The Ten Books on Architecture, 8.1.2

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 8.1.1 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 8.1.3 ›››

Gwilt translation

2We should also consider the nature of the place when we search for water. In clay, the vein of water is small, the supply little, and not of the best flavour; and if in low places, it will be muddy and ill tasted. In black earth, only tricklings and small drops are found, which, collected from the winter rain, subside in compact hard places, and are of very excellent flavour. In gravel, the veins are small and variable, but they are exceeding well flavoured. In the strong, common and red sands, the supply is to be depended on with more certainty, and is of good taste. In red stone, abundance and that of good quality may be obtained, if it do not filter away and escape through the pores. At the feet of mountains, and about flinty rocks the supply is copious and abundant; it is there cold and more wholesome. In champaign countries, the springs are salt, gross, tepid, and unpleasant, except those, which percolating from the mountains beneath the surface, issue forth in the plains, where, especially when shadowed by trees, they are as delicious as those of the mountains themselves.

Morgan translation

2Searchers for water must also study the nature of different localities; for those in which it is found are well defined. In clay the supply is poor, meagre, and at no great depth. It will not have the best taste. In fine gravel the supply is also poor, but it will be found at a greater depth. It will be muddy and not sweet. In black earth some slight drippings and drops are found that gather from the storms of winter and settle down in compact, hard places. They have the best taste. Among pebbles the veins found are moderate, and not to be depended upon. These, too, are extremely sweet. In coarse grained gravel and carbuncular sand the supply is surer and more lasting, and it has a good taste. In red tufa it is copious and good, if it does not run down through the fissures and escape. At the foot of mountains and in lava it is more plentiful and abundant, and here it is also colder and more wholesome. In flat countries the springs are salt, heavy-bodied, tepid, and ill-flavoured, excepting those which run underground from mountains, and burst forth in the middle of a plain, where, if protected by the shade of trees, their taste is equal to that of mountain springs.