The Ten Books on Architecture, 5.0.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 4.9.1 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 5.0.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

prThose, O Emperor, who at great length have explained their inventions and doctrines, have thereby given to their writings an extended and singular reputation. Would that such were the case with my labours, so that amplification might bring reputation with it. That, however, I believe is not probable, since a treatise on Architecture is not like History or Poetry. History interests the reader by the various novelties which occur in it; Poetry, on the other hand, by its metre, the feet of its verses, the elegant arrangement of the words, the dialogue introduced into it, and the distinct pronunciation of the lines, delighting the sense of the hearer, leads him to the close of the subject without fatigue.

Morgan translation

prThose who have filled books of unusually large size, Emperor, in setting forth their intellectual ideas and doctrines, have thus made a very great and remarkable addition to the authority of their writings. I could wish that circumstances made this as permissible in the case of our subject, so that the authority of the present treatise might be increased by amplifications; but this is not so easy as it may be thought. Writing on architecture is not like history or poetry. History is captivating to the reader from its very nature; for it holds out the hope of various novelties. Poetry, with its measures and metrical feet, its refinement in the arrangement of words, and the delivery in verse of the sentiments expressed by the several characters to one another, delights the feelings of the reader, and leads him smoothly on to the very end of the work.