven to the right of the east, between the belt of the signs 
and the north. I shall next describe those that Nature has dis- 
tributed to the left of the east and in the southern regions. 



1. FIRST, under the He-Goat lies the Southern Fish, facing 
towards the tail of the Whale. The Censer is under the Scorpion's 
sting. The fore parts of the Centaur are next to the Balance and 
the Scorpion, and he holds in his hands the figure which astrono- 


mers call the Beast. Beneath the Virgin, Lion, and Crab is the 
twisted girdle formed by the Snake, extending over a whole line 
of stars, his snout raised near the Crab, supporting the Bowl with 
the middle of his body near the Lion, and bringing his tail, on 
which is the Raven, under and near the hand of the Virgin. The 
region above his shoulders is equally bright. 

2. Beneath the Snake's belly, at the tail, lies the Centaur. 
Near the Bowl and the Lion is the ship named Argo. Her bow is 
invisible, but her mast and the parts about the helm are in plain 
sight, the stern of the vessel joining the Dog at the tip of his 
tail. The Little Dog follows the Twins, and is opposite the Snake's 
head. The Greater Dog follows the Lesser. Orion lies aslant, 
under the Bull's hoof; in his left hand grasping his club, and rais- 
ing the other toward the Twins. 

3. At his feet is the Dog, following a little behind the Hare. 
The Whale lies under the Ram and the Fishes, and from his mane 
there is a slight sprinkling of stars, called in Greek dpTreS6vai, 
regularly disposed towards each of the Fishes. This ligature by 
which they hang is carried a great way inwards, but reaches out 
to the top of the mane of the Whale. The River, formed of stars, 
flows from a source at the left foot of Orion. But the Water, 
said to pour from the Waterman, flows between the head of the 
Southern Fish and the tail of the Whale. 

4. These constellations, whose outlines and shapes in the 
heavens were designed by Nature and the divine intelligence, I 
have described according to the view of the natural philosopher 
Democritus, but only those whose risings and settings we can 
observe and see with our own eyes. Just as the Bears turn round 
the pivot of the axis without ever setting or sinking under the 
earth, there are likewise stars that keep turning round the south- 
ern pivot, which on account of the inclination of the firmament 
lies always under the earth, and, being hidden there, they never 
rise and emerge above the earth. Consequently, the figures which 
they form are unknown to us on account of the interposition of 
the earth. The star Canopus proves this. It is unknown to our. 


vicinity; but we have reports of it from merchants who have been 
to the most distant part of Egypt, and to regions bordering on 
the uttermost boundaries of the earth. 



1. I HAVE shown how the firmament, and the twelve signs with 
the constellations arranged to the north and south of them, fly 
round the earth, so that the matter may be clearly understood. 
For it is from this revolution of the firmament, from the course 
of the sun through the signs in the opposite direction, and from 
the shadows cast by equinoctial gnomons, that we find the 
figure of the analemma. 

2. As for the branch of astronomy which concerns the influences 
of the twelve signs, the five stars, the sun, and the moon upon 
human life, we must leave all this to the calculations of the Chal- 
deans, to whom belongs the artof casting nativities, which enables 
them to declare the past and the future by means of calculations 
based on the stars. These discoveries have been transmitted by 
the men of genius and great acuteness who sprang directly from 
the nation of the Chaldeans; first of all, by Berosus, who settled 
in the island state of Cos, and there opened a school. Afterwards 
Antipater pursued the subject; then there was Archinapolus, who 
also left rules for casting nativities, based not on the moment of 
birth but on that of conception. 

3. When we come to natural philosophy, however, Thales of 
Miletus, Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, Pythagoras of Samos, Xeno- 
phanes of Colophon, and Democritus of Abdera have in various 
ways investigated and left us the laws and the working of the laws 
by which nature governs it. In the track of their discoveries, Eu- 
doxus, Euctemon, Callippus, Meto, Philippus, Hipparchus, Aratus, 
andothers discovered the risings and settings of the constellations, 
as well as weather prognostications from astronomy through 


the study of the calendars, and this study they set forth and left 
to posterity. Their learning deserves the admiration of mankind; 
for they were so solicitous as even to be able to predict, long be- 
forehand, with divining mind, the signs of the weather which 
was to follow in the future. On this subject, therefore, reference 
must be made to their labours and investigations. 



1. IN distinction from the subjects* first mentioned, we must, 
ourselves explain the principles which govern the shortening and 
lengthening of the day. When the sun is at the equinoxes, that 
is, passing through Aries or Libra, he makes the gnomon cast a 
shadow equal to eight ninths of its own length, in the latitude 
of Rome. In Athens, the shadow is equal to three fourths of the 
length of the gnomon; at Rhodes to five sevenths; at Tarentum, 
to nine elevenths; at Alexandria, to three fifths; and so at other 
places it is found that the shadows of equinoctial gnomons are 
naturally different from one another. 

2. Hence, wherever a sundial is to be constructed, we must 
take the equinoctial shadow of the place. If it is found to be, as 
in Rome, equal to eight ninths of the gnomon, let a line be 
drawn on a plane surface, and in the middle thereof erect a per- 
pendicular, plumb to the line, which perpendicular is called the 
gnomon. Then,from the line in the plane, let the line of the gno- 
mon be divided off by the compasses into nine parts, and take 
the point designating the ninth part as a centre, to be marked by 
the letter A. Then, opening the compasses from that centre to 
the line in the plane at the point B, describe a circle. This circle 
is called the meridian. 

3. Then, of the nine parts between the plane and the centre on 
the gnomon, take eight, and mark them off on the line in the 
plane to the point C. This will be the equinoctial shadow of the 




gnomon. From that point, marked by C, let a line be drawn 
through the centre at the point A, and this will represent a ray 
of the sun at the equinox. Then, extending the compasses from 
the centre to the line in the plane, mark off the equidistant points 
E on the left and I on the right, on the two sides of the circum- 

ference, and let a line be drawn through the centre, dividing the 
circle into two equal semicircles. This line is called by mathe- 
maticians the horizon. 

4. Then, take a fifteenth part of the entire circumference, and, 
placing the centre of the compasses on the circumference at the 
point where the equinoctial ray cuts it at the letter F, mark off 
the points G and H on the right and left. Then lines must be 
drawn from these (and the centre) to the line of the plane at the 
points T and R, and thus, one will represent the ray of the sun 
in winter, and the other the ray in summer. Opposite E will be 
the point I, where the line drawn through the centre at the point 
A cuts the circumference; opposite G and H will be the points 
L and K; and opposite C, F, and A will be the point N. 

5. Then, diameters are to be drawn from G to L and from H to 
K. The upper will denote the summer and the lower the winter 
portion. These diameters are to be divided equally in the middle 
at the points M and 0, and those centres marked; then, through 


these marks and the centre A, draw a line extending to the two 
sides of the circumference at the points P and Q. This will be a 
line perpendicular to the equinoctial ray, and it is called in mathe- 
matical figures the axis. From these same centres open the com- 
passes to the ends of the diameters, and describe semicircles, one 
of which will be for summer and the other for winter. 

6. Then, at the points at which the parallel lines cut the line 
called the horizon, the letter S is to be on the right and the letter 
V on the left, and from the extremity of the semicircle, at the 
point G, draw a line parallel to the axis, extending to the left- 
hand semicircle at the point H. This parallel line is called the 
Logotomus. Then, centre the compasses at the point where the 
equinoctial ray cuts that line, at the letter D, and open them 
to the point where the summer ray cuts the circumference at the 
letter H. From the equinoctial centre, with a radius extending 
to the summer ray, describe the circumference of the circle of 
the months, which is called Menaeus. Thus we shall have the 
figure of the analemma. 

7. This having been drawn and completed, the scheme of hours 
is next to be drawn on the baseplates from the analemma, accord- 
ing to the winter lines, or those of summer, or the equinoxes, or the 
months, and thus many different kinds of dials may be laid down 
and drawn by this ingenious method. But the result of all these 
shapes and designs is in one respect the same: namely, the days of 
the equinoxes and of the winter and summer solstices are always 
divided into twelve equal parts. Omitting details, therefore, 
not for fear of the trouble, but lest I should prove tiresome by 
writing too much, I will state by whom the different classes 
and designs of dials have been invented. For I cannot invent 
new kinds myself at this late day, nor do I think that I ought to 
display the inventions of others as my own. Hence, I will men- 
tion those that have come down to us, and by whom they were 




1. THE semicircular form, hollowed out of a square block, and 
cut under to correspond to the polar altitude, is said to have been 
invented by Berosus the Chaldean; the Scaphe or Hemisphere, 
by Aristarchus of Samos, as well as the disc on a plane surface; the 
Arachne, by the astronomer Eudoxus or, as some say, by Apollo- 
nius; the Plinthium or Lacunar, like the one placed in the Circus 
Flaminius, by Scopinas of Syracuse; the irpiK ri l<rTopovfi*va, by 
Parmenio; the IT pas irav /cXlfja, by Theodosius and Andreas; the 
Pelecinum, by Patrocles; the Cone, by Dionysodorus; the Quiver, 
by Apollonius. The men whose names are written above, as 
well as many others, have invented and left us other kinds: as, 
for instance, the Conarachne, the Conical Plinthium, and the 
Antiborean. Many have also left us written directions for mak- 
ing dials of these kinds for travellers, which can be hung up. Who- 
ever wishes to find their baseplates, can easily do so from the 
books of these writers, provided only he understands the figure 
of the analemma. 

2. Methods of making water clocks have been investigated by 
the same writers, and first of all by Ctesibius the Alexandrian, 
who also discovered the natural pressure of the air and pneu- 
matic principles. It is worth while for students to know how these 
discoveries came about. Ctesibius, born at Alexandria, was the 
son of a barber. Preeminent for natural ability and great indus- 
try, he is said to have amused himself with ingenious devices. 
For example, wishing to hang a mirror in his father's shop in such 
a way that, on being lowered and raised again, its weight should 
be raised by means of a concealed cord, he employed the follow- 
ing mechanical contrivance. 

3. Under the roof-beam he fixed a wooden channel in which he 
arranged a block of pulleys. He carried the cord along the chan- 
nel to the corner, where he set up some small piping. Into this a 


leaden ball, attached to the cord, was made to descend. As the 
weight fell into the narrow limits of the pipe, it naturally com- 
pressed the enclosed air, and, as its fall was rapid, it forced the 
mass of compressed air through the outlet into the open air, 
thus producing a distinct sound by the concussion. 

4. Hence, Ctesibius, observing that sounds and tones were 
produced by the contact between the free air and that which was 
forced from the pipe, made use of this principle in the construction 
of the first water organs. He also devised methods of raising 
water, automatic contrivances, and amusing things of many kinds, 
including among them the construction of water clocks. He began 
by making an orifice in a piece of gold, or by perforating a gem, 
because these substances are not worn by the action of water, and 
do not collect dirt so as to get stopped up. 

5. A regular flow of water through the orifice raises an inverted 
bowl, called by mechanicians the " cork " or " drum." To this are 
attached a rack and a revolving drum, both fitted with teeth at 
regular intervals. These teeth, acting upon one another, induce 
a measured revolution and movement. Other racks and other 
drums, similarly toothed and subject to the same motion, give 
rise by their revolution to various kinds of motions, by which 
figures are moved, cones revolve, pebbles or eggs fall, trumpets 
sound, and other incidental effects take place. 

6. The hours are marked in these clocks on a column or a pilas- 
ter, and a figure emerging from the bottom points to them with a 
rod throughout the whole day. Their decrease or increase in length 
with the different days and months, must be adjusted by insert- 
ing or withdrawing wedges. The shutoffs for regulating the 
water are constructed as follows. Two cones are made, one solid 
and the other hollow, turned on a lathe so that one will go 
into the other and fit it perfectly. A rod is used to loosen or to 
bring them together, thus causing the water to flow rapidly or 
slowly into the vessels. According to these rules, and by this 
mechanism, water clocks may be constructed for use in winter. 

7. But if it proves that the shortening or lengthening of the 


day is not in agreement with the insertion and removal of the 
wedges, because the wedges may very often cause errors, the fol- 
lowing arrangement will have to be made. Let the hours be 
marked off transversely on the column from the analemma, and 
let the lines of the months also be marked upon the column. Then 
let the column be made to revolve, in such a way that, as it turns 
continuously towards the figure and the rod with which the 
emerging figure points to the hours, it may make the hours 
short or long according to the respective months. 

8. There is also another kind of winter dial, called the Ana- 
phoric and constructed in the following way. The hours, indi- 
cated by bronze rods in accordance with the figure of the ana- 
lemma, radiate from a centre on the face. Circles are described 
upon it, marking the limits of the months. Behind these rods 
there is a drum, on which is drawn and painted the firmament 
with the circle of the signs. In drawing the figures of the twelve 
celestial signs, one is represented larger and the next smaller, 
proceeding from the centre. Into the back of the drum, in the 
middle, a revolving axis is inserted, and round that axis is wound 
a flexible bronze chain, at one end of which hangs the "cork" 
which is raised by the water, and at the other a counterpoise of 
sand, equal in weight to the "cork." 

9. Hence, the sand sinks as the " cork" is raised by the water, 
and in sinking turns the axis, and the axis the drum. The revo- 
lution of this drum causes sometimes a larger and sometimes a 
smaller portion of the circle of the signs to indicate, during the 
revolutions, the proper length of the hours corresponding to their 
seasons. For in every one of the signs there are as many holes as 
the corresponding month has days, and a boss, which seems to 
be holding the representation of the sun on a dial, designates the 
spaces for the hours. This, as it is carried from hole to hole, 
completes the circuit of a full month. 

10. Hence, just as the sun during his passage through the con- 
stellations makes the days and hours longer or shorter, so the 
boss on a dial, moving from point to point in a direction contrary 


to that of the revolution of the drum in the middle, is carried day 
by day sometimes over wider and sometimes over narrower 
spaces, giving a representation of the hours and days within the 
limits of each month. 

To manage the water so that it may flow regularly, we must 
proceed as follows. 

11. Inside, behind the face of the dial, place a reservoir, and let 
the water run down into it through a pipe, and let it have a hole 
at the bottom. Fastened to it is a bronze drum with an opening 
through which the water flows into it from the reservoir. En- 
closed in this drum there is a smaller one, the two being per- 
fectly jointed together by tenon and socket, in such a way that 
the smaller drum revolves closely but easily in the larger, like a 

12. On the lip of the larger drum there are three hundred and 
sixty-five points, marked off at equal intervals. The rim of the 
smaller one has a tongue fixed on its circumference, with the tip 
directed towards those points; and also in this rim is a small 
opening, through which water runs into the drum and keeps 
the works going. The figures of the celestial signs being on the 
lip of the larger drum, and this drum being motionless, let the 
sign Cancer be drawn at the top, with Capricornus perpendicular 
to it at the bottom, Libra at the spectator's right, Aries at his 
left, and let the other signs be given places between them as they 
are seen in the heavens. 

13. Hence, when the sun is in Capricornus, the tongue on the 
rim touches every day one of the points in Capricornus on the lip 
of the larger drum, and is perpendicular to the strong pressure of 
the running water. So the water is quickly driven through the 
opening in the rim to the inside of the vessel, which, receiving it 
and soon becoming full, shortens and diminishes the length of the 
days and hours. But when, owing to the daily revolution of the 
smaller drum, its tongue reaches the points in Aquarius, the open- 
ing will no longer be perpendicular, and the water must give up 
its vigorous flow and run in a slower stream. Thus, the less the 


velocity with which the vessel receives the water, the more the 
length of the days is increased. 

14. Then the opening in the rim passes from point to point in 
Aquarius and Pisces, as though going upstairs, and when it 
reaches the end of the first eighth of Aries, the fall of the water 
is of medium strength, indicating the equinoctial hours. From 
Aries the opening passes, with the revolution of the drum, 
through Taurus and Gemini to the highest point at the end of 
the first eighth of Cancer, and when it reaches that point, the 
power diminishes, and hence, with the slower flow, its delay 
lengthens the days in the sign Cancer, producing the hours 
of the summer solstice. From Cancer it begins to decline, and 
during its return it passes through Leo and Virgo to the points 
at the end of the first eighth of Libra, gradually shortening and 
diminishing the length of the hours, until it comes to the points 
in Libra, where it makes the hours equinoctial once more. 

15. Finally, the opening comes down more rapidly through 
Scorpio and Sagittarius, and on its return from its revolution to 
the end of the first eighth of Capricornus, the velocity of the 
stream renews once more the short hours of the winter solstice. 

The rules and forms of construction employed in designing 
dials have now been described as well as I could. It remains to 
give an account of machines and their principles. In order to 
make my treatise on architecture complete, I will begin to write 
on this subject in the following book. 




1. IN the famous and important Greek city of Ephesus there is 
said to be an ancient ancestral law, the terms of which are severe, 
but its justice is not inequitable. When an architect accepts the 
charge of a public work, he has to promise what the cost of it will 
be. His estimate is handed to the magistrate, and his property is 
pledged as security until the work is done. When it is finished, if 
the outlay agrees with his statement, he is complimented by de- 
crees and marks of honour. If no more than a fourth has to be 
added to his estimate, it is furnished by the treasury and no pen- 
alty is inflicted. But when more than one fourth has to be spent 
in addition on the work, the money required to finish it is taken 
from his property. 

2. Would to God that this were also a law of the Roman peo- 
ple, not merely for public, but also for private buildings. For the 
ignorant would no longer run riot with impunity, but men who 
are well qualified by an exact scientific training would unques- 
tionably adopt the profession of architecture. Gentlemen would 
not be misled into limitless and prodigal expenditure, even to 
ejectments from their estates, and the architects themselves 
could be forced, by fear of the penalty, to be more careful hi cal- 
culating and stating the limit of expense, so that gentlemen 
would procure their buildings for that which they had expected, 
or by adding only a little more. It is true that men who can 
afford to devote four hundred thousand to a work may hold on, 
if they have to add another hundred thousand, from the pleasure ' 
which the hope of finishing it gives them; but if they are loaded 
with a fifty per cent increase, or with an even greater expense, 
they lose hope, sacrifice what they have already spent, and are 
compelled to leave off, broken in fortune and in spirit. 


3. This fault appears not only in the matter of buildings, but 
also in the shows given by magistrates, whether of gladiators in 
the forum or of plays on the stage. Here neither delay nor post- 
ponement is permissible, but the necessities of the case require 
that everything should be ready at a fixed time, the seats for 
the audience, the awning drawn over them, and whatever, in ac- 
cordance with the customs of the stage, is provided by machinery 
to please the eye of the people. These matters require careful 
thought and planning by a well trained intellect; for none of them 
can be accomplished without machinery, and without hard study 
skilfully applied in various ways. 

4. Therefore, since such are our traditions and established 
practices, it is obviously fitting that the plans should be worked 
out carefully, and with the greatest attention, before the struc- 
tures are begun. Consequently, as we have no law or customary 
practice to compel this, and as every year both praetors and 
aediles have to provide machinery for the festivals, I have 
thought it not out of place, Emperor, since I have treated of build- 
ings in the earlier books, to set forth and teach in this, which 
forms the final conclusion of my treatise, the principles which 
govern machines. 



1. A MACHINE is a combination of timbers fastened together, 
chiefly efficacious in moving great weights. Such a machine is set 
in motion on scientific principles in circular rounds, which the 
Greeks call KVK\IKT) /w;<w There is, however, a class intended 
for climbing, termed in Greek aicpofiaTiicdv, another worked by 
air, which with them is called TTIKV/JMTUCOV, and a third for hoist- 
ing; this the Greeks named fiapov\K<i<i. In the climbing class are 
machines so disposed that one can safely climb up high, by means 
of timbers set up on end and connected by crossbeams, in order 
to view operations. In the pneumatic class, air is forced by pres- 
sure to produce sounds and tones as hi an opyavov. 

2. In the hoisting class, heavy weights are removed by ma- 
chines which raise them up and set them in position. The climb- 
ing machine displays no scientific principle, but merely a spirit of 
daring. It is held together by dowels and crossbeams and twisted 
lashings and supporting props. A machine that gets its motive 
power by pneumatic pressure will produce pretty effects by sci- 
entific refinements. But the hoisting machine has opportunities 
for usefulness which are greater and full of grandeur, and it is of 
the highest efficacy when used with intelligence. 

8. Some of these act on the principle of the firj^avij, others on 
that of the opyavov. The difference between " machines" and 
" engines " is obviously this, that machines need more workmen 
and greater power to make them take effect, as for instance 
ballistae and the beams of presses. Engines, on the other hand, 
accomplish their purpose at the intelligent touch of a single 
workman, as the scorpio or anisocycli when they are turned. 
Therefore engines, as well as machines, are, in principle, practical 
necessities, without which nothing can be unattended with diffi- 

284 VITRUVmS [Boos X 

4. All machinery is derived from nature, and is founded on the 
teaching and instruction of the revolution of the firmament. Let 
us but consider the connected revolutions of the sun, the moon, 
and the five planets, without the revolution of which, due to 
mechanism, we should not have had the alternation of day and 
night, nor the ripening of fruits. Thus, when our ancestors had 
seen that this was so, they took their models from nature, and 
by imitating them were led on by divine facts, until they per- 
fected the contrivances which are so serviceable in our life. Some 
things, with a view to greater convenience, they worked out by 
means of machines and their revolutions, others by means of en- 
gines, and so, whatever they found to be useful for investigations, 
for the arts, and for established practices, they took care to im- 
prove step by step on scientific principles. 

5. Let us take first a necessary invention, such as clothing, and 
see how the combination of warp and woof on the loom, which 
does its work on the principle of an engine, not only protects 
the body by covering it, but also gives it honourable apparel. 
We should not have had food in abundance unless yokes and 
ploughs for oxen, and for all draught animals, had been invented. 
If there had been no provision of windlasses, pressbeams, and 
levers for presses, we could not have had the shining oil, nor the 
fruit of the vine to give us pleasure, and these things could not 
be transported on land without the invention of the mechanism 
of carts or waggons, nor on the sea without that of ships. 

6. The discovery of the method of testing weights by steel- 
yards and balances saves us from fraud, by introducing honest 
practices into life. There are also innumerable ways of employ- 
ing machinery about which it seems unnecessary to speak, since 
they are at hand every day; such as mills, blacksmiths' bellows, 
carriages, gigs, turning lathes, and other things which are habitu- 
ally used as general conveniences. Hence, we shall begin by ex- 
plaining those that rarely come to hand, so that they may be un- 




1. FIRST we shall treat of those machines which are of neces- 
sity made ready when temples and public buildings are to be con- 
structed. Two timbers are provided, strong enough for the weight 
of the load. They are fastened together at the upper end by 
a bolt, then spread apart at the bottom, and so set up, being kept 
upright by ropes attached at the upper ends and fixed at intervals 
all round. At the top is fastened a block, which some call a 
" rechamus." In the block two sheaves are enclosed, turning on 
axles. The traction rope is carried over the sheave at the top, 
then let fall and passed round a sheave in a block below. Then it 
is brought back to a sheave at the bottom of the upper block, and 
so it goes down to the lower block, where it is fastened through a 
hole in that block. The other end of the rope is brought back and 
down between the legs of the machine. 

2. Socket-pieces are nailed to the hinder faces of the squared 
timbers at the point where they are spread apart, and the ends of 
the windlass are inserted into them so that the axles may turn 
freely. Close to each end of the windlass are two holes, so ad- 
justed that handspikes can be fitted into them. To the bottom 
of the lower block are fastened shears made of iron, whose prongs 
are brought to bear upon the stones, which have holes bored in 
them. When one end of the rope is fastened to the windlass, and 
the latter is turned round by working the handspikes, the rope 
winds round the windlass, gets taut, and thus it raises the load 
to the proper height and to its place in the work. 

3. This kind of machinery, revolving with three sheaves, is 
called a trispast. When there are two sheaves turning in the 
block beneath and three in the upper, the machine is termed a 
pentaspast. But if we have to furnish machines for heavier loads, 
we must use timbers of greater length and thickness, providing 
them with correspondingly large bolts at the top, and windlasses 


turning at the bottom. When these are ready, let forestays be 
attached and left lying slack in front; let the backstays be car- 
ried over the shoulders of the machine to some distance, and, if 
there is nothing to which they can be fastened, sloping piles 
should be driven, the ground rammed down all round to fix them 
firmly, and the ropes made fast to them. 

4. A block should then be attached by a stout cord to the top 
of the machine, and from that point a rope should be carried to a 
pile, and to a block tied to the pile. Let the rope be put in round 
the sheave of this block, and brought back to the block that is 
fastened at the top of the machine. Round its sheave the rope 
should be passed, and then should go down from the top, and 
back to the windlass, which is at the bottom of the machine, and 
there be fastened. The windlass is now to be turned by means 
of the handspikes, and it will raise the machine of itself without 
danger. Thus, a machine of the larger kind will be set in posi- 
tion, with its ropes in their places about it, and its stays at- 
tached to the piles. Its blocks and traction ropes are arranged 
as described above. 

5. But if the loads of material for the work are still more co- 
lossal in size and weight, we shall not entrust them to a windlass, 
but set in an axle-tree, held by sockets as the windlass was, and 
carrying on its centre a large drum, which some term a wheel, 
but the Greeks call it d/i$te<s or irepidyKiov. 

6. And the blocks in such machines are not arranged in the 
same, but in a different manner; for the rows of sheaves in them 
are doubled, both at the bottom and at the top. The traction 
rope is passed through a hole in the lower block, in such a way that 
the two ends of the rope are of equal length when it is stretched 
out, and both portions are held there at the lower block by a cord 
which is passed round them and lashed so that they cannot come 
out either to the right or the left. Then the ends of the rope are 
brought up into the block at the top from the outside, and passed 
down over its lower sheaves, and so return to the bottom, and are 
passed from the inside to the sheaves in the lowest block, and 


then are brought up on the right and left, and return to the top 
and round the highest set of sheaves. 

7. Passing over these from the outside, they are then carried 
to the right and left of the drum on the axle-tree, and are tied 
there so as to stay fast. Then another rope is wound round the 
drum and carried to a capstan, and when that is turned, it turns 
the drum and the axle-tree, the ropes get taut as they wind round 
regularly, and thus they raise the loads smoothly and with no 
danger. But if a larger drum is placed either in the middle or at 
one side, without any capstan, men can tread in it and accomplish 
the work more expeditiously. 

8. There is also another kind of machine, ingenious enough and 
easy to use with speed, but only experts can work with it. It con- 
sists of a single timber, which is set up and held in place by stays 
on four sides. Two cheeks are nailed on below the stays, a block 
is fastened by ropes above the cheeks, and a straight piece of 
wood about two feet long, six digits wide, and four digits thick, 
is put under the block. The blocks used have each three rows 
of sheaves side by side. Hence three traction ropes are fastened 
at the top of the machine. Then they are brought to the block 
at the bottom, and passed from the inside round the sheaves that 
are nearest the top of it. Then they are brought back to the up- 
per block, and passed inwards from outside round the sheaves 
nearest the bottom. 

9. On coming down to the block at the bottom, they are car- 
ried round its second row of sheaves from the inside to the out- 
side, and brought back to the second row at the top, passing 
round it and returning to the bottom; then from the bottom they 
are carried to the summit, where they pass round the highest row 
of sheaves, and then return to the bottom of the machine. At the 
foot of the machine a third block is attached. The Greeks call it 
sTrdyeav, but our people " artemon." This block fastened at the 
foot of the machine has three sheaves in it, round which the 
ropes are passed and then delivered to men to pull. Thus, three 
rows of men, pulling without a capstan, can quickly raise the 
load to the top. 


10. This kind of machine is called a polyspast, because of the 
many revolving sheaves to which its dexterity and despatch are 
due. There is also this advantage in the erection of only a single 
timber, that by previously inclining it to the right or left as much 
as one wishes, the load can be set down at one side. 

All these kinds of machinery described above are, in their prin- 
ciples, suited not only to the purposes mentioned, but also to the 
loading and unloading of ships, some kinds being set upright, and 
others placed horizontally on revolving platforms. On the same 
principle, ships can be hauled ashore by means of arrangements 
of ropes and blocks used on the ground, without setting up tim- 

11. It may also not be out of place to explain the ingenious 
procedure of Chersiphron. Desiring to convey the shafts for 
the temple of Diana at Ephesus from the stone quarries, and not 
trusting to carts, lest their wheels should be engulfed on account 
of the great weights of the load and the softness of the roads in 
the plain, he tried the following plan. Using four-inch timbers, 
he joined two of them, each as long as the shaft, with two cross- 
pieces set between them, dovetailing all together, and then leaded 
iron gudgeons shaped like dovetails into the ends of the shafts, 
as dowels are leaded, and in the woodwork he fixed rings to con- 
tain the pivots, and fastened wooden cheeks to the ends. The 
pivots, being enclosed in the rings, turned freely. So, when yokes 
of oxen began to draw the four-inch frame, they made the shaft 
revolve constantly, turning it by means of the pivots and rings. 

12. When they had thus transported all the shafts, and it 
became necessary to transport the architraves, Chersiphron's son 
Metagenes extended the same principle from the transporta- 
tion of the shafts to the bringing down of the architraves. He 
made wheels, each about twelve feet in diameter, and enclosed 
the ends of the architraves in the wheels. In the ends he fixed 
pivots and rings in the same way. So when the four-inch frames 
were drawn by oxen, the wheels turned on the pivots enclosed in 
the rings, and the architraves, which were enclosed like axles in 


the wheels, soon reached the building, in the same way as the 
shafts. The rollers used for smoothing the walks in palaestrae 
will serve as an example of this method. But it could not have 
been employed unless the distance had been short; for it is not 
more than eight miles from the stone-quarries to the temple, 
and there is no hill, but an uninterrupted plain. 

13. In our own times, however, when the pedestal of the colos- 
sal Apollo in his temple had cracked with age, they were afraid 
that the statue would fall and be broken, and so they contracted 
for the cutting of a pedestal from the same quarries. The contract 
was taken by one Paconius. This pedestal was twelve feet long, 
eight feet wide, and six feet high. Paconius, with confident pride, 
did not transport it by the method of Metagenes, but determined 
to make a machine of a different sort, though on the same prin- 

14. He made wheels of about fifteen feet in diameter, and in 
these wheels he enclosed the ends of the stone; then he fastened 
two-inch crossbars from wheel to wheel round the stone, encom- 
passing it, so that there was an interval of not more than one foot 
between bar and bar. Then he coiled a rope round the bars, 
yoked up his oxen, and began to draw on the rope. Conse- 
quently as it uncoiled, it did indeed cause the wheels to turn, 
but it could not draw them in a line straight along the road, but 
kept swerving out to one side. Hence it was necessary to draw 
the machine back again. Thus, by this drawing to and fro, Pa- 
conius got into such financial embarrassment that he became 

15. I will digress a bit and explain how these stone-quarrieb 
were discovered. Pixodorus was a shepherd who lived in that 
vicinity. When the people of Ephesus were planning to build the 
temple of Diana in marble, and debating whether to get the mar- 
ble from Paros, Proconnesus, Heraclea, or Thasos, Pixodorus 
drove out his sheep and was feeding his flock in that very 
spot. Then two rams ran at each other, and, each passing the 
other, one of them, after his charge, struck his horns against a 


rock, from which a fragment of extremely white colour was dis- 
lodged. So it is said that Pixodorus left his sheep in the mountains 
and ran down to Ephesus carrying the fragment, since that very 
thing was the question of the moment. Therefore they imme- 
diately decreed honours to him and changed his name, so that 
instead of Pixodorus he should be called Evangelus. And to this 
day the chief magistrate goes out to that very spot every month 
and offers sacrifice to him, and if he does not, he is punished. 



1. I HAVE briefly set forth what I thought necessary about the 
principles of hoisting machines. In them two different things, 
unlike each other, work together, as elements of their motion 
and power, to produce these effects. One of them is the right line, 
which the Greeks term evQela; the other is the circle, which 
the Greeks call Kv/cXcorrj; but in point of fact, neither rectilinear 
without circular motion, nor revolutions, without rectilinear 
motion, can accomplish the raising of loads. I will explain this, 
so that it may be understood. 

2. As centres, axles are inserted into the sheaves, and these are 
fastened in the blocks; a rope carried over the sheaves, drawn 
straight down, and fastened to a windlass, causes the load to 
move upward from its place as the handspikes are turned. The 
pivots of this windlass, lying as centres in right lines in its socket- 
pieces, and the handspikes inserted in its holes, make the 
load rise when the ends of the windlass revolve in a circle like a 
lathe. Just so, when an iron lever is applied to a weight which 
a great many hands cannot move, with the fulcrum, which the 
Greeks call {nro^x^iov, lying as a centre in a right line under the 
lever, and with the tongue of the lever placed under the weight, 
one man's strength, bearing down upon the head of it, heaves 
up the weight. 


3. For, as the shorter fore part of the lever goes under the 
weight from the fulcrum that forms the centre, the head of it, 
which is farther away from that centre, on being depressed, is 
made to describe a circular movement, and thus by pressure 
brings to an equilibrium the weight of a very great load by means 
of a few hands. Again, if the tongue of an iron lever is placed 
under a weight, and its head is not pushed down, but, on the con- 
trary, is heaved up, the tongue, supported on the surface of the 
ground, will treat that as the weight, and the edge of the weight 
itself as the fulcrum. Thus, not so easily as by pushing down, but 
by motion in the opposite direction, the weight of the load will 
nevertheless be raised. If, therefore, the tongue of a lever lying 
on a fulcrum goes too far under the weight, and its head exerts 
its pressure too near the centre, it will not be able to elevate the 
weight, nor can it do so unless, as described above, the length of 
the lever is brought to equilibrium by the depression of its head. 

4. This may be seen from the balances that we call steelyards. 
When the handle is set as a centre close to the end from which 
the scale hangs, and the counterpoise is moved along towards the 
other arm of the beam, shifting from point to point as it goes 
farther or even reaches the extremity, a small and inferior weight 
becomes equal to a very heavy object that is being weighed, on 
account of the equilibrium that is due to the levelling of the 
beam. Thus, as it withdraws from the centre, a small and com- 
paratively light counterpoise, slowly turning the scale, makes a 
greater amount of weight rise gently upwards from below. 

5. So, too, the pilot of the biggest merchantman, grasping 
the steering oar by its handle, which the Greeks call ota, and 
with one hand bringing it to the turning point, according to the 
rules of his art, by pressure about a centre, can turn the ship, 
although she may be laden with a very large or even enormous 
burden of merchandise and provisions. And when her sails are 
set only halfway up the mast, a ship cannot run quickly; but 
when the yard is hoisted to the top, she makes much quicker 
progress, because then the sails get the wind, not when they are 


too close to the heel of the mast, which represents the centre, but 
when they have moved farther away from it to the top. 

6. As a lever thrust under a weight is harder to manage, and 
does not put forth its strength, if the pressure is exerted at the 
centre, but easily raises the weight when the extreme end of it is 
pushed down, so sails that are only halfway up have less effect, 
but when they get farther away from the centre, and are hoisted 
to the very top of the mast, the pressure at the top forces the 
ship to make greater progress, though the wind is no stronger 
but just the same. Again, take the case of oars, which are fas- 
tened to the tholes by loops, when they are pushed forward and 
drawn back by the hand, if the ends of the blades are at some 
distance from the centre, the oars foam with the waves of the sea 
and drive the ship forward in a straight line with a mighty im- 
pulse, while her prow cuts through the rare water. 

7. And when the heaviest burdens are carried on poles by four 
or six porters at a time, they find the centres of balance at the 
very middle of the poles, so that, by distributing the dead weight 
of the burden according to a definitely proportioned division, 
each labourer may have an equal share to carry on his neck. For 
the poles, from which the straps for the burden of the four 
porters hang, are marked off at their centres by nails, to prevent 
the straps from slipping to one side. If they shift beyond the 
mark at the centre, they weigh heavily upon the place to which 
they have come nearer, like the weight of a steelyard when it 
moves from the point of equilibrium towards the end of the 
weighing apparatus. 

8. In the same way, oxen have an equal draught when their 
yoke is adjusted at its middle by the yokestrap to the pole. But 
when their strength is not the same, and the stronger outdoes the 
other, the strap is shifted so as to make one side of the yoke 
longer, which helps the weaker ox. Thus, in the case of both 
poles and yokes, when the straps are not fastened at the middle, 
but at one side, the farther the strap moves from the middle, 
the shorter it makes one side, and the longer the other. So, if both 


ends are carried round in circles, using as a centre the point to 
which the strap has been brought, the longer end will describe 
a larger, and the shorter end a smaller circle. 

9. Just as smaller wheels move harder and with greater diffi- 
culty than larger ones, so, in the case of the poles and yokes, the 
parts where the interval from centre to end is less, bear down 
hard upon the neck, but where the distance from the same centre 
is greater, they ease the burden both for draught and carriage. 
As in all these cases motion is obtained by means of right lines 
at the centre and by circles, so also farm waggons, travelling 
carriages, drums, mills, screws, scorpiones, ballistae, pressbeams, 
and all other machines, produce the results intended, on the same 
principles, by turning about a rectilinear axis and by the revolu- 
tion of a circle. 



1. I SHALL now explain the making of the different kinds of 
engines which have been invented for raising water, and will first 
speak of the tympanum. Although it does not lift the water high, 
it raises a great quantity very quickly. An axle is fashioned on a 
lathe or with the compasses, its ends are shod with iron hoops, 
and it carries round its middle a tympanum made of boards 
joined together. It rests on posts which have pieces of iron on 
them under the ends of the axle. In the interior of this tympanum 
there are eight crosspieces set at intervals, extending from the 
axle to the circumference of the tympanum, and dividing the 
space in the tympanum into equal compartments. 

2. Planks are nailed round the face of it, leaving six-inch 
apertures to admit the water. At one side of it there are also 
holes, like those of a dovecot, next to the axle, one for each com- 
partment. After being smeared with pitch like a ship, the thing is 
turned by the tread of men, and raising the water by means of the 
apertures in the face of the tympanum, delivers it through the 


holes next to the axle into a wooden trough set underneath, with a 
conduit joined to it. Thus, a large quantity of water is furnished 
for irrigation in gardens, or for supplying the needs of saltworks. 

3. But when it has to be raised higher, the same principle will 
be modified as follows. A wheel on an axle is to be made, large 
enough to reach the necessary height. All round the circumfer- 
ence of the wheel there will be cubical boxes, made tight with 
pitch and wax. So, when the wheel is turned by treading, the 
boxes, carried up full and again returning to the bottom, will of 
themselves discharge into the reservoir what they have carried 

4. But, if it has to be supplied to a place still more high, a 
double iron chain, which will reach the surface when let down, is 
passed round the axle of the same wheel, with bronze buckets 
attached to it, each holding about six pints. The turning of the 
wheel, winding the chain round the axle, will carry the buckets to 
the top, and as they pass above the axle they must tip over and 
deliver into the reservoir what they have carried up. 



1. WHEELS on the principles that have been described above 
are also constructed in rivers. Round their faces floatboards are 
fixed, which, on being struck by the current of the river, make the 
wheel turn as they move, and thus, by raising the water in the 
boxes and bringing it to the top, they accomplish the necessary 
work through being turned by the mere impulse of the river, 
without any treading on the part of workmen. 

2. Water mills are turned on the same principle. Everything is 
the same in them, except that a drum with teeth is fixed into one 
end of the axle. It is set vertically on its edge, and turns in the 
same plane with the wheel. Next to this larger drum there is a 
smaller one, also with teeth, but set horizontally, and this is 




attached (to the millstone). Thus the teeth of the drum which is 
fixed to the axle make the teeth of the horizontal drum move, and 
cause the mill to turn. A hopper, hanging over this contrivance, 
supplies the mill with corn, and meal is produced by the same 



1. THERE is also the method of the screw, which raises a great 
quantity of water, but does not carry it as high as does the wheel. 
The method of constructing it is as follows. A beam is selected, 
the thickness of which in digits is equivalent to its length in feet. 


This is made perfectly round. The ends are to be divided off on 
their circumference with the compass into eight parts, by quad- 
rants and octants, and let the lines be so placed that, if the beam 
is laid in a horizontal position, the lines on the two ends may 
perfectly correspond with each other, and intervals of the size of 
one eighth part of the circumference of the beam may be laid off 
on the length of it. Then, placing the beam in a horizontal posi- 
tion, let perfectly straight lines be drawn from one end to the 
other. So the intervals will be equal in the directions both of the 
periphery and of the length. Where the lines are drawn along 
the length, the cutting circles will make intersections, and defin- 
ite points at the intersections. 



2. When these lines have been correctly drawn, a slender withe 
of willow, or a straight piece cut from the agnus castus tree, is 
taken, smeared with liquid pitch, and fastened at the first point of 
intersection. Then it is carried across obliquely to the succeeding 

(From the edition of Vitruvius by Fra Giocondo, Venice, 1511) 

intersections of longitudinal lines and circles, and as it advances, 
passing each of the points in due order and winding round, it is 
fastened at each intersection; and so, withdrawing from the first 
to the eighth point, it reaches and is fastened to the line to which 
its first part was fastened. Thus, it makes as much progress in its 
longitudinal advance to the eighth point as in its oblique advance 


over eight points. In the same manner, withes for the eight 
divisions of the diameter, fastened obliquely at the intersections 
on the entire longitudinal and peripheral surface, make spiral 
channels which naturally look just like those of a snail shell. 

3. Other withes are fastened on the line of the first, and on 
these still others, all smeared with liquid pitch, and built up until 
the total diameter is equal to one eighth of the length. These are 
covered and surrounded with boards, fastened on to protect the 
spiral. Then these boards are soaked with pitch, and bound to- 
gether with strips of iron, so that they may not be separated by 
the pressure of the water. The ends of the shaft are covered with 
iron. To the right and left of the screw are beams, with cross- 
pieces fastening them together at both ends. In these crosspieces 
are holes sheathed with iron, and into them pivots are introduced, 
and thus the screw is turned by the treading of men. 

4. It is to be set up at an inclination corresponding to that 
which is produced in drawing the Pythagorean right-angled 
triangle: that is, let its length be divided into five parts; let three 
of them denote the height of the head of the screw; thus the dis- 
tance from the base of the perpendicular to the nozzle of the screw 
at the bottom will be equal to four of those parts. A figure show- 
ing how this ought to be, has been drawn at the end of the book, 
right on the back. 

I have now described as clearly as I could, to make them better 
known, the principles on which wooden engines for raising water 
are constructed, and how they get their motion so that they may 
be of unlimited usefulness through their revolutions. 



1. NEXT I must tell about the machine of Ctesibius, which 
raises water to a height. It is made of bronze, and has at the 
bottom a pair of cylinders set a little way apart, and there is a 


pipe connected with each, the two running up, like the prongs of a 
fork, side by side to a vessel which is between the cylinders. In 
this vessel are valves, accurately fitting over the upper vents of 
the pipes, which stop up the ventholes, and keep what has been 
forced by pressure into the vessel from going down again. 

2. Over the vessel a cowl is adjusted, like an inverted funnel, 
and fastened to the vessel by means of a wedge thrust through a 
staple, to prevent it from being lifted off by the pressure of the 
water that is forced in. On top of this a pipe is jointed, called 
the trumpet, which stands up vertically. Valves are inserted in 
the cylinders, beneath the lower vents of the pipes, and over the 
openings which are in the bottoms of the cylinders. 

3. Pistons smoothly turned, rubbed with oil, and inserted from 
above into the cylinders, work with their rods and levers upon the 
air and water in the cylinders, and, as the valves stop up the 
openings, force and drive the water, by repeated pressure and 
expansion, through the vents of the pipes into the vessel, from 
which the cowl receives the inflated currents, and sends them up 
through the pipe at the top; and so water can be supplied for a 
fountain from a reservoir at a lower level. 

4. This, however, is not the only apparatus which Ctesibius is 
said to have thought out, but many more of various kinds are 
shown by him to produce effects, borrowed from nature, by means 
of water pressure and compression of the air; as, for example, 
blackbirds singing by means of waterworks, and " angobatae," 
and figures that drink and move, and other things that are found 
to be pleasing to the eye and the ear. 

5. Of these I have selected what I considered most useful and 
necessary, and have thought it best to speak in the preceding 
book about timepieces, and in this about the methods of raising 
water. The rest, which are not subservient to our needs, but to 
pleasure and amusement, may be found in the commentaries of 
Ctesibius himself by any who are interested in such refinements. 




1. WITH regard to water organs, however, I shall not fail with 
all possible brevity and precision to touch upon their principles, 
and to give a sufficient description of them. A wooden base is 
constructed, and on it is set an altar-shaped box made of bronze. 
Uprights, fastened together like ladders, are set up on the base, to 
the right and to the left (of the altar). They hold the bronze 
pump-cylinders, the moveable bottoms of which, carefully turned 
on a lathe, have iron elbows fastened to their centres and jointed 
to levers, and are wrapped in fleeces of wool. In the tops of the 
cylinders are openings, each about three digits in diameter. Close 
to these openings are bronze dolphins, mounted on joints and 
holding chains in their mouths, from which hang cymbal-shaped 
valves, let down under the openings in the cylinders. 

2. Inside the altar, which holds the water, is a regulator shaped 
like an inverted funnel, under which there are cubes, each about 
three digits high, keeping a free space below between the lips of 
the regulator and the bottom of the altar. Tightly fixed on the 
neck of the regulator is the windchest, which supports the prin- 
cipal part of the contrivance, called in Greek the icaviov novauco?. 
Running longitudinally, there are four channels in it if it is a tet- 
rachord; six, if it is a hexachord; eight, if it is an octachord. 

3. Each of the channels has a cock in it, furnished with an iron 
handle. These handles, when turned, open ventholes from the 
windchest into the channels. From the channels to the canon 
there are vertical openings corresponding to ventholes in a board 
above, which board is termed irtvaZ in Greek. Between this 
board and the canon are inserted sliders, pierced with holes to 
correspond, and rubbed with oil so that they can be easily moved 
and slid back into place again. They close the above-mentioned 
openings, and are called the plinths. Their going and coming now 
closes and now opens the holes. 


4. These sliders have iron jacks fixed to them, and connected 
with the keys, and the keys, when touched, make the sliders move 
regularly. To the upper surface of the openings hi the board, 
where the wind finds egress from the channels, rings are soldered, 
and into them the reeds of all the organ pipes are inserted. 
From the cylinders there are connecting pipes attached to the 
neck of the regulator, and directed towards the ventholes in the 
windchest. In the pipes are valves, turned on a lathe, and set 
(where the pipes are connected with the cylinders). When the 
windchest has received the air, these valves will stop up the open- 
ings, and prevent the wind from coming back again. 

5. So, when the levers are raised, the elbows draw down the 
bottoms of the cylinders as far as they can go; and the dolphins, 
which are mounted on joints, let the cymbals fall into the cylin- 
ders, thus filling the interiors with air. Then the elbows, raising 
the bottoms within the cylinders by repeated and violent blows, 
and stopping the openings above by means of the cymbals, com- 
press the air which is enclosed in the cylinders, and force it into 
the pipes, through which it runs into the regulator, and through its 
neck into the windchest. With a stronger motion of the levers, 
the air is still more compressed, streams through the apertures of 
the cocks, and fills the channels with wind. 

6. So, when the keys, touched by the hand, drive the sliders 
forward and draw them back regularly, alternately stopping and 
opening the holes, they produce resonant sounds in a great 
variety of melodies conforming to the laws of music. 

With my best efforts I have striven to set forth an obscure sub- 
ject clearly in writing, but the theory of it is not easy, nor readily 
understood by all, save only those who have had some practice in 
things of this kind. If anybody has failed to understand it, he 
will certainly find, when he comes to know the thing itself, that it 
is carefully and exquisitely contrived in all respects. 




1. THE drift of our treatise now turns to a useful invention of 
the greatest ingenuity, transmitted by our predecessors, which 
enables us, while sitting in a carriage on the road or sailing by sea, 
to know how many miles of a journey we have accomplished. 
This will be possible as follows. Let the wheels of the carriage be 
each four feet in diameter, so that if a wheel has a mark made 
upon it, and begins to move forward from that mark in making its 
revolution on the surface of the road, it will have covered the 
definite distance of twelve and a half feet on reaching that mark 
at which it began to revolve. 

2. Having provided such wheels, let a drum with a single tooth 
projecting beyond the face of its circumference be firmly fastened 
to the inner side of the hub of the wheel. Then, above this, let a 
case be firmly fastened to the body of the carriage, containing a 
revolving drum set on edge and mounted on an axle; on the face 
of the drum there are four hundred teeth, placed at equal inter- 
vals, and engaging the tooth of the drum below. The upper 
drum has, moreover, one tooth fixed to its side and standing out 
farther than the other teeth. 

3. Then, above, let there be a horizontal drum, similarly 
toothed and contained in another case, with its teeth engag- 
ing the tooth fixed to the side of the second drum, and let as 
many holes be made in this (third) drum as will correspond to the 
number of miles more or less, it does not matter that a 
carriage can go in a day's journey. Let a small round stone be 
placed in every one of these holes, and in the receptacle or case 
containing that drum let one hole be made, with a small pipe 
attached, through which, when they reach that point, the stones 
placed in the drum may fall one by one into a bronze vessel set 
underneath in the body of the carriage. 

4. Thus, as the wheel in going forward carries with it the lowest 


drum, and as the tooth of this at every revolution strikes against 
the teeth of the upper drum, and makes it move along, the result 
will be that the upper drum is carried round once for every four 
hundred revolutions of the lowest, and that the tooth fixed to its 
side pushes forward one tooth of the horizontal drum. Since, 
therefore, with four hundred revolutions of the lowest drum, the 
upper will revolve once, the progress made will be a distance of 
five thousand feet or one mile. Hence, every stone, making a 
ringing sound as it falls, will give warning that we have gone one 
mile. The number of stones gathered from beneath and counted, 
will show the number of miles in the day's journey. 

5. On board ship, also, the same principles may be employed 
with a few changes. An axle is passed through the sides of the 
ship, with its ends projecting, and wheels are mounted on them, 
four feet in diameter, with projecting floatboards fastened 
round their faces and striking the water. The middle of the 
axle in the middle of the ship carries a drum with one tooth pro- 
jecting beyond its circumference. Here a case is placed con- 
taining a drum with four hundred teeth at regular intervals, 
engaging the tooth of the drum that is mounted on the axle, 
and having also one other tooth fixed to its side and projecting 
beyond its circumference. 

6. Above, in another case fastened to the former, is a horizon- 
tal drum toothed in the same way, and with its teeth engaging 
the tooth fixed to the side of the drum that is set on edge, so 
that one of the teeth of the horizontal drum is struck at each 
revolution of that tooth, and the horizontal drum is thus made to 
revolve in a circle. Let holes be made in the horizontal drum, in 
which holes small round stones are to be placed. In the receptacle 
or case containing that drum, let one hole be opened with a small 
pipe attached, through which a stone, as soon as the obstruction 
is removed, falls with a ringing sound into a bronze vessel. 

7. So, when a ship is making headway, whether under oars or 
under a gale of wind, the floatboards on the wheels will strike 
against the water and be driven violently back, thus turning the 


wheels; and they, revolving, will move the axle, and the axle 
the drum, the tooth of which, as it goes round, strikes one of the 
teeth of the second drum at each revolution, and makes it turn 
a little. So, when the floatboards have caused the wheels to re- 
volve four hundred times, this drum, having turned round once, 
will strike a tooth of the horizontal drum with the tooth that is 
fixed to its side. Hence, every time the turning of the horizontal 
drum brings a stone to a hole, it will let the stone out through the 
pipe. Thus by the sound and the number, the length of the voy- 
age will be shown in miles. 

I have described how to make things that may be provided for 
use and amusement in times that are peaceful and without fear. 



1. I SHALL next explain the symmetrical principles on which 
scorpiones and ballistae may be constructed, inventions devised 
for defence against danger, and in the interest of self-preserva- 

The proportions of these engines are all computed from the 
given length of the arrow which the engine is intended to throw, 
and the size of the holes in the capitals, through which the twisted 
sinews that hold the arms are stretched, is one ninth of that 

2. The height and breadth of the capital itself must then con- 
form to the size of the holes. The boards at the top and bottom of 
the capital, which are called " peritreti," should be in thickness 
equal to one hole, and in breadth to one and three quarters, except 
at their extremities, where they equal one hole and a half. The 
sideposts on the right and left should be four holes high, excluding 
the tenons, and five twelfths of a hole thick; the tenons, half a 
hole. The distance from a sidepost to the hole is one quarter of a 
hole, and it is also one quarter of a hole from the hole to the post 


in the middle. The breadth of the post in the middle is equal to 
one hole and one eighth, the thickness, to one hole. 

3. The opening in the middle post, where the arrow is laid, is 
equal to one fourth of the hole. The four surrounding corners 
should have iron plates nailed to their sides and faces, or should 
be studded with bronze pins and nails. The pipe, called a-vpiyt; in 
Greek, has a length of nineteen holes. The strips, which some 
term cheeks, nailed at the right and left of the pipe, have a 
length of nineteen holes and a height and thickness of one hole. 
Two other strips, enclosing the windlass, are nailed on to these, 
three holes long and half a hole in breadth. The cheek nailed on 
to them, named the " bench, " or by some the " box," and made 
fast by means of dove-tailed tenons, is one hole thick and seven 
twelfths of a hole in height. The length of the windlass is equal 
to . . - 1 holes, the thickness of the windlass to three quarters 
of a hole. 

4. The latch is seven twelfths of a hole in length and one 
quarter in thickness. So also its socket-piece. The trigger or 
handle is three holes in length and three quarters of a hole in 
breadth and thickness. The trough in the pipe is sixteen holes 
in length, one quarter of a hole in thickness, and three quar- 
ters in height. The base of the standard on the ground is equal 
to eight holes; the breadth of the standard where it is fastened 
into the plinth is three quarters of a hole, its thickness two 
thirds of a hole; the height of the standard up to the tenon is 
twelve holes, its breadth three quarters of a hole, and its thick- 
ness two thirds. It has three struts, each nine holes in length, 
half a hole in breadth, and five twelfths in thickness. The 
tenon is one hole in length, and the head of the standard one 
hole and a half in length. 

5. The antefix has the breadth of a hole and one eighth, and 
the thickness of one hole. The smaller support, which is behind, 
termed in Greek azri/Sao-f?, is eight holes long, three quarters of a 
hole broad, and two thirds thick. Its prop is twelve holes long, 

1 The dots here and in what follows, indicate lacunae in the manuscripts. 


and has the same breadth and thickness as the smaller support 
just mentioned. Above the smaller support is its socket-piece, 
or what is called the cushion, two and a half holes long, one and a 
half high, and three quarters of a hole broad. The windlass cup is 
two and seven twelfths holes long, two thirds of a hole thick, and 
three quarters broad. The crosspieces with their tenons have the 
length of ... holes, the breadth of three quarters, and the thick- 
ness of two thirds of a hole. The length of an arm is seven holes, 
its thickness at its base two thirds of a hole, and at its end one 
half a hole; its curvature is equal to two thirds of a hole. 

6. These engines are constructed according to these proportions 
or with additions or diminutions. For, if the height of the capitals 
is greater than their width when they are called " high-ten- 
sioned," something should be taken from the arms, so that the 
more the tension is weakened by height of the capitals, the more 
the strength of the blow is increased by shortness of the arms. 
But if the capital is less high, when the term " low-tensioned " is 
used, the arms, on account of their strength, should be made 
a little longer, so that they may be drawn easily. Just as it takes 
four men to raise a load with a lever five feet long, and only two 
men to lift the same load with a ten-foot lever, so the longer the 
arms, the easier they are to draw, and the shorter, the harder. 

I have now spoken of the principles applicable to the parts and 
proportions of catapults. 



1. BALLISTAE are constructed on varying principles to pro- 
duce an identical result. Some are worked by handspikes and 
windlasses, some by blocks and pulleys, others by capstans, 
others again by means of drums. No ballista, however, is made 
without regard to the given amount of weight of the stone which 
the engine is intended to throw. Hence their principle is not easy 


for everybody, but only for those who have knowledge of the geo- 
metrical principles employed in calculation and in multiplication. 

2. For the holes made in the capitals through the openings of 
which are stretched the strings made of twisted hair, generally 
women's, or of sinew, are proportionate to the amount of weight 
in the stone which the ballista is intended to throw, and to the 
principle of mass, as in catapults the principle is that of the length 
of the arrow. Therefore, in order that those who do not under- 
stand geometry may be prepared beforehand, so as not to be 
delayed by having to think the matter out at a moment of peril 
in war, I will set forth what I myself know by experience can be 
depended upon, and what I have in part gathered from the rules 
of my teachers, and wherever Greek weights bear a relation to 
the measures, I shall reduce and explain them so that they will 
express the same corresponding relation in our weights. 

3. A ballista intended to throw a two-pound stone will have a 
hole of five digits in its capital; four pounds, six digits, and six 
pounds, seven digits; ten pounds, eight digits; twenty pounds, 
ten digits; forty pounds, twelve and a half digits; sixty pounds, 
thirteen and a half digits; eighty pounds, fifteen and three 
quarters digits; one hundred pounds, one foot and one and a half 
digits; one hundred and twenty pounds, one foot and two digits; 
one hundred and forty pounds, one foot and three digits; one 
hundred and sixty pounds, one foot and a quarter; one hundred 
and eighty pounds, one foot and five digits; two hundred pounds, 
one foot and six digits; two hundred and forty pounds, one foot 
and seven digits; two hundred and eighty pounds, one foot and 
a half; three hundred and twenty pounds, one foot and nine 
digits; three hundred and sixty pounds, one foot and ten digits. 

4. Having determined the size of the hole, design the "scu- 
tula," termed in Greek TrepiTprjros, . . . holes in length and 
two and one sixth in breadth. Bisect it by a line drawn 
diagonally from the angles, and after this bisecting bring 
together the outlines of the figure so that it may present a rhom- 
boidal design, reducing it by one sixth of its length and one 


fourth of its breadth at the (obtuse) angles. In the part com- 
posed by the curvatures into which the points of the angles run 
out, let the holes be situated, and let the breadth be reduced 
by one sixth; moreover, let the hole be longer than it is broad 
by the thickness of the bolt. After designing the scutula, let its 
outline be worked down to give it a gentle curvature. 

5. It should be given the thickness of seven twelfths of a hole. 
The boxes are two holes (in height), one and three quarters in 
breadth, two thirds of a hole in thickness except the part that is 
inserted in the hole, and at the top one third of a hole in breadth. 
The sideposts are five holes and two thirds in length, their curva- 
ture half a hole, and their thickness thirty -seven forty-eighths of 
a hole. In the middle their breadth is increased as much as it was 
near the hole in the design, by the breadth and thickness of ... 
hole; the height by one fourth of a hole. 

6. The (inner) strip on the " table" has a length of eight holes, 
a breadth and thickness of half a hole. Its tenons are one hole 
and one sixth long, and one quarter of a hole in thickness. The 
curvature of this strip is three quarters of a hole. The outer strip 
has the same breadth and thickness (as the inner), but the length 
is given by the obtuse angle of the design and the breadth of the 
sidepost at its curvature. The upper strips are to be equal to 
the lower; the cross-pieces of the " table," one half of a hole. 

7. The shafts of the " ladder" are thirteen holes in length, one 
hole in thickness; the space between them is one hole and a quar- 
ter in breadth, and one and one eighth in depth. Let the entire 
length of the ladder on its upper surface which is the one adjoin- 
ing the arms and fastened to the table be divided into five parts. 
Of these let two parts be given to the member which the Greeks 
call the xcXdu'toi', its breadth being one and one sixth, its thickness 
one quarter, and its length eleven holes and one half; the claw 
projects half a hole and the "winging" three sixteenths of a 
hole. What is at the axis which is termed the . . . face . . . the 
crosspieces of three holes? 

8. The breadth of the inner slips is one quarter of a hole; their 


thickness one sixth. The coverjoint or lid of the chelonium 
is dovetailed into the shafts of the ladder, and is three sixteenths 
of a hole in breadth and one twelfth in thickness. The thickness 
of the square piece on the ladder is three sixteenths of a hole, . . . 
the diameter of the round axle will be equal to that of the claw, 
but at the pivots seven sixteenths of a hole. 

9. The stays are . . . holes in length, one quarter of a hole in 
breadth at the bottom, and one sixth in thickness at the top. The 
base, termed ea^dpa, has the length of ... holes, and the anti- 
base of four holes; each is one hole in thickness and breadth. A 
supporter is jointed on, halfway up, one and one half holes in 
breadth and thickness. Its height bears no relation to the hole, 
but will be such as to be serviceable. The length of an arm is six 
holes, its thickness at the base two thirds of a hole, and at the 
end one half a hole. 

I have now given those symmetrical proportions of ballistae 
and catapults which I thought most useful. But I shall not 
omit, so far as I can express it in writing, the method of stretch- 
ing and tuning their strings of twisted sinew or hair. 



1. BEAMS of very generous length are selected, and upon them 
are nailed socket-pieces in which windlasses are inserted. Mid- 
way along their length the beams are incised and cut away to 
form framings, and in these cuttings the capitals of the catapults 
are inserted, and prevented by wedges from moving when the 
stretching is going on. Then the bronze boxes are inserted into 
the capitals, and the little iron bolts, which the Greeks call 
eiri^vyiBei, are put in their places in the boxes. 

2. Next, the loops of the strings are put through the holes in 
the capitals, and passed through to the other side; next, they are 
put upon the windlasses, and wound round them in order that 


the strings, stretched out taut on them by means of the hand- 
spikes, on being struck by the hand, may respond with the same 
sound on both sides. Then they are wedged tightly into the 
holes so that they cannot slacken. So, in the same manner, they 
are passed through to the other side, and stretched taut on the 
windlasses by means of the handspikes until they give the 
same sound. Thus with tight wedging, catapults are tuned 
to the proper pitch by musical sense of hearing. 

On these things I have said what I could. There is left for me, 
in the matter of sieges, to explain how generals can win victories 
and cities be defended, by means of machinery. 



1. IT is related that the battering ram for sieges was originally 
invented as follows. The Carthaginians pitched their camp for 
the siege of Cadiz. They captured an outwork and attempted to 
destroy it. But having no iron implements for its destruction, 
they took a beam, and, raising it with their hands, and driving 
the end of it repeatedly against the top of the wall, they threw 
down the top courses of stones, and thus, step by step in regular 
order, they demolished the entire redoubt. 

2. Afterwards a carpenter from Tyre, Bright by name and by 
nature, was led by this invention into setting up a mast from 
which he hung another crosswise like a steelyard, and so, by 
swinging it vigorously to and fro, he threw down the wall of 
Cadiz. Geras of Chalcedon was the first to make a wooden plat- 
form with wheels under it, upon which he constructed a frame- 
work of uprights and crosspieces, and within it he hung the ram, 
and covered it with oxhide for the better protection of the men 
who were stationed in the machine to batter the wall. As the 
machine made but slow progress, he first gave it the name of the 
tortoise of the ram. 


3. These were the first steps then taken towards that kind of 
machinery, but afterwards, when Philip, the son of Amyntas, 
was besieging Byzantium, it was developed in many varieties 
and made handier by Polyidus the Thessalian. His pupils were 
Diades and Charias, who served with Alexander. Diades shows 
in his writings that he invented moveable towers, which he used 
also to take apart and carry round with the army, and likewise 
the borer, and the scaling machine, by means of which one can 
cross over to the wall on a level with the top of it, as well as the 
destroyer called the raven, or by others the crane. 

4. He also employed the ram mounted on wheels, an account 
of which he left in his writings. As for the tower, he says that the 
smallest should be not less than sixty cubits in height and seven- 
teen in breadth, but diminishing to one fifth less at the top; the 
uprights for the tower being nine inches at the bottom and half a 
foot at the top. Such a tower, he says, ought to be ten stories 
high, with windows in it on all sides. 

5. His larger tower, he adds, was one hundred and twenty cu- 
bits high and twenty-three and one half cubits broad, diminish- 
ing like the other to one fifth less; the uprights, one foot at the 
bottom and six digits at the top. He made this large tower 
twenty stories high, each story having a gallery round it, three 
cubits wide. He covered the towers with rawhide to protect 
them from any kind of missile. 

6. The tortoise of the battering ram was constructed in the 
same way. It had, however, a base of thirty cubits square, and a 
height, excluding the pediment, of thirteen cubits; the height of 
the pediment from its bed to its top was seven cubits. Issuing up 
and above the middle of the roof for not less than two cubits was 
a gable, and on this was reared a small tower four stories high, in 
which, on the top floor, scorpiones and catapults were set up, 
and on the lower floors a great quantity of water was stored, to 
put out any fire that might be thrown on the tortoise. Inside of 
this was set the machinery of the ram, termed in Greek KpioBo^r), 
in which was placed a roller, turned on a lathe, and the ram, be- 


ing set on top of this, produced its great effects when swung to 
and fro by means of ropes. It was protected, like the tower, 
with rawhide. 

7. He explained the principles of the borer as follows: that 
the machine itself resembled the tortoise, but that in the middle 
it had a pipe lying between upright walls, like the pipe usually 
found in catapults and ballistae, fifty cubits in length and one 
cubit in height, in which a windlass was set transversely. On 
the right and left, at the end of the pipe, were two blocks, by 
means of which the iron-pointed beam, which lay in the pipe, was 
moved. There were numerous rollers enclosed in the pipe itself 
under the beam, which made its movements quicker and stronger. 
Numerous arches were erected along the pipe above the beam 
which was in it, to hold up the rawhide in which this machine 
was enveloped. 

8. He thought it needless to write about the raven, because he 
saw that the machine was of no value. With regard to the scal- 
ing machine, termed in Greek eiriftddpa, and the naval con- 
trivances which, as he wrote, could be used in boarding ships, I 
have observed that he merely promised with some earnestness 
to explain their principles, but that he has not done so. 

I have set forth what was written by Diades on machines and 
their construction. I shall now set forth the methods which I 
have learned from my teachers, and which I myself believe to be 



1. A TORTOISE intended for the filling of ditches, and thereby 
to make it possible to reach the wall, is to be made as follows. 
Let a base, termed in Greek eV^apa, be constructed, with each of 
its sides twenty-one feet long, and with four crosspieces. Let 
these be held together by two others, two thirds of a foot thick 
and hah* a foot broad; let the crosspieces be about three feet and 


a half apart, and beneath and in the spaces between them set 
the trees, termed in Greek d/*aoVoSe9, in which the axles of the 
wheels turn in iron hoops. Let the trees be provided with pivots, 
and also with holes through which levers are passed to make them 
turn, so that the tortoise can move forward or back or towards 
its right or left side, or if necessary obliquely, all by the turning 
of the trees. 

2. Let two beams be laid on the base, projecting for six feet 
on each side, round the projections of which let two other beams 
be nailed, projecting seven feet beyond the former, and of the 
thickness and breadth prescribed in the case of the base. On this 
framework set up posts mortised into it, nine feet high exclusive 
of their tenons, one foot and a quarter square, and one foot and 
a half apart. Let the posts be tied together at the top by mortised 
beams. Over the beams let the rafters be set, tied one into another 
by means of tenons, and carried up twelve feet high. Over the 
rafters set the square beam by which the rafters are bound 

3. Let the rafters themselves be held together by bridgings, 
and covered with boards, preferably of holm oak, or, this failing, 
of any other material which has the greatest strength, except 
pine or alder. For these woods are weak and easily catch fire. 
Over the boardings let there be placed wattles very closely 
woven of thin twigs as fresh as possible. Let the entire machine 
be covered with rawhide sewed together double and stuffed with 
seaweed or straw soaked in vinegar. In this way the blows of 
ballistae and the force of fires will be repelled by them. 


1. THERE is also another kind of tortoise, which has all theother 
details as described above except the rafters, but it has round it 
a parapet and battlements of boards, and eaves sloping down- 


< c o 

K X 



-/. ^ 

v. 5 

K = 


wards, and is covered with boards and hides firmly fastened in 
place. Above this let clay kneaded with hair be spread to such 
a thickness that fire cannot injure the machine. These machines 
can, if need be, have eight wheels, should it be necessary to 
modify them with reference to the nature of the ground. Tor- 
toises, however, which are intended for excavating, termed in 
Greek opvicrtfa, have all the other details as described above, but 
their fronts are constructed like the angles of triangles, in order 
that when missiles are shot against them from a wall, they may 
receive the blows not squarely in front, but glancing from the 
sides, and those excavating within may be protected without 

2. It does not seem to me out of place to set forth the princi- 
ples on which Hegetor of Byzantium constructed a tortoise. The 
length of its base was sixty-three feet, the breadth forty-two. 
The corner posts, four in number, which were set upon this frame- 
work, were made of two timbers each, and were thirty-six feet 
high, a foot and a quarter thick, and a foot and a half broad. The 
base had eight wheels by means of which it was moved about. 
The height of these wheels was six and three quarters feet, their 
thickness three feet. Thus constructed of three pieces of wood, 
united by alternate opposite dovetails and bound together by 
cold-drawn iron plates, they revolved in the trees or ainaxo- 

3. Likewise, on the plane of the crossbeams above the base, 
were erected posts eighteen feet high, three quarters of a foot 
broad, two thirds of a foot thick, and a foot and three quarters 
apart; above these, framed beams, a foot broad and three quar- 
ters of a foot thick, held the whole structure together; above this 
the rafters were raised, with an elevation of twelve feet; a beam 
set above the rafters united their joinings. They also had bridg- 
ings fastened transversely, and a flooring laid on them protected 
the parts beneath. 

4. It had, moreover, a middle flooring on girts, where scorpiones 
and catapults were placed. There were set up, also, two framed 


uprights forty-five feet long, a foot and a half in thickness, and 
three quarters of a foot in breadth, joined at the tops by a mor- 
tised crossbeam and by another, halfway up, mortised into the 
two shafts and tied in place by iron plates. Above this was set, 
between the shafts and the crossbeams, a block pierced on either 
side by sockets, and firmly fastened in place with clamps. In 
this block were two axles, turned on a lathe, and ropes fastened 
from them held the ram. 

6. Over the head of these (ropes) which held the ram, was 
placed a parapet fitted out like a small tower, so that, without 
danger, two soldiers, standing in safety, could look out and report 
what the enemy were attempting. The entire ram had a length 
of one hundred and eighty feet, a breadth at the base of a foot 
and a quarter, and a thickness of a foot, tapering at the head to 
a breadth of a foot and a thickness of three quarters of a foot. 

6. This ram, moreover, had a beak of hard iron such as ships of 
war usually have, and from the beak iron plates, four in number, 
about fifteen feet long, were fastened to the wood. From the head 
to the very heel of the beam were stretched cables, three in num- 
ber and eight digits thick, fastened just as in a ship from stem 
to stern continuously, and these cables were bound with cross 
girdles a foot and a quarter apart. Over these the whole ram was 
wrapped with rawhide. The ends of the ropes from which the 
ram hung were made of fourfold chains of iron, and these chains 
were themselves wrapped in rawhide. 

7. Likewise, the projecting end of the ram had a box framed 
and constructed of boards, in which was stretched a net made of 
rather large ropes, over the rough surfaces of which one easily 
reached the wall without the feet slipping. And this machine 
moved in six directions, forward (and backward), also to the 
right or left, and likewise it was elevated by extending it up- 
wards and depressed by inclining it downwards. The machine 
could be elevated to a height sufficient to throw down a wall of 
about one hundred feet, and likewise in its thrust it covered a 
space from right to left of not less than one hundred feet. One 


hundred men controlled it, though it had a weight of four thou- 
sand talents, which is four hundred and eighty thousand pounds. 



1. WITH regard to scorpiones, catapults, and ballistae, likewise 
with regard to tortoises and towers, I have set forth, as seemed to 
me especially appropriate, both by whom they were invented and 
in what manner they should be constructed. But I have not con- 
sidered it as necessary to describe ladders, cranes, and other 
things, the principles of which are simpler, for the soldiers usually 
construct these by themselves, nor can these very machines be 
useful in all places nor in the same way, since fortifications differ 
from each other, and so also the bravery of nations. For siege 
works against bold and venturesome men should be constructed 
on one plan, on another against cautious men, and on still another 
against the cowardly. 

2. And so, if any one pays attention to these directions, and by 
selection adapts their various principles to a single structure, he 
will not be in need of further aids, but will be able, without hesi- 
tation, to design such machines as the circumstances or the situ- 
ations demand. With regard to works of defence, it is not neces- 
sary to write, since the enemy do not construct their defences in 
conformity with our books, but their contrivances are frequently 
foiled, on the spur of the moment, by some shrewd, hastily con- 
ceived plan, without the aid of machines, as is said to have been 
the experience of the Rhodians. 

3. For Diognetus was a Rhodian architect, to whom, as an 
honour, was granted out of the public treasury a fixed annual pay- 
ment commensurate with the dignity of his art. At this time an 
architect from Aradus, Callias by name, coming to Rhodes, gave 
a public lecture, and showed a model of a wall, over which he set 
a machine on a revolving crane with which he seized an helepolis 


as it approached the fortifications, and brought it inside the wall. 
The Rhodians, when they had seen this model, filled with admira- 
tion, took from Diognetus the yearly grant and transferred this 
honour to Callias. 

4. Meanwhile, king Demetrius, who because of his stubborn 
courage was called Poliorcetes, making war on Rhodes, brought 
with him a famous Athenian architect named Epimachus. He 
constructed at enormous expense, with the utmost care and exer- 
tion, an helepolis one hundred and thirty-five feet high and sixty 
feet broad. He strengthened it with hair and rawhide so that it 
could withstand the blow of a stone weighing three hundred and 
sixty pounds shot from a ballista; the machine itself weighed 
three hundred and sixty thousand pounds. When Callias was 
asked by the Rhodians to construct a machine to resist this hele- 
polis, and to bring it within the wall as he had promised, he said 
that it was impossible. 

5. For not all things are practicable on identical principles, but 
there are some things which, when enlarged in imitation of small 
models, are effective, others cannot have models, but are con- 
structed independently of them, while there are some which 
appear feasible in models, but when they have begun to increase 
in size are impracticable, as we can observe in the following 
instance. A half inch, inch, or inch and a half hole is bored with 
an auger, but if we should wish, in the same manner, to bore a 
hole a quarter of a foot in breadth, it is impracticable, while one 
of half a foot or more seems not even conceivable. 

6. So too, in some models it is seen how they appear practicable 
on the smallest scale and likewise on a larger. And so the Rhodi- 
ans, in the same manner, deceived by the same reasoning, inflicted 
injury and insult on Diognetus. Therefore, when they saw the 
enemy stubbornly hostile, slavery threatening them because of 
the machine which had been built to take the city, and that they 
must look forward to the destruction of their state, they fell at 
the feet of Diognetus, begging him to come to the aid of the 
fatherland. He at first refused. 


7. But after free-born maidens and young men came with the 
priests to implore him, he promised to do it on condition that if 
he took the machine it should be his property. When these 
terms had been agreed upon, he pierced the wall in the place 
where the machine was going to approach it, and ordered all to 
bring forth from both public and private sources all the water, 
excrement, and filth, and to pour it in front of the wall through 
pipes projecting through this opening. After a great amount of 
water, filth, and excrement had been poured out during the 
night, on the next day the helepolis moving up, before it could 
reach the wall, came to a stop in the swamp made by the moist- 
ure, and could not be moved forwards, nor later even backwards. 
And so Demetrius, when he saw that he had been baffled by the 
wisdom of Diognetus, withdrew with his fleet. 

8. Then the Rhodians, freed from the war by the cunning of 
Diognetus, thanked him publicly, and decorated him with all 
honours and distinctions. Diognetus brought that helepolis into 
the city, set it up in a public place, and put on it an inscription: 
" Diognetus out of the spoils of the enemy dedicated this gift to 
the people." Therefore, in works of defence, not merely machines, 
but, most of all, wise plans must be prepared. 

9. Likewise at Chios, when the enemy had prepared storming 
bridges on their ships, the Chians, by night, carried out earth, 
sand, and stones into the sea before their walls. So, when the 
enemy, on the next day, tried to approach the walls, their ships 
grounded on the mound beneath the water, and could not ap- 
proach the wall nor withdraw, but pierced with fire-darts were 
burned there. Again, when Apollonia was being besieged, and 
the enemy were thinking, by digging mines, to make their way 
within the walls without exciting suspicion, and this was re- 
ported by scouts to the people of Apollonia, they were much 
disturbed and alarmed by the news, and having no plans for 
defence, they lost courage, because they could not learn either 
the time or the definite place where the enemy would come out. 

10. But at this time Trypho, the Alexandrine architect, was 


there. He planned a number of countermines inside the wall, and 
extending them outside the wall beyond the range of arrows, 
hung up in all of them brazen vessels. The brazen vessels hanging 
in one of these mines, which was in front of a mine of the enemy, 
began to ring from the strokes of their iron tools. So from this it 
was ascertained where the enemy, pushing their mines, thought 
to enter. The line being thus found out, he prepared kettles of 
hot water, pitch, human excrement, and sand heated to a glow. 
Then, at night, he pierced a number of holes, and pouring the 
mixture suddenly through them, killed all the enemy who were 
engaged in this work. 

11. In the same manner, when Marseilles was being besieged, 
and they were pushing forward more than thirty mines, the peo- 
ple of Marseilles, distrusting the entire moat in front of their 
wall, lowered it by digging it deeper. Thus all the mines found 
their outlet in the moat. In places where the moat could not be 
dug they constructed, within the walls, a basin of enormous 
length and breadth, like a fish pond, in front of the place where 
the mines were being pushed, and filled it from wells and from the 
port. And so, when the passages of the mine were suddenly 
opened, the immense mass of water let in undermined the sup- 
ports, and all who were within were overpowered by the mass of 
water and the caving in of the mine. 

12. Again, when a rampart was being prepared against the wall 
in front of them, and the place was heaped up with felled trees and 
works placed there, by shooting at it with the ballistae red-hot 
iron bolts they set the whole work on fire. And when a ram- 
tortoise had approached to batter down the wall, they let down a 
noose, and when they had caught the ram with it, winding it over 
a drum by turning a capstan, having raised the head of the ram, 
they did not allow the wall to be touched, and finally they de- 
stroyed the entire machine by glowing fire-darts and the blows of 
ballistae. Thus by such victory, not by machines but in opposi- 
tion to the principle of machines, has the freedom of states been 
preserved by the cunning of architects. 


Such principles of machines as I could make clear, and as I 
thought most serviceable for times of peace and of war, I have 
explained in this book. In the nine earlier books I have dealt 
with single topics and details, so that the entire work contains all 
the branches of architecture, set forth in ten books. 



No passage in Vitruvius has given rise to so much discussion or been the subject of such various 
interpretations as this phrase. The most reasonable explanation of its meaning seems to be that of 
Emile Burnouf, at one time Director of the French School at Athens, published in the Revue Generate 
del' Architecture for 1875,as a note to a brief articleof his on the explanation of thecurves of Greek Doric 
buildings. This explanation was accepted by Professor Morgan, who called my attention to it in a 
note dated December 12, 1905. It has also quite recently been adopted by Professor Goodyear in his 
interesting book on Greek Refinements. 

Burnouf would translate it nivelettes in&gales, "unequal levellers." He states that in many parts of 
France in setting along course of cut stone the masons make use of a simple device consisting of three 
pointed blocks of equal height used as levellers, of which two are placed one at each extremity of the 
course, while the third is used to level the stones, as they are successively set in place, by setting it 
upon the stone to be set and sighting across the other two levellers. If two "levellers" of equal height 
are used with a third of less height placed at the centre of the course, with perhaps others of inter- 
mediate height used at intermediate points, it would obviously be equally easy to set out a curved 
course, as, for instance, the curved stylobate of the Parthenon which rises about three inches in its 
length of one hundred feet. By a simple calculation any desired curve could be laid out in this way. 
The word scamillus is a diminutive of scamnum, a mounting-block or bench. 

Practically the same explanation is given by G. Georges in a memoir submitted to the Sorbonne 
in April, 1875. Georges adds an interesting list, by no means complete, of the various explanations 
that have been offered at different times. 

Philander (1522-1552). Projections of the stylobate or pedestals. 

Barbara (1556-1690). The same. 

Bertano (1558). Swellings of the die of the stylobate or bosses in the stylobate or the frieze 

of the entablature. 

Baldus (1612). Sub-plinths placed under the bases of the columns. 

Perrault (1673-1684). Projection of the stylobate. 

Polleni (1739). The same. 

Galiani (1758-1790). Projection of the stylobate with hypothesis of embossments on the sty- 
lobates and the bases of the columns. 

Tardieu and Coussin (1837) and Mauffras (1847). Projection of the stylobatea. 

Aures (1865). Steps or offsets between the stylobate and the columns. 

The list of Georges is wholly French and Italian. 

Fra Giocondo's interpretation is indicated in our reproduction of the illustration in his edition of 

Hoffer (1838) and afterwards Pennethorne (1846) and Penrose (1851) gave measurements showing 
the curvatures in the Parthenon and the temple of Theseus in Athens. Penrose and most writers 
who followed him supposed the "scamilli impares" to be projections or offsets on the stylobate re- 
quired on account of the curves to bring the column into relation with the architraves above, and 
similar offsets of unequal or sloping form were supposed to be required above the abaci of the capitals, 
but such offsets, although sometimes existing, have no obvious connection with the passage in Vi- 
truvius. C. Botticher (1863) and more recently Dunn have denied the original intention of the curves 
and ascribe them to settlement, a supposition which hardly accords with the observed facts. Reber, 
in the note on this passage in his translation of Vitruvius (1865), thinks the scamilli were sloping 
offsets on the stylobate to cause the inclination of the columns, but admits that nothing of the kind 
has been found in the remains so far examined. It may be added that this is at variance with the 

i such buildings as 

- r r - J case precisely and 

makes this passage of Vitruvius straightforward and simple. This can be said of no other explanation, 
for all the others leave the passage obscure and more or less nonsensical. Dunn's attempt to refer 
the passage to the case of the temple with a podium which has just been spoken of by Vitruvius is 
somewhat forced, or at least unnecessary. Clearly the passage refers to stylobates in general; but 
Reber also so translates and punctuates as to make the use of the "scamilli impares" refer only to 
the case of temples built in the Roman manner with the podium. His resulting explanation still leaves 
the passage obscure and unsatisfactory. One may finally refer to the ingenious but improbable ex- 
planation of Choisy, who translates it echelons impairs, and explains them as offsets iarranged accord- 
ing to the odd numbers, nombres impairs, i.e., offsets varying at equal intervals in the proportion of 
1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc., and which he claims was applied also to the entasis of columns. 




Abacus, 92, 106, 110. 122. 

'A.PCLTOV, 56. 

Abdera, 212. 269. 

Acanthus pattern, origin of, 104. 

Accius, 255. 

Acoustics, of the site of a theatre, 153 /. 

Acroteria, 96. 

Aequians have springs which produce goitre, 


Aeruca (verdigris). 219. 
Aeschylus. 198. 
Aesculapi s, proper site for temple of, 15; 

temple of, at Tralles, 198. 
Aetna. 47. 
Africa, 240. 
A gat harms, 198. 
Agesistratus, 199. 
Agger (river), 231. 
Agnus castus (tree), 60/., 296. 
'AxpopaTtKbv, 283. 

Alabanda, 212; temple of Apollo at, 78. 
Alae, of house, 177; of temples, 120. 
Albula (river). 233. 
Alder, 61. 

Alexander, 35/., 195, 310. 
Alexandria, 36, 196, 197, 218; length of 

shadow of gnomon at, 270. 
Alexis (poet), 168. 
Altars, 125 /. 
Altino, 21. 

Aluminous springs, 234. 
Amiternum, stone quarries of, 49. 
Ammon, 235. 
Amphiprostyle, 75. 
Amphithalamos, 186. 
Amyntas, 310. 

A nail-Mima. 257; its applications, 270 ff. 
Anaphoric dial, 275. 
Anaxagoras, 195, 198, 225. 269. 
Ancona, 63. 
Andreas, 273. 

Andromeda (constellation), 266. 
Andron of Ephesus, 70. 
Andrones, 187. 
Andronicus of Cyrrhus, 26. 
A MI. -ic. 114, 120, 186; temple in ant is. 75. 
Antiborean (sun dial), 273. 
Antimachides, 199. 
Antiochus, 199. 
Antipater, 238, 269. 
Antistates, 199. 
Apaturius, 212. 
Apelles. 11. 

Apollo, 69, 102, 103, 196; Panionion. 103, 
255; colossal statue of, 289; temple of, at 
Alabanda, 78; at Miletus, 200; at Rome, 
80; site of temple of, 80. 

Apollonia, 235; siege of, 317/. 

Apollonius, 273. 

Apollonius of Perga, 12. 

Aqueducts, 244 jj.\ Marcian, 232. 

Aquileia, 21. 

Arabia, 235, 237. 

Araclme (sun dial), 273. 

Aradus, 315. 

Araeostyle temples, 78, 80; proportions of 
columns in, 84. 

Aratus, 269. 

Arcadia, 238. 

Arcesius, 109, 198. 

Arched substructures, 190. 

Archer (constellation), 266. 

Archimedes, 8, 12, 199, 243; detects a theft 
of gold by a contractor, 253 /. 

Archinapolus (astrologer), 269. 

Architecture, fundamental principles of, 
IS/.; departments of, 16/. 

Architrave, 94, 288. 

Archytas of Tarentum, 12, 199, 255. 

Arcturus (star), 266. 

Ardea, 233. 

Arevanias, 54. 

Arezzo, ancient wall of brick at, 53. 

Argo (constellation), 268. 

Argolis, precinct of Juno at, 102. 

Argos, 54. 

Ariobarzanes, 154. 

Aristarchus, 11. 

of Samos, 12, 263, 273. 

Aristides, 241. 

Aristippus, shipwreck of, 167. 

Aristomenes of Thasos, 70. 

Aristophanes, 168; grammaticus, 196. 

Aristotle, 195, 251. 

Aristoxenus, 11, 140, 145. 

Armenian blue, 213, 217. 

'ApTtS&vcu (star group), 268. 

Arrow (constellation), 266. 

Arsenal, naval, at Peiraeus, 198. 

Arsinoe. 103. 

Artemisia, 55 /. 

Artemon ('Erdyur). 287. 

Asphalt, 235; asphaltic springs. 234; lake 

m Asphaltitis, 235. 

"AffirXijiw, 20. 

Assafoetida grown in Cvrene, 237. 



Astansoba (river), 231. 

Astoboa (river), 231. 

Astragals, 90. 

Astrology, 269 /. 

Athens, 26, 40, 53, 78, 124, 199, 200, 234; 
colonnades at, 154; temple of Minerva at, 
198; length of shadow of gnomon at, 257, 

Athos, Mt., 85. 

'ArXon-ti, 188. 

Atlantides, 189. 

Atlas, 188, 231. 

Atrium, 185, 210; proportions of, 170 /. 

Attalus, 53, 103. 195. 

Attic doorways, 120. 

Aurelius, Marcus, 3. 

Aventine, 216. 

Babylon, 24, 235. 

Bacchus, proper site for temple of, 31; Ionic 
order appropriate to, 15; temple of, at 
Teos, 82, 109, 198. 

Baiae, 46, 47. 

Bakeries, 184. 

Balance (constellation), 266. 

Balconies in forum, 131. 

Balearic Isles, 214, 240. 

Ballistae, rules for making, 305 jf. 

Bankers' offices, 131. 

Barns, 184. 

BapovXtcir, 283. 

Bases, Ionic, 90 jf. 

Basilica, 132 jf.; of Vitruvius at Fano, 
134 jf. 

Bathrooms, 180; of farmhouse, 183. 

Baths, 157 /. 

Beast (constellation), 268. 

Bedrooms, 181. 

Beech, 60. 

Berosus, 262, 269, 273. 

Bilberry, used to make purple, 220. 

Bird (constellation), 266. 

Black, 217 /. 

Block (rechamui), 285 jf. 

Blue, 218 /. 

Body, proportions of, 72. 

Boedas of Byzantium, 70. 

Boeotia, 237. 

Bolsena, lake of, 50. 

Borer, principle of, 311. 

Boscoreale, villa rustica at, 183. 

Bowl (constellation), 268. 

Breakwaters, 162Jf. 

Brick, 42 /.; test of, 57. 

Bright (Pephrasmenos), inventor of batter- 
ing ram, 309. 

Bryaxis, 199. 

Bucket-pump, 294. 

Bug (river), 231. 

Bull (constellation), 266. 

Burnt-ochre. 218 /. 

Buttresses, 190 /. 
Byzantium, 310. 

Cadiz, 309. 

Caecuban (wine), 236. 

Caesar, Julius, 62 /., 240. 

Callaeschrus, 199. 

Callias of Aradus, 315. 

Callimachus (KaraTrflTexfos), 104. 

Callippus, 269. 

Campania, 48, 64, 236, 238. 

Campus Cornetus, 238. 

Canon of water organ, 299. 

Canopus (star), 268. 

Capitals, Ionic. 92/.; Corinthian, 102, 104/.; 

Doric, 110; of triglyphs, 112. 
Capitol, hut of Romulus on, 40; temple on, 


Cappadocia, 235. 
Carpion, 198. 
Carthage, 235. 
Caryae, 6 /. 
Caryatides, 6/. 
Casius (town in Egypt), 235. 
Cassiopea (constellation), 266. 
Castor, temple of, 124. 
Catacecaumenites (wine), 236. 
Catapults, 303 jf.; stringing and tuning of, 

308 /. 

Cataract of Nile, 231. 
Catheti, 92. 
Caucasus, 231. 
Cavaedium, 176 jf. 
Cedar, 62. 

Ceilings of baths, 158. 
Cella, 114 Jf., 120; of circular temple, 123. 
Celtica, 231. 

Censer (constellation), 267. 
Centaur (constellation), 267. 
Cepheus (constellation), 266. 
Cephisus, 237. 
Ceres, temple of 80, 200; site of temple of, 


Chalcedon, 309. 
Chaldeans, 262. 
Charias, 199, 310. 
Charioteer (constellation), 266. 
Xpi/cjip-a of Democritus, 255. 
Chersiphron, 78, 198, 200, 288. 
Chion of Corinth, 70. 
Chionides, 168. 
Chios, 103, 197; siege of, 317. 
Chorobates, levelling instrument, 242 /. 
Chrobs, poisonous lake at, 237. 
Chromatic mode, 140. 
Cibdeli, 234. 
Cicero, 256. 
Cilbian country, 215. 
Cilicia, 235. 

Cinnabar, 215 jf.; adulteration of, 217. 
Circular temples, 122 /. 



Circumference of earth, VI f. 
Circumsonant sites of theatres (rewxpvmt), 


Circus, Flaminius, 124, 873; Maximus, 80. 
Cisterns, 244 /. 
City, site of, 17 jf.; walls, 21 /. 
Classification of temples, 75 jf., 78 f. 
Clazomenae, 103, 269. 
Clearstock of fir, 60. 

Climate determines the style of houses, 170. 
Clitor, spring at, 239. 
Colchis, 231. 
Colline Gate, 75. 

Colonnades, 131, 154, 155, 156 /., 160 /. 
Colophon, 103, 269. 
Colours, 214 jf.; natural, 214 /.; artificial, 

217; manufactured from flowers, 220; 

how applied to stucco, 207. 
Columbaria (Ami), 108. 
Columns, proportions of, in colonnades, 

154; in forums, 132; in basilicas, 132; 

Corinthian, 102; diminution in top of, 

Hi/.; Ionic order, 90 Jf.; arrangement of, 


Conarachne (sun dial), 273. 
Concords in music, 142. 
Concrete floors, 202. 
Cone (sun dial), 273. 
Conical Plinthium (sun dial), 273. 
Consonancies in music, 142. 
Consonant sites of theatres (ffwirxmrra), 

Constellations, northern, 265 jf.; Southern, 

267 Jf. 
Consumptives, resin of larch good for, 


Corinth, 145. 

Corinthian cavaedium, 176. 
Corinthian order, 15; origin of, 102 /.; pro- 
portions of, 106 /.; treatise on, by Arce- 

sius, 198. 

Cornelius, Gnaeus, 3. 
Corona, 102, 107, 112. 
Cos, island of, 269. 
Cossutius, 200. 

Courage dependent on climate, 173. 
Counterforts, 190. 
Courtyards, 183. 
Crab (constellation), 268. 
Crathis (river), 237. 
Crete, 20. 62. 
Creusa, 103. 

Croesus, 195; house of, at Sardis, 53. 
Cross-aisles in theatre, 138, 146; in Greek 

theatre, 151. 

Crown (constellation), 266. 
Ctesibius, 8, 199, 273 /.; pump of, 297 /. 
Cube, properties of, 130. 
Cubit equals six palms or twenty-four 

fingers, 74. 
Cumin-. 162. 

Cunei in theatre, 146. 

Cutiliae. 234. 

Cyclades, 214. 

Cydnus, 234. 

Cymatium, 04. 110; Doric, 112. 

Cypress, 59, 61. 

Cyrene, 27, 237, 255. 

Daphnis of Miletus, 200. 

Darius, 195. 

Decorations of walls, 209 /. 

Defence, measures for, 315 Jf. 

Delos, problem enjoined upon, by Apollo, 


Delphi. Round Building at, 198. 
Demetrius of Phalerum, 200. 
Demetrius Poliorcetes, 316. 
Demetrius (slave of Diana), 200. 
Democles, 199. 
Democritus, 42, 195. 251, 255. 269; hit study 

of perspective, 198. 
Demophilus, 199. 
Denarius, 74. 
Dentils, 94, 102, 108. 
Departments of architecture, 16/. 
Diades, 199; inventor of siege machine*. 

Dials arranged to show hours of varying 

length, 274 Jf. 
Diana, temple of Ionic order, 15, 78; temple 

of, at Ephesus, 78, 103, 198, 200, 288 /.; 

at Rome, 80, 124; at Magnesia, 78, 198; 

statue of, 62. 
Diatonic mode, 140. 
Diastyle temples, 78, 80; proportions of 

columns in, 84; Doric, 113. 
Aid0v/, 188. 
Dichalca, 74. 
Diesis. 140. 

Diminution in top of column, 84, 110. 
Dining rooms, proportions of, 179, 181, 

186; Cyzicene, 186; winter, 209 /. 
Dinocrates, 35 /. 

Diognetus, Rhodian architect, 315 Jf. 
Diomede, 21. 
Dionysodorus. 273. 
Dioptra, 242. 
Diphilus, 199. 
Dipteral temple, 75. 78. 
Displuviate cavaedium. 177. 
Dissonant sites of theatres (jeoTJixoOrw). 


Dnieper, 231. 
Dog (constellation), 268. 
Dolphin (constellation). 266. 
Don (river). 231. 
Doors, of temples, 118 /.; of dwellings, 178; 

in theatres, 146. 

Doorways of temples, proportions of, 
Doric order. 15; proportions of, 109 , 

doorways. 117; temples of, 198. 



Dorus, 102. 
Drachma, 74. 
Dyer's weed, 220. 
Dyris (river), 231. 
Dyrrachium, 235. 

Eagle (constellation), 266. 

Echea (faa), 9, 143 /. 

Echinus, 93, 110, 122. 

Economy, 16. 

Education of the architect, Bff., 168 /. 

Egypt, 214, 231, 235, 209. 

'Eic^opd, 90. 

Elements (<rrixo) and their proportions, 

18/., 225. 
Elephantis, 231. 
Eleusis, 200. 
'E\l>ai, 267. 
Elpias of Rhodes, 21. 
Empedocles, 225. 
"Ep.'ir\iKTot>, 52. 

Engines, 283; for raising water, 293 /. 
Enharmonic mode, 140. 
KM ni i is, 255. 
*E*ra(rij of columns, 86. 
Eolipiles, 25. 
Ephesus, 103, 214, 215, 281; temple of 

Diana at, 78, 198, 200. 
Epieharmus, 225. 
Epicurus, 42, 167, 195. 
Epimachus, 316. 

Equestrian Fortune, temple of, 80. 
Eratosthenes of Cyrene, 12, 27, 28, 255. 
Erythrae, 103. 
Ethiopia, 231, 235. 
Etruria (Tuscany), 48, 64, 235. 
Eucrates, 168. 
Euctemon, 269. 
Eudoxus, 269, 273. 
Eumenes, colonnades of, 154. 
Euphranor, 199. 
Euphrates, 231. 
Euripides, 225; buried in Macedonia, 238; 

"Phaethon" of, 261. 
Eurythmy, 14. 
Eustyle temples, 78, 80 /.; proportions of 

columns in, 84. 
Exedrae, 160, 179, 186, 211. 
Exposure, proper for rooms, ISO/. 

Faberius, 216. 

Falernian (wine), 236. 

Fano, 63; basilica at, 134 ff. 

Farmhouses, 183 /. 

Fascia, 94; of Attic doorway, 120. 

Fauces, their dimensions, 178. 

Faunus temple on the Island of the Tiber, 


Femur (iaip6t), 112. 
Ferento, 50. 
Fidenae, stone quarries at, 49. 

Fir, qualities of, 60; highland and lowland, 

64 /. 

Fire, origin of, 38. 
Fishes (constellation), 266. 
Flaminius circus, 124. 
Floors, 202 jf.; Greek method of making, 

210; of baths, 157 /. 
Flora, temple of Corinthian order, 15. 
Flutes of columns, 96; Doric, 113. 
Folds for sheep and goats, 184. 
Fondi, 236. 
Foot equals four palms, or sixteen fingers, 

Fortune, temple of Equestrian, 80; Three 

Fortunes, 75. 
Forum, 131 /. 
Foundations of temples, 86 f.\ of houses, 

189 ff. 

Fresco painting, decadence of, HOff. 
Frieze, 94, 123. 
Fuficius (architect), 199. 
Fulcrum (inroid>-x\u>v), 290. 

Ganges, 231. 

rdwcris, 217. 

Gaul, 220, 231. 

Geras, inventor of shed for battering ram, 


Gilding, 215. 
Gnomon, 257; length of shadow at different 

places, 270. 
Gnosus, 20, 200. 
Gorgon's head (star group), 266. 
Gortyna, 20. 
Grain rooms, 184. 
Greater Dog (constellation), 268. 
Great Bear, 257; (iJpKTos or i\liai), 265. 
Grecian Station, 56. 
Greek houses, 185 ff. 
Green chalk (0eo5orbx), 214. 
Grotta Rossa, stone quarries at, 49. 
Guttae, 102, 110, 112. 
Gynaeconitis, 186. 
Gypsum not to be used for stucco work, 206. 

Halicarnassus, 53, 54. 

Harbinger of the Vintage (star), 265. 

Harbours, 162Jf. 

Harmonics, 139JT. 

Hegesias, 241. 

He-Goat (constellation), 266. 

Helepolis of Epimachus, 316 /. 

Hellen, 102. 

Hemisphere (sun dial), 273. 

Heptabolus, lake, 231. 

Heptagonus, lake, 231. 

Heraclea, 289. 

Heraclitus of Ephesus, 42, 225. 

Hercules, Doric order appropriate to, 15; 

site of temple of, 31 ; cellae of temple of, 

53; Pompey's temple of, 80. 



Hermodorus, temple of Jupiter Staler, 78. 
Hermogenes, 109; temple of Diana by, 78; 

determined rules of symmetry for eustyle 

temples. 82. 
Herodotus, 241. 
Herring-bone pattern, 203. 
Hierapolis, boiling springs at, 236. 
Hiero, 253 /. 
Hinge-stiles, 118. 
Hipparchus, 269. 
Hippocrates, 11. 
Hodometer, 301 /. 
Hoisting machines, 285. 
Homer, 197. 
Hornbeam, 61. 
Horse (constellation), 266. 
Hostilius, Marcus, 21. 
Hot springs, 232; healing properties of, 

233 /. 

Hours, how marked by clocks, 274. 
House, origin of, S8/.; early types of, 39/.; 

style of, determined by climate, 170 f. 
Hypaethral temple, 14, 75, 78. 
Hypanis, 214. 236. 
Hysginum, 220. 

Ictinus, 198, 200. 
Iliad and Odyssey, 197. 
Ilium, 237. 
Incertum opus, 51. 
India. 231. 
India ink, 217. 218. 
Indigo, substitute for, 220. 
Indus. 231. 
lollas, 238. 
Ion, 103. 

Ionic order, 15; proportions of, 90 ff.; door- 
ways of, 118; temples of, 198, 200. 
Isis, site of temple of, 31. 
Ismuc, 240. 
Isodomum, 52. 
Isthmian games, 251. 
Italy, 48, 53. 131. 145, 178, 214, 231, 239. 

Jaffa. 235. 

Jambs, proportions of, 117. 

Julia, King, 240. 

Julius, Caius, son of Masinissa, 240. 

Juno, Ionic order appropriate to, 15; site 

for temple of, 31 ; precinct at Argolis, 102; 

Doric temple of, in Samos, 198. 
Jupiter, temple of, 14, 199; site for temple 

of, 31; cellae of temple, 53; temple on 

Island of the Tiber. 75; altars of, 125. 
Jupiter (planet), 258, 260, 261, 262. 

Kids (constellation). 266. 
Kitchen, 183. 

Kneeler (constellation), 266. 
Knotwood, 60. 
, 267. 

Lacedaemonians, 7. 

Laconicum, 159. 

Lacunar (sun dial), 27S. 

Language, origin of, 38. 

Larch, 62 /. 

Larignum, 62, 63. 

Law governing architects at Ephesus, 281. 

Lead pipes poisonous, 247. 

Lebedos, 103. 

Lemnos, 214. 

Leochares, 54, 199. 

Leonidas, 199. 

Lesbos, 25, 236. 

Levelling instruments, 242 /. 

Lever, explanation of, 290 /. 

Libraries, 181, 186. 

Licymnius, 212 /. 

Lighting of rooms, how to test, 185. 

Lime, 45/.; slaking of, for stucco, 204. 

Linden, 60. 

Lintels, height of, 117. 

Lion (constellation), 268. 

Liparis (river), 235. 

Little Dog (constellation), 268. 

Liver examined to determine site of town*. 

\oyfu>r, scenic and thymelic, 151, dimen- 
sions of, 151. 

Logotomus, 272. 

Lucania, 237. 

Lucretius, 256. 

Lyncestus, acid springs of, 2S8. 

Lyre (constellation), 267. 

Lysippus, 69. 

Macedonia, 217, 238. 

Machines, 283 /.; for defence, 315 Jf. 

Maeonia, wine of, 236. 

Magi, 225. 

Magnesia, 78, 214, 240; temple of Diana at, 

Malachite green, 213; where found. 217; 

substitute for, 220. 
Mamertine (wine), 236. 
Marble, powdered for stucco work, 206, 

213 /.; where quarried, 289. 
Marius' temple of Honour and Valour, 78. 
Mars, temple should be Doric, 15; site of 

temple of, 31. 
Mars (planet), 259 /., 262. 
Marseilles, siege of, 318. 
Maurusia (Mauretania), 231. 
Mausoleum. 54. 199. 
Mausolus, 53 Jf. 

Mazaca, lake near, petrifies reeds, etc., 235. 
Medicine, architect should know, 10. 
Medulli have springs which produce goitre, 


Melampus, 199, 239. 
Melas of Argos, 54. 
Melas (river). 237. 



Melassa, 54. 

Melian white, 214. 

Melite, 103. 

Melos. 214. 

Men.-u.-us, 272. 

Mercury, site of temple of, 31; temple of 


Mercury (planet), 258, 259. 
MeroS, 231. 
Mesauloe, 187. 
Metagenes. 198, 200, 288. 
Metellus, portico of, 78. 
Meto, 269. 
Metopes (jurbtri), 94, 108, 110; size of, 

112; arrangement of, in Doric temples, 


Metrodorus, 241. 
Miletus, 103, 200, 269. 
Milo of Croton, 251. 
Minerva, temple should be Doric, 15; site 

of temple, 31; temple at Sunium, 124; at 

Priene, 11, 198; at Athens, 198. 
Minidius, Publius, 3. 
Mithridates, 154. 
Modes of music, 140 Jf. 
Moon, 258; phases of, 262 /. 
Mortar, consistency of, for stucco work, 

206 /.; of burnt brick, 209. 
Motion, elements of, 290 Jf. 
Mouldings for stucco work, 206. 
Mucius, ( '., temple of Honour and Valour, 


Mummius, Lucius, 145. 
Muses, 253; fountain of, 232. 
Music useful to architect, 8. 
Mutules, 102, 108; of Tuscan temples. 122. 
Myager the Phocaean, 70. 
Myron, 11, 69. 

Mysia the "Burnt District," 47. 
Mytilene, 25. 
Myus, 103. 

Nemean games, 251. 

Neptune, spring of, 237. 

Nexaris, 199. 

Nile, 38, 231; temples on, should face the 

river, 117. 

Nonacris, "Water of the Styx," 238. 
Notes, names of, 141 /. 
Number, perfect, 73 /. 
Nymphodorus, 199. 
Nymphs, temple of Corinthian order, 15. 

Oak, 60; in floors, 202. 

Obols, 74. 

Ochre (fixpa), 214. 

Oeci, distinction between Corinthian and 

Egyptian, 179; Cyzicene, 180. 
Oil room, 184. 
Olympian games, 251. 
'Oral, 108. 

Opus incertum, 51; reticulatum, 51; Signi- 

num, 247 /. 
Orchestra, reserved for senators, 146; of 

Greek theatre, 151. 
Order appropriate to temples, 15; origin of 

different orders, 102 Jf. 
Organ, water, 299 /. 
"Opyavov, 283. 
Orientation of streets, 24 jf.; of temples, 


Orion (constellation), 268. 
Ornaments of the orders, 107 Jf. 
Orpiment (d/xT-m/tii/), 214. 
Ostrum, source of purple dye, 220. 

Paconius, 289. 

Paeonius of Ephesus, 200. 

Palaestra, 159 /. 

Palla, stone quarries at, 49. 

Panels of doors, 118. 

Paphlagonia, intoxicating springs of, 239. 

lIapaSpo/j.tdis, 188. 

Paraetonium, 235; white, 214. 

Parapet of theatre, dimensions of, 148. 

Parmenio, 273. 

Pares, 289. 

Pastas, 186. 

Patras, cellae of temple built of brick, 53. 

Patrocles, 273. 

Pausanias, son of Agesipolis, 7. 

Peiraeus, 234; naval arsenal at, 198. 

Peisistratus, 199. 

Pelecinum (sun dial), 273. 

Penne, 234. 

Pentaspast (hoisting machine), 285. 

Pergamus, 196. 

Peripteral temple, 75 /. 

Peristyle, 186; decorations of, 210 /.; pro- 
portions of, 179; Rhodian, 186. 

Peritreti, 803 /. 

Perseus (constellation), 266. 

Persian Porch, 7. 

Persians, statues of, 8 /. 

Perspective, commentaries on by Agathar- 
ons, Anaxagoras, and Democritus, 198. 

Pesaro, 63. 

Pharax of Ephesus, 70. 

Phasis, 231. 

Phidias, 69. 

Philippus (physicist), 269. 

Philip son of Amyntas, 310. 

?hilo, 198, 200; of Byzantium, 199. 

Philolaus of Tarentum, 12. 

Philosophy, why useful to architect, 8. 

3 hocaea, 103. 

Phrygia, 236. 

'hthia, 102. 

'icenum, 49. 

Icture galleries, 179, 186. 

'iles, of alder, 61; olive, or oak, 88. 
water organ, 299. 



Pine. 61. 

Pixodorus discovers marble near Ephesus, 

289; his name changed to Evangelus, 290. 
Planets, 257 jf.; their retrograde movement, 

260 /. 

Plataea, battle of, 7. 
Plato, 195, 251 ; rule for doubling the square, 


mid, 189. 
Plinthium (sun dial), 273. 
TivfUfMTixbv, 283. 
Po, 231. 

Podium of theatre, height of, 148. 
Pollis, 199. 

niXot (pivots of heaven), 257. 
Polus (star), 267. 
Polycles of Ephesus, 70. 
Polyclitus. 11. 69. 
Polyidus. 199. 310. 
Polyspast (hoisting machine), 288. 
Pompeian pumice, 47. 
Pompey, colonnades of, 154; temple of 

Hercules, 80. 
Pontic wax. 216, 217. 
Pontus, 214. 220, 231, 236. 
Poplar. 60. 
Pormus, 199. 
Posidonius, 241. 
Pothereus (river), 20. 
Pozzolana, 46 /. 
Praxiteles, 199. 
Pressing room, 183 /. 
Priene, 103; Temple of Minerva at, 11, 


Primordial substance, 42. 
Prison, location of, 137. 
Proconnesus, 289. 
Pronaos, 114 jf., 120. 
Proportions, 72, 174 /.; of circular temples, 

123 /.; of colonnades, 154 /.; of columns 

and intercolumniations, 78 ff., 116; of the 

Corinthian order, 106 /.; of doorways of 

temples, 117 jf.; of Doric temples, 109 Jf.; 

of the Ionic order, 90 jf.; of rooms, 176 jf. 
Propriety, 14 jf. 

Proscaenium of Greek theatre, 151. 
Proserpine temple of Corinthian order, 15; 

temple of, 200. 

TIp&s way (cXiJua (sun dial), 273. 
IlioAt T& liTTopot/jtm (sun dial), 273. 
Prostas, 186. 
Prostyle, 75. 

Proteus, daughters of, 239. 
Prothyra, 188. 
Protropum (wine), 236. 
nporpiryTjrijj (star), 265. 
Pseudisodomum, 52. 
Pseudodipteral temple, 75, 78, 82. 
Pseudoperipteral temples, 125. 
Pteroma,82, 114. 125. 
Ptolemy. 196. 197; Philadelphus, 197. 

Public buildings, sites of, 31 /. 

Pump of Ctesibius, 297 /. 

Purple, 213, 219; substitutes for, 220 /. 

Puzzuoli, 218. 

Pycnostyle temples, 78 /.; proportions of 

columns in, 84. 
Pyrrus, 199. 
Pythagoras, 42, 130, 225, 251, 269; right 

triangle of, 252 /. 
Pytheos, 11, 109, 198, 199. 
Pythian games. 251. 

Quarries of Grotta Rosa, Palla, Fidenae, 
Campania, Umbria, Picenum, Tivoli, 
Amiternum, Venetia, Tarquinii, Lake of 
Bolsena, Ferento, 49, 50. 

Quicksilver, 215 Jf. 

Quirinus, temple of, 78. 

Quiver (sun dial), 273. 

Rainwater, 229 Jf. 

Ram, battering, 309 /.; Hegetor'g, 314 /. 

Ram (constellation), 266. 

Raven (constellation), 268. 

Raven, a machine of no value, 310 /. 

Ravenna, 21, 61, 83. 

Reduction of columns, 114. 

Refraction explained, 175. 

Resin, soot of, used to make black, 218. 

Resonant sites of theatres (Imrxpvrrtt), 153. 

Retaining walls, 190 /. 

Reticulatum opus, 51. 

Retrogression of planets, 261. 

Rhine, 231. 

Rhodes, 55 /., 167, 219, 220; length of 
shadow of gnomon at, 270; siege of, 316/. 

Rhone, 231. 

River (constellation), 268. 

Rivers rise in the north, 231. 

Rome, 63, 64, 78. 80, 145, 217; site of, deter- 
mined by divine intelligence, 174; length 
of shadow of gnomon at, 270. 

Romulus, hut of, 40. 

Roofs, of mud, 39 /.; timbers of, 107; of 
Tuscan temples, 122; of circular temples, 

Rooms, proportions of, 176 Jf.; proper ex- 
posure for, 180 /.; should be suited to 
station of the owner, 181 /. 

Round Building at Delphi, 198. 

Salmacis, spring of, 54. 

Salpia in Apulia, 21. 

Sambuca illustrates effect of climate on 

voice, 171. 
Samos. 12, 103, 263, 269. 273; Doric temple 

of Juno in, 198. 
Sand, 44/.,48. 

Sandarach, 214; made from white lead. 219. 
Saroacus, 199. 



Saturn (planet), 260, 261, 262. 

Satyrus, 199. 

Scaena of theatre, 146; dimensions of, 148; 
scheme of, 150; decorations of, 150; of 
theatre at Tralles, 212. 

Scale, musical, 141. 

Scaling machine, 311. 

Scamilli impares, 89, 155, 320. 

Scaphe (sun dial), 273. 

Scopas, 199. 

Scopinas, 12, 273. 

Scorpion (constellation), 266. 

Scorpiones, rules for making, 303 Jf. 

Scotia, 90, 112. 

Scutula of ballistae, 306 /. 

Seats in theatre, dimensions of, 148. 

Selinusian chalk (fa-dris), 220. 

S( mini m is. 235. 

Senate house, location of, 137. 

Septentriones (She-Bears), 267. 

Septimius, P., 199. 

Serapis, site of temple of, 31. 

Serpent (constellation), 266. 

Serpent-holder (constellation), 266. 

Sesterce, 74. 

She-Goat (constellation), 266. 

Ship, motion of, explained, 291. 

Shipyards, 164. 

Sicily, 236. 

Siege machines, 309 Jf . 

Signinum work, 247 /. 

Signs of the Zodiac, 258; sun's course 
through, 264 /.; shown on dials, 276 /. 

Silanion, 199. 

Silcnus, on the proportions of Doric struc- 
tures, 198. 

Simae (^rawHSw), 96, 108. 

Sinope, 214. 

Smyrna, 197, 214; Stratoniceum at, 154. 

Snake (constellation), 268. 

Socrates, 69, 70, 195. 

Soli, 235. 

Soracte, stone quarries of, 49. 

Sounding vessels in the theatre, 143 jf. 

Southern Fish (constellation), 267. 

Spain, 214; cinnabar mines of, 217. 

Sparta, paintings on brick walls at, 53. 

Spica (star), 265. 

Stables, 184, 186. 

Statonia, 50. 

Steelyard, description of, 291. 

Steps of temples odd in number, 88. 

Stereobates, 88. 

Stone, 48, 49 /. 

Stratoniceum, 154. 

Streets, directions of, 24. 

Stucco, 204 Jf.; in damp places, 208 ff. 

Stucco-workers, Greek, 208. 

Stylobates, 88. 

Substructures of houses, 189 Jf. 

Sulphur springs, 233 /. 

Sun, 258 /.; course of, through the twelve 
signs, 264 /. 

Sundials, 273 Jf.; how designed, 270 Jf. 

Sunium, temple of Pallas at, 124. 

Susa, spring at, 240. 

Syene, 231. 

Symmetry, 14; in temples and in the human 
body, 72 /.; modifications to suit site, 
174 Jf. 

Syracuse, 273. 

Syria, 231, 235, 237. 

Systyle temples, 78 /.; proportions of col- 
umns in, 84; Doric, 113. 

Tablinum, proportions of, 178. 

Tarentum, 12, 255; length of shadow of 
gnomon at, 270. 

Tarquinii, 50. 

Tarsus, 234, 240. 

Teano, acid springs of, 238. 

Telamones, 188. 

Teleas of Athens, 70. 

TAeiov (perfect number), 73 /. 

Tempering of iron, 18. 

Temples, classification of, 75 ff.; circular, 
122 Jf.; Corinthian, 102 /.; Doric, 109 Jf.; 
Ionic, 90 Jf.; Tuscan, 120; foundations of, 
86 Jf.; orientation of, 116/.; proportion of 
columns of, 78 Jf.; sites of, 31 /.; Aescula- 
pius, 15, 198; Apollo, 31, 78, 80, 200; 
Bacchus, 15, 31, 82, 109, 198; Castor, 
124; Ceres, 32, 80, 200; Diana, 15, 78, 80, 
103, 124, 198, 200, 288 /.; Equestrian 
Fortune, 80; Faunus, 75; Flora, 15; Three 
Fortunes, 75; Hercules, 15, 31, 53, 80; 
Isis, 31; Juno, 15, 31, 198; Jupiter, 14, 31, 
53, 75, 199; Honour and Valour, 78, 200; 
Mars, 15, 31; Mercury, 31, 54; Minerva, 
11, 15, 31, 124, 198; Nymphs, 15; Proser- 
pine, 15, 200; Quirinus, 78; Serapis, 31; 
Vejovis, 124; Venus, 15, 31, 64; Vulcan, 

Teos, 103; temple of Bacchus at, 82, 198. 

Terracina, 236, 237. 

Testudinate cavaedium, 177. 

Tetrachords, 140 jf. 

Tetrastyle cavaedium, 176. 

Thalamos, 186. 

Thales, 42, 195, 225, 269. 

Thasos, 289. 

Theatre, 137 Jf.; site of, 137; foundations of, 
138 /.; entrances to, 138, 148; plan of 
Roman, 146 Jf.; plan of Greek, 151 Jf.; 
sounding vessels in, 143 /.; acoustics of 
site of, 153 Jf. 

Thebes in Egypt, 231. 

Themistocles, colonnade of, 154. 

Theo of Magnesia, 70. 

Theocydes, 199. 

Theodoras, 198. 

Theodorus the Phocian, 198. 



Theodosius, 273. 

Theodotus, 214. 

Tueophrastus. 167, 241. 

Thessaly, 237. 

Thrace, 237. 

Qvpiaptiov, 186. 

Tiber, 231. 

Tigris, 231. 

Timaeus, 241. 

Timavo, 231. 

Timber, 58 Jf. 

Timotheus, 54, 199. 

Tivoli, 233; stone quarries of, 49. 

Tortoise, 311 Jf.; of battering ram, 310; 
Hegetor's, 312 Jf. 

Torus, 90. 

Towers, construction of, 22/.; dimensions of 
moveable, 310. 

Tralles, 212; palace of brick at, 53; colon- 
nades at, 154; temple of Aesculapius at, 

Treasury, location of, 137. 

Trichalca, 74. 

Triglyphs, origin of, 107 Jf.; arrangement of, 
109 /., 113; size of, 112. 

Trispast (hoisting machine), 285. 

TpoxiAos (scotia), 90. 

Troezen, 54, 234. 

Troy, 195, 211, 237. 

Trypho, Alexandrine architect, 317 /. 

Tufa, its qualities, 49. 

Tuscan, cavaedium, 176; temples, 120 /. 

Twins (constellation), 266. 

Tyana, 235. 

Tympanum, 96, 122; water tympanum, 293. 

Tyre, 309. 

Ulysses, 211. 

Universe, definition of, 257. 

Varro, M. Terentius, 199, 256. 

Vaultings, 205 Jf. 

Vejovis, temple of, 124. 

Velian country, acid springs of, 238. 

Venter (mMa), 245. 

Venus, Corinthian order appropriate to, 15; 

site of temple of, 31; temple of, 54. 
Venus (planet), 259. 
Verdigris. 219. 
Vergiliae, 189. 

Vermilion, 213, 215; preparation of, 216. 
Vesta, altar of, 125. 
Vestorius, 218. 
Vesuvius, 46, 47. 
Via Campana, 238. 
Vinegar a solvent of rocks, 239. 
Violets used for purple colour, 220. 

Virgin (constellation), 265. 

Vitruvius, education, 13, 168; personal 

appearance, 36; method of writing, 197 Jf.; 

military service, 3; his basilica at Kano, 

134 Jf. 
Voice, defined, 138 /.; pitch of, determined 

by climate, 171. 
Volutes, 93. 
Voussoirs, 190. 
Vulcan, site of temple of, 31. 

Walks, how to be constructed, 156; serve 
practical purpose, 156. 

Walls, material for, 24; methods of building, 
51 /., 56; of brick are durable, 63; of 
rubble, 53. 

Warden (constellation), 265. 

Water (constellation), 268. 

Water, 225 jf.; indispensable, 226; how to 
find, 227 Jf.; properties of, 232 Jf.; tests 
of good, 242; methods of conducting, 
244 Jf. 

Water clocks, 273 Jf. 

Waterman (constellation), 266. 

Water organ, 299 /. 

Water pipes, 244 Jf, 

Water screw, 295 Jf. 

Water wheels, 294. 

Wattle and daub, 57 /. 

Weather prognostics, 269 Jf. 

Wells, 244 jf. 

Whale (constellation), 267. 

Wheel (tread mill), 286 /. 

White lead, 219, 238 /. 

Willow, 60. 

Winds, names and number of, 26 .; dia- 
grams of, 29/.; orientation of cities with 
reference to, 24 Jf . 

Wine, given its flavour by soil and water, 
236; lees used to make black, 218. 

Wine rooms, 184. 

Xanthus, 237. 

Xenia, 187. 

Xenophanes, 195, 269. 

Svffrfs, 161, 188. 

Xuthus, 103. 

Xyste (rapaSpopttiet), 161. 188. 

Yellow ochre, 220. 

Zacynthus, 235. 

/ama, 240. 

Zca, spring at, 239 /. 

Zeno, 195. 

Zodiac, 257 Jf. 

Zoilus (Homeromastix), 197. 






TO 2m