Vitruvius, On Architecture

LCL 251: 72-73

Go To Section
Go To Section


Liber Secundus

1Dinocrates architectus cogitationibus et sollertia fretus, cum Alexander rerum potiretur, profectus est e Macedonia1 ad exercitum regiae cupidus commendationis. Is e patria a propinquis et amicis tulit ad primos ordines et purpuratos litteras, aditus haberet faciliores, ab eisque exceptus humane petit, uti quamprimum ad Alexandrum perduceretur. Cum polliciti essent, tardiores fuerunt idoneum tempus expectantes. Itaque Dinocrates ab his se existimans2 ludi ab se petit praesidium. Fuerat enim amplissima statura, facie grata, forma dignitateque summa. His igitur naturae muneribus confisus vestimenta posuit in hospitio et oleo corpus perunxit caputque coronavit populea fronde, laevum umerum pelle leonina texit, dextraque clavam tenens incessit contra tribunal 2regis ius dicentis. Novitas populum cum avertisset, conspexit eum Alexander. Admirans ei iussit3 locum dari, ut accederet, interrogavitque, quis esset. At ille: “Dinocrates,” inquit, “architectus Macedo qui ad te cogitationes et formas adfero dignas tuae claritati. Namque Athon montem formavi in statuae virilis figuram, cuius manu laeva designavi civitatis amplissimae moenia, dextera4 pateram, quae exciperet omnium fluminum, quae sunt in eo monte,


Book II.

Book II


1. When Alexander was master of the world, the architect Dinocrates,1 confident in his ideas and his skill, set out from Macedonia to the army, being desirous of the royal commendation. He brought from home to the officers and high officials, a letter from his relatives and friends that he might have more easy access; and being courteously received by them, he asked to be introduced as soon as possible to Alexander. After promising this they were somewhat slow, waiting for a suitable occasion. Therefore Dinocrates, thinking he was mocked by them, sought a remedy from himself. Now he was of ample stature, pleasing countenance, and the highest grace and dignity. Trusting then in these gifts of nature, he left his clothes in the inn, and anointed himself with oil; he wreathed his head with poplar leaves, covered his left shoulder with a lion’s skin, and holding a club in his right hand,2 he walked opposite the tribunal where the king was giving judgment. 2. When this novel spectacle attracted the people, Alexander saw him. Wondering, he commanded room to be made for him to approach, and asked who he was. And he replied: “Dinocrates, a Macedonian architect, who brings you ideas and plans worthy of you, illustrious prince. For I have shaped Mount Athos into the figure of the statue of a man, in whose left hand I have shown the ramparts of a very extensive city; in his right a bowl to receive the water of all

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.vitruvius-architecture.1931