The Ten Books on Architecture, 9.0.17

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

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Gwilt translation

17Many even in after ages will fancy themselves contending with Lucretius on the nature of things, as with Cicero on the art of rhetoric. Many of our posterity will think that they are in discourse with Varro when they read his work on the Latin language: nor will there be wanting a number of philologers, who, consulting in various cases the Greek philosophers, will imagine that they are actually talking with them. In short, the opinions of learned men who have flourished in all periods, though absent in body, have greater weight in our councils and discussions than were they even present.

Morgan translation

17So, too, numbers born after our time will feel as if they were discussing nature face to face with Lucretius, or the art of rhetoric with Cicero; many of our posterity will confer with Varro on the Latin language; likewise, there will be numerous scholars who, as they weigh many points with the wise among the Greeks, will feel as if they were carrying on private conversations with them. In a word, the opinions of learned authors, though their bodily forms are absent, gain strength as time goes on, and, when taking part in councils and discussions, have greater weight than those of any living men.