Vitruvius's De Architectura PDF

By Vitruvius

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Sample text

He’s done it unfortunately awkwardly. Step by step: 1. The ancients considered ten a perfect number, because the fingers are ten in number: pretty page 38 Marcus Vitruvius Pollio: de Architectura much universal in ancient societies, and in some sense true. 2. and the palm is derived from them: yes and no, to the extent that the width of four fingers of one hand is derived from the fact that we have two sets like this plus a couple of thumbs. 3. and from the palm is derived the foot: palpable nonsense, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Thus, in proportion to the height of the column, is the architrave to be proportioned; 9. always remembering, that the higher the eye has to reach, the greater is the difficulty it has in piercing the density of the air, its power being diminished as the height increases; of which the result is, a confusion of the image. Hence, to preserve a sensible proportion of parts, if in high situations, or of colossal dimensions, we must modify them accordingly, so that they may appear of the size intended.

And from the palm is derived the foot: palpable nonsense, if you’ll pardon the pun. 4. [ten] is composed of units called monads in Greek, which also advancing beyond ten, as to eleven, twelve, &c. cannot be perfect until another ten are included: this is some very ill digested Pythagorean arithmetic, yielding a platitude that begs the question. All it means is that ten is perfect, because (ten being perfect in the first place) you have to add ten ones to it to get the next number divisible by ten...!

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De Architectura by Vitruvius


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