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The Ten Books on Architecture
1. I have observed, Emperor, that many in their treatises and volumes
of commentaries on architecture have not presented the subject with well
ordered completeness, but have merely made a beginning and left, as it
were, only desultory fragments. I have therefore thought that it would
be a worthy and very useful thing to reduce the whole of this great art
to a complete and orderly form of presentation, and then in different books
to lay down and explain the required characteristics of different departments.
Hence, Caesar, in my first book I have set forth to you the function of
the architect and the things in which he ought to be trained. In the second
I have discussed the supplies of material of which buildings are constructed.
In the third, which deals with the arrangements of temples and their variety
of form, I showed the nature and number of their classes, with the adjustments
proper to each form according to the usage of the Ionic order, one of the
three which exhibit the greatest delicacy of proportion in their symmetrical
measurements. In the present book I shall speak of the established rules
for the Doric and Corinthian orders, and shall explain their differences
The Origins of the Three Orders and the Proportions
of the Corinthian Capital
1. Corinthian columns are, excepting in their capitals, of the same
proportions in all respects as Ionic; but the height of their capitals
gives them proportionately a taller and more slender effect. This is because
the height of the Ionic capital is only one third of the thickness of the
column, while that of the Corinthian is the entire thickness of the shaft.
Hence, as two thirds are added in Corinthian capitals, their tallness gives
a more slender appearance to the columns themselves.
2. The other members which are placed above the columns, are, for Corinthian
columns, composed either of the Doric proportions or according to the Ionic
usages; for the Corinthian order never had any scheme peculiar to itself
for its cornices or other ornaments, but may have mutules in the coronae
and guttae on the architraves according to the triglyph system of the Doric
style, or, according to Ionic practices, it may be arranged with a frieze
adorned with sculptures and accompanied with dentils and coronae.
3. Thus a third architectural order, distinguished by its capital, was
produced out of the two other orders. To the forms of their columns are
due the names of the three orders, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, of which
the Doric was the first to arise, and in early times. For Dorus, the son
of Hellen and the nymph Phthia, was king of Achaea and all the Peloponnesus,
and he built a fane, which chanced to be of this order, in the precinct
of Juno at Argolis, a very ancient city, and subsequently others of the
same order in the other cities of Achaea, although the rules of symmetry
were not yet in existence.
4. Later, the Athenians, in obedience to oracles of the Delphic Apollo,
and with the general agreement of all Hellas, dispatched thirteen colonies
at one time to Asia Minor, appointing leaders for each colony and giving
the command-in-chief to Ion, son of Xuthus and Creusa (whom further Apollo
at Delphi in the oracles had acknowledged as his son). Ion conducted those
colonies to Asia Minor, took possession of the land of Caria, and there
founded the grand cities of Ephesus, Miletus, Myus (long ago engulfed by
the water, and its sacred rites and suffrage handed over by the Ionians
to the Milesians), Priene, Samos, Teos, Colophon, Chius, Erythrae, Phocaea,
Clazomenae, Lebedos, and Melite. This Melite, on account of the arrogance
of its citizens, was destroyed by the other cities in a war declared by
general agreement, and in its place, through the kindness of King Attalus
and Arsinoe, the city of the Smyrnaeans was admitted among the Ionians.
5. Now these cities, after driving out the Carians and Lelegans, called
that part of the world Ionia from their leader Ion, and there they set
off precincts for the immortal gods and began to build fanes: first of
all, a temple to Panionion Apollo such as they had seen in Achaea, calling
it Doric because they had first seen that kind of temple built in the states
of the Dorians.
6. Wishing to set up columns in that temple, but not having rules for
their symmetry, and being in search of some way by which they could render
them fit to bear a load and also of a satisfactory beauty of appearance,
they measured the imprint of a man's foot and compared this with his height.
On finding that, in a man, the foot was one sixth of the height, they applied
the same principle to the column, and reared the shaft, including the capital,
to a height six times its thickness at its base. Thus the Doric column,
as used in buildings, began to exhibit the proportions, strength, and beauty
of the body of a man.
7. Just so afterwards, when they desired to construct a temple to Diana
in a new style of beauty, they translated these footprints into terms characteristic
of the slenderness of women, and thus first made a column the thickness
of which was only one eighth of its height, so that it might have a taller
look. At the foot they substituted the base in place of a shoe; in the
capital they placed the volutes, hanging down at the right and left like
curly ringlets, and ornamented its front with cymatia and with festoons
of fruit arranged in place of hair, while they brought the flutes down
the whole shaft, falling like the folds in the robes worn by matrons. Thus
in the invention of the two different kinds of columns, they borrowed manly
beauty, naked and unadorned, for the one, and for the other the delicacy,
adornment, and proportions characteristic of women.
8. It is true that posterity, having made progress in refinement and
delicacy of feeling, and finding pleasure in more slender proportions,
has established seven diameters of the thickness as the height of the Doric
column, and nine as that of the Ionic. The Ionians, however, originated
the order which is therefore named Ionic.
The third order, called Corinthian, is an imitation of the slenderness
of a maiden; for the outlines and limbs of maidens, being more slender
on account of their tender years, admit of prettier effects in the way
9. It is related that the original discovery of this form of capital
was as follows. A free-born maiden of Corinth, just of marriageable age,
was attacked by an illness and passed away. After her burial, her nurse,
collecting a few little things which used to give the girl pleasure while
she was alive, put them in a basket, carried it to the tomb, and laid it
on top thereof, covering it with a rooftree so that the things might last
longer in the open air. This basket happened to be placed just above the
root of an acanthus. The acanthus root, pressed down meanwhile though it
was by the weight, when springtime came round put forth leaves and stalks
in the middle, and the stalks, growing up along the sides of the basket,
and pressed out by the corners of the tile through the compulsion of its
weight, were forced to bend into volutes at the outer edges.
10. Just then Callimachus passed by this tomb and observed the basket
with the tender young leaves growing round it. Delighted with the novel
style and form, he built some columns after that pattern for the Corinthians,
determined their symmetrical proportions, and established from that time
forth the rules to be followed in finished works of the Corinthian order.
11. The proportions of this capital should be fixed as follows. Let
the height of the capital, including its abacus, be equivalent to the thickness
of the base of a column. Let the breadth of the abacus be proportioned
so that diagonals drawn from one corner of it to the other shall be twice
the height of the capitals, which will give the proper breadth to each
face of the abacus. The faces should curve inwards, by one ninth of the
breadth of the face, from the outside edge of the corners of the abacus.
At the bottom the capital should be of the thickness of the top of the
column omitting the cong? and astragal. The height of the abacus is one
seventh of the height of the capital.
12. Omitting the height of the abacus, let the rest be divided into
three parts, of which one should be given to the lowest leaf. Let the second
leaf occupy the middle part of the height. Of the same height should be
the stalks, out of which grow leaves projected so as to support the volutes
which proceed from the stalks, and run out to the utmost corners of the
abacus; the smaller spirals between them should be carved just under the
flower which is on the abacus. The flowers on the four sides are to be
made as large as the height of the abacus. On these principles of proportion,
Corinthian capitals will be finished as they ought to be.
There are other kinds of capitals set upon these same columns and called
by various names, but they have no peculiarities of proportion of which
we can speak, nor can we recognize from them another order of columns.
Even their very names are, as we can see, derived with some changes from
the Corinthian, the cushion shaped, and the Doric, whose symmetrical proportions
have been thus transferred to delicate sculptures of novel form.
The Ornaments of the Orders
1. Since the origin and invention of the orders of columns have been
described above, I think it not out of place to speak in the same way about
their ornaments, showing how these arose and from what original elements
they were devised. The upper parts of all buildings contain timber work
to which various terms are applied. And not only in its terminology but
actually in its uses it exhibits variety. The main beams are those which
are laid upon columns, pilasters, and antae; tie beams and rafters are
found in the framing. Under the roof, if the span is pretty large, are
the crossbeams and struts; if it is of moderate extent, only the ridgepole,
with the principal rafters extending to the outer edge of the eaves. Over
the principal rafters are the purlines, and then above these and under
the roof tiles come the common rafters, extending so far that the walls
are covered by their projection.
2. Thus each and every detail has a place, origin, and order of its
own. In accordance with these details, and starting from carpenter's work,
artists in building temples of stone and marble imitated those arrangements
in their sculptures, believing that they must follow those inventions.
So it was that some ancient carpenters, engaged in building somewhere or
other, after laying the tie beams so that they projected from the inside
to the outside of the walls, closed up the space between the beams, and
above them ornamented the coronae and gables with carpentry work of beauty
greater than usual; then they cut off the projecting ends of the beams,
bringing them into line and flush with the face of the walls; next, as
this had an ugly look to them, they fastened boards, shaped as triglyphs
are now made, on the ends of the beams, where they had been cut off in
front, and painted them with blue wax so that the cutting off of the ends
of the beams, being concealed, would not offend the eye. Hence it was in
imitation of the arrangement of the tie beams that men began to employ,
in Doric buildings, the device of triglyphs and the metopes between the
3. Later, others in other buildings allowed the projecting principal
rafters to run out till they were flush with the triglyphs, and then formed
their projections into simae. From that practice, like the triglyphs from
the arrangement of the tie beams, the system of mutules under the coronae
was devised from the projections of the principal rafters. Hence generally,
in buildings of stone and marble, the mutules are carved with a downward
slant, in imitation of the principal rafters. For these necessarily have
a slanting and projecting position to let the water drip down. The scheme
of triglyphs and mutules in Doric buildings was, therefore, the imitative
device that I have described.
4. It cannot be that the triglyphs represent windows, as some have erroneously
said, since the triglyphs are placed at the corners and over the middle
of columns places where, from the nature of the case, there can be no windows
at all. For buildings are wholly disconnected at the corners if openings
for windows are left at those points. Again, if we are to suppose that
there were open windows where the triglyphs now stand, it will follow,
on the same principle, that the dentils of the Ionic order have likewise
taken the places of windows. For the term "metope" is used of the intervals
between dentils as well as of those between triglyphs.We call these cavities
columbaria (dovecotes). Hence, the space between the tie beams, being the
space between two "opae."
5. The system of triglyphs and mutules was invented for the Doric order,
and similarly the scheme of dentils belongs to the Ionic, in which there
are proper grounds for its use in buildings. Just as mutules represent
the projection of the principal rafters, so dentils in the Ionic are an
imitation of the projections of the common rafters. And so in Greek works
nobody ever put dentils under mutules, as it is impossible that common
rafters should be underneath principal rafters. Therefore, if that which
in the original must be placed above the principal rafters, is put in the
copy below them, the result will be a work constructed on false principles.
Neither did the ancients approve of or employ mutules or dentils in pediments,
but only plain coronae, for the reason that neither principal nor common
rafters tail into the fronts of pediments, nor can they overhang them,
but they are laid with a slope towards the eaves. Hence the ancients held
that what could not happen in the original would have no valid reason for
existence in the copy.
6. For in all their works they proceeded on definite principles of fitness
and in ways derived from the truth of Nature. Thus they reached perfection,
approving only those things which, if challenged, can be explained on grounds
of the truth. Hence, from the sources which have been described they established
and left us the rules of symmetry and proportion for each order. Following
in their steps, I have spoken above on the Ionic and Corinthian styles,
and I shall now briefly explain the theory of the Doric and its general
Proportions of Doric Temples
1. Some of the ancient architects said that the Doric order ought not
to be used for temples, because faults and incongruities were caused by
the laws of its symmetry. Arcesius and Pytheos said so, as well as Hermogenes.
He, for instance, after getting together a supply of marble for the construction
of a Doric temple, changed his mind and built an Ionic temple to Father
Bacchus with the same materials. This is not because it is unlovely in
appearance or origin or dignity of form, but because the arrangement of
the triglyphs and metopes (lacunaria) is an embarrassment and inconvenience
to the work.
2. For the triglyphs ought to be placed so as to correspond to the centers
of the columns, and the metopes between the triglyphs ought to be as broad
as they are high. But in violation of this rule, at the corner columns
triglyphs are placed at the outside edges and not corresponding to the
center of the columns. Hence the metopes next to the corner columns do
not come out perfectly square, but are too broad by half the width of a
triglyph. Those who would make the metopes all alike, make the outermost
intercolumniations narrower by half the width of a triglyph. But the result
is faulty, whether it is attained by broader metopes or narrower intercolumniations.
For this reason, the ancients appear to have avoided the scheme of the
Doric order in their temples.
3. However, since our plan calls for it, we set it forth as we have
received it from our teachers, so that if anybody cares to set to work
with attention to these laws, he may find the proportions stated by which
he can construct correct and faultless examples of temples in the Doric
Let the front of a Doric temple, at the place where the columns are
put up, be divided, if it is to be tetrastyle, into twenty-seven parts;
if hexastyle, into forty-two. One of these parts will be the module, and
this module once fixed, all the parts of the work are adjusted by means
of calculations based upon it.
4. The thickness of the columns will be two modules, and their height,
including the capitals, fourteen. The height of a capital will be one module,
and its breadth two and one sixth modules. Let the height of the capital
be divided into three parts, of which one will form the abacus with its
cymatium, the second the echinus with its annulets, and the third the necking.
The diminution of the column should be the same as described for Ionic
columns in the third book. The height of the architrave, including taenia
and guttae, is one module, and of the taenia, one seventh of a module.
The guttae, extending as wide as the triglyphs and beneath the taenia,
should hang down for one sixth of a module, including their regula. The
depth of the architrave on its under side should answer to the necking
at the top of the column. Above the architrave, the triglyphs and metopes
are to be placed: the triglyphs one and one half modules high, and one
module wide in front. They are to be arranged so that one is placed to
correspond to the center of each corner and intermediate column, and two
over each intercolumniation except the middle intercolumniations of the
front and rear porticoes, which have three each. The intervals in the middle
being thus extended, a free passage will be afforded to those who would
approach the statues of the gods.
5. The width of the triglyph should be divided into six parts, and five
of these marked off in the middle by means of the rule, and two half parts
at the right and left. Let one part, that in the center, form a "femur".
On each side of it are the channels, to be cut in to fit the tip of a carpenter's
square, and in succession the other femora, one at the right and the other
at the left of a channel. To the outsides are relegated the semichannels.
The triglyphs having been thus arranged, let the metopes between the triglyphs
be as high as they are wide, while at the outer corners there should be
semimetopes inserted, with the width of half a module.
In these ways all defects will be corrected, whether in metopes or intercolumniations
or lacunaria, as all the arrangements have been made with uniformity.
6. The capitals of each triglyph are to measure one sixth of a module.
Over the capitals of the triglyphs the corona is to be placed, with a projection
of two thirds of a module, and having a Doric cymatium at the bottom and
another at the top. So the corona with its cymatia is half a module in
height. Set off on the under side of the corona, vertically over the triglyphs
and over the middle of the metopes, are the viae in straight lines and
the guttae arranged in rows, six guttae broad and three deep. The spaces
left (due to the fact that the metopes are broader than the triglyphs)
may be left unornamented or may have thunderbolts carved on them. Just
at the edge of the corona a line should be cut in, called the scotia. All
the other parts, such as tympana and the simae of the corona, are to be
constructed as described above in the case of the Ionic order.
7. Such will be the scheme established for diastyle buildings. But if
the building is to be systyle and monotriglyphic, let the front of the
temple, if tetrastyle, be divided into nineteen and a half parts; if hexastyle,
into twenty-nine and a half parts. One of these parts will form the module
in accordance with which the adjustments are to be made as above described.
8. Thus, over each portion of the architrave two metopes and two triglyphs
will be placed; and, in addition, at the corners half a triglyph and besides
a space large enough for a half triglyph. At the center, vertically under
the gable, there should be room for three triglyphs and three metopes,
in order that the center intercolumniation, by its greater width, may give
ample room for people to enter the temple, and may lend an imposing effect
to the view of the statues of the gods.
9. The columns should be fluted with twenty flutes. If these are to
be left plane, only the twenty angles need be marked off. But if they are
to be channeled out, the contour of the channeling may be determined thus:
draw a square with sides equal in length to the breadth of the fluting,
and center a pair of compasses in the middle of this square. Then describe
a circle with a circumference touching the angles of the square, and let
the changelings have the contour of the segment formed by the circumference
and the side of the square. The fluting of the Doric column will thus be
finished in the style appropriate to it.
10. With regard to the enlargement to be made in the column at its middle,
let the description given for Ionic columns in the third book be applied
here also in the case of Doric.
Since the external appearance of the Corinthian, Doric, and Ionic proportions
has now been described, it is necessary next to explain the arrangements
of the cella and the pronaos.
The Cella and Pronaos
1. The length of a temple is adjusted so that its width may be half
its length, and the actual cella one fourth greater in length than in width,
including the wall in which the folding doors are placed. Let the remaining
three parts, constituting the pronaos, extend to the antae terminating
the walls, which antae ought to be of the same thickness as the columns.
If the temple is to be more than twenty feet in width, let two columns
be placed between the two antae, to separate the pteroma from the pronaos.
The three intercolumniations between the antae and the columns should be
closed by low walls made of marble or of joiner's work, with doors in them
to afford passages into the pronaos.
2. If the width is to be more than forty feet, let columns be placed
inside and opposite to the columns between the antae. They should have
the same height as the columns in front of them, but their thickness should
be proportionately reduced: thus, if the columns in front are in thickness
one eighth of their height, these should be one tenth; if the former are
one ninth or one tenth, these should be reduced in the same proportion.
For their reduction will not be discernible, as the air has not free play
about them. Still, in case they look too slender, when the outer columns
have twenty or twenty-four flutes, these may have twenty-eight or thirty-two.
Thus the additional number of flutes will make up proportionately for the
loss in the body of the shaft, preventing it from being seen, and so in
a different way the columns will be made to look equally thick.
3. The reason for this result is that the eye, touching thus upon a
greater number of points, set closer together, has a larger compass to
cover with its range of vision. For if two columns, equally thick but one
unfluted and the other fluted, are measured by drawing lines round them,
one line touching the body of the columns in the hollows of the channels
and on the edges of the flutes, these surrounding lines, even though the
columns are equally thick, will not be equal to each other, because it
takes a line of greater length to compass the channels and the flutes.
This being granted, it is not improper, in narrow quarters or where the
space is enclosed, to use in a building columns of somewhat slender proportions,
since we can help out by a duly proportionate number of flutings.
4. The walls of the cella itself should be thick in proportion to its
size, provided that their antae are kept of the same thickness as the columns.
If the walls are to be of masonry, let the rubble used be as small as possible;
but if they are to be of dimension stone or marble, the material ought
to be of a very moderate and uniform size; for the laying of the stones
so as to break joints will make the whole work stronger, and their beveled
edges, standing up about the builds and beds, will give it an agreeable
look, somewhat like that of a picture.
How the Temple Should Face
1. The quarter toward which temples of the immortal gods ought to face
is to be determined on the principle that, if there is no reason to hinder
and the choice is free, the temple and the statue placed in the cella should
face the western quarter of the sky. This will enable those who approach
the altar with offerings or sacrifices to face the direction of the sunrise
in facing the statue in the temple, and thus those who are undertaking
vows look toward the quarter from which the sun comes forth, and likewise
the statues themselves appear to be coming forth out of the east to look
upon them as they pray and sacrifice.
2. But if the nature of the site is such as to forbid this, then the
principle of determining the quarter should be changed, so that the widest
possible view of the city may be had from the sanctuaries of the gods.
Furthermore, temples that are to be built beside rivers, as in Egypt on
both sides of the Nile, ought, as it seems, to face the river banks. Similarly,
houses of the gods on the sides of public roads should be arranged so that
the passers-by can have a view of them and pay their devotions face to
The Doorways of the Temples
1. For the doorways of temples and their casings the rules are as follows,
first determining of what style they are to be. The styles of portals are
Doric, Ionic, and Attic.
In the Doric, the symmetrical proportions are distinguished by the following
rules. Let the top of the corona, which is laid above the casing, be on
a level with the tops of the capitals of the columns in the pronaos. The
aperture of the doorway should be determined by dividing the height of
the temple, from floor to coffered ceiling, into three and one half parts
and letting two and one half thereof constitute the height of the aperture
of the folding doors. Let this in turn be divided into twelve parts, and
let five and a half of these form the width of the bottom of the aperture.
At the top, this width should be diminished, if the aperture is sixteen
feet in height, by one third the width of the door-jamb; if the aperture
is from sixteen to twenty-five feet, let the upper part of it be diminished
by one quarter of the jamb; if from twenty-five to thirty feet, let the
top be diminished by one eighth of the jamb. Other and higher apertures
should, as it seems, have their sides perpendicular.
2. Further, the jambs themselves should be diminished at the top by
one fourteenth of their width. The height of the lintel should be equivalent
to the width of the jambs at the top. Its cymatium ought to be one sixth
of the jamb, with a projection equivalent to its height. The style of carving
of the cymatium with its astragal should be the Lesbian. Above the cymatium
of the lintel, place the frieze of the doorway, of the same height as the
lintel, and having a Doric cymatium and Lesbian astragal carved upon it.
Let the corona and its cymatium at the top of all be carved without ornamentation,
and have a projection equal to its height. To the right and left of the
lintel, which rests upon the jambs, there are to be projections fashioned
like projecting bases and jointed to a nicety with the cymatium itself.
3. If the doorways are to be of the Ionic style, the height of the aperture
should be reached in the same manner as in the Doric. Let its width be
determined by dividing the height into two and one half parts and letting
one of them form the width at the bottom. The diminutions should be the
same as for Doric. The width of the faces of the jambs should be one fourteenth
of the height of the aperture, and the cymatium one sixth of the width.
Let the rest, excluding the cymatium, be divided into twelve parts. Let
three of these compose the first fascia with its astragal, four the second,
and five the third, the fasciae with their astragals running side by side
4. The cornices of Ionic doorways should be constructed in the same
manner as those of Doric, in due proportions. The consoles, otherwise called
brackets, carved at the right and left, should hang down to the level of
the bottom of the lintel, exclusive of the leaf. Their width on the face
should be two thirds of the width of the jamb, but at the bottom one fourth
slenderer than above. Doors should be constructed with the hinge stiles
one twelfth of the width of the whole aperture. The panels between two
stiles should each occupy three of the twelve parts.
5. The rails will be apportioned thus: divide the height into five parts,
of which assign two to the upper portion and three to the lower; above
the center place the middle rails; insert the others at the top and at
the bottom. Let the height of a rail be one third of the breadth of a panel,
and its cymatium one sixth of the rail. The width of the meeting stiles
should be one half the rail, and the cover joint two thirds of the rail.
The stiles toward the side of the jambs should be one half the rail. If
the doors have folds in them, the height will remain as before, but the
width should be double that of a single door; if the door is to have four
folds, its height should be increased.
6. Attic doorways are built with the same proportions as Doric. Besides,
there are fasciae running all round under the cymatia on the jambs, and
apportioned so as to be equal to three sevenths of a jamb, excluding the
cymatium. The doors are without lattice-work, are not double but have folds
in them, and open outward.
The laws which should govern the design of temples built in the Doric,
Ionic, and Corinthian styles, have now, so far as I could arrive at them,
been set forth according to what may be called the accepted methods. I
shall next speak of the arrangements in the Tuscan style, showing how they
should be treated.
1. The place where the temple is to be built having been divided on
its length into six parts, deduct one and let the rest be given to its
width. Then let the length be divided into two equal parts, of which let
the inner be reserved as space for the cellae, and the part next the front
left for the arrangement of the columns.
2. Next let the width be divided into ten parts. Of these, let three
on the right and three on the left be given to the smaller cellae, or to
the alae if there are to be alae, and the other four devoted to the middle
of the temple. Let the space in front of the cellae, in the pronaos, be
marked out for columns thus: the corner columns should be placed opposite
the antae on the line of the outside walls; the two middle columns, set
out on the line of the walls which are between the antae and the middle
of the temple; and through the middle, between the antae and the front
columns, a second row, arranged on the same lines. Let the thickness of
the columns at the bottom be one seventh of their height, their height
one third of the width of the temple, and the diminution of a column at
the top, one fourth of its thickness at the bottom.
3. The height of their bases should be one half of that thickness. The
plinth of their bases should be circular, and in height one half the height
of the bases, the torus above it and cong? being of the same height as
the plinth. The height of the capital is one half the thickness of a column.
The abacus has a width equivalent to the thickness of the bottom of a column.
Let the height of the capital be divided into three parts, and give one
to the plinth (that is, the abacus), the second to the echinus, and the
third to the necking with its cong?.
4. Upon the columns lay the main beams, fastened together, to a height
commensurate with the requirements of the size of the building. These beams
fastened together should be laid so as to be equivalent in thickness to
the necking at the top of a column, and should be fastened together by
means of dowels and dove-tailed tenons in such a way that there shall be
a space two fingers broad between them at the fastening. For if they touch
one another, and so do not leave airholes and admit draughts of air to
blow between them, they get heated and soon begin to rot.
5. Above the beams and walls let the mutules project to a distance equal
to one quarter of the height of a column; along the front of them nail
casings; above, build the tympanum of the pediment either in masonry or
in wood. The pediment with its ridgepole, principal rafters, and purlines
are to be built in such a way that the eaves shall be equivalent to one
third of the completed roof.
Circular Temples and Other Varieties
1. There are also circular temples, some of which are constructed in
monopteral form, surrounded by columns but without a cella, while others
are termed peripteral. Those that are without a cella have a raised platform
and a flight of steps leading to it, one third of the diameter of the temple.
The columns upon the stylobates are constructed of a height equivalent
to the diameter taken between the outer edges of the stylobate walls, and
of a thickness equivalent to one tenth of their height including the capitals
and bases. The architrave has the height of one half of the thickness of
a column. The frieze and the other parts placed above it are such as I
have described in the third book, on the subject of symmetrical proportions.
2. But if such a temple is to be constructed in peripteral form, let
two steps and then the stylobate be constructed below. Next, let the cella
wall be set up, recessed within the stylobate about one fifth of the breadth
thereof, and let a place for folding doors be left in the middle to afford
entrance. This cella, excluding its walls and the passage round the outside,
should have a diameter equivalent to the height of a column above the stylobate.
Let the columns round the cella be arranged in the symmetrical proportions
3. The proportions of the roof in the center should be such that the
height of the rotunda, excluding the finial, is equivalent to one half
the diameter of the whole work. The finial, excluding its pyramidal base,
should have the dimensions of the capital of a column. All the rest must
be built in the symmetrical proportions described above.
4. There are also other kinds of temples, constructed in the same symmetrical
proportions and yet with a different kind of plan: for example, the temple
of Castor in the district of the Circus Flaminius, that of Vejovis between
the two groves, and still more ingeniously the temple of Diana in her sacred
grove, with columns added on the right and left at the flanks of the pronaos.
Temples of this kind, like that of Castor in the Circus, were first built
in Athens on the Acropolis, and in Attica at Sunium to Pallas Minerva.
The proportions of them are not different, but the same as usual. For the
length of their cellae is twice the width, as in other temples; but all
that we regularly find in the fronts of others is in these transferred
to the sides.
5. Some take the arrangement of columns belonging to the Tuscan order
and apply it to buildings in the Corinthian and Ionic styles, and where
there are projecting antae in the pronaos, set up two columns in a line
with each of the cella walls, thus making a combination of the principles
of Tuscan and Greek buildings.
6. Others actually remove the temple walls, transferring them to the
intercolumniations, and thus, by dispensing with the space needed for a
pteroma, greatly increase the extent of the cella. So, while leaving all
the rest in the same symmetrical proportions, they appear to have produced
a new kind of plan with the new name "pseudoperipteral." These kinds, however,
vary according to the requirements of the sacrifices. For we must not build
temples according to the same rules to all gods alike, since the performance
of the sacred rites varies with the various gods.
7. I have now set forth, as they have come down to me, all the principles
governing the building of temples, have marked out under separate heads
their arrangements and proportions, and have set forth, so far as I could
express them in writing, the differences in their plans and the distinctions
which make them unlike one another. Next, with regard to the altars of
the immortal gods, I shall state how they may be constructed so as to conform
to the rules governing sacrifices.
Altars should face the east, and should always be placed on a lower
level than are the statues in the temples, so that those who are praying
and sacrificing may look upwards towards the divinity. They are of different
heights, being each regulated so as to be appropriate to its own god. Their
heights are to be adjusted thus: for Jupiter and all the celestials, let
them be constructed as high as possible; for Vesta and Mother Earth, let
them be built low. In accordance with these rules will altars be adjusted
when one is preparing his plans.
Having described the arrangements of temples in this book, in the following
we shall give an exposition of the construction of public buildings.
How To Build Catapults >> Vitruvius
Ten Books of Architecture >> Book 4