The Ten Books on Architecture, 5.6.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 5.5.8 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 5.6.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

6The form of a theatre is to be adjusted so, that from the centre of the dimension allotted to the base of the perimeter a circle is to be described, in which are inscribed four equilateral triangles, at equal distances from each other, whose points are to touch the circumference of the circle. This is the method also practiced by astrologers in describing the twelve celestial signs, according to the musical division of the constellations. Of these triangles, the side of that which is nearest the scene will determine the face thereof in that part where it cuts the circumference of the circle. Then through the centre a line is drawn parallel to it, which will separate the pulpitum of the proscenium from the orchestra.

Morgan translation

6The plan of the theatre itself is to be constructed as follows. Having fixed upon the principal centre, draw a line of circumference equivalent to what is to be the perimeter at the bottom, and in it inscribe four equilateral triangles, at equal distances apart and touching the boundary line of the circle, as the astrologers do in a figure of the twelve signs of the zodiac, when they are making computations from the musical harmony of the stars. Taking that one of these triangles whose side is nearest to the scaena, let the front of the scaena be determined by the line where that side cuts off a segment of the circle (A-B), and draw, through the centre, a parallel line (C-D) set off from that position, to separate the platform of the stage from the space of the orchestra.