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Vitruvius


Roman writer, architect and engineer, active in the 1st century BC.
Vitruvius
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 theater; 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 harbor. It is moreover shown by the Etruscan diviners in treatises on their science that the fanes of Venus, Vulcan, and Mars should be situated outside the walls, in order that the young men and married women may not become habituated in the city to the temptations incident 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.
Vitruvius quotes
Cold winds are disagreeable, hot winds enervating, moist winds unhealthy.
Vitruvius
Even peasants wholly without knowledge of the quarters of the sky believe that oxen ought to face only in the direction of the sunrise.




Vitruvius quotes
The architect should also have a knowledge of the study of medicine on account of the questions of climates, 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.
Vitruvius
The third order, called Corinthian, is an imitation of the slenderness 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.
Vitruvius quotes
Lay a second foundation enough inside the first... Having laid these two foundations... build cross walls between them uniting the outer and inner foundation in a comb like arrangement set like teeth of a saw. With this form of construction the 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 substructures.
Vitruvius
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 the beholder to be plumb and perpendicular.
Vitruvius quotes
The steps in front must be arranged so that there shall always 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.
Vitruvius
Since such very powerful kings have not disdained walls built of brick, although... 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."
Vitruvius
Bricks... 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 roughness 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.
Vitruvius
A liberal education forms... a single body. 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.




Vitruvius quotes
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.
Vitruvius
Nobody draws the light for covered wine rooms from the south or west, but rather from the north, since that quarter is never subject 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 unexposed to the sun's course, do not keep long.
Vitruvius quotes
Pytheos made a mistake by not observing 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.
Vitruvius
Propriety is that perfection of style which comes when a work is authoritatively constructed on approved principles. It arises from prescription, from usage, or from nature.
Vitruvius quotes
The oak... has not the efficacy of the fir, nor the cypress that of the elm.
Vitruvius
In accordance with the foregoing investigations on mathematical 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 the double octave.
Vitruvius quotes
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.
Vitruvius
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. ...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.
Vitruvius
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.


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