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De architectura - Vitruvius' The Ten Books of Architecture
November 9, 2006 8:25 AM   Subscribe

De Architectura, known also as The Ten Books of Architecture, is an exposition on architecture by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. Originally in Latin, here it is translated into English.
posted by nthdegx (15 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Isn't he the guy who came up with that figure standing in squares and circles, that Leonardo copied in his notebooks, and that has become da Vinci's trademark?

I believe that figure is properly called Vitruvian Man.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:44 AM on November 9, 2006

My edition goes to 11.
posted by OmieWise at 9:07 AM on November 9, 2006

Why is it architects always feel they deserve more honors than wrestlers? Now there's a classic dilemma!

FYI, there's a whole strain of mandala design that's related to the body of humans (which is why Mt. Kailash, e.g., is called the navel of the world) - I'd google it for ya but I gots a screaming infant to deal w/ here.

posted by DenOfSizer at 9:17 AM on November 9, 2006

Vitruvius is the only source for the "Eureka!" story about Archimedes-in-the-bath, using liquid displacement and weight to calculate buoyancy and thereby measure density.
Charged with this commission, he by chance went to a bath, and being in the vessel, perceived that, as his body became immersed, the water ran out of the vessel. Whence, catching at the method to be adopted for the solution of the proposition, he immediately followed it up, leapt out of the vessel in joy, and, returning home naked, cried out with a loud voice that he had found that of which he was in search, for he continued exclaiming, in Greek, εὑρηκα, (I have found it out).
posted by meehawl at 9:17 AM on November 9, 2006

StickyCarpet: yes, it's in Chapter 1 of Book III. He just describes the proportions, though.

Chapter 5, Book V has a neat bit about acoustic resonators in theaters.

Thanks for the link-- I'll be having a special moment with my inner Latin geek this weekend, methinks.
posted by phooky at 9:24 AM on November 9, 2006

Very cool link, thank you.
posted by Spacelegoman at 9:41 AM on November 9, 2006

Quirky. So this Bill Thayer, he likes to type.
posted by xod at 9:44 AM on November 9, 2006

Like phooky says, Vitruvius describes the proportions, Leonardo's is one of many illustrations of the concept.
posted by signal at 10:03 AM on November 9, 2006

So is this just for posterity, or do real, current architects study this still today?
posted by TrueVox at 11:11 AM on November 9, 2006

posted by xod at 11:39 AM on November 9, 2006

We study it, in Introduction to Architecture courses and such, not as a gospel or guidebook but rather as just a (relatively) important part of architecture history, especially in its theoretical and disciplinary aspects.
posted by signal at 11:46 AM on November 9, 2006

Some plates from the Cesare Cesariano, Como 1521 edition.
posted by xod at 12:18 PM on November 9, 2006

Some plates from the Cesare Cesariano, Como 1521 edition.

Oh this is sweet. Thanks xod.
posted by gwint at 12:40 PM on November 9, 2006

You're welcome. Here is Daniele Barbaro's 1567 edition.
posted by xod at 1:48 PM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

we archaeologists use it pretty extensively, too - it's a fantastic tool, if plagued by omissions and losses from the manuscript tradition.

And xod, this Bill Thayer - he's excellent :)
posted by AthenaPolias at 6:48 PM on November 12, 2006

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