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The Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius
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Jun 02, 09

Read in May, 2009

my oxford classical dictionary gave me the heart to look in the pages of vitruvius saying it was a book intended not for architects but for those who wish to understand architecture. i would say, though, that vitruvius seems to be more than just an architect but an engineer as well as he discusses city planning, fortification and the constuction of siege machines. the parts on wall stuccos and painting (including information on how to obtain certain colors and from what sources they come) as well as the scattered anecdotes, medical theories (humours and such), and philosophical discussions. not only is how to make good bricks in the book, but why some bricks fail according to their internal humours. i would have liked to attempt this in the original latin, but the central library was lacking, but it is said his style is plain and prosaic (even crude, in places), so maybe i didn't miss much. anyway, i feel that i've gained a better appreciation for both the practicalities and aesthetics of classical architecture and her palladian and neoclassical children. it's made me want to do some building of my own, but the back yard is sadly lacking in both space and pitsand (an essential, m. vitruvius assures me), so my temple of minerva victrix in the ionian style (how attic! what will cato say?) will have to wait.
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