The Ten Books on Architecture, 3.4.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 3.3.13 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 3.4.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

4If solid ground can be come to, the foundations should go down to it and into it, according to the magnitude of the work, and the substruction should be built up as solid as possible. Above the ground of the foundation, the wall should be one-half thicker than the columns it is to receive, so that the lower parts which carry the greatest weight, may be stronger than the upper part, which is called the stereobata: nor must the mouldings of the bases of the columns project beyond the solid. Thus, also, should be regulated the thickness of all walls above ground. The intervals between the foundations brought up under the columns, should be either rammed down hard, or arched, so as to prevent the foundation piers from swerving.

Morgan translation

4The foundations of these works should be dug out of the solid ground, if it can be found, and carried down into solid ground as far as the magnitude of the work shall seem to require, and the whole substructure should be as solid as it can possibly be laid. Above ground, let walls be laid under the columns, thicker by one half than the columns are to be, so that the lower may be stronger than the higher. Hence they are called “stereobates”; for they take the load. And the projections of the bases should not extend beyond this solid foundation. The wall-thickness is similarly to be preserved above ground likewise, and the intervals between these walls should be vaulted over, or filled with earth rammed down hard, to keep the walls well apart.