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Vitruvius: The Ten Books on Architecture (Bks. I-X) Paperback – June 1, 1960


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About the Author

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (late 1st century B.C.), was a Roman military architect and engineer, and an expert in ballistic machines in particular. Robert Tavernor studied architecture in London, Rome and Cambridge and practices as a consultant architect. He was professor of Architecture at the universities of Edinburgh and Bath, and is currently Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Richard Schofield read Classics at Oxford in the late 1960s, then architectural history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. After working at the University of Nottingham for many years, he moved to the Istituto universitario di architettura di Venezia in 1997, where he is the Professor of the History of Architecture. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 1, 1960)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486206459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486206455
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
When I first read this book back in 1991 when I was doing my thesis on courtyard housing I found the descriptions made by Vitruvius on the Roman Domus (courtyard house) invaluable to my understanding.
Over the last 8 years it has been a valuable asset in my Library, full of information on lime plasters for walls, ceilings and floors, the makign of Pozzalana concrete, finding water, understanding the winds and energy patterns of the land and a guide to designing better sustainable buildings.
Topics include -
I -Education of an architect, principles of design, for city, town and home
II The selection of materials - how they are made and used
III - The proportions of the Orders, Doric, Ionic
IV - Applications of the Orders - Temples
V -The design of the Public Buildings - Theatres, Basilicas, Baths, Forums, Harbours, Shipyards
VI - Design of the Courtyard House
VII - Plastering:- technique, materials and application
VIII - Water Locating, storage and transportation - aqueducts
IX- The stars - Suns moon and 12 planets
X - War machines and other instruments
At the current Price, this book is a bargain and you will most likely reread it many times, cause its full of useful information.
If you are involved in Green building, design, like History, want to build a really nice healthy house, then I suggest this is an ideal book for you.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Ross Litman on December 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Vitruvius' contribution was not as Ciceronian literature, but as a hands-on, researched, handbook of practical architecture. The explanations are simple with not a wasted word for the aesthetic quality of the work.
Vitruvius found what made the most ancient monuments such durable constructions. He found WHY they were built they way they were. For example, he explains in enough detail for the "then" architect to understand how to construct for best auditory sound enhancements using examples from Greek engineering and Roman building practices. (There is a detailed description on harmonics based on Pythagorean principles.) He also explains the true meaning of proportion developing constructs from the "golden mean" as seen in the various modes of ancient column design (as well as a description of "stasis" and other logical variants applied to columnal construction).
The book is often referenced in medieval documents explaining the training of medieval cathedral (especial gothic era) builders and the practical construction of these cathedrals that still stand and are useful today.
I highly recommend this book for any art history student or student of architecture at any level. It is a reminder that great thinking and analysis has no technical limitation.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Danielle on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this fascinating book. However, when I compared it to another translation (a two volume edition, translated by Granger) it seemed that it was missing some bits of information.

It was easier to read though, so if you are interested in a casual read, this is the book for you. For a research project, you should probably stick to Granger's books.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an architecture book written by a Roman, during the classical period. It strongly influenced many of the great minds of the Renaissance. The historical significance of the book would make it worth looking over, for anyone interested in classical architecture.
This book contains an immense number of digressions from architecture that are perhaps of greater interest than the actual architectural content. There is a section on degenerate, abstract, modern art that could have been written today! Also, there is a good explanation of how architects have contributed to siege warfare, and instructions on the proper construction of siege devices such as catapults and tortoises. Other topics include how to divine water (without recourse to superstitious practices), and how the fundamental elements (earth, air, fire, and water) in stones influence their suitability as building materials.
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40 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Michael Francis Daly on March 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I like Homer, Herodutus, Thukidydes, Plutarch, Takitus, Gibbon, Mommsen and many other ancients and their (relatively) modern interpreters.
But my latest read, recommended by Moses Finlay in "Ancient Econonomy", is Vitruvius.
And I like Vitruvius a lot. The only reason I gave him 4 stars rather than 5, is that he is not the greatest, in the sense of the above-mentioned.
Nevertheless, as far as knowledge and insight into ancient life go, at a level one removed from the "greats", Vitruvius is the greatest I've so far encountered.
Not only does one gain a feeling for life among the educated and capable strivers of the time immediately following the Ceasarian revolution, but also for the immense impact which Greek brilliance had upon the Romans.
One also learns much about aesthetic theory and is given interesting and practical lessons in building and architecture, from the beginning and development of dwellings, the general learning required of architects, the particular characteristics of different types of stone and wood, the design of cities, the three orders of temple architecture (Doric, Ionian and Corinthian), dwelling houses, the sounding vessels in theatres (dolby surround as already implemented long before Christ) and ingenious machines, including such inventions as the screw-pump of Archimedes (the Syracusan Greek inventor).
Vitruvius gives us the general principles of ancient aesthetic theory, the exact proportions of traditional architectural conventions and the geometric rules for determining the directions of the eight known winds.
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