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The Ten Books on Architecture

Vitruvius Pollio

Book Overview: 

On Architecture is a treatise on architecture written by the Roman architect Vitruvius and dedicated to his patron, the emperor Caesar Augustus as a guide for building projects. The work is one of the most important sources of modern knowledge of Roman building methods as well as the planning and design of structures, both large (aqueducts, buildings, baths, harbours) and small (machines, measuring devices, instruments). He is also the prime source of the famous story of Archimedes and his bath-time discovery. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .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 or the Citadel.

6. From such specimens we can draw our inferences with regard to the devices used in the buildings of antiquity, and conclude 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 . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I've read this book no less than four times (only twice were required). Vitruvius clearly articulates everything from the uses of different Classical orders to how to lay out a city to how to make catapults and water screws. Fascinating and entertaining.

(I also have a soft spot for it because it's

Una mezcla de melancolía, dulzura, filosofía y humor."


Brilliant book, brilliant author.
Even with some dated material this book (10 books on architecture by Vitruvius) shows humility, great skill and wisdom. In other words it points the reader towards learning more and not to be arrogant. It is a big step in the history of ideas. Anoth

One of my students recommended Vitruvius to me 22 years ago. I have kept it by my side ever since. Ancient man is as astute and brilliant as any living today. A must read for anyone traveling to Italy, Greece, anywhere touched by the Roman empire. "....no work can be done without honesty...." and hi

من الرائع أن نتعرف على أقدم الكتب المعمارية.. والتي ينبغي لكل معماري الإطلاع عليه.. وعلينا الاعتراف أن فيتروفيوس ليس فقط معماري، بل هو معلم حيث قام بنقل معارفه المعمارية عبر كتبه العشرة.. والتي أنتجت على الأقل الاتسان الفيتروفي (الانسان ذو المقاييس الذهبية).. على يد ليوناردو دافنشي..

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