The Ten Books on Architecture, 10.9.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 10.8.6 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 10.9.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

9Let us now consider an invention by no means useless, and delivered to us by the antients as of ingenuity, by means of which, when on a journey by land or sea, one may ascertain the distance travelled. It is as follows. The wheels of the chariot must be four feet diameter; so that, marking a certain point thereon, whence it begins its revolution on the ground, when it has completed that revolution, it will have gone on the road over a space equal to twelve feet and a half.

Morgan translation

9The drift of our treatise now turns to a useful invention of the greatest ingenuity, transmitted by our predecessors, which enables us, while sitting in a carriage on the road or sailing by sea, to know how many miles of a journey we have accomplished. This will be possible as follows. Let the wheels of the carriage be each four feet in diameter, so that if a wheel has a mark made upon it, and begins to move forward from that mark in making its revolution on the surface of the road, it will have covered the definite distance of twelve and a half feet on reaching that mark at which it began to revolve.