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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

Le pongo 2 estrellas porque este libro me aburrió muchísimo, no porque no sea bueno, sino porque es demasiado técnico y a mí no me interesa la arquitectura :c
Pero las partes en que Vitruvio contaba anécdotas y explicaba cosas generales me gustaron y divirtieron mucho.

Sobre la edición que yo leí (...more

my oxford classical dictionary gave me the heart to look in the pages of vitruvius saying it was a book intended not for architects but for those who wish to understand architecture. i would say, though, that vitruvius seems to be more than just an architect but an engineer as well as he discusse...more

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...more

In his architecture, Bauhaus was primarily concerned with expressing his own artistic sparkliness. Vitruvius, on the other hand, was primarily interested in designing useful buildings according to universal laws of proportion and symmetry. Guess which one I like more?

Huh-hei! Oli taas vaihteeksi mukava lukea antiikin kirjallisuutta. Roomalaisia gubbeja olen lukenut vähemmän. Vitruvius kirjoitti kirjansa noin 20 -luvulla eaa. Arkkitehtuurin lisäksi luonnontieteitä ja vähään aikaan huikemmat kuvamateriaalit kirjan mukana nimittäin sivutolkulla arkkitehtuuripiir...more

Meanders around a bit, some good theory stuff, some dull (but no doubt indespisable at the time) cubit counting stuff, bit of natural history, bit of cosmology, sprinkling of odometer construction. Less of the triad than i'd anticipated. Not sure what I expected, not sure what I got, not convince...more

حلو مع انو في أشياء ما فهمتها لسا عم دور عليها....
اذا تخرج المعماري برتبة فتروفية ....يعني انه معماري ....:)

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..

I preface my remarks by noting that I am not an architect nor am I at all well versed in architecture. I read the book mostly to learn about daily life, how houses were made, and what kind of machines the ancients had. I found his little side stories to b some of the most interesting parts of the...more

Vitruvius
The Ten Books of Architecture by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio ( 80–15 BC) is the first complete treatise that we have on architecture. Reading it is an unmitigated source of joy for someone who has an amateur's interest in architecture or Roman history. People who have simply visited sites Ro...more

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