The Ten Books on Architecture, 6.1.12

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 6.1.11 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 6.2.1 ›››

Gwilt translation

12Since, then, it is climate which causes the variety in different countries, and the dispositions of the inhabitants, their stature and qualities are naturally dissimilar, there can be no doubt that the arrangement of buildings should be suitable to the qualities of the nations and people, as nature herself wisely and clearly indicates. To the best of my power I have made general observations on the properties of places as dependent upon nature, and I have given explanations for adapting buildings to the wants of different nations according to the sun’s course and the inclination of the pole. I shall now, therefore, briefly explain the symmetry, as well of the whole, as of the detail of private dwellings.

Morgan translation

12Now if it is a fact that countries differ from one another, and are of various classes according to climate, so that the very nations born therein naturally differ in mental and physical conformation and qualities, we cannot hesitate to make our houses suitable in plan to the peculiarities of nations and races, since we have the expert guidance of nature herself ready to our hand.

I have now set forth the peculiar characteristics of localities, so far as I could note them, in the most summary way, and have stated how we ought to make our houses conform to the physical qualities of nations, with due regard to the course of the sun and to climate. Next I shall treat the symmetrical proportions of the different styles of houses, both as wholes and in their separate parts.