Vitruvius, On Architecture

LCL 251: 2-3

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Vitruvius

Vitruvii

De Architectura

Liber Primus

1Cum divina tua mens et numen, imperator Caesar, imperio potiretur orbis terrarum invictaque virtute cunctis hostibus stratis triumpho victoriaque tua cives gloriarentur et gentes omnes subactae tuum spectarent nutum populusque Romanus et senatus liberatus timore amplissimis tuis cogitationibus consiliisque gubernaretur, non audebam, tantis occupationibus, de architectura scripta et magnis cogitationibus explicata edere, metuens, ne non apto tempore interpellans subirem tui animi offensionem.

2Cum vero adtenderem te non solum de vita communi omnium curam publicaeque rei constitutionem habere sed etiam de opportunitate publicorum aedificiorum, ut civitas per te non solum provinciis esset aucta, verum etiam ut maiestas imperii publicorum aedificiorum egregias haberet auctoritates, non putavi praetermittendum, quin primo quoque

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Book I.

Vitruvius on Architecture

Book I

Preface

1. When your Highness’s divine mind and power, O Caesar, gained the empire of the world,1 Rome gloried in your triumph and victory. For all her enemies were crushed by your invincible courage and all mankind obeyed your bidding; the Roman people and senate were not only freed from fear2 but followed your guidance, inspired as it was by a generous imagination. Amid such affairs I shrank from publishing my writings on architecture in which I displayed designs made to a large scale, for I feared lest by interrupting at an inconvenient time, I should be found a hindrance to your thoughts.

2. But I observed that you cared not only about the common life of all men, and the constitution of the state, but also about the provision3 of suitable public buildings; so that the state was not only made greater through you by its new provinces, but the majesty of the empire also was expressed through the eminent dignity of its public buildings. Hence I conceived that the opportunity

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.vitruvius-architecture.1931