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Vitruvius

architecture, private, various, book and editions

VITRU'VIUS, the name of two Roman architects, the most celebrated of whom is /dances VITRUVIUS Pow°, about whom we have no direct information further than the mention of his name by Pliny and Frontinus, though, from the references to him self in his own work. we can gather that in all probability he was born about 76 or SO B. C. He received a liberal education, pursued specially those studies which were calcu lated to fit him for the profession of an engineer and architect, and was engaged in the 4frican war (46 B. C.) as superintendent of military engines. He does not seem to have Isecome_very popular as an architect, and never succeeded in acquiring wealth, though the constant patronage which the emperor (Augustus) was indnced by his sister (proba bly Octavia Minor) to extend to him, insured him comfortable subsistence during his life. The only public work he executed was a basilica at Fanum. Vitruvius in his book, De Architectura, enters at some length into the reasons which induced him to write it, the chief of them being, the care bestowed by his patron (after settled peace had been secured to the empire) on buildingspublic and private, his intention to erect num erous edifices, and the danger that, owing to the depraved architectural taste of the time_ the beauty and correctness of the pure Grecian models would be neglected. The De Architecture is arranged in ten books; the first of which contains a dedication to the emperor, a general view of architectural science, hints as to the proper subjects of study for young aspirants, and directions for building cities; the second treats of the early his tory of architecture, and of the materials employed at various times, and contains a sketch of the physical theories of various philosophers; the third and fourth treat of Oa erection of temples, and in connection with this, of the four orders of architecture, Ionic, Corinthian, Done, and Tuscan; the fifth treats of public buildings; the sixth, of private houses in town or country; the seventh, of the finishing and decoration of private build ings; the eighth of water, the mode of discovering it, whence it may be obtained, and the modes of conveying it in large quantities to a distance; the ninth, of the principles of gnomouics, the rules for dialling, and other subjects physical and astronomical; and the tenth, of machines used in building and in military warfare, of the mechanical powers, of mills, engines for raising water, odometers, etc. To each book there is a

preface, more or less connected with the main subject of the book, and it is in these pre fatory remarks that we discover what we know of Vitruvius's personal history. There have been many editions of Vitruvius; the first was published along with Frontinus's De Aguaductibus at Rome about 1486, and afterward at Fjorence (1496) and Venice (1497). Rude woodcuts were introduced into various subsequent editions; and the edition of Bode (Berl, 1800) has a volume of plates; but the best edition, that of J. G. Schneider (Leip., 3 vols. 1807-1808), is without illustrations.—See Smith's Classical Dictionary of Biography and Mythology. ,