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Vitruvius (Marcus Vitruvius Pollio) (vĭtro͞oˈvēəs), fl. late 1st cent. B.C. and early 1st cent. A.D., Roman writer, engineer, and architect for the Emperor Augustus. In his one extant work, De architectura (c.40 B.C., tr. 1914), he discussed in 10 encyclopedic chapters aspects of Roman architecture, engineering, and city planning. Vitruvius also included a section on human proportions. Because it is the only antique treatise on architecture to have survived, De architectura has been an invaluable source of information for scholars. The rediscovery of Vitruvius during the Renaissance greatly fueled the revival of classicism during that and subsequent periods. Numerous architectural treatises were based in part or inspired by Vitruvius, beginning with Leon Battista Alberti's De re aedificatoria (1485).


See M. H. Morgan, Vitruvius: The Ten Books on Architecture (1914, repr. 1960).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



Roman architect and engineer of the second half of the first century B.C.

Vitruvius is known from his work Ten Books on Architecture, the only ancient monograph on architecture that has come down to us in full. In this monograph he examines problems of urban construction, engineering and technology, and the arts and summarizes the theoretical and practical experience accumulated by the architecture of Hellenistic Greece and Rome. His ideas about the unity of the technical, functional, and aesthetic aspects of architecture and his demand for “strength, usefulness, and beauty” of structures are of great value. Nearly forgotten in the Middle Ages, Vitruvius’ treatise has been studied very carefully since the 15th century, was translated into many languages, and played an important role in the 17th and 18th centuries in the development of the canonical forms of the architectural orders.


In Russian translation:
Arkhitektura v 10 knigakh. Translated by V. Bazhenov and F. Karzhavin. St. Petersburg, 1790-97.
Desiat’ knig ob arkhitekture, vol. 1. Translated by F. A. Petrovskii. Moscow, 1936.


Mikhailov, B. P. Vitruvii i Ellada. Moscow, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.