On Architecture

Vitruvius Pollio

Vitruvius Pollio, creator; Morgan, M. H. (Morris Hicky), 1859-1910, translator

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 statue 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. 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 sanctuaries 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 columns in the pronaos. The aperture of the doorway should be determined by dividing the height of the temple, from floor to coffered ceiling, into three and one half parts and letting two and one half [*](Codd. duae.)thereof constitute the height of the aperture of the folding 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 aperture. 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

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.