VITRUVIUS, BOOK II, CHAPTER 10
Highland and lowland fir



1. Montis Appennini primae radices ab Tyrrenico mari in Alpis et in extremas Etruriae regiones oriuntur. Eius vero montis iugum se circumagens et media curvatura prope tangens oras maris Hadriani pertingit circumitionibus contra fretum. Itaque citerior eius curvatura quae vergit ad Etruriae Campaniaque regiones, apricis est potestatibus; namque impetus habet perpetuos ad solis cursum. Ulterior autem, quae est proclinata ad superum mare, septentrionali regioni subiecta continetur umbrosisi et opacis perpetuitatibus. Itaque quae in ea parte nascuntur arbores, umida potestate nutritae non solum ipsae augentur amplissimis magnitudinibus, sed earum quoque venae umoris copia repletae urgentis liquoris abundantia saturantur. Cum autem excisae et dolatae vitalem potestatem amiserunt, venarum rigore permanente siccescendo propter raritatem fiunt inanes et evanidae, ideoque in aedificiis non possunt habere diuturnitatem.

Translation

1. The first roots of the Apennines rise from the tyrrhenian sea towards the Alps and the borders of Etruria. But the ridge of the range bends round and in the middle of the curve almost touches the shores of the Adriatic. In its circuit it reaches the opposite straits. The nearer slope, which turns to the regions of Etruria and Campania, has a sunny aspect. For it has an unbroken direction towards the sun's course. But the further slope, which inclines to the Adriatic, lies towards the northern quarter, and is bounded by unbroken tracts of land overshadowed and gloomy. And so the trees which grow in that part absorb a humid element. Not only do they grow to an immense size, but their pores, being filled with a supply of moisture, are saturated with an abundance of pressing fluid. But when they are cut down and axed they lose their vital force: remaining with the pores stiff and open, they dry, become hollow and perishable, and so cannot last in buildings.

2. Quae autem ad solis cursum spectantibus locis procreantur, non habentes interveniorum raritates siccitatibus exsuctae solidantur, quia sol non modo ex terra lambendo sed etiam ex arboribus educit umores. Itaque, sunt in apricis regionibus, spissis venarum crebritatibus solidatae non habentes ex umore raritatem; quae, cum in materiem perdolantur, reddunt magnas utilitates ad vetustatem. Ideo infernates, quod ex apricis locis adportantur, meliores sunt, quam quae ab opacis de supernatibus advehuntur.

Translation

2. But those which grow in places facing the sun's course, lacking the open spaces of the pores, are drained by dryness and solidified. For the sun licks up and draws moisture not only from the ground but also from trees. And so the trees in sunny regions are solidified by the closeness of their pores, and are free from the attenuation which is caused by moisture. When they are hewn into tímber they furnish great advantages for durability. Therefore the lowland pine because it is brought from sunny districts is better than that which is brought from sunless districts in the highlands.

3. Quantum animo considerare potui, de copiis quae sunt necessariae in aedificiorum conparationibus, et quibus temperaturis e rerum natura principiorum habere videantur mixtionem quaeque insunt in singulis generibus virtutes et vitia, uti non sint ignota aedificantibus, exposui. Ita, qui potuerint eorum praeceptorum sequi praescriptiones, erunt prudentiores singulorumque generum usum eligere poterunt in operibus. Ergo quoniam de apparitionibus est explicatum, in ceteris voluminibus de ipsis aedificiis exponitur; et primum de deorum inmortalium aedibus sacris et de earum symmetriis et proportionibus, uti ordo postulat, insequenti perscribam.

Translation

3. As far as I have been able to consider them in my mind I have set forth the supplies which are necessary in the erection of buildings, the natural combinations by which they seem to have their elements mixed, the excellences and defects which are present in their several kinds, so that they may not be unknown to persons engaged in building. Thus, if anyone can follow out the instructions laid down, he will be wiser and more able in his work to choose the use of the several kinds of material. Since then we have explained the modes of preparation, in the remaining books we set forth the kinds of building. And first, as order demands, I will describe in the following book the temples of the immortal gods, their symmetries and proportions.

Bibliograhpy

Les dix livres d'architecture de Vitruve, Corrigés et traduits en 1684 par C. Perrault, Paris, 1684.
Vitruvius, De Architectura libri X, ed. F. Granger, London, 1962.
Ton Peters, Vitruvius, Handboek bouwkunde, Amsterdam, 1999.



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