The title of "Vitruvii De Architectura" is an acronym that anticipates to us on the subject of ten books: the main rules of the architecture.
It’s "VITRVVII" the treaty on architecture written by the three times master. That architect could not be another one in the first century B.C. Marco Agrippa.
The autor wrote the precepts of architecture in "cybicis rationibus". "De Architectura" containing three six number. Its readers may read and understand as much as possible in few free moments. LiberV-Praefatio


It deserves the word "versus" a brief previous explanation, its meaning: towards, in direction of, if it is used like returned adverb and, inclined towards, when it is used like preposition. He is in fact the opposed one to which it is used daily: against, opposed, opposite, opposite. He is given off then that I title of this presentation treats on like discovering the figure of Vitruvius "watching" at the one of its contemporary Marcus Agrippa.

Vitruvius watching to Agrippa
The first part of the investigation which I am making on the enigmatic figure of the Roman architect of first century B.C., Marcus Vitruvius Pollio I present it through the site.

Vitruvius was born in first century B.C. architect and Roman tratadista, does not know any work projected or constructed by him. The fame of Vitruvius must in exclusive right to the treaty "De Architectura", the only work of these characteristics that is conserved of the classic antiquity.

After working on some old texts I believe that they are many and diverse the evidences that allow to glimpse that the shade that the name of Vitruvius projects, and that to the present time reaches, is not other than the one of the true figure of the best Roman architect of history: Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.

It is not possible to imagine like could not agree during the "prodigious decade" of the twenties of first century B.C. two as exceptional architects as Vitruvius and Agrippa, in the same city of Rome and under the protection of Augustus, and who while one wrote the best and more complete treaty on classic architecture, the other projected and executed hugest works of construction and urbanism of the Roman world.

Ortiz and Sanz write in his memories on the life of Vitruvius like Frontino, in first century A.C., the moment for dealing with on the aqueducts the city of Rome and the technical terms to describe the elements that compose them, recognizes confusion between both architects in that time, not knowing well to that to refer the responsibility of such terms and ideas of engineering. And that seems like extended at that time the substitution of one by the other, being established according to Frontino that was Agrippa, and non Vitruvius, named by Augustus "the Prefect" of waters in Rome.

A total eclipse in the time of history, the little works has undergone Marcus Agrippa on its figure, like made by the Doctor the Isabel Roda de Llanza, have allowed to glimpse the knowledge spilled by him in the territory of Hispania. Agrippa had a main paper in the romanización of the Europe, and to him we must some of the best accomplishments for all time and than today they are between the patrimony of the humanity.

The detailed relation of the work of Agrippa allows to illustrate of way completes each one of ten books of vitruvius text, the foundation of cities and its performance like patron, the specific knowledge of materials and its special use, like for example the marble, the construction of temples, all type of buildings public, specially theaters, of domestic buildings, complex harbor hydraulic engineers and, as well as the learned construction of sun clocks and machines military and work, allow to accompany, like no other architect of its time and for all time, the text written by Vitruvius.

The investigation presented through the network, and not yet conclusa, simultaneously allows to read the text of Vitruvius illustrated by works of Agrippa.

By the work difficulty and to find me in the beginning of an exciting way that I do not know to where it is going to me to lead, I ask for patience of the reader which one approaches interested, to be able to present the investigation in the www of the most comprehensible form.


Begins "De Architectura" with these words of the author dedicated to Augustus:
"Cum divina tua mens et numen, imperator Caesar, imperio potiretur Orbis Terrarum"...
Whilst, O Cæsar, your god-like mind and genius were engaged in acquiring the dominion of the Orbis Terrarum"...


The direct reference to the triumph of Augustus in the government of the world, name to this like "Orbis Terrarum", allows us to understand better who was the author of the text and as it was his inspiration. Orbis means in Latin circle, wheel. The Orbis word is used when reference to a flat and round world like a wheel becomes, is the "Orbis Terrarum" the monumental geographic map that Agrippa made in Rome at he himself moment in which it was written "De Architectura".


Paul Zanker

Augustus beautified the city, whose appearance had in no way reflected its greatness and glory and was besides constantly plagued by floods and fires, and so utterly remade it, that he could justly boast that he found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble.
(Suetonius Augustus 28)

Along with the new temples, it was primarily the buildings for entertainment and recreation that transformed the face of Rome. But whereas Augustus personally took charge of building the sanctuaries, for secular projects he let himself be assisted by both family members and by friends, among whom the most important was Agrippa. In his unwavering loyalty Agrippa was again ready to be Augustus’s right-hand man. He dedicated both his organizational talent and his huge fortune to the rebuilding of the city.

In the years after Actium he fulfilled, one by one, all the extravagant promises made in 33 B.C. His first project was the complete reorganization of the water supply. Soon fresh water flowed into the city in abundance through repaired or newly built aqueducts, into 130 reservoirs and hundreds of water basins (lacus; according to Pliny 700 new ones were built). The mighty arches of the aqueducts helped shape the image of the city and, together with the hundreds of new fountains, proclaimed the blessings of fresh water to every dank corner of the metropolis.
The new Aqua Virgo, dedicated in 19 B.C., fed the baths built by Agrippa on the west side of the Campus Martius, near the Pantheon, the first public baths in Rome (fig. 30). Compared with those of later imperial baths, the sauna rooms and warm-water baths here look rather modest. With its extensive gardens, artificial lake (Stagnum Agrippae) serving as a natatio, and athletic facilities, the whole complex recalls the gymnasia of Greek cities. This was deliberate, even if the name itself was not borrowed, as is apparent from the Apoxyomenos of Lysippus (Pliny N.H. 34.62), which Agrippa set up in the main building. In the creation of the new Rome, one more impor-tant gap had been filled.

The baths lay in the middle of the monumenta Agrippae. To the east were the Saepta Julia, to the north the Pantheon. Further east, beyond the Via Lata (the present-day Via del Corso), lay the Campus Agrippae, a park renowned for its beautiful laurel trees, and the Porticus Vipsaniae, named for Agrippa’s sister. To the west was Agrippa’s villa, together with race courses and a training ground for the horses. There was plenty of room for all this on Agrippa’s personal property—most of which had previously be-longed to Marc Antony and, before that, to Pompey.

The huge recreational area before the walls served as a kind of villa for the common people. At any rate, they could enjoy here all the pleasures traditionally associated with aristocratic villas: parks, promenades alongside flowing streams (euripus), warm baths, exercise areas, and, scattered throughout, masterpieces of Greek art. Agrippa decorated his springs and fountain houses with Greek columns and statues, including the famous "Hydria" in the Forum (Pliny 36.121). This accorded with his programmatic address of 33 B.C. "on the need to display publicly all Greek statues and works of art." Pliny, who knew the speech, called it "magnificent and worthy of the finest citizen," clearly contrasting its vision with the exilia of works of art in the villas of the rich that had been the rule up to then (Pliny 35.26). The term exilia (exile) had often been employed in attacks on the Late Republican aristocracy, and the princeps and his friends were conspicuous in their opposition to it. There was of course no question of a systematic appropriation of art works in private hands; only a few significant gestures needed to be made. It was not so important that more art actually be made available to the public than ever before, but only that this seem to be a matter of policy. The "policy" apparently worked, for the people really did feel as if they owned these great works. This was made clear in the (successful) outcry of the plebs when Tiberius tried to move the Apoxyomenos of Lysippus into his own palace (Pliny 34.62).

The centerpiece of Agrippa’s building program, the predecessor of the Hadrianic Pantheon, was another reminder of the ruler even here in this recreational area. Originally a statue of Augustus was meant to be displayed among those of his patron deities in the temple cella, for in keeping with Hellenistic tradition the Pantheon was conceived for the cult of the ruler and his gods. But after the constitutional watershed of 27 B.C. Augustus required a change of plan to accord with his new image. His statue could not stand beside the gods, but would have to be moved into the pronaos, alongside that of Agrippa himself. But in the end this gesture did not alter the purpose of the building. The pediment was probably decorated, like that of the later Pantheon, with Jupiter’s eagle holding the corona civica.

The building which underwent the greatest expansion in Rome was the Saepta, a voting place for the plebs which had been planned already by Julius Caesar and was carried out by Agrippa along with his other projects (fig. 30). The actual voting area was now paved in marble and was framed by two marble colonnades 300 meters long and a 95-meter-wide building for the tallying of the votes (diribitorium). In 26 B.C. Agrippa dedicated the building as the "Saepta Iulia."

The structure became a vast monument to the dignity of the Roman people, although in fact they were summoned to the balloting urns increasingly seldom and soon not at all. Indeed, the Saepta was later used as a setting for games (gladiatorial combats and mock sea battles are attested). But the imperial house also enjoyed inviting the people here for grand ceremonial events. So, for example, Tiberius received an enthusiastic reception here after his victory in Illyria.

Like many other colonnades, the Saepta was also taken over as a bazaar by all sorts of merchants and was frequented all day long by those with nothing better to do, who could take in the famous works of art. Among others, Agrippa set up here two Hellenistic statue groups that are known in multiple copies: the centaur Chiron instructing his pupil Achilles and Pan teaching the young Olympus to play the syrinx (Pliny HN 36.29). Perhaps the two pairs of teacher and pupil allude to the lessons which surely also took place in the area of the Saepta. That Agrippa’s taste in art was not constrained by moral strictures in the choice of subject matter is evident from the homoerotic nature of the Pan and Olympus group.

Agrippa modestly referred to his own achievements only rarely. The fresco cycle of the Voyage of Argo in one of the long colonnades and the name Basilica Neptuni probably contain an allusion to his service as admiral, for which Augustus had already bestowed on him a corona rostrata adorned with ships’ prows after the Battle of Naulochoi. But it is significant that Agrippa did not give the building his own name, but instead named it Saepta Iulia.

Those with time on their hands could also contemplate the map of the world which was commissioned by Agrippa and later transferred to the Porticus Vipsaniae. It was intended to give the Roman people an idea of "their" empire and heighten their awareness of being princeps terrarum populus (Livy Praef.). We need only think of the impressive marble plan of the Imperium Romanum which Mussolini had placed on the ancient ruins along the Via del Impero. In 20 B.C., as part of his program of road building, Augustus had placed a gilded milestone (Milliarum aureum) near the time-honored monuments of the Forum Romanum, symbolizing Rome’s position as the center of the world.

It was Agrippa’s wish that even the import of grain into Rome serve to remind her people of their position of power. The Horrea Agrippiana behind the Forum, only recently fully studied and reconstructed, was built only of travertine, but with strikingly impressive decoration, even including Corinthian columns. No one implemented the idea of publica rnagnificentia more fully or consistently than Agrippa (Seneca De ben. 3.32.4). After his death a well-organized force of 240 men was put to work by the state just for the maintenance of the water supply system he created (Frontinus De Aquis 116).
"The Augustan Program of Cultural Renewal"
Paul Zanker

See also:
"The constructions of Marcus Agrippa in the West"
Geoffrey Mottershead

Marcus Agrippa was the chief supporter of Octavian, the heir of Julius Caesar, in his rise to prominence as the first Roman Emperor Augustus. He also played a central role in the Augustan establishment of the new order of Empire, which replaced the late Republic. Agrippa’s land and sea victories were crucial for the success of Octavian, but it will be argued that his constructions were important instruments of change in this pivotal historical period. Consequently, all Agrippan works are investigated, whether for war or peace, and whether known from material remains or other evidence. Agrippan constructions in the West (Gaul and the Iberian Peninsula) are described in detail, and the others are described in more general terms. Previously, Agrippan constructions have either been included in biographies of Agrippa, and treated generally, or have been studied as particular works with detailed description, but little explanation. Also, constructions in towns with material remains or inscriptions have been extensively studied, but important works outside towns with fewer remains have been largely overlooked. Consequently, previous writers have represented Agrippa as a builder of monuments in towns and there has been little understanding of the nature or purpose of the totality of his works, and no proper account of them.


An Eye for Architectural Theory
”De architectura” is a treatise on architecture written by the Roman architect Vitruvius and dedicated to his patron, the emperor Caesar Augustus.
Agrippa was ready to be Augustus's right-hand man.
He dedicated both his organizational talent and his huge fortune to the cities and buildings of the empire.
It is not possible to imagine like could not agree during the "prodigious decade" of the twenties of first century B.C. two as exceptional architects as Vitruvius and Agrippa, in the same city of Rome and under the protection of Augustus, and who while one wrote the best and more complete treaty on classic architecture, the other projected and executed hugest works of construction and urbanism of the Roman world.

Video: An Eye for Architectural Theory - Who Vitruvius Was?
Music: An Eye for Optical Theory (from The Draughtsman's Contract) M. Nyman

This blog is about the ten books of architecture as written by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa in the first century BC, during the principate of the Roman emperor Augustus.

See also:
Writing the Body of Architecture

By Indra Kagis McEwen
Publisher: The MIT Press

Vitruvius's De architectura, consisting of ten volumina, or scrolls, is the only major work on architecture to survive from classical antiquity, and until the eighteenth century it was the text to which all other architectural treatises referred.
While European classicists have focused on the factual truth of the text itself, English-speaking architects and architectural theorists have viewed it as a timeless source of valuable metaphors. Departing from both perspectives, Indra Kagis McEwen examines the work's meaning and significance in its own time.
Vitruvius dedicated De architectura to his patron Augustus Caesar, the first Roman emperor, whose rise to power inspired its composition near the end of the first century B.C.
De architectura consisted of ten volumina, or scrolls. McEwen argues that the imperial project of world dominion shaped Vitruvius's purpose in writing what he calls "the whole body of architecture." Specifically, Vitruvius's aim was to present his discipline as the means for making the emperor's body congruent with the imagined body of the world he would rule.
The corpus of architectura was, reciprocally, shaped by the body of empire. Vitruvius’s text circles the world on several occasions but never once oversteps the boundaries of its specifically Augustan limits.
Publisher: The MIT Press

Let A be the centre of a perfectly level and plane tablet whereon a gnomon is erected. The ante-meridianal shadow of the gnomon being marked at B, from A, as a centre with the distance AB, describe a complete circle. Then replacing the gnomon correctly, watch its increasing shadow, which after the sun has passed his meridian, will gradually lengthen till it become exactly equal to the shadow made in the forenoon, then again touching the circle at the point C. From the points B and C, as centres, describe two arcs cutting each other in D. From the point D, through the centre of the circle, draw the line EF, which will give the north and south points.
Divide the whole circle into sixteen parts. From the point E, at which the southern end of the meridian line touches the circle, set off at G and H to the right and left a distance equal to one of the said sixteen parts, and in the same manner on the north side, placing one foot of the compasses on the point F, mark on each side the points I and K, and with lines drawn through the centre of the circle join the points GK and HI, so that the space from G to H will be given to the south wind and its region; that from I to K to the north wind. The remaining spaces on the right and left are each to be divided into three equal parts; the extreme points of the dividing lines on the east sides, to be designated by the letters L and M; those on the west by the letters NO; from M to O and from L to N draw lines crossing each other: and thus the whole circumference will be divided into eight equal spaces for the winds. The figure thus described will be furnished with a letter at each angle of the octagon. Thus, beginning at the south, between the regions of Eurus and Auster, will be the letter G; between those of Auster and Africus, H; between Africus and Favonius, N; between that and Caurus, O; K between Caurus and Septentrio; between Septentrio and Aquilo, I; between Aquilo and Solanus, L; and between that and Eurus, M. Thus adjusted, let a bevel gauge be applied to the different angles of the octagon, to determine the directions of the different streets and lanes. LiberI-CaputVI

Liber I
Liber II
Liber III
Liber IV
Liber V
Liber VI
Liber VII
Liber VIII
Liber IX
Liber X