On Architecture

Vitruvius Pollio

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

6. The height of the tablinum at the lintel should be one eighth more than its width. Its ceiling should exceed this height by one third of the width. The fauces in the case of smaller atriums should be two thirds, and in the case of half the width of the tablinum. Let the busts of ancestors with their ornaments be set up at a height corresponding to the width of the alae. The proportionate width and height of doors may be settled, if they are Doric, in the Doric manner, and if Ionic, in the Ionic manner, according to the rules of symmetry which have been given about portals in the fourth book. In the roof-opening let

an aperture be left with a breadth of not less than one fourth nor more than one third the width of the atrium, and with a length proportionate to that of the atrium.

7. Peristyles, lying athwart, should be one third longer than they are deep, and their columns as high as the colonnades are wide. Intercolumniations of peristyles should be not less than three nor more than four times the thickness of the columns. If the columns of the peristyle are to be made in the Doric style, take the modules which I have given in the fourth book, on the Doric order, and arrange the columns with reference to these modules and to the scheme of the triglyphs.

8. Dining rooms ought to be twice as long as they are wide. The height of all oblong rooms should be calculated by adding together their measured length and width, taking one half of this total, and using the result for the height. But in the case of exedrae or square oeci, let the height be brought up to one and one half times the width. Picture galleries, like exedrae, should be constructed of generous dimensions. Corinthian and tetrastyle oeci, as well as those termed Egyptian, should have the same symmetrical proportions in width and length as the dining rooms described above, but, since they have columns in them, their dimensions should be ampler.

9. The following will be the distinction between Corinthian and Egyptian oeci: the Corinthian have single tiers of columns, set either on a podium or on the ground, with architraves over them and coronae either of woodwork or of stucco, and carved vaulted ceilings above the coronae. In the Egyptian there are architraves over the columns, and joists laid thereon from the architraves to the surrounding walls, with a floor in the upper

story to allow of walking round under the open sky. Then, above the architrave and perpendicularly over the lower tier of columns, columns one fourth smaller should be imposed. Above their architraves and ornaments are decorated ceilings, and the upper columns have windows set in between them. Thus the Egyptian are not like Corinthian dining rooms, but obviously resemble basilicas.

10. There are also, though not customary in Italy, the oeci which the Greeks call Cyzicene. These are built with a northern exposure and generally command a view of gardens, and have folding doors in the middle. They are also so long and so wide that two sets of dining couches, facing each other, with room to pass round them, can be placed therein. On the right and left they have windows which open like folding doors, so that views of the garden may be had from the dining couches through the opened windows. The height of such rooms is one and one half times their width.