The Ten Books on Architecture, 9.1.2

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 9.1.1 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 9.1.3 ›››

Gwilt translation

2By the world is meant the whole system of nature together with the firmament and its stars. This continually turns round the earth and sea on the extreme points of its axis, for in those points the natural power is so contrived that they must be considered as centres, one above the earth and sea at the extremity of the heavens by the north stars, the other opposite and below the earth towards the south; moreover in these central points as round the centres of wheels, which the Greeks call πόλοι, the heavens perpetually revolve. Thus the earth and sea occupy the central space.

Morgan translation

2The word “universe” means the general assemblage of all nature, and it also means the heaven that is made up of the constellations and the courses of the stars. The heaven revolves steadily round earth and sea on the pivots at the ends of its axis. The architect at these points was the power of Nature, and she put the pivots there, to be, as it were, centres, one of them above the earth and sea at the very top of the firmament and even beyond the stars composing the Great Bear, the other on the opposite side under the earth in the regions of the south. Round these pivots (termed in Greek πὁλοι) as centres, like those of a turning lathe, she formed the circles in which the heaven passes on its everlasting way. In the midst thereof, the earth and sea naturally occupy the central point.