VITRUVIUS, BOOK III, CHAPTER 3
On the kinds of temples







CONTENTS OF THIS CHAPTER

  1. Text and translation
  2. Comment
    1. Temple of Divus Julius
    2. Temple of Venus Genetrix
    3. Temple of Fortuna Equestris
    4. Temple of Apollo and Diana
    5. Araeostyle temples
      1. Temple of Ceres
      2. Temple of Hercules
      3. Capitoline temple of Jupiter
    6. Eustyle temples
      1. Temple of Dionysos at Teos
      2. Hermogenes
    7. Architectural system
    8. Entasis
  3. Bibliography
  4. Illustrations of the Cesariano edition, 1521

Text and translation

1. Species autem aedium sunt quinque, quarum ea sunt vocabula: pycnostylos, id est crebris columnis; systylos paulo remissioribus; diastylos amplius patentibus; rare quam oportet inter se diductis araeostylos; eustylos intervallorum iusta distributione.

Translation

1. There are five elevations of temples, of which the names are as follows: pycnostyle, that is with close columns; systyle, with the spaces of the intercolumniations a little more open; diastyle, wider still; with intercolumniations more open than they should be, araeostyle; eustyle, with the just distribution of the intervals.

2. Ergo pycnostylos est, cuius intercolumnio unius et dimidiatae columnae crassitudo interponi potest, quemadmodum est Divi Iulii et in Caesaris foro Veneris et si quae aliae sic sunt compositae. Item systylos est, in quo duarum columnarum crassitudo in intercolumnio poterit conlocari, et spirarum plitnhides aeque magnae sint et spatio, quod fuerit inter duas plinthides, quemadmodum est Fortunae Equestris ad theatrum lapideum reliquaeque, quae eisdem rationus sunt conpositae.

Translation

2.So then pycnostyle is that in the intercolumniations of which the thickness of a column and a half can be interposed, as in the temple of Deified Julius and of Venus in the Forum of Caesar, and any others which are so arranged. The systyle also is that in which the thickness of two columns can be placed in the intercolumniations, and the plinths of the bases are equally great with the sapce between two plinths, as in the temple of Fortuna Equestris against the Stone Theatre, and the others which are arranged in the same proportions.

3. Haec utraque genera vitiosum habent usum. Matres enim familiarum cum ad supplicationem gradibus ascendunt, non possunt per intercolumnia amplexae adire, nisi ordines fecerint; item valvarum adspectus abstruditur columnarum crebritate ipsaque signa obscurantur; item circa aedem propter angustias inpendiuntur ambulationes.

Translation

3. These two kinds are objectionable in use. For when matrons come up by the steps to give thanks, they cannot approach between the columns arm in arm but in single file; further, the view of the doors is taken away by the numerous columns, and the statues themselves are obscured; walking round the temple is hindered on account of the narrow intervals.

4. Diastyli autem haec erit conpositio, cum trium columnarum crassitudinem intercolumnio interponere possumus, tamquam est Apollinis et Dianae aedis. Haec dispositio hanc habet difficultatem, quod epistylia propter intervallorum magnitudinem franguntur.

Translation

4. Of the diastyle, the arrangement is as follows: when we can interpose the thickness of three columns in the intercolumniation, as in the case of the Temple of Apollo and Diana. Such a disposition presents this difficulty, that the architraves break because of the wide openings.

5. In araeostylis autem nec lapideis nec marmoreis epistyliis uti datur, sed inponendae de materia trabes perpetuae. Et ipsarum aedium species sunt varicae, barycephalae, humiles, latae, ornanturque signis fictilibus aut aereis inauratis earum fastigia tuscanico more, uti est ad Circum Maximum Cereris et Herculis Pompeiani, item Capitoli.

Translation

5. In araeostyle buildings it is not given to use stone or marble architraves, but continuous wooden beams are to be emplyed. And the design of the buildings themselves are straddling, top-heavy, low, broad. The pediments are ornamented with statues of terra-cotta or gilt bronze in the Etruscan fashion, as is the Temple of Ceres at the Circus Maximus, Pompey's Temple of Hercules, and the Capitoline Temple.

6. Reddenda nunc est eustyli ratio, quae maxime probabilis et ad usum et ad speciem et ad firmitatem rationes habet explicatas. Namque facienda sunt in intervallis spatia duarum columnarum et quartae partis columnae crassitudinis, mediumque intercolumnium unum, quod erit in fronte, alterum, quod in postico, trium columnarum crassitudine. Sic enim habebit et figurationis aspectum venustum et aditus usum sine inpeditionibus et circa cellam ambulatio auctoritatem.

Translation

6. We must now render an account of the eustyle, which is specially to be approved, and has proportions set out for convenience, beauty and strength. For in the intervals the width of two and a quarter columns is to be made, and in the middle intercolumniation, one in the front and one in the back, is to be three columns wide. For so the building will have both a graceful appearance in its configuration, and a convenient approach; and the walk round the sanctuary will have dignity.

7. Huius autem rei ratio explicabitur sic. Frons loci quae in aede constituta fuerit, si tetrastylos facienda fuerit, dividatur in partes XI S praeter crepidines et proiecturas spirarum; si sex erit columnarum, in partes XVIII; si octostylos constituetur, dividatur in XXIV et semissem. Item ex his partibus sive tetrastyli sive hexastyli sive octostyli una pars sumatur, eaque erit modulus. Cuius meduli unius erit crassitudinis columnarum. Intercolumnia singula, praeter media, modulorum duorum et moduli quartae partis; mediana in fronte et postico singula ternum modulorum. Ipsarum columnarum altitudo modulorum habebunt iustam rationem.

Translation

7. The method of this arrangement is to be explained as follows. The front of the site which has been set out in the building is to be divided, if it is to be tetrastyle, into 11 1/2 parts, excluding the plinths and the projections of the bases; if the building is hexastyle, into 18 parts; if it shall be octastyle, into 24 1/2 parts. Further, of these parts, whether for tetrastyle, hexastyle, or octastyle, let one be taken, and that will be the thickness of the column. The several intercolumniations except those in the middle intercolumniations at the front and at the back will be severally of three modules. The height of the columns will have a just proportion of modules.

8. Huius exemplar Romae nullum habemus, sed in Asia Teo hexastylon Liberi Patris.
Eas autem symmetrias constituit Hermogenes, qui etiam primus exo stylon pseudodipterive rationem. Ex dipteri enim aedis symmetriae distulit interiores ordines columnarum XXXIV eaque ratione sumptus operasque compendii fecit. Is in medio ambulationi laxamentum egregie circa cellam fecit de aspectuque nihil inminuit, sed sine desiderio supervacuorum conservavit auctoritatem totius operis distributione.

Translation

8. Of this we have no instance at Rome; but in Asia there is the hexastyle temple of Father Bacchus in Teos.
These proportions Hermogenes determined, and he also was the first to use the exostyle or pseudodipteral arrangement. For from the plan of the dipteral temple he removed the interior rows of the thirty-four columns, and in that manner abridged the expense and teh work. He made an opening for the ambulatory round the cella in a striking fashion, and in no respect detracted from the appearance. Thus without letting us miss the superfluous parts, he preserved the impressiveness of the whole work by his arrangement.

9. Pteromatos enim ratio et columnarum circum aedem dispositio ideo est inventa, ut aspectus propter asperitatem intercolumniorum habeat auctoritatem, praeterea, si ex imbrium aquae vis occupaverit et intercluserit hominum multitudinem, ut habeat in aede circaque cellam cum laxamento liberam moram. Haec autem ut explicantur in pseudodipteris aedium dispositionibus. Quare videtur acuta magnaque sollertia effectus operum Hermogenis fecisse reliquisseque fontes, unde posteri possent haurire disciplinarum rationes.

Translation

9. For the columns round the temple were so divised that the view of them was impressive, because of the high relief given to the intercolumniations; moreove, if a number of people have been unexpectedly cut off by showers of rain, they have plenty of room to linger in the building space. Thus far as is explained in the pseudodipteral plans of temples. Hence there must have been great and subtle skill to produce the works of Hermogenes, and it has left sources from which posterity could draw their methods of study.

10. Aedibus araeostylis columnae sic sunt faciendae, uti crassitudines earum sint partis octavae ad altitudines. Item in diastylo dimetienda est altitudo columnae in partes octo et dimidium, et unius partis columnae crassitudo conlocetur. In systylo altitudo dividatur in novem et dimidiam partem, et ex eis una ad crassitudinem columnae detur. Item in pycnostylo dividenda est altitudo in decem, et eius una pars facienda est columnae crassitudo. Eustyli autem aedis columnae, uti systyli, in novem partibus altitudo dividatur in crassitudine imi scapi. Ita habebitur pro rata parte intercolumniorum ratio.

Translation

10. For araeostyle temples, the columns are to be so made that their diameters are one-eighth to height. Also in the diastyle, the height of the column is to be so measured out into eight and a half parts, and let the diameter of the column be on one part. In the systyle let the height be divided into nine and a half parts, let one of these be given for the diameter of the column. Also in the pycnostyle, the height is to be divided into ten, and of that one part is to be made the diameter of the column. Now of the eustyle temple, as of the systyle, let the height be divided into nine and a half parts, and of that let one part be set up for the diameter of the bottom of the shaft. In this way the relation of the intercolumniations will be observed proportionately.

11. Quemadmodum enim crescunt spatia inter columnas, proportionibus adaugendae sunt crassitudinis scaporum. Namque si in araeostylo nona aut decima pars crassitudinis fuerit, tenuis et exilis apparebit, ideo quod per latitudinem intercolumniorum aer consumit et inminuit aspectu scaporum crassitudinem. Contra vero pycnostylis si octava pars crassitudinis fuerit, propter crebritatem et angustias intercolumniorum tumidam et invenustam efficiet speciem. Itaque generis operis oportet persequi symmetrias. Etiamque angulares columnae crassiores faciendae sunt ex suo diamtero quinquagesima parte, quod eae ad aere circumciduntur et graciliores videntur esse aspicientibus. Ergo quod oculus fallit, ratiocinatione est exequendum.

Translation

11. For in the measure by which the spaces between the columns grow, the diameters of the shafts are to be increased. For if in the araeostyle there shall be the ninth or tenth part of a diameter, it will appear thin and scanty; because through the width of the intercolumniations the air consumes and lessens in appearance the diameter of the shafts. On the other hand, in pycnostyle temples if there shall be the eighth part of a diameter, because of the frequency and narrowness of the intercolumniations, it will produce a swollen and displeasing appearance. Therefore we must follow the symmetries required by the style of the work. The angle columns also must be made thicker by the fiftieth part of their diameter, because they are cut into by the air and appear more slender to the spectators. Therefore what the eye cheats us of, must be made up by calculation.

12. Contracturae autem in summis columnarum hypotracheliis ita faciendae videntur, uti, si columna sit ab minimo ad pedes quinos denos, ima crassitudo dividatur in partes sex et earum partium quinque summa constituatur. Item quae erit ab quindecim pedibus ad pedes viginti, scapus imus in partes sex et semissem dividatur, earumque partium quinque et semisse superior crassitudo columnae fiat. Item quae erunt a pedibus viginti ad pedes triginta, scapus imus dividatur in partes septem, earumque sex summa contractura perficiatur. Quae autem ab triginta pedibus ad quadraginta alta erit, ima dividatur in partes septem et dimidiam; ex his sex et dimidiam in summo habeat contracturae rationem. Quae erunt ab quadraginta pedibus ad quinquaginta, item dividendae sunt in octo partes, et earum septem in summo scapo sub capitulo contrahuntur. Item si quae altiores erunt, eadem ratione pro rata constituantur contracturae.

Translation

12. The contractions, however, in the topmost necking of the columns, it seems, should be so made that from the smallest dimension up to fifteen feet, the lowest diameter should be divided into six parts and the top should be of five of these parts. Also in those which shall be from fifteen to twenty feet, the lowest part of the shaft is to be divided into six and a half parts; and of those parts five and a half are to be the upper diameter of the column. Also in those which shall be from twenty feet to thirty feet, let the lowest part of the shaft be divided into seven parts, and let the top contraction be made six of them. In the column which shall be from thirty to forty feet, let the lowest diameter be divided into seven and a half parts; of these let the column have six and a half at the top as the amount of contraction. Those which shall be from forty to fifty feet are also to be divided into eight parts, and these are to be contracted to seven at the top of the shaft under the capital. Further, if any are higher, let the contractions be determined proportionately in the same way.

13. Haec autem propter altitudinis intervallum scandentis oculi species adiciuntur crassitudinibus temperaturae. Venustates enim persequitur visus, cuius si non blandimur voluptati proportione et modulorum adiectionibus, uti quod fallitur temperatione adaugeatur, vastus et invenustus conspicientibus remittetur aspectus. De adiectione, quae adicitur in mediis columnis, quae apud Graecos entasis appellatur, in extremo libro erit formata ratio eius, quemadmodum mollis et conveniens efficiatur, subscripta.

Translation

13. It is on account of the variation in height that these adjustments are added to the diameters to meet the glace of the eye as it rises. For the sight follows gracious contours; and unless we flatter its pleasure, by proportionate alterations of the modules (so that by adjustment there is added the amount to which it suffers illusion), an uncouth and ungracious aspect will be presented to the spectators. As to the welling which is made in the middle of the columns (this among the Greeks is called entasis), an illustrated formula will be furnished at the end of the book to show how the entasis may be done in a graceful and appropriate manner.

2. COMMENT

Vitruvius is working systematically. In the former chapter he gave us a description of the different types of groundplan appropriate for a temple. Now he gives an account of the different elevations and their proportions. Here too he goes back to the theories of the hellenistic architect Hermogenes who clearly codified the rules and proportions of Ionic temple architecture. Vitruvius seems to have admired Hermogenes for he refers many times to him in his work and in this chapter he dedicates two complete sentences (8 - 9), as a parenthesis, to the methods of Hermogenes.

Like in the preceding chapter Vitruvius illustrates his statements with a lot of examples in Rome and elsewhere.

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2.1. The temple of Divus Julius on the Forum Romanum (sentence 2)

This is the temple of the deified Julius Caesar, authorised by the triumvirs in 42 B.C. but apparently built by Augustus alone and dedicated 18th August 29 B.C. as we can read in his Res gestae divi Augusti: Aedem divi Iuli ... feci.

The temple consisted of two parts, a rectangular platform 3,5 metres high, 26 wide and about 30 long; and on this the stylobate proper which rose 2,36 metres above the platform, making the cella floor very high. This stylobate was 17 metres wide. The predilection for high podia was an Etruscan heritage which we meet very often in the two last centuries B.C.

The next chapter of this book is devoted to foundations (and podia of temples) and we shall review this later.

A reconstructional drawing has been made by Richter in 1888. Starting from the measurements of some architectural fragments he made calculations for the different elements but these calculations are based on the description by Vitruvius. For this reason I think that this reconstruction is purely hypothetical; not enough is left to confirm the deductions of Richter on the site. The illustrations show Richter's designs.

The temple itself was Ionic, hexastyle and probably with antae. The columns were 1,18 metres in diameter at the base (4 Roman feet) and their height was nine times the diameter or 10,62 metres. The cella occupied the whole width of the temple. In this temple Augustus placed treasures from the spoils that he had taken and different paintings.

Today only the concrete core of the high podium remains. It is completely stripped of his original architectural decoration.

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2.2. The temple of Venus Genetrix on the Forum Caesaris (sentence 2)

The works on the Forum Caesaris started in 51 B.C., during Caesar's absence in Gaul. At the battle of Pharsalos, in which Caesar defeated Pompey in 48 B.C., he vowed a temple to Venus Genetrix, the mythical ancestress of the Julian gens, and proceeded to build it at the rear wall, in the axis of his forum.

Like the temple of Divus Julius also this temple was built on a high podium, in the Tuscan manner. The temple was hexastyle with nine columns on the sides. The rear side was closed forming a type which Vitruvius doesn't describe: peripteros sine postico which goes back to Etruscan traditions. This temple presents a typological innovation: the rear wall ends in an apse. This is the first Roman temple of this type.

Also of this temple not very much is left. The three columns on the illustration are the result of a modern rebuilding.

Archaeological evidence has shown that this two temples were really pycnostyle as Vitruvius quoted.

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2.3. The temple of Fortuna Equestris (sentence 2)

Apart from a few mentions in Latin literature nothing is known of this temple. We know that it was dedicated in 173 B.C. and that it probably disappeared in 22 A.D. Alone from Vitruvius we know that it was systyle but we don't know wether it was hexastyle or octostyle.

Interesting is the mention of the 'Theatrum lapideum'. It is the first stone-built theatre in Rome, built by Pompey in 55 B.C. Fragments of this theatre on the Campus Martius are preserved in the foundations of renaissance and baroque buildings.

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2.4. The temple of Apollo and Diana (sentence 4)

This temple was vowed by Augustus in 36 B.C. and dedicated in 28 B.C. It was the most magnificent of Augustus' buildings but apart from mentions in literature nothing is known about this temple. Even the exact location is under discussion. Only from Vitruvius we know something of its groundplan. Vergilius VI,69 (Tum Phoebo et Triviae solido de marmore templum) learns us that the building was constructed of solid blocks of marble. In the literary sources the temple is connected with a porticus.

Vitruvius notes an interesting detail of this type of temple with three thicknesses in the intercolumniation: the span beween the columns is too wide for the material which breaks under his own weigth. Indeed stones like marble and sandstone have a great resistance to compression but cannot support any pull or load; when the span is too wide they may break and cause damage to the building.

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2.5. Araeostyle temples (sentence 5)

This type of temple refers to the Etruscan manner. Typical of all Etruscan temples are roomy colonnaded pronaoi in front of the cella and entrances only on the front. Common to all the temples with this arrangement are wide spaces between the columns. These large intercolumniations made it impossible to employ stone or marble for the architraves. Indeed where in diastyle temples there was only the danger that architraves could break under their own load, this was surely the case in araeostyle temples where intercolumniations were even wider. So wooden beams were laid upon the columns and the whole entablature was of wood with an external terracotta decoration in the Greek style. The illustration shows an exemple of this type of decoration from the Etruscan temple of Talamone in the archaeological museum of Firenze.

Vitruvius himself refers to three temples of this type in Rome: the temple of Ceres near the Circus Maximus, the temple of Hercules built by Pompey and the Capitoline temple of Jupiter.

2.5.1 The temple of Ceres

This was one of the very old and archaic temples of Rome. It was dedicated in 493 B.C. and situated near the west end of the Circus Maximus on the slope of the Aventine. Because of his magnificence it is often mentioned in Latin literature. It was burned down in 31 B.C., restored by Augustus and dedicated by Tiberius in 17 A.D. Except these literary mentions nothing is known about this temple. No traces have been found.

2.5.2 The temple of Hercules

Nothing is known about this temple. In literary sources it is only mentioned twice: Vitruvius and Plinius, Naturalis historia, XXXIV, 57 who refers to a statue of Hercules qui est apud circum maximum in aede Pompei Magni. It is not known whether this refers to a temple built by Pompey or restored by Pompey. Because of the archaic style described by Vitruvius I think that we must understand it as a temple restored by Pompey.

2.5.3 The Capitoline temple of Jupiter

This was the most venerable temple of ancient Rome. Situated on the Capitoline hill this temple was dedicated to Jupiter Optimus Maximus and his two companion deities: Juno and Minerva. According to the legends the temple was vowed by Tarquinius Priscus in his battle against the Sabines. Works were started by Tarquinius Priscus but it was completed under his successor Tarquinius Superbus and dedicated after the expulsion of the Tarquinii in 509 B.C. Through the ages it was restuccoed and embellished until a fire destroyed it in 83 B.C. It was restored in 69 B.C. in the Greek hellenistic manner but the general layout of the plan was kept. Indeed this plan was seen as sacrosanct to Roman authors (Tacitus, Historiae, IV, 53: nolle deos mutari veterem formam). It was struck frequently by lightning. Augustus restored it probably about 26 B.C. In 80 A.D. it was again burned down and restored by Domitianus in 82 A.D. His destruction started in the sixth century and finished in the sixteenth when the Caffarelli built their palace on his ruins.

The Capitoline temple is the largest Etruscan temple known to us. It measured 49,73 metres between the corner columns and vies with the largest Greek temples. Excavations and borings, with the information given by Vitruvius in this sentence and Dionysius have established the plan of the temple which remained unchanged throughout the centuries. The temple stood on a rectangular podium which measured ± 55 x 60 metres. The temple was hexastyle with three rows of columns across the front. The intercolumniations corresponded with the different widths of the three adjacent cellae. The columns had at the base a diameter of 2,23 metres; the wider central intercolumniations measured 11,12 metres (i.e. nearly 5 times the diameter of the columns), the narrower 8,9 metres (i.e. nearly 4 times the diameter of the columns). This proportions exceeded far the proportions given in the diastyle temple where the intercolumniations were three times the diameter.

If there were already difficulties with the intercolumnar span in the diastyle temple it is easily understandable that this occured also in these huge araeostyle temples and that it was nessecary to replace the stone architraves by wooden beams. Vitruvius is the only literary source which gives us a hint to the way of constructing these temples, other literary sources speak only about the magnificence of the ornaments. There are no archaeological remains of this superstructure, so we must assume that Vitruvius is right with his mention of trabes perpetuae also for the greatest and most expensively constructed temple of ancient Rome, the Capitoline temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.

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2.6. Eustyle temples (sentences 6 - 8a)

The proportions of this type of temple were codified by Hermogenes. Vitruvius seems to have admired this Hermogenes as his great predecessor who wrote a treatise about hellenistic Greek Ionic temple architecture in Asia Minor. I refer to my comments on the former chapter.

The eustyle temple had the ideal ratio between the column diameter and the intercolumniation. Therefore it was called 'eu'style, eu being the Greek word which means good, correct. By restricting the span of the intercolumniation to two and a quarter columns the architraves could still be made out of stone; the wider central intercolumniation of three columns was in accordance with the diastyle temple but problems which could eventually occur with the stability were here a calculated risk.

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2.6.1. The temple of Dionysos at Teos (sentence 8)

The identification if this temple has been discussed. The fact that Vitruvius mentions this temple as an important building in Asia Minor has incited scientists to look for it.They found in 1925 traces of a temple that could possibly be identified with the one Vitruvius describes. It is a hexastyle peripteros with eleven columns at the side which, according to a great number of architectural ornamentation comparable to other temples of the same periode, could have been built by Hermogenes. The lower diameter of the columns is 1,03 meter, the intercolumniation is 2,23 meter. This is not in accordance with the principles of Vitruvius, for if the intercolumniation would have been 2 1/4 thicknesses the lower diameter should have been 1,01 meter instead of 1,03. If we accept the temple of Teos as prototype of the eustyle proportion the relation becomes 1:2 1/6 or the intercolumniation is 2 1/6 thicknesses. Further there is the problem with the central intercolumniation which Vitruvius describes explicitely as being of three thicknesses. The excavated temple of Teos does not present this central intercolumniations: they have the same width as the others. This led some scholars to reject this identification, others accept a total rebuilding of the hellenistic temple in Roman imperial times.

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2.6.2. Hermogenes (sentences 8 - 9)

Vitruvius is the only ancient writer who mentions Hermogenes. Since he don't give any chronological indication it is not known when he lived exactly. There are two tendencies, the first dating Hermogenes at the end of the third century B.C., the other around the years 150 - 130 B.C. Vitruvius sees him as his great predecessor and ascribes him a lot of innovations in Ionic architecture of which, in the eyes of Vitruvius, the pseudodipteral plan is the most important. Two remarks can be made

  1. The pseudodipteral plan existed long before Hermogenes;
  2. Vitruvius is simplifying things when he writes that the pseudodipteral is the same as a dipteral but without the inner rows of columns.

2.6.2.1 The pseudodipteral existed before Hermogenes.

Pseudodipteral temples are known from the sixth century B.C. We mention (without description because this should lead us too far) the Greek temples of Corcyra (Artemis), Silaris (Hera), Selinus ('GT'), Acragas (Olympieum), Sardis (Artemis), Messa on the isle of Lesbos (Aphrodite), Paestum (Basilica).

2.6.2.2 Vitruvius is simplifying things

Temples with a real dipteral plan are usually very great buildings where a double collonade is needed to carry the large roof structure. If one should take away the inner columns, as is suggested by Vitruvius, the whole building could collapse. Pseudodipterals are usually smaller and it is more likely that they are derived from a monopteral (or peripteral) plan, when the need was felt to give more space to visitors. The outer collonades were shifted further from the cella walls in order to give more space for walking around, sheltered from the heavy sun or (in some cases) from the rain. This shifting of the columns to the outside had consequences for the stability of the building. The wooden beams which carried the roof construction had a doubled span which had to carry a double load because of the lack of the inner column; in order to avoid them to break the architects had to increase the number of transversal beams and to support the load of these beams they had to increase the number of columns at the outside of the temple. If we look further to sentences 10 - 13 of this chapter we see that the closer the columns were placed, the higher they were made. From this statements we can conclude that pseudodipteral temples were pycnostyle or at least systyle. This placing of the columns and the narrowing of the intercolumniations had an additional optical effect. If the intercolumniations should have been wider, the whole building should get more transparency which was felt as unsuitable for this kind of architecture. In my opinion Vitruvius describes this effect in his words ut aspectus propter asperitatem intercolumniorum habeat auctoritatem where the most important word is asperitatem of which the basic meaning is darkness. If one approaches such a temple from an angle one sees the collonades as nearly closed walls, the intercolumniations are only seen as dark intervals between the (white) columns. It is this effect that gives the impression of grandeur (auctoritas) to this temples.

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2.7. Architectural system (sentences 10 - 12)

In the following sentences Vitruvius exposes his system of relations between diameter of columns, intercolumnia, height of columns and differences between bottom and top of columns. Since these relations have been a topic in architectural literature in general I did some research in other texts: Alberti, Palladio (book I,13) and De l'Orme (book V). Alberti (book VII, 5) uses the same classification as Vitruvius but he translates the Vitruvian terminology, based on Greek tradition, in Latin: instead of pycnostyle he says 'in confertis quidem operibus, what can be translated in English as 'in close-set collonades, etc. In the table below we only use the Vitruvian terminology. As can be seen the relation between the lower diameter of the column to the intercolumniation, as was given by Vitruvius, influenced greatly later architects.

In our table we ommitted De l'Orme because he only speaks about our eustyle temple and gives the same relations as Vitruvius.

Instead of giving these complete texts I preferred to summarise them in two tables.

The first table gives the different relations between lower diameter, intercolumniation and height

VitruviusAlbertiPalladio
DIHIIH
Pycnostyle11,5101,51,510
Systyle129,5229,5
Eustyle12,259,52,252,259
Diastyle138,53,3737,5
Araeostyle148

D = Lower diameter of the column. Since this is the measure on which the other measures depend we gave it the value 1.
I = Intercolumniation, number of lower column diametres.
H = Height of the column, number of lower diametres.

The second table gives the relation between the lower and the top diameter of columns in the writing of Vitruvius and Palladio. To make the differences between Vitruvius and Palladio more understandable I recalculated their measures to whole numbers.

VitruviusPalladio
HBTBT
1512101311
15-2013111413
20-3014121614
30-401513

H = Height of the columns expressed in Roman feet.
B = Number of parts in which the lower diameter is divided.
T = Number of parts used to define the top diameter.

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2.8. Entasis (sentence 13)

To finish this long chapter some words have to be written about the entasis of columns.
The entasis had the purpose of correcting a disagreeable optical illusion, which is found to give an attenuated appearance to columns formed with straight sides, and to cause their outlines to seem concave instead of straight. But it also gave to the column an appearance of elastic strength and vitality. Vitruvius claims to have made a design of this entasis. This design is lost and Vitruvius didn't describe his system.

On a wall of the Apollo temple of Didyma was conserved a working drawing of the layout of an entasis. The illustration shows this design. The height of the column is contracted, the width is unchanged. The distance between two horizontal red lines equals one Greek foot (29,6 cm). The red lines give, foot by foot, the distances from the axis of the column to the outside curvature

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I have found a comparable text in Palladio (book I, 13) who, in contrast to Vitruvius, gave a description of his own system; but this is only applicable to renaissance and baroque architecture and not to ancient architecture. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness, I want to quote this - short - fragment in the English translation of 1738: The method I use in making the profile of the swelling is this: I divide the fust (ancient English for shaft) of the column into three equal parts, and leave the lower part perpendicular; to the side of the extremity of which I apply the edge of a thin rule, of the same length, or a little longer than the column, and bend that part wich reaches from the third part upwards, until the end touches the point of the diminution of the upper part of the column under the collarino. I then mark as that curve directs, which gives the column a kind of swelling in the middle, and makes it project very gracefully.

3. BIBLIOGRAPHY

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.
Alberti Leon Battista, De re aedificatoria, Firenze, 1485.
De l'Orme Philibert, Architecture, Rouen, 1648.
Palladio Andrea, The four books of architecture, London, 1738.
O. Richter, Die Augustusbauten auf dem Forum Romanum, in Jahrbuch des kaiserlich deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, IV, 1889, pp. 137-162.
S.B.Platner-Th.Ashby, A topographical dictionary of ancient Rome, London, 1929.
W.B.Dinsmoor, The architecture of ancient Greece, London, 1950.
A.Boëthius-J.B.Ward-Perkins, Etruscan and Roman architecture, Harmondsworth, 1970.
F. Coarelli, Guida archeologica di Roma, 1975
H. Knell, Vitruvs Architekturtheorie, Versuch einer Interpretation, Darmstadt, 1985.
W.Hoepfner-E.L.Schwandner (red.), Hermogenes und die hochhellenistische Architektur, Mainz, 1990
L.Richardson jr., A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, London-Baltimore, 1992




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