Proportion: Science, Philosophy, Architecture

By Richard Padovan | Go to book overview

Chapter nine

VITRUVIUS

Vitruvius wanted to raise architecture to the level of scientia or knowledge, and the best way to achieve this was by showing that it was a fundamentally mathematical art.1


9.1DISPUTED VALUE OF THE TEN BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE

The Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio lived in the first century BC, and is thought to have dedicated his treatise De Architectura to the emperor Augustus in about 25 BC.2 According to J.J. Coulton numerous earlier works, now all lost, were written during the centuries before and after the building of the Parthenon, the first of them being among the earliest Greek prose works.3 In the absence of these, Vitruvius provides us with the nearest thing we have to an account, however second-hand, of ancient Greek architectural theory. For although he was a Roman, and writing mainly about the Italian architecture of his time, he describes the late republican phase of that architecture, in which the old Etrusco-Italic tradition had succumbed overwhelmingly to Greek influence, and had not yet developed the distinctively ‘Roman’ character of imperial buildings like the Colosseum or the thermae of Titus (both AD 80). Axel Boëthius and J.B. Ward-Perkins write that

Vitruvius thus discloses to us on the one hand the legacy of old Rome…and on the other hand the hellenistic influence which pervaded Roman architecture of the previous centuries. Further, he describes Greek buildings with no Italic tradition,…which none the less were imported into this new Rome.4

It seems probable that what Vitruvius has to say about

1. J. Onians, Bearers of Meaning, Princeton University Press, 1988, p. 33.

2. W.J. Anderson, R. Phené Spiers and T. Ashby, The Architecture of Ancient Rome, B.T. Batsford, 1927, p. 26.

3. J.J. Coulton, Ancient Greek Architects at Work, Cornell University Press, 1977, p. 24.

4. A. Boëthius and J.B. Ward-Perkins, Etruscan and Roman Architecture, Penguin Books, 1970, p. 116.

-156-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Proportion: Science, Philosophy, Architecture
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 388

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.