The Ten Books on Architecture, 7.3.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 7.2.2 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 7.3.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

3When arched ceilings are introduced, they must be executed as follows. Parallel ribs are set up, not more than two feet apart: those of cypress are preferable, because fir is soon injured by the rot and age. These ribs being got out to the shape of the curve, they are fixed to the ties of the flooring or roof, as the case may require, with iron nails. The ties should be of wood not liable to injury from rot, nor age nor damp, such as box, juniper, olive, heart of oak, cypress, and the like, common oak always excepted, which, from its liability to warp, causes cracks in the work whereon it is employed.

Morgan translation

3When vaulting is required, the procedure should be as follows. Set up horizontal furring strips at intervals of not more than two feet apart, using preferably cypress, as fir is soon spoiled by decay and by age. Arrange these strips so as to form a curve, and make them fast to the joists of the floor above or to the roof, if it is there, by nailing them with many iron nails to ties fixed at intervals. These ties should be made of a kind of wood that neither decay nor time nor dampness can spoil, such as box, juniper, olive, oak, cypress, or any other similar wood except common oak; for this warps, and causes cracks in work in which it is used.