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date: 23 November 2020

Vitruvius (Pol(l)io)locked

  • Richard Allan Tomlinson
  •  and J. T. Vallance

Extract

Vitruvius (Pol(l)io) (See mamurra), a Roman architect and military engineer, in which capacity he served *Caesar. He built a basilica at *Fanum Fortunae; but his fame rests chiefly on a treatise, De architectura, on architecture and engineering, compiled partly from his own experience, partly from work by *Hermogenes(1) (to whom he is heavily indebted) and other Greek authors to which his own experiences have been added, sometimes in a disjointed fashion. It is hardly a handbook for *architects: rather a book for people who need to understand architecture. Perhaps its main function was place-seeking from Octavian (see augustus), to whom it is addressed. His outlook is essentially Hellenistic, and there is a marked absence of reference to important buildings of *Augustus' reign, though he knows of Roman technical developments, such as concrete construction (which he mistrusts). De architectura, the only work of its kind which has survived, is divided into ten books. Book 1 treats of town-planning, architecture in general, and of the qualifications proper in an architect; 2 of building-materials; 3 and 4 of temples and of the ‘orders’ (see orders, architectural; 5 of other civic buildings; 6 of domestic buildings; 7 of pavements and decorative plaster-work; 8 of water-supplies; 9 of geometry, mensuration, *astronomy, etc.

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