An Abridgment of the Architecture of Vitruvius - Pollio Vitruvius - E-Book

An Abridgment of the Architecture of Vitruvius E-Book

Pollio Vitruvius

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IT's related by Historians, That Men, who in former times inhabited Woods and Caverns like wild Beasts, first assembled themselves to make Houses and Cities, which was occasioned by a Forest that was set on fire, which drew all the Inhabitants together by its novelty and surprizing effects; so that many Men meeting together in the same place, they found out means, by helping one another, to harbour themselves more conveniently, than in Caves and under Trees; so that it is pretended, that Architecture was the Beginning and Original of all other Arts. For Men seeing that they had success in Building, which necessity made them invent, they had the Thoughts and Courage of seeking out other Arts, and applying themselves to them.

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An Abridgment of the Architecture of Vitruvius

An Abridgment of the Architecture of Vitruvius PART ICHAP. I.CHAP. II.CHAP. III.CHAP. IV.PART II.CHAP. I.CHAP. II.CHAP. III.ADVERTISEMENT.Copyright

An Abridgment of the Architecture of Vitruvius

Vitruvius Pollio



Of Architecture in General.ARTICLE I.Of the Original of Architecture.
Lib. 2.Chap. 1.
T’s related by Historians, That Men, who in former times inhabited Woods and Caverns like wild Beasts, first assembled themselves to make Houses and Cities, which was occasioned by a Forest that was set on fire, which drew all the Inhabitants together by its novelty and surprizing effects; so that many Men meeting together in the same place, they found out means, by helping one another, to harbour themselves more conveniently, than in Caves and under Trees; so that it is pretended, that Architecture was the Beginning and Original of all other Arts. For Men seeing that they had success in Building, which necessity made them invent, they had the Thoughts and Courage of seeking out other Arts, and applying themselves to them.
Now even as they took Trees, Rocks and other Things that Nature her self furnished Beasts to harbour themselves under, which were made use of as Models for the first Houses, which at first were only made of green Turf and broken Branches of Trees, they made use of them afterwards, in the same manner, to arrive at something more perfect. For passing from the Imitation of the Natural toLib. 4.Chap. 2.that of Artificial, they invented all the Ornaments of Edifices that were most curiously wrought, in giving them the Form and Shape of those things that are simply necessary to the most natural Buildings: And the Pieces of Timber of which the Roofs and Floors of Houses are made, were the Original ofPillars,Architraves,Frises,Triglyphs,Mutils,Brackets,Corniches,FrontonsorPiediments, which are made of Stone or Marble.The Pillars which are to be smaller at top than at bottom, were made in Imitation of the Boles or Trunks of Trees, and their use was taken from the Carpenters' Posts that are made to support the Building. TheArchitraveswhich are laid across manyPillars, representSummersthat join manyPoststogether. TheFrisesimitate theMuringthat is raised upon theSummersbetwixt the ends of the Beams that are laid directly upon thePillars. TheTriglyphsrepresent the Ceiling or Joyner’s work which was made upon the ends of the Beams to conserve them. TheCornichesare as it were the extream parts of theJoists. TheModillionsrepresent the ends of the Sheers, and theDentelsrepresent the ends of the principalRafter. TheFrontonsare made in imitation of theFirmsorGirders, upon which is laid the Roof of the House.There is likewise another Original of Architecture, which is taken from the Inventers of the several Orders, and those that added the Ornaments to embellish them. For it’s the commonLib. 4.Chap. 2.Opinion, that the first Fabrick that was made, according to any of the Orders, was the Temple that KingDorusbuilt in Honour ofJunoin the CityArgos. And it obtained the name of theDorickOrder, whenIonthe Conducter of a Colony, which he established inAsia, made many Temples be built according to the Model of the Temple built byDorusinGreece.But theIonianshaving changed some of the Proportions and Ornaments of theDorickOrder, were the Authors of another Order, which was called theIonick, according to which, they built a Temple in Honour ofDiana. The reason of this change was, that this Temple being dedicated to a Divinity, which they represented under the Shape of a Young Lady, they thought it was proper to make their Pillars more tapering, the better to represent the airy Stature of this Goddess, and for this reason they adorned it more delicately, adding Bases which represent the Buskin'd Ornaments of the Legs and Feet, according to the Mode of that time; and Made theChannellingsdeeper to represent the Foldings and Plaits of a fine light Garment. They put likewiseVolutesorScrowlsupon theCapital, pretending that they imitated the Head-Dress of a Young Lady, whose Hair Beautifully descending from the top of her Head, was folded up under each Ear.AfterwardsCalimachusanAthenian, embellished the Capitals of the Pillars, adding to them more BeautifulVolutesorScrowls, and more in number, enriching them with the Leaves ofBrank Ursineand Roses. It’s said, That this Capital, which, according toVitruvius, makes all the Distinction betwixt theCorinthianandIonickOrder, was invented by this ingenious Artisan upon this occasion. Having seen the Leaves of the above-mentioned Plant grow round about a Basket which was set upon the Tomb of a YoungCorinthianLady, and which, as it happened, was set upon the middle of the Plant. He represented the Basket by theTambourorVaseof the Capital, to which he made anAbacusto imitate the Tile with which the Basket was covered, and that he represented the Stalks of the Herb by theVolutesorScrowls, which were ever after placed upon theCorinthianCapital. See Table theIXth.This great Artist likewise invented other Ornaments, as those we callEggs, because of theOvalsin theReliefwhich are in the Mouldings of theCornichesand are likeEggs. The Ancients called this OrnamentEchinus, which signifies the sharp prickly shell of Chestnuts, because they found these Ovals represented a Chestnut half open, as it is when it’s ripe.Lib. 3.Chap. 2.He likewise makes mention of another Famous Author, who found out the proportion of all the Parts of a Fabrick, which wasHermogenes; to whom he attributes the Invention of theEustyle,Pseudodiptere, and of all that is beautiful and excellent in Architecture.ART. II.What Architecture is.
Rchitecture is a Science which ought to be accompanied with the Knowledge of a great many other Arts and Sciences, by which meansLib. 1.Chap. forms a correct Judgment of all the Works of other Arts that appertain to it. This Science is acquired byTheoryandPractice. TheTheoryofArchitectureis that Knowledge of this Art which is acquired by study, travelling and discourse. The Practick is that knowledge that is acquired by the Actual Building of great Fabricks. These Two Parts are so necessary, that never any came to any great Perfection without them both. The one being lame and imperfect without the other, so they must walk hand in hand.
Besides, the Knowledge of things that particularly belong to Architecture, there are infinite other things that are necessary to be known by an Architect.For, First, it’s necessary that he be able to couch in writing his intended Building, and to design the Plan, and make an excellent Model of it.Geometry likewise is very necessary for him in many occasions.He must also know Arithmetick to make a true Calculation.He must be knowing in History, and be able to give a reason for the greatest part of the Ornaments of Architecture which are founded upon History. For Example, if instead of Pillars he support the Floors of the House with the figures of Women, which are calledCariatides, he ought to know that theGreeksinvented these Figures to let Posterity know the Victories they obtained over theCariens, whose Wives they made Captives, and put their Images in their Buildings.It’s necessary likewise, that he be instructed in the Precepts of Moral Philosophy; for he ought to have a great Soul, and be bold without Arrogance, just, faithful, and totally exempt from Avarice.The Architect also ought to haveLib. 1.Chap. 11.a great Docility which may hinder him from neglecting the advice that is given him, not only by the meanest Artist, but also by those that understand nothing of Architecture; for not only Architects, but all the World must judge of his Works.Lib. 1.Chap. 2.Natural Philosophy is likewise necessary for him for to discover what are the Causes of many things which he must put a remedy to.He ought also to know something ofPhysick, to know the qualities of the Air, which makes Places Healthful and Habitable, or the quite contrary.He should not be ignorant of the Laws and the Customs of Places for the Building of Partition Walls, for prospect and for the conveying of Waters and Sewers.He ought to knowAstronomy, that he may be able to make all sorts of Dials.It was necessary among the Ancients, that an Architect should have skill inMusickto make and orderCatapultsand other Machines of War, which were strung with strings made of Guts, whose sound they were to observe, that they might judge of the strength and stiffness of the Beams which were bended with those Strings.Musickwas also necessary in those days for the placing musically Vessels of Brass in the Theatres, as we have said before.ART. III.What are the Parts of Architecture.
Here are Three Things which ought to meet in every Fabrick,viz. Solidity,ConvenienceandBeauty, which Architecture gives them; by the due ordering and disposition of all the Parts that compose the Edifice, and which she rules by a just Proportion, having regard to a trueDecorum, and well regulatedOeconomy; from whence it follows, that Architecture has Eight Parts,viz. Solidity,Convenience,Beauty,Order,Disposition,Decorum,Oeconomy.
Soliditydepends upon the goodness of the Foundation, choice of Materials, and the right use of them; which ought to be with a due order, disposition and convenient Proportion of all Parts together, and of one in respect of another.Conveniencelikewise consists in the ordering and disposition, which is so good that nothing hinders the use of any part of the Edifice.Beautyconsists in the excellent and agreeable form, and the just proportion of all its parts.Orderis that which makes, that all the parts of an Edifice have a convenient bigness, whether we consider them apart or with Relation to the whole.Dispositionis the orderly Ranging and agreeable Union of all the parts that compose the Work; so that as Order respects the Greatness, Disposition respects Form and Situation, which are Two Things compriz'd under the wordQuality, whichVitruviusattributes to Disposition, and opposes to Quantity, which appertains to Order. There are three ways by which the Architect may take a view beforehand of the Fabrick he is to build,viz.First,Ichnography, which is theGeometricalPlan;Orthography, which is theGeometrical Elevation, andScenography, which isPerspective Elevation.Proportion, which is also call'dEurythmy, is that which makes the Union of all parts of the Work, and which renders the Prospect agreeable, when the Height answers the Breadth, and the Breadth the Length; every one having its just measure. It is defin'd, the Relation that all the Work has with its Parts, and which every one of them has separately to the Idea of the whole, according to the measure of any Part. For as in Humane Bodies there is a Relation between the Foot, Hand, Finger and other Parts; so amongst Works that are Perfect, from any particular Part, we may make a certain Judgment of the Greatness of the whole Work: For Example, the Diameter of a Pillar, or the Length of aTriglyph, creates in us a right Judgment of the Greatness of the whole Temple.And here we must remark, that to express the Relation that many things have one to another, as to their Greatness or different Number of Parts,Vitruviusindifferently makes use of three words, which areProportion,EurythmyandSymmetry. But we have thought it proper only to make use of the word Proportion, becauseEurythmyis a Greek word, which signifies nothing else but Proportion; and Symmetry, although a word commonly used, does not signifie in the Vulgar Languages whatVitruviusunderstands by Proportion; for he understands by Proportion, a Relation according to Reason; and Symmetry, in the vulgar Languages, signifies only, a Relation of Parity and Equality. For the wordSimmetriasignifies in Latin and GreekRelationonly. As for Example, as the Relation that Windows of Eight Foot high, have with other Windows of Six Foot, when the one are Four Foot broad, and the other Three: and Symmetry, in the Vulgar Languages, signifies the Relation, for Example, That Windows have one to another, when they are all of an equal height and equal breadth; and that their Number and Distances are equal to the Right and the Left; so that if the distances be unequal of one side, the like inequality is to be found in the other.Decorum or Decency, is that which makes the Aspect of the Fabrick so correct, that there is nothing that is not approv'd of, and founded upon some Authority. It teaches us to have regard to three things, which are,Design,CustomandNature.The Regard to Design makes us chuse for Example, other Dispositions and Propertions for a Palace than for a Church.The Respect we have to Custom, is the Reason, for Example, That the Porches and Entries of Houses are adorned, when the Inner Parts are Rich and Magnificent.The Regard we have to the Nature of Places, makes us chuse different Prospects for different Parts of the Fabrick, to make them the wholsomer and the more convenient: For Example, the Bed-Chambers and the Libraries are exposed to the Morning Sun; the Winter Apartments, to the West; the Closets or Pictures and other Curiosities, which should always have equal Light, to the North.Oeconomy teaches the Architect to have regard to the Expences that are to be made, and to the Quality of the Materials, near the Places where he Builds, and to take his Measures rightly for the Order and Disposition; give the Fabrick a convenient Form and Magnitude.These Eight Parts, as we have said, have a Relation to the Three first,viz. Solidity,Convenience,Beauty, which suppose,Order, Disposition,Proportion,DecorumandOeconomy. This is the reason that we divide this first Part only into Three Chapters; the first is of the Solidity; the second of the Convenience; the third of the Beauty of the Fabrick.


Of the Solidity of Buildings.ARTICLE I.Of the Choice of Materials.
HE Materials of whichVitruviusspeaks are, Stone, Brick, Wood, Lime, and Sand.
All the Stones are not of one sort, for some are soft, some harder, and some extreamly hard.Those that are not hard are easily cut, and are good for the Inner Parts of the Buildings, where they are cover'd from Rain and Frost which brings them to Powder, and if they be made use of in Buildings near the Sea, the Salt Particles of the Air and Heat destroys them.Those that are indifferently hard, are fit to bear Weight; but there are some sorts of them, that easily crack with the heat of the Fire.There is likewise another sort of Stone, which is a kind of Free-Stone; some are Red, some Black, and some White, which are as easily cut with a Saw as Wood.The best Bricks are those which are only dry'd and not baked in the Fire; but there are many Years required to dry them well: and for this Reason, atUtica, a City ofAfrica, they made a Law, That none should make use of Bricks which had not been made five Years: For these sort of Bricks, so dry'd, had their Pores so close in their Superficies, that they would swim upon Water like a Pumice-Stone; and they had a particular Lightness, which made them very fit for all sorts of Buildings.The Earth of which these Bricks were usually made was very Fat, and a sort of White Chalky Clay without Gravel or Sand, which made them Lighter and more Durable; they mixed Straw with them to make them better bound and firmer.The Woods which were made use of in all Buildings, are Oak, Poplar, Beech, Elm, Cypress, Firr; but some of them are not so proper for Building as others.