The Ten Books on Architecture, 2.3.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 2.2.2 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 2.3.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

3I shall first treat of bricks, and the earth of which they ought to be made. Gravelly, pebbly, and sandy clay are unfit for that purpose; for if made of either of these sorts of earth, they are not only too ponderous, but walls built of them, when exposed to the rain, moulder away, and are soon decomposed, and the straw, also, with which they are mixed, will not sufficiently bind the earth together, because of its rough quality. They should be made of earth of a red or white chalky, or a strong sandy nature. These sorts of earth are ductile and cohesive, and not being heavy, bricks made of them are more easily handled in carrying up the work.

Morgan translation

3Beginning with bricks, I shall state of what kind of clay they ought to be made. They should not be made of sandy or pebbly clay, or of fine gravel, because when made of these kinds they are in the first place heavy; and, secondly, when washed by the rain as they stand in walls, they go to pieces and break up, and the straw in them does not hold together on account of the roughness of the material. They should rather be made of white and chalky or of red clay, or even of a coarse grained gravelly clay. These materials are smooth and therefore durable; they are not heavy to work with, and are readily laid.