The Ten Books on Architecture, 8.5.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 8.4.2 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 8.5.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

5I shall now describe how water is to be conveyed to houses and cities, for which purpose levelling is necessary. This is performed either with the dioptra, the level (libra aquaria), or the chorobates. The latter instrument is however the best, inasmuch as the dioptra and level are often found to be incorrect. The chorobates is a rod about twenty feet in length, having two legs at its extremities of equal length and dimensions, and fastened to the ends of the rod at right angles with it; between the rod and the legs are cross pieces fastened with tenons, whereon vertical lines are correctly marked, through which correspondent plumb lines hang down from the rod. When the rod is set, these will coincide with the lines marked, and shew that the instrument stands level.

Morgan translation

5I shall now treat of the ways in which water should be conducted to dwellings and cities. First comes the method of taking the level. Levelling is done either with dioptrae, or with water levels, or with the chorobates, but it is done with greater accuracy by means of the chorobates, because dioptrae and levels are deceptive. The chorobates is a straightedge about twenty feet long. At the extremities it has legs, made exactly alike and jointed on perpendicularly to the extremities of the straightedge, and also crosspieces, fastened by tenons, connecting the straightedge and the legs. These crosspieces have vertical lines drawn upon them, and there are plumblines hanging from the straightedge over each of the lines. When the straightedge is in position, and the plumblines strike both the lines alike and at the same time, they show that the instrument stands level.