The Ten Books on Architecture, 7.4.5

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 7.4.4 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 7.5.1 ›››

Gwilt translation

5The floor of the triclinium is excavated to the depth of about two feet; and after the bottom is well rammed, a pavement of rubbish or potsherds is spread over it, with a declivity towards the holes of the drain. A composition of pounded coals, lime, sand, and ashes, is mixed up and spread thereover, half a foot in thickness, perfectly smooth and level. The surface being then rubbed with stone, it has the appearance of a black pavement. Thus, at their banquets, the liquor that is spilt, and the expectoration which falls on it, immediately dry up; and the persons who wait on the guests, though barefooted, do not suffer from cold on this sort of pavement.

Morgan translation

5An excavation is made below the level of the dining room to a depth of about two feet, and, after the ground has been rammed down, the mass of broken stones or the pounded burnt brick is spread on, at such an inclination that it can find vents in the drain. Next, having filled in with charcoal compactly trodden down, a mortar mixed of gravel, lime, and ashes is spread on to a depth of half a foot. The surface having been made true to rule and level, and smoothed off with whetstone, gives the look of a black pavement. Hence, at their dinner parties, whatever is poured out of the cups, or spirted from the mouth, no sooner falls than it dries up, and the servants who wait there do not catch cold from that kind of floor, although they may go barefoot.