© This translation coyprighted 2009, Benjamin Blankenbehler. Reproduction in part or whole strictly prohibited.
English translation pp.7-10
English translation pp.11-14
Walther Rivius or Ryff:
Principally, the most well known and renown Roman architect, artistic worker or builder: Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. Ten books of architecture and artistic building. A key and introduction to all mathematics and mechanical art, clear-witted and diligent striving or speculative artistic work. From such a high understanding, correct ground, and a full and certain foundation of all laudable art, the masses of industry and order become resolved in writings, that interested readers will be instructed in the art of architecture and artistic buildings by what is contained here, and that they may easily learn and grasp a correct understanding of architectural mathematical and mechanical arts. All this to better adorn and declare better understanding through beautiful artistic figures and antiquities, and particular commentaries.
First in German, and prescribed for the use and advantageous benefit of all artistic handwork, workmen, builders, vehicle and civil designers, well-builders, wood workers, painters, sculptures, goldsmiths, carpenters, and all of those who use artistic titles and tools.
D. Gualtherü H. Riuium Medical & Mathematical
Special and impossible attention has been made to formerly transfer this into the German language, understood by no one else.
Nürnberg: Johan Petreius, In 1548
Privileged with regal support of the king, for year and not hereafter.
The scholarly, foresighted, and wise men, mayors and counselors, the city Nuremberg, my commanding and favorable gentlemen.
Scholarly, foresighted, and wise men: this is to clear all doubts, E.F.E.W. Modest and wise art, with what great diligence and high understanding of all art and meaningful inventions were founded and brought forth by the ancients our forefathers, which are to us a temporal welfare and necessary physical preservation. Also with such wariness did they freely and thoughtfully leave their helpful and useful inventions behind for us, their descendants.
The art and various meaningful inventions are there as a leading testimony, if they propagate each similarly well, so that they occasion to everyone some useful and advantageous opportunity and design. We notice, however, that one has a special purpose or lawful goal for the others, making it a specialty.
Thus (how modest for eyes) have quite a few helpful arts, meaningful inventions, principally sprung up, and remained until now in constant use, so that they are very necessary for others, for pleasant, more peaceful, and more social human gatherings, or for civic reason and use, that it incur no imposition.
Thus also will the greater portion be dignified and held back from the fruits and uses that they may daily bring. How, then, are we so much more separated because they are funny and amusing as a falsehood, charming and agreeable.
Thus we take for ourselves all art and meaningful inventions- not just what the ancients our forefathers would have goodwillingly shared, but also all that is modern and all is founded daily and new. And with diligence we venture and attempt this discretion, partitioning, or distinction. We find that under all art lies nothing that will bring to those who want or encounter it such great daily use and unbelievable advantage, such learning, practice, and unbelievable advantage, as the excellent art of Architecture, which is justly seen as the most respectable, useful, crucial and most loved of all.
But this area is not to be understood as only needing architecture. According to the opinion and teaching to of ancients and highly considered Vitruvian Architecture, some work of stonemasons, bricklayer, etc. should be respectively considered as arts through architecture, which work and help the experienced, diligent architects use as a handy instrument or tool. Experienced with architecture, these other artistic creations, judiciaries, or advantages, which are just as precious, and from good sturdy ground, good understanding of the work, and meaningful beginnings, may thereby reveal the fundamental issues in their own work. Finally they may request and complete all our temporal and physical endeavors, our important
wants and needs, achieving them through intelligent and good understanding of the ordering and building of the work.
We can also see if this is just as true for the ancient heathen philosophies and the diligent development of natural things, whose thoughts and opinion were that they began to have human dwellings because the necessary uses of water and fire supposedly united and came together into a livable house. We should be entirely careful that the art of architecture be the very first approach, this union of the first humans into a pleasant home. Thus we view the need and use of the home. For whoever pursues this admirable good need not justly measure any other art or clever invention. Even the first attempted and early-developing architecture, which give many statements to us, not just to screen and protect us against foul weather, hail, frost, wind, cold, and rain, but also from various dangerous malicious people, contrary and furious animals, and so forth- to protect, shelter and shade us from many dangers and unjust disasters. Also to carry life and limb through various good times. Because of inherent stupidity, these helpful human dwellings were not prevalent, as men have sought to climb up and to better themselves.
Today, we still see with eyes that only these arts and various meaningful inventions are an important premise and necessary means, through which we receive, harvest, and bring forth a peaceful, livable civilization- that we don't have or consider any other way because the art of the Lord God, from special gracious and fatherly will, providence, nursing, and screening, inspired and given from such human omnipotence.
Thus, as the most important and timely expertise, we first view the means through our human body in prolonged health, and to get human strength. It is clear that the same greater portion got their source from this art. Where there isn't a visual example, a crumbling bath house, gymnasium, observatory, or theater, we see great and glorious constructs of the antiquities, which were built with some bodily practice and refreshment and with such remarkable expense by the unbelievers, and they are still today to be seen, and they testify with their particular system, especially the great aqueducts, or culverts, how various art and form is wonderfully finalized and defeated through this art. And not just bodily preservation and importance, but also a thousand other uses. We now value museums, as if nothing on earth flowered that was not from this art, including the human body, getting standing, or getting trade, as some fruitful branches and twigs out of a cut root. Thus we exceed from small things. Simple tools developed and brought forth this excellent art, including the narrow work of some noteworthy agricultural equipment (through which we harvest everything) , and all other instruments. With diverse practices, they lead abundant wells with streams of water, not just one place but others. Also in the depths of the earth, they seek out the vein of water, in the high mountain, and dig through hard cracks of stone, to liken their hight and flatness, to shake the depths, to lead up the height, to contain and dam the river, pond, and ocean, to deplete the marsh, and to expand, to provide advanced cities with strong flows of water and all their enjoyment, and to use some ways. A ship must be built, and all of the oceans must be traveled across only by ship. Therefore the shores must be provided with ports and shipyards, and bridges built over the large and small rivers, and the royal seaships need directed. No matter what the purpose of the useful and noteworthy artistic work is, everyone will be brought through it to a fundamental and correct understanding of the art
of architecture. In short, if we similarly endow the preservation of the Christian religion from the holy mighty and powerful construction, including churches, temples, holy places, and whatever common city policy and regiment concern, including the holy favored palaces of judgment and city halls, armories, treasuries, hospitals, royal and kingly courts, and all common and particular city homes. They were constructed with such great magnificence and glory, found but not intended from well-ordered policies. The most important construction, namely the city's fortification, castles and spots, were also founded through this art, as well as city walls, city ports, gates, graves, fortresses, bastions, garrison, post, etc. all with their advantages and defenses. Buildings were also constructed for control and unjust dangers, for more free, secure city houses, business, and trade, with all artistic machines, in which the nature is unrivaled through the artistic inventions of architecture through hardships. As well as cannon cranes, vehicles, and thousands, countless similar artistic mechanical instruments, all of which have their origins in architecture. They could never remain if robbed of the same fundamentals.
In order to humbly convince with these true arguments and with this solid logic, that this art of architecture together with all its parts is the the most useful, necessary, and therefore the most beloved and enjoyable of all artistic and meaningful inventions, through which principal every well-ordered policy and city regiment at every point in time of peace or war may be noted in affluence and virtue as firm and freely receiving security, calm, frugality and with the highest expertise of common needs- that you may even more-so become modestly convinced with all the vast histories , and particularly through the excellent examples from Archimedes, and through other famous artistic architects-
To be just, that this excellent art of architecture, all that which was invented, brought forth, and developed, not only out of out of particular high reason, various experiences, meaningful attempts, and some practice, but also satisfied in writing, and which was shared to us descendants with all doubts- that it has such particular good and high merit for common use, and is worthy of much praise and approval -
Therefore I have placed in this book a convenient and handy order with greatest diligence to describe the architecture, that the entire art with all its parts may be laid out in short summary, as if in an immaculate mirror, with all arts, and not just as a cheap or expensive treasure, but as a correct dependable foundation and all-encompassing groundwork for all the arts that go with architecture, to be highly received. Until now, it still will be needed as a true and unwavering assistant and advisor for all artistic mathematical speculation, from all art in specialty. This issue was until now understood by many excellent, educated, well-known people of certain nations, but this book of Vitruvius will share this in their native (but for us in German) foreign and unknown languages, for their particular advantage and to direct their work and meaningful inventions as well as their wise and clever methods.
Therefore still today this glorious artistic book of Vitruvius will be transferred by other foreign nations into some other languages, chiefly into Italian and then into Spanish, and then the French language.
But until now, as I said, only the foreign-speaking German reader who appreciated art has remained unacquainted, ignorant, or hidden from the greater portion through through lack of translation or distribution of these glorious books, this precious treasure.
It is in this time, in which all art and meaningful inventions are brought higher, day to day from this blessed, excellent, indebted German nation, from which all other nations consult. But they may also far outdo the this nation in high-reason, in useful and common use, and pressing work and effort. Still, as far as I know, none want to really face these impossible questions.
I have the good intention and desire to enthusiastically serve, and to be moved for the expertise of necessary work and efforts, foremost for the common use of the meaningful mathematical art, the same relative to architecture, for it to be the same for all. Despite my weakness, I take upon myself this concentrated effort to goodwillingly share diverse architectural books of the highest ability, and to expose and transfer all artistic things into a common and plain German language.
These books will describe and order the distant yet far-sighted and talented Vitruvius. It will not only describe the right ability required for artistic and orderly construction, but also all other arts in which the architecture may call for mathematical arts and mechanical inventions. It will all be in a short summary, comprehensive and brief, that the abiding readers of these books may perhaps become diligent investigators of these artistic things, which may be somewhat dark, difficult, and not entirely understandable. This includes multiple things, but to give a particular example, what fortified construction and meaningful machinery were need for cannons at the time of Vitruvius, as founded on the first fundamentals of architecture. This includes many other lengthy subjects that would have been improved upon, chiefly the issue portion, had they not been unfamiliar and unknown to the German reader, barely considered in writing by us Germans, touched upon or borne from solid ground. I would therefore be further concerned at this time for many professions related to mine, such as the distinguished art of medicine, that they look at certain activities and recreations of the superb examples of other excellent artists including: Lucae Paccioli, Caesaris Caesarini, Benedicti Iourj, Boni Mauri, Leonis Baptistae, Guilielmi Philandri, Sebastiani Serlij, Patri Nonij, Orontij Finei, Nicolai Tartaleae, etc. the architecture and closely related arts, whose writings proved crucial in my undertaking here as true precepts. Their books in foreign languages may laid out and declared in leading visual figures and in German commentary, and eventually deal with all art and architecture, including mathematical art and mechanical inventions and speculations. Then the teaching and schooling of the somewhat judicious and practiced Vitruvius may become modestly clear and understandable. I am being brief here, but various other arts shared or related to architecture have not been well borne, or have become second-rate. Just as this subject, they have little understanding or use because of lack of useful and delineated instruction, which I hope that I may create here out of need.
May all despite my weakness of person be spared work and effort by me, that I may prove helpful and useful for common use, and for all diligent and artistic expertise, and the sharing of these ten books. I am furthermore moved and anxious that the
Vitruvian architecture, and the ordered figures and commentary or design in particular books, deal with the most useful and advantageous architecture, related mathematical art, and meaningful mechanical speculation.
As the wise and versatile architect Vitruvius adhered first to the all-powerful Caesar Julius, and then to Augustus, to hold his books and writings high as an excellent present and glorious gift, and especially to extend thanks, all who have received so much should dedicate under both these Roman Caesars' glorious names, to see the book high, and publize what is so crucial. We should do so for those who transferred these books into some foreign languages, and furthermore for those who documented and traded architecture related arts, who do so still in this day and age, indeed the insightful speculation of further descendants and followers.
We should likewise commend the opinions and high and great views of the same powerful potentates, their applicable efforts and literary work, who have helpfully and gracefully founded to set for common use all diligent artistic expertise, as a strong protection and a mighty shield. I have not hesitated to follow the auspicious examples of certain educated, sensible, visionary, and wise gentlemen, including E.F.E.W, who richly adorned and honored all famous and laudable arts with modest experience and with various glorious gifts from God. I have also chosen in particular all the highest patrons who were soft and fatherly possessors, providers, and protectors of all famous laudable arts, to translate and order the commentary of Vitruvian architecture, which includes other important books that articulately deal with architecture related art. Under the glorious and far-spread name E.F.E.W., I have spread about and published, to the various advantages and use of all art-enthusiasts.
Then while E.F.E.W has a particularly friendly disposition and has good intentions, he also strives to serve and stand for any common use and expertise to any client. E.F.E.W is furthermore modestly displays angelic, joyful and peaceful regiment and rightly ordered Christian policies, and thus from all principals, brings all artistic virtue, famous, artistic, and laudable things, to make anywhere a place of peace, to make any and peeveryone of good report, so that few may become wounded. I don't doubt that it will fall on me to utilize E.F.E.W.'s effort through my literary work. I truly hope that all art-enthusiasts will find this work under E.F.E.W.'s high view and glorious name pleasing and agreeable. As a volunteer, I will likewise greatly expend and let up no diligence to this end, that these and similar endeavors may be advantageous and helpful to all art-enthusiasts and common use. I will by day bring my highest power to goodwillingly honor and please E.F.E.W.
E.F.E.W. honors to God's holy name and common fatherland's use and glory, that the almighty God of all authoritative understanding and wisdom mandate E.F.E.W His shield and protection, the rule, patronage, and intervention.
Date in Wüzburg: 16. Feb. 1548.
Gualtherus H. Riuius Medicus & Mathematicus & c.
[This translation may contain inaccuracies. Please let me know if you find any!]
Vitruvius Teutsch, pp. 1-6 Original German
Vitruvius Teutsch, pp. 7-10 Original German
Vitruvius Teutsch, pp. 11-16 Original German
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