On Architecture

Vitruvius Pollio

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

12. Afterwards Silenus published a book on the proportions of Doric structures; Theodorus, on the Doric temple of Juno which is in Samos; Chersiphron and Metagenes, on the Ionic temple at Ephesus which is Diana's; Pytheos, on the Ionic fane of Minerva which is at Priene; Ictinus and Carpion, on the Doric temple of Minerva which is on the acropolis of Athens; Theodorus the Phocian, on the Round Building which is at Delphi; Philo, on the proportions of temples, and on the naval arsenal which was [*](Codd. fuerat) at the port of Peiraeus; Hermogenes, on the Ionic temple of Diana which is at Magnesia, a pseudodipteral, and on that of Father Bacchus at Teos, a monopteral; Arcesius, on the Corinthian proportions, and on the Ionic temple of Aesculapius at Tralles, which it is said that he built with his own hands; on

the Mausoleum, Satyrus and Pytheos who were favoured with the greatest and highest good fortune.

13. For men whose artistic talents are believed to have won them the highest renown for all time, and laurels forever green, devised and executed works of supreme excellence in this building. The decoration and perfection of the different facades were undertaken by different artists in emulation with each other: Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas, Praxiteles, and, as some think, Timotheus; and the distinguished excellence of their art made that building famous among the seven wonders of the world.

14. Then, too, many less celebrated men have written treatises on the laws of symmetry, such as Nexaris, Theocydes, Demophilus, Pollis, Leonidas, Silanion, Melampus, Sarnacus, and Euphranor; others again on machinery, such as Diades, Archytas, Archimedes, Ctesibius, Nymphodorus, Philo of Byzantium, Diphilus, Democles, Charias, Polyidus, Pyrrus, and Agesistratus. From their commentaries I have gathered what I saw was useful for the present subject, and formed it into one complete treatise, and this principally, because I saw that many books in this field had been published by the Greeks, but very few indeed by our countrymen. Fuficius, in fact, was the first to undertake to publish a book on this subject. Terentius Varro, also, in his work “On the Nine Sciences” has one book on architecture, and Publius Septimius, two.

15. But to this day nobody else seems to have bent his energies to this branch of literature, although there have been, even among our fellow-citizens in old times, great architects who could also have written with elegance. For instance, in Athens, the architects Antistates, Callaeschrus, Antimachides, and Pormus laid the foundations when Peisistratus began the temple of Olympian Jove, but after his death they abandoned the undertaking, on account of political troubles. Hence it was that when, about four hundred years later, King Antiochus promised to pay the expenses of that work, the huge cella, the surrounding columns in dipteral arrangement, and the architraves and other ornaments,

adjusted according to the laws of symmetry, were nobly constructed with great skill and supreme knowledge by Cossutius, a citizen of Rome. Moreover, this work has a name for its grandeur, not only in general, but also among the select few.

16. There are, in fact, four places possessing temples embellished with workmanship in marble that causes them to be mentioned in a class by themselves with the highest renown. To their great excellence and the wisdom of their conception they owe their place of esteem in the ceremonial worship of the gods. First there is the temple of Diana at Ephesus, in the Ionic style, undertaken by Chersiphron of Gnosus and his son Metagenes, and said to have been finished later by Demetrius, who was himself a slave of Diana, and by Paeonius the Milesian. At Miletus, the temple of Apollo, also Ionic in its proportions, was the undertaking of the same Paeonius and of the Ephesian Daphnis. At Eleusis, the cella of Ceres and Proserpine, of vast size, was completed to the roof by Ictinus in the Doric style, but without exterior columns and with plenty of room for the customary sacrifices.

17. Afterwards, however, when Demetrius of Phalerum was master of Athens, Philo set up columns in front before the temple, and made it prostyle. Thus, by adding an entrance hall, he gave the initiates more room, and imparted the greatest dignity to the building. Finally, in Athens, the temple of the Olympion with its dimensions on a generous scale, and built in the Corinthian style and proportions, is said to have been constructed, as written above, by Cossutius, no commentary by whom has been found. But Cossutius is not the only man by whom we should like to have writings on our subject. Another is Gaius Mucius, who, having great knowledge on which to rely, completed the cella, columns, and entablature of the Marian temple of Honour and Valour, in symmetrical proportions according to the accepted rules of the art. If this building had been of marble, so that besides the refinement of its art it possessed the dignity coming from

magnificence and great outlay, it would be reckoned among the first and greatest of works.

18. Since it appears, then, that our architects in the old days, and a good many even in our own times, have been as great as those of the Greeks, and nevertheless only a few of them have published treatises, I resolved not to be silent, but to treat the different topics methodically in different books. Hence, since I have given an account of private houses in the sixth book, in this, which is the seventh in order, I shall treat of polished finishings and the methods of giving them both beauty and durability.